I hosted a web chat with the SBA toward the end of last year to provide small business owners advice on Christmas marketing. And while many company owners had questions about the holidays, a lot of them had to do with the age-old problem of “how can I get more foot traffic to my store?”
Here are seven tried-and-true actions you might wish to take into account:
1. Look in from the outside in
Learn who visits your store if it is in a pedestrianized area. Observe the demographics of those who come and go while sitting outside or close to your window. They window shop, right? Have they previously come from another nearby store?
Next, objectively assess your signage and window display to see if it appeals to your target customer or demographic. Think of ways to maximize your merchandising and window display, for instance, if you own a coffee shop and the majority of your business occurs between the hours of 8 and 10 in the morning. Doing so will help you draw in more customers at these times. This might be as easy as making use of the opportunity to hand out coupons outside, provide visitors with samples of baked goods, or advertise your most recent deals on sidewalk signs.
2. Organize a neighborhood event with a newsworthy tie-in
Hosting a neighborhood or charitable event is one of the finest methods to boost foot traffic. Connecting it to a current occurrence is a fantastic method to achieve this and stand out. Imagine that your local high school or NFL team is participating in a pivotal match. Think about collaborating with neighboring companies to host a tie-in event or run specials on game days. Organize the occasion as a block party or in a prominent downtown venue (even if you have to take your business on the road for a few hours). Don’t forget to give back to the community; think about donating some of your earnings.
In advance, promote the event on your website and social media. Don’t forget to email and mail out flyers to your contact list as well as local media outlets, including radio stations, for the greatest impact.
3. Conduct a symposium or workshop
By teaching their consumers how to extract more value from the products they are purchasing, both retail and service-based businesses can increase foot traffic (even if a transaction isn’t made that day). To draw in potential sellers, florists can hold a flower arranging class or realtors might provide a lesson on home staging. Publicize your event, of course, whether it be offline or online, through press releases or advertisements.
4. Draw passersby in with location-based services
To advertise your small business utilizing mobile applications that target customers in the area of your business, you don’t need to be a tech whiz. You can share details about your most recent discounts and limited-time deals with customers nearby on websites like ThinkNear, Groupon, Living Social, FourSquare, and others. If you want to increase foot traffic during off-peak hours, for instance, you can arrange deals to be delivered at important hours.
5. Use new means to engage customers
When a restaurant or shop you’ve been going to for a while starts doing something new, it’s always energizing. And because of social media’s influence, creating something novel or unique and doing it well can spread swiftly.
Therefore, consider strategies for attracting older or current clients. It might be as easy as introducing a new kind of discount (it may seem obvious, but providing something valuable at a discount for a little period can be attention-grabbing) or informing them of a new good or service you’ve launched.
A straightforward sale is always a fantastic approach to draw devoted patrons out of hiding. To your contact database, send an email or e-newsletter, and share it on social media. You might even hold a sneak preview sale first for a hand-picked clientele.
If your company provides services, think about paying existing customers who suggest you to new consumers a referral fee.
6. Put your small business customer service hat on
Consumers choose to patronize local companies over larger chains for a reason: interpersonal connections. Customers will come through your door and keep coming back if you smile, provide excellent service, know your products well, and are enthusiastic. So make the most of your small business advantage when you conduct new events, sales, or workshops!
7. Remain in contact
Offering excellent products and services is not the only way to stay at the top of your clients’ minds after engaging them through your new initiatives. Additionally, communication is important.
Encourage guests at an event you hold to sign up for your emails if you want to attract new clients. It’s always effective to offer a small incentive, like a gift in exchange for an email address. Then, keep in touch, establish an e-newsletter program, send out regular updates about new product lines, corporate news, and events, and start interacting with your customers on social media. (Check out this blog for advice.)