Physical retail and nowadays, e-commerce retail too, are the marquee and premier areas of business where marketing seems to be the most important ingredient. If a store is able to market its products well, it’s going to sell well. But good marketing is easier said than done. This is why you need to have a marketing strategy to follow. If your business chooses the right strategy, you can definitely expect to gain traction and a lot of new customers. So, let’s look at eight different retail marketing strategies and see how you can obtain new customers!
Before picking the right strategy
As the title suggests, we’ll gloss over 8 different marketing strategies in this article. Remember that no one strategy is all-conquering and they aren’t better or worse. It’s more of a matter of compatibility and suitability for your business.
In order to pick the right strategy, you have to understand your target audience, their preferred channel outlets for communication. So, before picking out a strategy, define your target audience (e.g. 18-29-year-old women from California who study psychology, Young entrepreneurs from the EU, etc.). The audience definition should have age or other crucial characteristics in order to be identified and in order to tailor your strategy to their preferences.
Different audiences have different goals and triggers, so you need to understand those as well. All things considered, you have to compare how your product(s) can be advertised using various strategies and pick the most efficient methods for your campaign goals.
Here’s how a marketing strategy will work:
One more thing - Four Ps of Retail Marketing
All marketing students and all marketing courses get this out of the way first. The Four Ps
are a set of factors (names of which begin with the letter P, obviously) that define the essence of every marketing strategy.
Four Ps of Retail Marketing
Product – Price – Place – Promotion
Even though it may seem that marketing strategy is only linked to the promotion (only one of the Ps), it’s in fact intertwined between all four of them. If you want to develop a proper marketing strategy, you have to know the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your product or product category that you’re advertising.
P.S. – service is also a product in this context.
You can click on the highlighted link above to read a structured in-depth info guide on the Four Ps. We will now move on to the retail strategies themselves and see how you can advertise with greater efficiency and better results!
We’ll mostly focus on e-commerce and online retailers and strategies for them.
1. Set Up a Campaign of Targeted Facebook & Instagram Ads
Social media has become the world’s No.1 outlet for digital advertising. For Shopify stores and e-commerce businesses everywhere, Instagram and Facebook ads have become the most used platform for targeted ad campaigns. Social media just has so much data on its users that it can tailor and show these advertisements to people that you truly want to see them. No money goes to waste and you can get a lot of traffic, and a lot of sales on your store, as a result.
The first thing to do, add the Facebook Pixel
to your website. Pixel helps you bring back customers and target similar audiences to those, who have visited your website. Now it’s up to you, an ad agency or your marketing department to craft some cool, engaging visual material that could be actively advertised. Some key pointers:
Pick the right platform for advertising
Not every business has a strong enough brand on social media platforms across the board. For example, luxury goods sellers are quite active, posting ads on Pinterest while other retailers have almost absolutely 0 usages of investing into advertising there.
Dropshipping and e-commerce stores are usually leaning towards Instagram and Facebook as their primary advertising platforms. Ads are easy to set up and there is the broadest range of audiences that you can target and reach. With over 2 billion users on Facebook and over 1 billion on Instagram, it becomes really easy to find potential buyers with the set of ads.
We suggest launching a Facebook and Instagram campaign regardless of your niche. However, if you have a strong brand presence on other platforms (e.g. Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.) make sure to implement ads on there as well.
Target a narrow audience
Audience targeting is probably the defining and most important ingredient in trying to craft efficient ads. Even if you create mediocre visuals, if your targeting is on point, you can make more than that.
Facebook has immense capabilities for audience targeting. They can make suggestions or help you pick out the narrowest audiences possible. Customize the lists of people you want to show your ads to a variety of criteria:
It’s an overwhelmingly powerful advertising tool and when you use it right, you can get so many site visitors who might convert into buyers soon afterwards!
When targeting an audience, we recommend sticking to focus groups of no more than 50,000 people (unless you’re very precise and confident in your definition).
Do a lot of A/B testing
A/B variation testing is important in determining which ad strategy and which advertisement works best for your audience. By launching two, similarly-looking or similarly-targeted ads, you can compare their performance and pick out the better of the two.
Or you can over time, pick up the nuances and details from both sides to see whichever focus points and/or elements generate the most attention. A/B testing helps determine the defining characteristics of your audience and target groups like age, location, interests and so much more. Every ad campaign should have at least a few different ads, each with A/B variation.
2. Google AdWords & Google Shopping campaigns as well as SEO Content optimization
As you know, Google is responsible for around 91-93% of the search engine market online. Even though Bing comes second, most of its traffic isn’t made by customer choice. The stream of queries that Bing gets, is mostly from corporate and predetermined sources where the user isn’t able to change their preferred search engine.
Google is king online and you can only learn to use its tools for your own benefit. Now Retailers can either pick Google AdWords (Search ads) or Google Shopping to make their stores more visible and noticeable on the web.
Let’s focus on these three areas of marketing on Google.
How to manage Google AdWords
Google AdWords, just like Facebook’s Business Tools – is a highly advanced and very capable platform for online marketing. If you are able to make the most from its features, you can improve revenue figures, attract more visitors and reach almost any goal that you set out for your marketing campaign.
30% more visitors? No problem. 20% more sales? You got it. Twice as many conversions? Say no more.
In Google AdWords, you have to be precise, methodical and plan your approach. The Pareto principle says that 80% of your revenue will come from only 20% leads. Your goal should be to optimize and implement those 20% leads as quickly as possible. You can go about this by making the most of low difficulty and low competitiveness keywords or by going all out and attacking the most searched for keywords.
Make sure to enable geotargeting and always optimize meta titles and your ads to the mobile user. By starting with a small budget (under 400$ per month), you can use the A/B testing strategy we mentioned earlier.
If you’re new to AdWords, you can use the slimmed-down version – AdWords Express which is more suited for beginners.
How to Google Shopping ads
Not too long ago, Google introduced the Shopping category and Shopping ads. This feature was welcomed by all retailers who were looking for a way to generate more leads from Google without having to go overboard with methodical AdWords marketing. Additionally, Google probably understood that Instagram and Facebook ads have the upper hand with the way they use visuals, so they followed their competitors up and added Shopping ads.
The pictures of Golf Clubs with prices that you see at the very top is how Shopping Ads work. They display products, related to the search, at the very top of the search bar.
The way you create these ads is by sharing particular data with the Google Merchant Center. By using Google Shopping (found at Google AdWords), you can create Shopping campaigns for your business. From there, it works just as with AdWords, only in a different format. Set up a campaign, launch it, test A/B, see results and stick with the plan until it’s profitable enough or until you cook up another, better idea!
SEO content optimization
Optimized SEO content is crucial to high ranking on Google Searches. Optimization is done via internal content optimization or by uploading SEO-oriented content on external sources.
Internal optimization revolves around blog posts on your website or meta titles, tags and descriptions of your products as well as the layout of the content on your online store. On the other hand, external SEO content usually consists only of articles, published on external sources. These articles should contain links to your website. The most important ingredient to successful SEO content optimization is refining the right keywords and keyword combos and using them. Look at the pie chart below to get a grasp of what good SEO consists of.
3. Email marketing
Every year someone claims that Email marketing is dead. However, while so many businesses, analysts and individuals claim that email marketing is on its last legs, its low, but stable efficiency cannot be doubted. All major e-shops and online retailers launch and upkeep their newsletters. Wouldn’t you agree that they wouldn’t do that if newsletters were inefficient or, dead even?
The fact of the matter is that email marketing campaigns and newsletters aren’t that expensive to run and almost always bring results. Whilst the clickthrough rates rarely exceed 5%, and usually revolve around 2-3%, it’s almost always a guaranteed result and never a disappointment unless you mess up big time. It’s easier to make mistakes when you put out social media ads, launch other campaigns.
What you need to do with email marketing is craft a template that has efficient visuals. If you don’t have a graphics designer in-house, you can hire one on Fiverr for a responsive HTML email template design. Medium to high-quality HTML designs cost around 40-50$. You can use these designs for the foreseeable future and all you have to add are images as well as engaging copy. Each newsletter could cost you anywhere from 100$ to 300$ to send out, but let’s do the math.
If you reach 50,000 unique newsletter subscribers with your campaign and the campaign achieves a 3% clickthrough rate, you get 1,500 unique website visitors. This could result in at least 15-150 sales. If you make at least 20$ each, from 15 sales (revenue, not profit), the campaign pays for itself. However, if you sell more or the buyers spend more, you can earn a solid profit.
Care to know why Email marketing is worth your while? Well, how about the fact that half of the world uses it?
4. Influencers & brand personalities
Influencer marketing is on the rise for the last couple of years. That’s because influencers have a strong foothold on Instagram, which is one of the premier social media platforms for retail businesses to advertise.
If you want to do influencer marketing or find a personality and a face for your shop, product line, etc., you have to be very picky. There is a lot of upside to influencer marketing, but there are also some major threats that a lot of small businesses overlook and then get on the wrong end of it.
Influencers generally have at least a handful of customers and clients that they do ads for. A lot of the time, those ad campaigns are managed by the agency that manages the influencers themselves. That leads to the influencers themselves, caring very little about your product and/or service. These ads have a risk of being viewed as cash-grab opportunities for them, so look into who you’re picking to be your spokesperson.
It’s better to invest in quality ads from influencers or to hire someone exclusively to be the face of your company rather than just putting out 10’s of mediocre influencer ads all over Instagram. That offers long-term and sustainable opportunities. But if you’re dropshipping and have one-product stores, you can definitely worry less about this and just market the hell out of it.
Numbers don’t lie. Influencer marketing works.
5. Referral campaigns
If you sell products or services that encourage return business (consumables or subscription and activity-based service) you can always implement a referral programme.
Referral campaigns have a ceiling with regards to how much they can do for your business. However, referrals help engage loyal customers and increase their average spending on your store.
Launching a referral campaign isn’t difficult. You can find plugins on Shopify or whichever e-commerce platform you’re on or just manage everything manually if you want. The most obvious referral campaign template is:
- Share a discount code or your referral link
- Wait until your friend or anyone else uses that code and/or link to shop
- You get a bonus
Referrals are mostly used in the retail of consumable goods. So, you can likely see referral programmes on clothing, beauty product and other similar stores. Platforms like ride-sharing services and a few more could also implement a referral campaign to increase exposure and popularity.
6. Guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing is quite expensive and not too easy to pull off, but when you do it right, it’s definitely worth it. This strategy revolves around incorporating unorthodox locations or interacting with the environment (usually urban) in a way that allows promoting goods and services.
An example of Guerrilla marketing.
However, this is a strategy that only strong brands should embrace. Guerrilla marketing is great for either locally-renowned or globally recognized brands. If you’re a small or medium-sized retail business that has a clientele scattered all over the world, putting up an interactive art installation/ad in downtown Berlin or NYC might not do you too much good, wouldn’t you agree?
Unless you have a lot of cash at your disposal that can be allocated to Guerrilla marketing alone, don’t take it up. That’s our two cents. Focus on digital ads instead.
7. Customer retargeting
Customer retargeting isn’t a standalone strategy but rather a supplement to your digital advertising and marketing campaign. You have to run a retargeting campaign with email marketing, Facebook, Google, Instagram and all other online ads because it helps maximize revenue and profit, earned from your ad spend. The famous Pixel works by gathering data and making retargeting possible!
We want to show you two different visuals. One will be an infographic while the other one’s going to be a chart. They should help you understand how customer retargeting works and why it’s worth doing.
Here’s the first one – the infographic.
As you can see, if you properly optimize the process of retargeting and write emails to people who left a cart abandoned, around 10.7% of them will convert into purchases. So, all they needed was a little push. The setup and maintenance of cart abandonment emails won’t cost you more than 100$ and if you get at least 4-5 purchase conversions from the emails, you’re retargeting campaign probably paid for itself if not generated additional profit!
Now the second chart.
This particular chart is a bit more complex, but we can clearly see two trends emerging. The first one is that around 1/3rd of the apps that have over 20k non-organic installs, run retargeting ads. What’s more impressive is that it results in a whopping 1/3rd or around 31-35% of the total conversions. This is an amazing figure which could lead you to believe that investing in retargeting is a worthwhile decision. Think about it. Retargeting could contribute and make up one out of every three conversions.
8. Ad agencies
As the final marketing strategy, we decided to talk about, we picked the hiring of an advertising agency. It has the expertise and the human as well as technical resources needed to craft and carry out successful marketing campaigns.
Be wary that it does cost quite a lot, but you can decentralize a lot of the tasks and delegate the duties of creative and administrative roles to the advertising agency and allocate in-house resources for other goals and projects. You can then focus on your business’ top priorities instead of being forced to divide attention between manufacturing, supply chain management, accounts, order fulfilment, finances, marketing, etc.
A lot of small businesses could benefit from working with an ad agency. By seeing what they do and how they do it, you can learn, gather experience and go independent after a few months. You can then implement the same methods in-house and reach the same results (or better) with less spending.
In conclusion, we’d like to once again point out that different marketing strategies are tailored to work for different businesses. If you want to attract new customers, you have to understand who you are targeting and choose the best method to approach that target audience. Utilize digital marketing, don’t forget about emails and never overlook the power of customer retargeting. We hope this article was useful and you found some tips to help improve your sales figures and attract new customers!