There is a dizzying number of digital and social media tools and platforms available to retailers and brands. While it's definitely not advisable to boil the ocean and deploy everything, a smart mix of digital and social marketing will go a long way in improving your bottom line.

With skyrocketing Internet access and smartphone penetration rates, retailers and brands must invest in digital marketing.

Before running digital marketing activities it's best if you have an overall structure for how these activities will support your business. This will help in maximizing value from your digital activities, rather than shooting in the dark. For this, we will borrow Steve Blank's Get Keep Grow customer relationship strategy, with a little bit of tweaking.

A quick intro, every for-profit business must execute three main tasks:  Get Customers, Keep Customers, and Grow Customers. Simple, isn’t it? We will now apply this to digital and social media marketing.

Phase 1: Get Customers

The purpose here is to make your business discoverable (aka easy to find) in the digital world. More and more people are discovering businesses online and on the go. You should be in a position to be found and chosen.

How: Invest in the following:

  • A modern and mobile optimized website: Internet access through mobile devices is quickly surpassing desktops/laptops. Make sure your website provides a pleasant experience on these devices. Key word: responsive web design.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO techniques will help improve your site’s ranking in search results.  
  • Smart social media: it’s increasingly difficult to stand out in the crowded social media space. Your messages and content must be interesting to your audience, so limit the promos to 25% of what you share. Think about it, would you enjoy a newsfeed full of promos?  Make your messages local and relevant. Spend some time to learn about social media best practices to create a buzz, connect emotionally with your audience, influence decisions, and advertise on the different social platforms. It’s ok to experiment here since there aren’t any silver bullets.  
  • “Review site” presence: research and understand what review sites exist for your industry (e.g. Yelp, Urbanspoon, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, etc..). You should own, update, and monitor your business profiles on these sites and proactively manage your online reputation.
  • Up-to-date search engine business listings: make sure that the main search engines have your latest and greatest business info. The biggest are: Google Places, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local Listings. 

Phase 2: Keep Customers

A great product or service will bring customers back. However, savvy companies also focus on increasing customer visit frequencies and purchase size. The goal is to maximize your customer visits and spend and to have them choose your business over the competition.

How:

  • Know your customers: this is the first step. You should build a customer database that includes contact information and basic data on demographics and preferences
  • Create a digital loyalty program and reward your customers for purchases and actions: convenient and modern loyalty programs offer attractive incentives for your customers to visit you again and again (more reading)
  • Learn more about your customer preferences: web and mobile surveys help here; you can even throw an incentive at your customers to participate. What you learn should be applied to how you market to and serve your customers.
  • Engage and connect with your customers to keep you top of mind: use email/SMS/social media to personalize communications and offers. The data you have will allow you to segment your customers in new ways and to create impactful communication.

Phase 3: Grow Customers

You have a loyal customer base, make sure they spread the word about your business. This is when things go viral! Nothing is stronger than word of mouth, especially on the Internet.

How:

  • Incentivize social sharing and referrals: create digital coupons and referral contests that can be easily spread online (Facebook has a feature for that called Facebook Deals). Give your customers a cool way to gift their friends and bring new business your way.
  • Identify your top customers and ask them to review your site online (or for testimonials that you can use on your website or other marketing channels): people make decisions based on what others are saying.
  • Again your top loyal customers need some TLC: offer them specials and exclusive deals. They feel special and you sell more (win-win)…just be genuine about the effort.

Digital and social are great and inexpensive tools that can pay back if used with a certain objective in mind. Keep the “Get Keep Grow” framework in mind as you adopt new technologies. Digital will take time to build up but the returns will be enormous.

Need help in defining your digital and mobile marketing plan? Contact Club Ovahi to learn more.