If you own a retail business, you know that generating foot traffic — both online and in store — can be a challenging task.
After all, it takes a great deal of communication skills to reach out to your customers and target audience. This is why many business owners have turned to blogging to attract potential clients. A blog allows you to connect your retail business with customers in an engaging way. It can also play different roles to positively impact your brand.
Perhaps you’ve already done this yourself. You've created a business blog, written a number of posts, all while eagerly anticipating customers to flood your shop. Unfortunately, the influx of traffic never arrives. Even worse, it looks like not a single new customer has found their way to your blog.
What went wrong?
Whether you’ve tried launching a blog without success or avoided creating one all together, this post is for you. Here are three smart ways you can leverage a blog for your retail business.
Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Expertise in a Product
We’ve already seen how omnichannel marketing strategies can deliver favorable customer experiences to modern-day shoppers, which helps promote increased brand loyalty. Physical stores are particularly at an advantage when it comes to customer services and personalization, and in this case, the retailer can maneuver the influence of their blog in promoting their products.
With a blog, you can show your customers how your products will meet their needs, which helps build trust and confidence in your brand. This is a missed opportunity for a lot of brands and retailers, who fail to showcase how their products can be put to use, or how they're being enjoyed by real customers. For example, if you own a clothing brand, you can show your products being worn with other items you sell and encourage them to mix-and-match. If you own a gift store, consider putting together gift guides for different occasions (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day…), and suggest product pairings from your catalogue. Health and beauty store? Share makeup tutorials or ideas for a self-care day.
Encouraging users to share photos of their purchases on social media is a great way to collect user-generated content. But if they didn't submit it directly, be sure to request their permission before borrowing any content for your own site.
When consumers search for a topic related to your industry, the hope is for your blog to appear in the top search results. Being anywhere on the first page of search results is a good goal to strive for, but the higher you are, the more likely you are to see an influx of traffic to your blog, thus increasing your brand exposure.
Influencer marketing is one option to consider. You can create a buzz by asking fellow bloggers or influencers to write reviews and posts about your retail business. According to Forbes, influencer marketing is growing faster than digital advertising. Popular influencers promoting your products on their own blogs is a great way to boost brand awareness and get your content in front of many potential customers, plus increase your domain authority. Here’s a good resource for working with influencers as a retail brand.
Fun fact! Glossier, GOOP, jenni kayne, & Gal Meets Glam are all retail brands that got their start as blogs.
Blogging regularly about valuable content related to your retail business, along with incorporating relevant keywords, can also lead to your blog ranking higher in search engine results. On the other hand, if SEO management isn’t your forte, there are writing services out there that can assist you, but be strategic about working with those that specialize in SEO copywriting.
If SEO strategies are employed effectively, it can significantly maximize your business efforts and get your content listed high with major search engines like Google. Using your blog as an SEO tool also provides you with higher business credibility, making it more reputable than the competition. Just remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint; even the best SEO strategies take a few months to yield noticeable results.
Boost Your Credibility
According to a recent survey, 80% of consumers conduct online research on a company or business prior to making a purchase with them. Your blog is the perfect outlet to give them a buying guide to the products you sell.
Start by positioning yourself as an industry expert through sharing your own experiences and insights. Empathy is very important here: by sharing common ideas and experiences with your customers, you’re building a relationship with them. This strengthens the retailer-customer bond, which will help to increase traffic through your door.
Consider creating step-by-step guides and how-to articles that are relevant to your target customers; these types of content tend to perform well as they answer questions your audience is already searching for. They’re a great way to show how your product can solve a customer’s pain points or improve their life in some other way.
Aim to inform your readers in a way that doesn’t come across with the goal of generating income. Instead, help them be better informed about your products. Offering honest, expert advice can help build a strong rapport with your customers.
Remember: Blogs will only gain popularity, thus driving brand awareness, if they become useful to the readers.
Many retail blogs fail in this aspect, often because they don’t provide value to the customer. Create content that is interesting, relevant, and easily digestible to your target audience. You will not only answer their questions, but show them that you really understand their needs. For that, they will remember you, and elevate your business over the competition in their minds.
Carol Duke is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on education-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling, taking immense pleasure from visiting new countries. You can follow her on Twitter.
Do you really know your customer?
Delivering content that resonates starts with knowing your customers inside and out. Creating a personalized marketing strategy requires omnichannel technology that provides a holistic, real-time view of your business and the ability to report on your customers, no matter where or how they shop.
Topics: Retail Marketing