How brick-and-mortar businesses can use digital content marketing to bring more customers through the door.

For small, brick-and-mortar businesses like shops and restaurants, dipping into the online world of content marketing might seem unnecessary — but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, embracing digital marketing channels will likely be the key to the continued viability small businesses in the coming decades.

In the past, retailers have argued that their business depends on a very tangible experience of their product, especially for local businesses. But the virtual and physical worlds are getting closer and closer, and even small audiences these days are hooked into the digital marketplace.

To keep attracting new and more discerning customers, you can no longer just be on the corner of Main Street — you need a content marketing strategy that meets them where they are online.

Knowing Your Audience

The process of building an online presence for your physical business begins with data analysis (as this helpful guide from Quick Sprout details), which will give you a better understanding of your customer base. As Forbes explains, comprehensive market research begets effective and engaging marketing strategies, ultimately boosting customer loyalty and driving revenue.

This approach has been a key component of fiscal success for decades, but the internet has made its implementation much easier and more cost-effective. Using digital channels to learn more about your target demographic and to boost the online presence of your brand will ultimately translate into foot traffic in a physical store.

Telling Your Story Accurately

Once you’ve figured out who your customers are and what their needs are, the next step is to develop a meaningful relationship with them. Before setting up the framework for your business model, craft an intriguing and cohesive story that accurately describes your brand.

Providing your target audience with a vivid and relatable narrative about your business will help foster connections and loyalty to your company via word-of-mouth, both on digital channels and in the real world.

In addition to a developing a strong narrative, make sure that your marketing is specific. Far more than superlatives or self-promotion, customers are looking for something that pertains directly to them. So instead of proclaiming that your coffee shop makes “the best cappuccinos in town” or has “the most inviting ambiance,” highlight the specific things that actually make your store unique and worth visiting.

Geographical Genius

Before anyone leaves the house looking for a hair salon, Thai restaurant, or shoe store, they’re going to search the web for the best option in their immediate vicinity. So while generating high-quality, engaging content is essential to your store’s marketing strategy, it’s basically meaningless if the local population can’t see it. One of the best ways to maximize visibility is by frequently using your business’ NAP: name, address, and phone number.

Any business willing to cast a wider net will undoubtedly bring more customers through its doors — if you’re able to effectively convey through digital channels why your store is worth the trip, chances are your actual visitors won’t be disappointed when they get there.

Some small business owners might resist feel that digital marketing is cold and impersonal, but the reality is that it actually increases the chances for real, human connections. And that’s something that everyone can get behind.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer digital strategy services, including website branding, style guides, persona development, and audience segmentation. We’re a partner in making content work for your business. Learn more about digital strategy here.

Main image: DaveBleasdale/flickr)