If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you might be considering adding a blog to your marketing mix. But you might ask yourself: Will people want to visit my blog? Will they read it? How will they find it? And most importantly, how do I promote it without turning off my customers?
What you need to do is come up with a plan.
Learn How to Market Your Physical Store’s Blog
Here are some ideas.
Build an Email List before the Launch Announcement
If you currently have a site
Choose a spot on your site to start talking about your new blog. But be careful that it doesn’t distract your customers from purchasing if you also sell products online. To get people excited about what you are going to post, avoid simply saying: New blog coming soon.
There are many options for starting your email list, from signups in the sidebar to pop-ups, and everything in between. While there to pop-ups, if you also sell online, I suggest that you use them for email signups. Because they can distract from sales, if you are set on using them, try doing so for things like discounts and sales. Just be very careful with them.
If you don’t have a site yet
Create a landing page to entice readers with a sign-up for notification when your blog launches.
Try an incentive as a good way to start. If you are a B2B business, consider offering tips or a guide based on the products you sell. Don’t be concerned worried about people who sign up only to get the gift and then unsubscribe; there will always be a few of those. If done right, a lot of them are already customers who know and like your stuff. This will probably give you enough to get started.
If you are using WordPress, you can take just about any theme and create a landing page from it. But make sure you offer a teaser and, hopefully, a small taste of your content and a signup form. Because “coming soon” is not enough of an enticement.
Use Some of Your Current Marketing Strategies
Do you send a newsletter out electronically or maybe postcards through the mail? Are you running other ads in print and online?
Think through some creative ways to promote your blog. If you have a current physical or digital mailing list, include interesting information about your new blog. And make that signup incentive section prominent.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Many retailers take have a Facebook page. Use it to interject some teasers for your new blog. And though it’s good to promote the launch of your blog, wait until you start blogging to begin driving traffic there.
Because it can be a challenge to get customers to click on those links, so you might consider using Facebook ads or other promotions to get the word out and increase your pre-launch subscription numbers. You can create a separate tab on your Facebook page.
Also consider Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for driving traffic to your blog.
With both Twitter and Facebook, your blog promotion won’t bring tons of traffic. As you may already know, those platforms work much better for interacting and building relationships with customers.
If you are selling B2B, take advantage of LinkedIn as well. It’s a perfect place for the sharing of informational content useful to business owners.
No matter where you are doing your social, give it a try, do some testing and find the strategy that works for you. If you already have a site and have created that landing page, use a social sharing scheduler to get the word out.
Don’t Neglect Your Brick-and-Mortar Advantage
The advantage of having a physical store is the fact you already have a customer base. Take advantage of all the face-to-face interactions you’ve had with your customers — and the deeper relationships you have cultivated with your loyal, long-term customers.
Get creative and find a way to use signage to promote your blog. If you are adding a blog to your existing site, to it’ll be much easier for people to find it. If you don’t, you have at least started the ball rolling and it’s in their minds. Have fun and be creative. Try using a little humor if appropriate.
If you are using them, make sure to add your blog URL to your business cards on the next printing.
You might want to print up some flyers or postcards to put in your bags. Not everyone will read them, but you will catch a few more eyes.
Add an incentive or update to the receipt
If you are able to add information to your receipts, consider adding your new blog address. Many people check their receipts and it may entice them to get online and check you out.
Consider a drawing as an incentive. Or perhaps, reward a customer who visits with a discount on their next purchase. Get creative to lure customers into visiting.
Chat with your customers
The ability to engage in personal interactions is probably the biggest advantage you have. Be sure that you and your employees mention the new blog to your customers, but in a way that fits naturally into the conversation and doesn’t come across as a sales pitch.
Like Any Blog, It Takes Time to Build a Readership
To see results, blogging takes time, efforts in promotion and the writing and editing. So be patient. It’s not the old build it and they will come. Do the best you can to educate and entertain your readers.
The time to develop a good following could be a year or so, maybe longer. With time and effort, your blog will become an asset to your business and an advantage to your customer base.
Extra Tip: To learn more you may want to listen in on our podcast episode: From Brick and Mortar to WooCommerce or read the excerpt from it where I asked: From Brick & Mortar to Online. How Many Products Should I Sell Online at First?