For brick-and-mortar retailers, gaining traction online can seem like a challenging, even all but impossible, task. It’s difficult to maintain a strong in-store experience while simultaneously dedicating enough time to online marketing and networking.
The good news is you don’t actually have to spend large amounts of your time on Internet marketing. As long as you know the right people and forge the right relationships, you can make acceptable progress.
Focus on Relationships
Did you know that 70 percent of millennial customers share their grocery shopping experiences with others via text messages and images they post on social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram?
If millennial customers — who now control a healthy percentage of buying power across multiple industries — are trying to connect something as simple as grocery shopping to their digital networks, shouldn’t brick and mortar storeowners also be focused on bridging the gap between online and offline?
Traditional online marketing might not be the best way to spend your marketing dollars, but you can extract a tremendous amount of value from building relationships with bloggers. These people are always looking for new topics, angles, and ideas.
By making the right connections, you can build mutually beneficial relationships that empower your brand to cross over cost effectively to the world of organic online marketing.
Finding and Leverage These Relationships
The question is, how? How do you establish relationships with bloggers and influential content marketers? It comes down to research and exploration.
If you can identify the right people, reach out in the appropriate manner, and facilitate a healthy working relationship with them, there’s potentially no limit to the opportunities you’ll have.
Who are the influencers in your industry? These are the thought leaders and authority figures you turn to when you have questions or concerns. They’re probably also the individuals your target market resonates with.
You’ll find these influencers on micro blogging sites, large industry publishing platforms, and social media. Study who they are, what they like, and what their strategies are with care, and you can make effective connections.
Connecting with Influencers
“You need to look at who the influencers with an audience are, and figure out if you can either invite them to special events, give them an experience with your products or let them meet with the executives of your company,” suggests Michael Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner. “Then they can go and tell a story to their audience.”
As you’ll notice, the key here is forging relationships, not taking advantage of people. These individuals may receive hundreds of requests per week. Make sure you’re not just another person asking them for something. Give them something in return: a reason to buy in to the connection.
Building Relationships with Influencers
Think of these blogger relationships as being like the personal relationships in your life. You don’t build friendships by saying, “Hi, my name is John. I need ____ from you.”
Instead, you build a relationship over time, and then — if an opportunity or need arises at a future date — you use the relationship equity you’ve built over time to ask for a favor. The same is true with blogger relationships.
Give something of value to the blogger before you even ask for anything in return. If you build healthy relationships successfully, people will have no issue with granting you a favor. Many bloggers need you as much as you need them.
Putting it All Together
Just because you’re an offline brand doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the power of online marketing. Even small local businesses can tap into the power of the Internet.
At the heart of everything is relationship building. You must be able to build relationships with bloggers and influencers if you want to expand your reach cost effectively. Begin working diligently today, and you could reap massive benefits on the back end.