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How to Promote Your Online Store and Brick-and-Mortar Business

When you have both a brick-and-mortar store and an online storefront, it can be hard to know where to throw your promotional dollars. You don’t want to neglect the store that was your bread and butter, but you know to expand your reach, the online store is your best bet — unless you want to open more locations, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can combine promotions for your online store and your brick-and-mortar business. Not only will this help you focus on one or two promotional campaigns at a time and strong overall branding, but it will also save you money as you throw your promotional dollars behind ads with multiple purposes.

1. Create Social Media Buzz

Social media might be a great way to send traffic to your website, but it can also be used to create buzz around events at your brick-and-mortar store. For example, for a grand opening, you can create an event on Facebook and invite people to attend. Utilize an ad to target even more people in your area.

On Twitter, you can host a Twitter chat complete with a specific hashtag. At the end of the appointed chat time, invite people to visit your brick-and-mortar store for a special you’ve put together just for them.

Stream Cliff Farm, a small gardening center, café, and event venue, utilizes Facebook to reach current and new visitors. Since its location offers regular events, this is the perfect match for them. At the same time, it offers the ability to order some items online as well as reserve your spot for events, so it can easily sell to new customers and collect their information.

2. Coupons

Coupons can draw new customers into your store. Coupons are popular with customers everywhere, with about 96 percent of consumers using coupons. When you realize just how popular coupons are and how many people use them, you begin to see what a strong marketing tool this is, both online and off.

The best coupons are ones that can be used both online and in a brick-and-mortar store. There is nothing quite so frustrating as trying to order something online only to be told you can only use the coupon in store, and vice versa. Make it easy on your customers to use your coupons both online and off and you’ll gain the most customers possible from the promotion.

You’ll also need to make some decisions about whether you will allow coupon stacking or limit customers to one coupon at a time. A good example of a company that allows customers to use coupons is Kirkland’s. Customers who sign up for its email list receive a message with a code that can be used online or a bar code that can be scanned in store. Since there are times when stock is out online or in store, but available at the other, this is a nice feature for consumers.

3. Feature Your Physical Location on Your Website

About 50 percent of those who did a local search on their mobile devices visit the brick-and-mortar store within 24 hours, so it is vital to pay attention to your website and how you're presenting your store to customers. If you want those who find your website to come into your store, you have to make your location enticing to them.

You can feature items that are in the store but are not sold online, explain what your store has to offer or talk about discounts you offer for specific groups, such as seniors or military.

Nitterhouse Masonry is a good example of a store offering an in-depth, real-life look at its physical location on its website’s landing page. It features photos of its brick-and-mortar store, explains weekly specials and talks about available store discounts.

4. In-Store Promotions

Don’t neglect cross-promotions where you offer details about what your store offers online. For example, if someone comes into the store and you’re out of an item, offer to order it for them. Also, point out that you offer online ordering if they get home and decide they need something else but don’t want to come back out.

Point out online promotions by giving a coupon with an online promo code, or ask if you can sign them up for your email list, especially if you send coupons via email to your customers. Business cards and literature should also list your website so customers have multiple ways to contact you and to get information about the products you sell.

A good example of a company that offers multi-layered promotions is Victoria’s Secret. When you go into one of their stores, salespeople ask if you are on the company’s email list. They will then send you info about new products, sales and coupons. Now, it has collected your information and can market to you both for its online and brick-and-mortar stores.

5. Utilize Technology

Encourage your customers to download an app, and then use iBeacons to ping a customer’s phone when she passes by your store. This is particularly effective if you’re located in a strip mall or shopping mall, because the customer is already there shopping. You’re just reminding her that you have new merchandise, a sale going on or that you’d love to see her stop by.

Lord & Taylor not only pings customers when they get with 100 meters of the store, but it also sends a personalized message based on where the person is located within the store and past purchases the customer has made. This makes the marketing smart and highly targeted.

To reach the most customers possible and continue to grow as a business, it is important to consistently seek new ways to reach out. By combining promotions for both online and offline stores, you'll gain the most traction possible.

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Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu

Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.