In the age of online marketing, brick-and-mortar businesses have to stay relevant in changing times. The rise of smartphones brought about an epidemic of showrooming, which occurs when customers check out a product in the store, but then make the purchase online. But contrary to popular belief, having a brick-and-mortar location doesn’t put you at a disadvantage against online retailers.

While physical locations have more overhead costs, they also provide additional opportunities for marketing. By following the tips below, you can develop a marketing strategy that keeps you relevant to all customers, both online and off.

Social Media Marketing

Just having a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest account doesn’t qualify as a social media strategy. Before you start posting you need to identify your goals and objectives and develop your campaign from there. Are you looking to provide better customer service, keep customers in the loop about new offerings, expand your brand awareness? Once you have your objectives set, you need to decide which platforms to use, the frequency of your postings, how to interact with customers online, and more. (Luckily, we have a great guide to social media for local businesses.)

To drive offline traffic, you can offer in-store coupons exclusively for your followers/fans, showcase photos of your business (visual content receives more likes on Facebook than text posts), and encourage customers to leave reviews on social review sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Just be sure to monitor the online chatter so that you can engage with your customers before and after visiting your store. Additionally, you can use social media to drive brand awareness through influencer marketing—creating branded content that speaks to your target audience.

Email Newsletters

Even with social media marketing, there’s still a place for email in the marketing space. Many social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are turning into pay-to play-tools where sponsored posts receive favorable treatment over organic content. Email opt-ins typically indicate a higher level of interest than social channels, and you also maintain full control over the channel. By using an email list, you can segment your audience based on their purchasing history, interests, and geographic location. While social media allows you to build brand awareness, email newsletters help you move prospects/customers down the sales funnel.

Live Events

Image credit: Jack Frog/Shutterstock

If it’s applicable to your business, consider hosting events at your location. Aside from the brand awareness boost, you’ll also gain valuable insights into your target market. If someone takes the time to come to your event, you’ll know they’re interested in learning more about what you do, and it gives you an opportunity to gain a new email subscriber or social media follower. Photos from the event can also be used on various marketing channels.

Differentiating Your Business

The best way to stand out from your competition is to offer exceptional service, whether it’s rewarding repeat business, hiring exceptional talent, or showcasing company accomplishments and awards.

Ultimately the key to success in differentiating your business from competing companies is understanding and catering to your customer needs. By using Connectivity’s Customer Insights product, you can divide your audience into manageable segments, and adjust your marketing efforts to tailor your offerings to each unique consumer.

Dylan Lake is a Demand Generation Manager at Connectivity.

Top image credit: Maglara/Shutterstock