- By Anne Mulvenna
You’ve just wrapped up your busy (or not so busy) back-to-school shopping season, but it’s no time to sit back and relax. Black Friday is only 78 days away, and you need to make sure that your business is ready.
Don’t panic, start planning.
You still have time to develop a solid local search marketing strategy to help drive traffic from online to your store. These online-to-offline (O2O) conversions could be the difference between a great holiday season and an unwanted winter slump.
What’s O2O again?
Let’s start with a quick refresher course on Online to Offline. O2O is a huge, if somewhat misunderstood, player in the modern retail world. O2O marketing and conversions influence over $3 trillion dollars a year in retail spending. That’s Trillion with a T.
Consumers love mobile, digital and e-comm, but still want the full brand experience of brick-and-mortar shopping. Consumers are starting the shopping process online, especially through local search. Which makes getting found online, and converting those online searches to offline purchases, a fundamental challenge for retailers.
To make sure that you are effectively converting online consumer activity to offline sales, it’s imperative that you start building your O2O sales funnel now. Time and planning put into optimizing your business’s local search will pay off big come Black Friday.
Local Pro Tips
1. Create a solid local marketing foundation.
Make sure your business is listed accurately across the internet. You want your customers to be able to find you both online and offline easily. You need to ensure that your business is found across multiple search engines and local listings, and that all of your local listings are accurate and optimized. This is extremely important over Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. Will your business have extended holiday shopping hours? How will your customers know, unless your local listings are optimized. Plan now, so you will be ready to implement accurate and up-to-date listings, making your business easy to find on Black Friday.
2. Start collecting online and in-store metrics.
You’ll never be able to improve your local marketing strategy without data. Start collecting data and measuring key performance indicators, for example: listings performance, keyword rankings, keyword coverage, share of voice, and review tracking. (Don’t know where to start – check out our blog post on KPIs). Armed with in-store and online data, you’ll know where you’re making an impression and where you’re not. That’s crucial for turning online searches into offline sales.
3. Plan your Black Friday marketing campaign.
There’s going to be heavy marketing competition surrounding Black Friday. But, consumers are in the mood to shop and are looking for deals, so now is the time to connect with them. Often online and mobile consumers only have a general idea of what they’re looking for – leaving a lot of room for them to be influenced by marketing campaigns. A strategic Black Friday local marketing campaign, incorporating the data you collected in the step above, will help draw customers through your doors.
4. Sit back and relax.
Just kidding. You won’t have time to relax. We know it’s a blur between Black Friday and the end of the January sales. You will, however, be able to see the rewards your hard work and planning made happen by building your O2O funnel. When the smoke clears you can measure increases in key performance indicators, impressions, and both online and offline conversions and engagement. You will also be able to calculate the accurate dollar value and ROI of your O2O funnel. This data will show you how optimizing your local search game has led to major increases in shoppers, and ultimately, sales.