July/Aug 2019

Richard Stevenson l Owner, RSPR Up your marketing game Part Two

Having set aside some time to work on your marketing and engage new customers, what is the best way to start talking to them? Following on fro m his piece last month, Richard Stevenson looks at the platforms at your disposal.


Your website, emails, social media presence and the local community and its media are vital in keeping customers coming through the door. All have their place in a unified marketing strategy.

Y Digital

Even if you are not focused on ecommerce, the look and feel of your website is even more important than the look and feel of your store. Eyeball numbers on your website are likely to be much higher than footfall, thanks to Google local search, and customers trying to find out what you sell, where you are or your phone number even before they have left the house. A great website needs to hit hard from the home page, getting across not only what the business is but underpinning your brand profile and tone of voice. If you want to be seen as tech-experts, make sure that comes across in the big headlines and links to your tech-savvy articles and how-to guides. Want to be seen as service-focused? Make sure your customer service benefits are boldly defined with links to customer feedback quotes, awards and local recognition.

Email marketing to existing customers can be useful but GDPR compliance is tempering its effectiveness. If you can get your customers to explicitly agree to you sending them marketing emails, it’s a great platform to highlight your brand, events and local activities. For the website and email, a clean design and engaging copy is key. Keep it tight, keep it fresh and above all, keep it regularly updated. If your digital messaging majors on special offers and discounts, you have lost from the outset. Someone cheaper is only a click away.


Social media can look like a minefield, but it is arguably the single most powerful and cost effective marketing tool at your disposal right now. Its ability to get your brand story and messages in front of the right customers organically is second

ou can separate the many ways of engaging with potential customers into three major areas – digital, social and local.

to none and paid-for media, such as post boosting, can target very tight geographic and demographic groups, including by age, sex and consumer interests.

If my 88-year-old mum wasn’t on WhatsApp, I

probably wouldn’t be able get hold of her. She is always out with her fellow horticultural enthusiasts, visiting gardens and sharing the experience on Facebook and Instagram. If you were a nursery owner, would you market to her with black and white adverts for discount azaleas in the local newspaper, or by pushing your pensioners tea afternoons through targeted Facebook posts and stunning flower images on Instagram? The major issue with social is that content is

king and you need to develop an ongoing stream of compelling content (stories, images, videos etc) to talk about, post, share and get shared by others. It can be a time vampire and there is no getting around that, you need to set aside that time or outsource it.

Instagram is arguably the current social platform de jour for businesses looking to engage with consumers, and it takes the least input time to work effectively. Simple pictures or short videos with very short messages and hashtag links to popular trends are compelling and it is easy to establish your brand in the local Instagram community. Follow local influencers and other relevant brands; join conversations they’re starting and interact with the content they are producing. Keep it local by reposting local content, use local hashtags and ensure you ‘geotag’ all your posts so people can find your business.

Many of the above tips apply equally well to Facebook, which has also become one of the first points of direct customer contact. Making sure you answer your Facebook messages promptly is as important as speaking to customers as they walk into your store, not least of which because disgruntled customers can so easily leave poor feedback.

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