6 Digital Marketing Ideas for Local Shops & Boutiques

December 2019
 minute read
walk in closet and bathroom area with towels clothing and accessories

Small business owners are confronted with a number of challenges. From merchandising to staffing to managing finances, you have a lot of things to deal with -- and spending the time racking your brain to comes up with an effective marketing strategy shouldn’t have to be one of them. At Responsival - the leaders in Pittsburgh web design and digital marketing - we know that every minute of effort you put into your small business matters, which is why we’re here to share with you 6 foolproof digital marketing tips for your shop or boutique designed to create a vibrant online presence. Check them out!

Use Organic Social Media to Build a Community

The Leading Pittsburgh Web Design and Marketing Firm Recommends Using Your Feeds Strategically

No.14 Boutique Instagram
Photos from @b3mineboutique on Instagram

When developing a digital marketing strategy, the first thing on your mind is likely your organic social media strategy: what you’re sharing with your followers without paying for promotion. While this seems easy, developing an effective organic strategy on a budget can be difficult because most people assume that obtaining quality images is expensive.

However, there are a number of ways to curate a beautiful organic social media feed without spending a lot of money. Not only can iPhone photography (with a few tips at tricks from the leader in Pittsburgh web design and marketing) be extremely effective for product and lifestyle images, but you possess a great amount of power within your customer base.

In the age where nearly anyone can be an influencer, Instagram users are always looking to get their name out there. Utilize this! Begin by developing a branded hashtag for your customers to utilize. You’ve seen this done with #AerieREAL and a number of other branded hashtags. Encourage your customers to share their style with your hashtag and share their images on your own feed.

Not only do these posts add a sense of social proof to your brand, but these posts are likely to be shared and help to drive engagement -- thus hacking Facebook’s algorithm and getting your posts shown to more people on Instagram and Facebook.

Showcase Items on Your Instagram Story

Share Your Products without Overwhelming Your Followers

Local Boutique Social Media
Photos from @no14boutique on Instagram

A major question we get as the leading Pittsburgh web design and marketing firm is how often you should be posting Facebook and Instagram. A great rule of thumb is that once a day tends to get the job done, but that may not feel like enough to really promote your products, offers, and initiatives.

The birth of the Instagram story makes it possible to put a lot of content out there without feeling like you’re bombarding your followers with too much content to process. More than 70% of businesses are using stories to get more content out there. How are they doing it? Check out these stories for driving engagement and interest from your Instagram story:

  • Always Share a New Organic Post to Your Story. Instagram changed its algorithm a while back so that your feed is no longer chronological, making it more difficult for businesses to get eyes on their organic posts. That’s why so many businesses share their own posts to their story with text saying “new post!” This increases the likelihood that your post will be seen and engaged with.
  • Talk About & Showcase Your Merchandise. The best boutiques and shops on Instagram showcase their new arrivals, top-selling products, deals, and more on their Instagram stories. They’ll have customers and staff try on clothes, talk about sizing, and share information about the brand in a laid back video format, increasing interest in certain materials.
  • Utilize Story Features. Instagram story features have expanded greatly over time, adding the options to ask questions, include stickers, play music, and more. Play around with different formats and use these features to create interest and drive engagement whenever possible. Additionally, sites like Canva can help you make super simple graphics that fit your Instagram story with ease.

Share Email-Exclusive Offers to Subscribers

How the Leader in Pittsburgh Web Design and Marketing Utilizes Email

email marketing local business

The median ROI on email marketing efforts is around 122%, making it the digital marketing strategy with the best bang for your buck. Small businesses can utilize email marketing in a number of ways, but it’s very important to do this in moderation. While your highly-engaged customers will love getting an email from you, it’s important to not bombard your customers with too many emails.

How can you keep your customers happy with your email marketing efforts without overdoing it? Make it worthwhile. Include email-exclusive offers - 30% off an item, a free gift for stopping in, first access to a new set of products, private shopping events, and more - that keep your customers in the loop about what’s next for your business. Not only can this drive foot traffic into your store, but can help create a collection of return customers.

Develop a Paid Social Media Strategy

How the Leaders in Pittsburgh Web Design and Marketing Utilize Paid Ads

Facebook ads for local business

A major misconception about using a paid social media strategy is that it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. However, Facebook and Instagram ads can make a difference while spending as little as $5 a day, making it an affordable and worthwhile digital marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. 

There are a number of ways to utilize social media ads to advance your initiatives. Check out some of these tips for making the most out of your paid social media strategy.

  • Install the Facebook Pixel on your site. This tiny piece of code is the key to making the most out of your social media advertising efforts.
  • Begin with an awareness campaign. The most important thing you can do as a small business is getting your name out there. Facebook and Instagram allow you to create campaigns designed strictly for expanding your reach. Throw out an ad to targeted demographics that you choose on Facebook Ads Manager that drives traffic to your website. 
  • Retarget to a follower ad. Turn people who latched onto your awareness campaign into long-term followers with a follower campaign. Your Facebook Pixel allows you to retarget these people and ask them to follow you with ease.
  • Create lookalike audiences. After your first successful awareness campaign, it’s time to start growing your customer base. You can create a lookalike audience - an audience that shares a number of characteristics with the audience already engaging with your ads - and share ads with a group of people who may also be interested in supporting your business.
  • Promote sales and specials. Last but not least, paid social media ads are great for promoting special offers. If you’re an e-commerce site (which we’ll touch on in a second), you can connect your site to the Facebook catalog and sell directly from your ads.

Making the most out of your Facebook paid ad strategy can be tough. For help getting the ball rolling, get in touch with the leader in Pittsburgh web design and marketing.

Build a Site that Supports Your Initiatives

Pittsburgh Web Design Firms Help Build the Perfect Site for You

website design for local business

It’s a simple fact; your business needs a website. Websites serve a number of purposes, including social proof, selling products, building SEO, sharing content, and making it easy for customers and vendors to contact you. A website that does all this works almost as hard as you do, and is one of the most dependable employees you will ever have.

When designing your website, though, you have a number of decisions to make. First, you should decide whether or not to branch into e-commerce or if that may be in your business’s future. This not only will define which platform you host your site on but will tell a Pittsburgh web design firm a lot about what the site may look like once completed.

Even simple websites - the kind that explains your business, provide contact info, and showcase your social media links - need a number of aspects to be considered technically sound. In addition to installing a Facebook Pixel, you’ll want to utilize Google Analytics and be able to make easy changes to your website. Responsival can help handle this aspect of your business so that you can continue to push in-store initiatives without breaking the bank on website management.

Most of all, your website exists at the core of SEO efforts (which we’ll talk more about in a sentence). SEO makes it easy for new customers to find you, making it vital to include various things on your website’s design to help grow your business over time.

Utilize Content to Promote Products

The Leaders in Pittsburgh Web Design and Marketing Recommend a Company Blog

Local Shopping Online Resource

The text you put on your homepage isn’t the only thing that affects your business’s SEO. A company blog is one of the best ways to continuously rank for more keywords on Google, making it the key to helping new customers learn about your business and drive traffic to your site.

As a boutique, you have plenty of opportunities for making interesting, engaging content. Some great options that can showcase your business and products include:

  • Local Guides: 10 Best Small Businesses in Charlotte, 5 Towns to Explore this Small Business Saturday, Planning the Perfect Girls’ Day in Cambridge, MA
  • Style Guides: The 5 Biggest Spring Trends You Need to Know About, The Tops 10 Ways to Utilize Animal Print, Thanksgiving Outfits that are Cute, Comfy, and Cozy.
  • Gift Guides: 20 Gifts She’ll Love this Holiday Season, Gift Ideas for the Outdoorsman in Your Life

All of these blog posts are not only perfect for sharing on social media, but help provide your followers with worthwhile content that keeps them coming back to learn from your style (or specialty industry) experts.

Think it’s time to take your boutique’s digital marketing strategy to the next level? Get in touch with the team at Responsival - the leader in Pittsburgh web design and marketing - today to get started with effective marketing initiatives today.

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