At Treat Cupcake Bar, Sarah Waters’ responsibilities run the gamut from online and offline marketing and social media management, to event organization and employee development. Of all her responsibilities, it’s online marketing that creates some of her biggest challenges.
Despite recent successes with mobile advertising, Herminio Gomes of Sharp Cleaning estimates he currently spends just 4% of his marketing budget on digital channels. The rest is divided between direct mailers, newspaper ads, flyers, and commissions.
In the past 18 months, the ratio of spending between print and digital marketing campaigns has flipped at Hwy 55. Today, the company’s digital spend is more than 20% higher than print. The company has chosen to focus its efforts on platforms that can be used to reach consumers at the hyperlocal level.
Like many local merchants, Heather Zidell has seen the number of customers finding her business through Yelp climb over the years. She decided to take the leap into paid advertising on the platform as a way to ensure that her bakery was being listed ahead of competitors.
Almost half of small business owners say they’re being overrun by basic administrative tasks. When Roo’s World of Discovery owner Michelle Pollak Landwehr found herself in that same position, spending hours each week on basic administrative tasks like tracking member visits, scheduling classes, and managing recurring payments at her Washington-based children’s indoor play space, she began looking for digital solutions.
When consumers commit to joining a gym and paying a fixed rate each month, they’re indirectly confirming their loyalty to the business. But after years of working with clients at Gold’s Gym of Jersey City, sales manager Mauricio Calmet noticed that a secondary loyalty market exists, one that’s rarely tapped by businesses once they’ve signed customers up for yearlong contracts or memberships.
Collecting customer email addresses and generating Facebook “likes” are two tasks that are at the top of virtually every small business marketer’s to-do list. Edges Salon & Spa has a system in place to streamline this process and encourage customer loyalty at the same time. For the past seven months, it has been offering customers free Wi-Fi in exchange for the chance to learn about their behaviors and engage them on mobile.
Cold-calling techniques have a notoriously low success rate for hyperlocal vendors trying to onboard new merchants, but it was an unsolicited drop-in that led to The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen’s successful three-year relationship with ChowNow, an online ordering system and marketing platform for restaurants.
Data is changing the way large restaurant groups cater to their highest-value customers. Richard Sandoval Restaurants, the upmarket restaurant group with more than 35 locations worldwide, is looking for more strategic ways to use data for customer retention and acquisition. It has started harnessing its email database to make more data-driven decisions using tools like customer analytics and marketing platform Venga.
Local merchants in every vertical are relying more on social media marketing for customer acquisition and retention, but restaurants in particular have become heavy users of social platforms. This year, 50 percent of casual dining and fine dining operators said they planned to devote even more resources to social media marketing. Hyperlocal vendors like Perch are providing business owners with a way to consolidate most social marketing tasks in one centralized app.