We’ve all heard the phrase “adapt or die.” And if not, then consider this your first—and probably only—warning. Last month, we presented to the CLBA (Colorado Licensed Beverage Association), UBRA (United Beverage Retailers of Arkansas) and FISA (Florida Independent Spirits Association) about the vast digital transformation of alcohol retail. You can find the full FISA presentation by our CEO Mike Provance, “When The Consumer Journey Goes Digital” on SlideShare.
During these presentations, we dove into the Amazon effect, explaining how digital marketing is completely changing the market and influencing how retailers promote their businesses and engage consumers.
But wait, what exactly is digital marketing?
Digital marketing simply refers to marketing and advertising that’s delivered through digital channels, including search engines like Google, industry and lifestyle websites, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, email newsletters, content marketing, paid media, and mobile apps. Essentially, it encompasses any and all marketing efforts that involve an electronic device or the internet.
The rise in its popularity is a direct result of consumers’ content consumption and internet use, which has risen consistently over the past three years alone, according to Pew Research. And the way people shop and buy really has changed along with it. As a result, offline marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be. So if you haven’t already, it’s high time to transition.
Marketing has always been about connecting with your customers in the right place and at the right time. In today’s world, that means you need to meet them where they’re spending most of their time: online and on their smartphone.Marketing has always been about connecting with your customers in the right place and at the right time. In today’s world, that means you need to meet them where they’re spending most of their time: online and on their smartphone. Click To Tweet
Four genius digital marketing tricks to start using right now
Driving customer engagement is easy once you start targeting your audience effectively and offering content they both appreciate and want to interact with. Follow these simple steps to gaining insights on your audience and keeping consumers happy and hungry for more.
1. Become (and stay) Socially Relevant
The very first step to becoming, and remaining, relevant is to understand your audience. This means you need to learn, and later mimic, what your target customers are reading, liking, and engaging with. Once you’ve gotten a firm grasp on this, then you can strategically post content that relates to directly consumers’ interests—whether that’s informing them with news and events, entertaining them with a video or viral meme, or providing services like money-saving tips and life hacks.
You should also be posting frequently (at least 5 to 10 times per week) and consistently (stick to a schedule!) but heed the 80/20 rule. It’s important to post regularly so that you keep your audience engaged and aware of your content and brand, but also to help attract new followers. However, that content should never be solely selling. Keep your post at a ratio of 80 percent fun and engaging, and 20 percent sales and promotions so that your digital following stays satisfied and, more importantly, loyal. However, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule: if you see that promotions work extremely well with your social media audience, keep it up!
What’s more, the type of posts you create should vary and continually keep consumers’ attention. This means you shouldn’t be afraid to dive into the video world or take the time to share long-form content in addition to simpler photo posts or event announcements. It’s also key to include images of your logo, storefront and interior for easy brand recognition.
2. Personalize Your Communication
We know personalization sounds like a lot of work, but in this case, it’s pretty easy. When it comes to attracting and retaining customers, retailers can’t treat everyone the same anymore. You can easily create unique and relevant experiences for consumers using data analysis. In fact, 79% of eCommerce sites that used a documented personalization strategy exceeded their revenue goals. That’s HUGE!
What’s more, 74% of consumers get frustrated when content—whether it’s product offers, ads, promotions, and even newsletters—aren’t relevant or tailored to them. That instantly tarnishes the user’s perception of the brand or retailer, so you’ve got a lot to lose if you don’t follow suit. Still don’t believe us? 67% of consumers have unsubscribed from an email list after being sent irrelevant information. And, to add insult to injury, 43% of consumers then ignored further communications from that company while 32% stopped visiting the company’s website and/or mobile app altogether. All because their messages missed the mark.
In fact, personalization can easily be implemented and tested in a variety of ways. It can be as simple as sending emails that feature the customer’s name (this actually generates 26% higher unique open rates than generic messages!) or using user ID tracking and loyalty programs to highlight previously viewed items or make helpful product suggestions based on previous purchases. You can also automatically generate individualized landing pages that feature customer-specific products and deals, similar to Amazon’s landing page, which is different for every user.Driving customer engagement is easy once you start targeting your audience effectively and offering content they both appreciate and want to interact with. Click To Tweet
3. Deliver Valuable Content
The quality and tone of your content is just as important as its frequency. From it, consumers will begin to see you as a resource, start to trust you, and then shop with you. Compelling stories and brand messaging, in particular, are key to building awareness and growing your business.
Plus, consistent content will bolster higher quality traffic to your site. For example, customers who read your cocktail recipe or lists of the best white wines for chicken dinners, are quality leads who are looking to make purchases. And that content also nurtures stronger and longer-lasting customer relationships, making you a valuable resource when those same customers are searching for a new varietal to uncork at book club or exploring new liqueurs to add to their home bars. Remember, customers are more fickle than their alcohol purchases. If you can provide content that matches their preferences, they are most likely to purchase from you.
4. Capture Consumer Information
One of the best tricks in the book is to take down your customer’s email address. By offering a promotion or discount, you can capture consumers’ email addresses and learn a lot about them. By paying attention to, and tracking, what products they like, how often they purchase, and even when their birthday is, you can truly tailor your marketing to them. Even better, you can email them specials on what they like to drink, promote events in your store, point out specials you have online, offer birthday discounts or freebies, and more. You can even retarget them with Facebook ads, or deliver content that references the products and categories they purchase. You can also drive frequency and stay top of mind when they are about to purchase. Simply put, the more information you have about your customer, the better and more efficiently you can promote and build your business.
Overall, digital marketing is an invaluable asset you’ll need to master in order to make the most strides in the alcohol beverage industry. Local and boutique liquor retailers have plenty of advantages over big box stores and online warehouse companies—all you’ve got to do is flaunt them and make yourself memorable to consumers. Remember: stay relevant, learn from your consumers, customize your communications to them, and deliver valuable content. Pretty soon you’ll be golden.