You and your team work hard to put together creative marketing campaigns. Retailers will actively choose which marketing campaigns they participate in, so as a brand, how can you tailor your content to drive higher engagement with your independent retailers?
To think about the answers to these questions, start by evaluating how retailers are currently engaging with your social media content. When your retail partners promote your brand content on social media, your audience reach is much larger and stronger because of the retailers’ access to local communities. Identify certain benchmarks your retailers are already achieving. Look at which channels are getting the highest levels of retailer engagement, and which products or types of campaigns are retailers sharing the most.
Here are seven tips to help you increase retailer engagement in your marketing campaigns from our experience working closely with brands and retailers.
1. Make it Simple
Don’t make retailers hunt for content. Marketing is one of the many functions required to operate a successful local business, so digital marketing needs to be simple and fast in order for retailers to adopt it. The less resources, effort, and confusion required to share content, the more likely retailers will utilize digital marketing. Labeling campaigns based on channel, type, and product is another great way to make sharing easier.
2. Create Content with Character
Retailers love when they can share creative content that is more interactive than traditional promotional product posts! Include inspirational posts, humor, fun pictures, and interesting copy to keep both retailers and customers engaged. Digital marketing with your independent retailers is a way to promote your products and your brand values through trusted sources (the independent retailers) to their unique local audiences. The better the creative, the more likely customers will notice, engage with the posts, and make a trip in-store to evaluate and purchase a product.
3. Provide a Variety of Content
A variety of content options keeps retailers engaged. If you only provide content for a single product or marketing theme, your retailers may get bored; this can prevent retailers from sharing — especially if they don’t carry that particular product. In addition, some retailers have a dedicated marketing employee, while others have a general staff that share many responsibilities, including marketing. By giving them options, you can support many local staffing models.
4. Let Retailers Know When New Content Is Ready
When you are ready to launch new content or a new campaign, send an informative email to your retailers to tell them the content that is available for them to share. Send these announcement emails at a regular cadence so retailers come to expect and look forward to them.
5. Invest in the Channels that Your Retailers Already Use
Pay attention to the marketing channels your retailers are already utilizing, and provide the right content for those channels. If your retailers are sharing primarily on Facebook, make sure that your marketing campaigns include Facebook share options. If Instagram is a popular channel, include awesome branded photography! If your retailers send regular email promotions, include a branded email template as part of your campaign launch.
6. Utilize Locally Targeted Ads
Independent retailers want to drive traffic to their stores, and targeting their local community with geo-targeted ads is a great way to engage their ideal customers. Brands can run targeted ads based on behaviors, age, interests, and other variables that will put content in front of the people who care about their products and trust their local retailer.
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7. Help Retailers Drive Local Commerce
Lead generation for retailers is incredibly powerful, and retailers are more likely to adopt when they have the right support from the national brand. Help your retailers collect information on their customers and add that to their communication database by including lead generation forms in your campaigns. Include content options with a call-to-action that gives the customer a clear next step — for example “Come into our store and check out this product in person!” Enable retailers with appointment setting options, so that customers can make an appointment online to come in-store to get advice on the product, evaluate the fit, and ultimately make a purchase. By using these tools and tactics you can support local commerce while promoting your brand at the same time.
Brands that understand how to co-market effectively with their local retailers will win retailer loyalty, mindshare, and the battle for revenue.
Looking for help engaging your independent retailers?
Interested in learning more about best practices for retailer marketing? Join digital trade and retail marketers across all industries at Aligned 2017 to share marketing strategies that empower local retailers.