Most retail businesses utilize some sort of digital marketing tool, such as social media or email marketing, but some don’t realize that it’s not just about increasing your number of Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, or newsletter subscribers - it’s about converting online users into sales.
The Mermaid’s Tale, a boutique in Amherst, has mastered the art of using different digital marketing platforms to boost their sales, both locally and even state-wide.
“We have customers from all over the state, even though we don’t do any e-commerce” said owner Judy Recknagle. “We do a great phone business, and ship outside the area every day.”
Judy credits online marketing efforts for much of their retail success. One of the first things she did when The Mermaid’s Tale started to grow was to hire marketing manager Wendy Burgos.
Wendy uses Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram daily to feature the boutique’s products and promote special events. She says it’s important to know your audience on each platform, and to tailor your content to the different demographics.
“I try not to be redundant, and almost never post the same photo on all three platforms on the same day,” she said. “We’re targeting different audiences on each platform, so it’s helpful to tailor what I’m showing to those audiences. For example, Facebook fans are a little older demographic, while Instagram is a younger crowd.”
While social media is an important tool in promoting the local boutique, Wendy says their most powerful digital marketing tool has been their email newsletter.
The Mermaid’s Tale sends out a digital newsletter about once a week to thousands of customers, who have either signed up in the store or online. The emails inform customers about new arrivals, in-store specials, and seasonal events and sales at the shop.
Wendy says the emails are so successful because of how easily she is able to target specific audiences.
“I have a general list that can go out to everyone, but I can also break it down in a lot of different ways,” she said. “For example, I can send an email to customers who have already purchased an item from a specific brand, like Pandora, to let them know about an upcoming sale on another Pandora product.”
“We also have a few events near Christmas targeted specifically towards men or women, so I can send out invitations to the targeted audience that way.”
Wendy integrates the email newsletter with The Mermaid’s Tale’s social media channels as well. She recently coordinated a contest, alerting people via email to keep an eye on their Facebook page for a special item that would be on sale at an extremely low price. The email instructed that the first few people to comment “sold” when the post appeared would be the only ones to receive the special sale price.
“The number of new likes we received on Facebook really spiked in that time," she said. “We did move a few of those products. People were excited to get the product at that great price point."
Email marketing might not be as easy or intuitive as posting to social media, so Wendy advises trying out different email providers to find the one that works for your business and aligns with your marketing efforts.
“We use an email provider called SnapRetail,” she said. “It’s great because it’s targeted towards retail businesses. They have templates and artwork that are more relevant to the type of business we’re doing.”
She also emphasized the most important part of any digital marketing effort - monitoring the results to see if it’s successful.
“Experiment and track the results,” she said. “Try different times of day, different days of the week, and read any type of information you can on email marketing. Just try different things see what works best, and go from there.”
Additional resources: How good is your digital marketing plan?