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    Expert Column: Converting Online Traffic to In-store Shoppers

    Exploring digital marketing best practices to drive brand ROI

    By Thomas Stern, ZOG Digital

    Have you ever questioned if your digital marketing is really providing true value and ROI for your brand? You’re not alone. Many businesses struggle with putting the proper resources toward marketing and measuring their results. While many elements of digital marketing offer insights and analytical data to measure success, many brands still find themselves wondering if their efforts are actually driving sales and getting online fans into their physical store. When crafting a digital strategy to drive sales, it’s important to focus on what your customers expect from your brand, and then create content that spurs action.

    Make Shopping Social

    Leveraging social media is all about building relationships. These relationships have a high potential to lead to sales if properly managed. Seventy-five percent of people believe that liking a brand on Facebook helps them feel more connected to the brand. Likewise, 50 percent said they find Facebook more useful than a brand’s website. To turn your social relationships into sales, share content that entices users to shop, such as dinner ideas, lunchtime tips, recipes, promotions, holiday related concepts, and new product arrivals. The key is to share interesting content that doesn’t always directly promote your brand, but instead demonstrates your value and principles. Look at social as a way to connect with users in new ways, including customer service to solve problems and join the conversation about your brand.

    Go Mobile

    Mobile marketing has become one of the major components to the success of brick-and-mortar businesses. A recent study from Neustar Localeze and 15miles found that 79 percent of mobile users search for local businesses on their phones. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of those searches result in a purchase. The first step is to optimize your website for mobile to increase the user experience on your site. Many grocers also offer mobile delivery options and digital coupons that can sync to loyalty cards to drive sales. 

    Get Found Locally

    Another major traffic driver for physical stores is increasing local visibility through optimization. Develop your website to host store locations on unique URLs to make it easier for users and search engines to find your information. By separating locations into their own URLs, search engines will identify each location as unique and credit each page accordingly in search. Optimizing local directories is another way to increase exposure by ensuring data for all locations are complete and current when users search for your brand. From a user perspective, reviews can play a big part in decision making within local search, so keep active on review sites and encourage users to contribute. Lastly, paid advertising offers many ways to target ads to specific users based on demographics and geotargeting. Use paid media to increase store traffic by running ads in your local store area.

    Speak To Different Audiences

    To be successful in any field of digital marketing it's important to understand the segmentation of your target audience. By understanding the unique interests of your users you can then create content and hyper-targeted campaigns that create value. For example, parents shopping for a family of four will want different things from your brand than a college student on a budget or a businessman short on time. Personalize your content to different segments and distribute across different platforms at different times to improve effectiveness. Leveraging paid media such as Facebook advertising will allow you to target specialized content to users based on demographics, interests, online behaviors, and more.

    Stay Visible

    Persistence is key when looking to increase exposure online. Combining numerous tactics that sync together across the web can help keep your brand top of mind and drive sales. Paired with social media, web optimization and powerful content, paid media can help spread awareness. Run targeted advertisements to unique segments that promote specialized content near the times most users shop. Retargeting can also help remind users who expressed interest in your brand to come back and shop. Retargeting works by placing a tracking cookie on a users browser after they visit your website. Once that cookie is in place, your ads will follow the user around the web and help influence purchase decisions.


    Transforming online engagement into physical store sales starts with developing a comprehensive digital strategy. Keeping your customers engaged through quality content, an optimized digital presence and paid media campaigns will increase traffic into your stores. Carefully monitor and analyze data to understand how users react to content and adjust plans to improve effectiveness. Above all, stay active and interesting and customers will seek you out. Remember that building strong relationships is essential for turning brand followers into brand buyers.

    For further insight from Thomas Stern, visit http://www.zogdigital.com/leadership/thomas-stern.

    By Thomas Stern, ZOG Digital
    • About Thomas Stern Thomas Stern is senior vice president of client services for ZOG Digital, an independent digital marketing company in Scottsdale, Ariz. He can be reached at [email protected]

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