A recent study by Borrell Associates claims that digital local promotions are set to outpace digital advertising by 65% over the next four years to $80 billion, by 2017. In this year alone: local advertisers are set to spend 81% more on promotions than media-based advertising.
At a local level, the report projects continued growth driven by a 30% increase in couponing as well as double-digit increases in offers and customer retention programs, as well as proximity-based campaigns through platforms like Foursquare.
I don’t find this research surprising whatsoever. With the growth in mobile, local promotions are a far better way to drive new customers into your store front than traditional digital advertising.
As a local business, what can you do on the promotional front? Create daily and weekly specials, sales, happy hours and events to drive new and existing customers back into your store. Make sure to promote these specials on your website and your social media channels.
You can also use tools like UPlanMe which will seamlessly push these specials and promotions to your website, your social media channels and across its network of websites and mobile apps, all through a single dashboard.
Test the water with Google Offers through your Google Places page or Yelp Deals. Both of these tools allow you to create “free offers” where they won’t take a cut. For example, create promotions like, “Come in and Receive 20% off your bill” or “Receive a free appetizer with a bottle of wine” or “Buy One, Get One”. These types of promotions don’t physically require you to give Google or Yelp a cut (versus the “Buy $50 of goods, for $25″). Yelp and Google will then promote these to millions of potential customers who are nearby your place of business. A great way to drive awareness to your business and your promotions.
Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough, if your business is already creating daily and weekly specials and sales, then it’s imperative that you make an effort to promote this online. Placing a sign in front of your store front just isn’t enough. You have to actively market these promotions if you want them to succeed. The easiest way is to simply promote this through a calendar on your website and posting it on your Twitter and Facebook Page. If you have an e-mail list, send occasional updates to your customers. They gave you their e-mail address for a reason!