Online Marketing: How to Create Ads That Can Help Boost Foot Traffic

Brick-and-mortar stores don't have to rely on old-school tactics to bring in customers. Learn how online marketing may be able to help.
February 09, 2018

The online marketing space isn't just for online businesses. Local businesses that need to draw foot traffic can also use it.

If anything taught us this, it was the local deals model from years back. It exploded into the market with a real simple concept: Offer a group of people a discount online and, if enough people take up the offer, activate it to get a massive amount of foot traffic to your business.

One challenge that some people noted with local deal platforms was that it attracted the price shopper. They may use you once for a service, but they're going to return to a discount provider to find the the best price next time. However, online marketing has evolved to help businesses attract a large amount of foot traffic without compromising anything. 

What ad elements can help increase the likelihood of online marketing success?

1. Demographics

Something many group deal platforms didn't do was offer demographic targeting. They typically offered a discounted price for a service, and people who were seeking discounts purchased it.

But with the sophistication of online advertising through platforms like Facebook and Google, you can do more targeted marketing. I recommend first realizing and recognizing exactly who you want to attract. 

If your audience doesn't feel instantly compelled to visit your shop, [your advertisement is] probably not working.

Determine who your best customers have been in the past. Once you figure it out, you can run a survey of them. Who are they? Are they men or women? What are their ages? Do they bring in children or not? What is their ethnic and religious background or any other elements that make them distinct? Try to identify commonalities between your best customers. Once you find that, you can target them.

The demographic information of your customers can also be used to optimize your online marketing. You can use it to determine which promotions your customers were the most responsive to historically. These can be the same ones you repeat in your ads.

2. Email Analysis

Another effective technique is email analysis. If you collect the email addresses of your best customers, you can input them into Facebook and search for people with similar interests and backgrounds.

The method is very simple. Offer your customer a coupon in exchange for their email address. Then run it in the advertising system to determine which potential customers are similar to your current ones.

3. Location

Additionally, it can help to pay attention to the location of your customers. It may not make sense if you're in the New York area, like I am, to run an advertisement for people in Dallas or Chicago. You may want to geotarget it.

Consider picking a radius or a metropolitan area to run the ad in in order to target your core demographic.

4. Compelling Offer

Now that you know who you're targeting, you can offer something compelling. Analyze your business to find out what people have been motivated by in the past. Was it coupons? Buy-one-get-one-free deals? You can follow up with similar promotions.

One error I see in advertisements is not creating a sense of urgency. If your audience doesn't feel instantly compelled to visit your shop, it's probably not working. You could create a deal that is only redeemable on Sunday in person to get people through the door.

Alternatively, consider marketing through scarcity. For example, you could advertise an irresistible discount that will only be offered to the first 20 people to enter the shop on a certain day.

5. Testing

An important part of online advertising is testing your ads out. I advise against using all your money in the hopes your ad campaign will work. Consider using part of it to prove that the ad is actually effective. You can run samples and tests of your advertisement and see what niches are responding to it. Then you can expand to larger audiences.

Remember: Expecting your potential customers to see an online advertisement and go straight to your store is a big leap. Start by getting their contact information and you can have the opportunity to lead them back to your store over and over and over again. You may even want to consider offering a discount in exchange for their phone number.

Don't miss out on the remarkable potential of online marketing just because you run a brick-and-mortar business. It could be exactly what you need to help drive more customers into your store.

Read more articles on advertising.

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