A Retailer’s Guide to Online Marketing


Are you a retailer? Do you have a brick-and-mortar storefront and sell direct to the consumer? In this video, Eric Spellmann shows you how to maximize your sales and branding both online and off. Retailers have special needs and requirements as it relates to reaching their targeted future-customers. Eric gives you numerous actionable tips you can implement immediately to increase your sales and foot traffic!


Note from Eric: Below, you will find a word-for-word transcript of this video. I provide this as an aid for the hearing-impaired and for those who might just want to read it rather than watch the video. This conversational style is not reflective of how I write. Be nice! Hey I am Eric Spellmann with Spellmann & Associates. And today we’re gonna be talking to retailers. Specifically how retailers can use online marketing to their benefit. It’s not just about the website, there’s a lot more you can do.

Let’s start out. First let’s define what is online marketing? For some of you this might be the first video you watch. And by the way, I’m gonna be referencing quite a few of my videos on my website. You can check them out by going to ericspellmann.com and click on the Videos link.

Basically Online Marketing is reaching your target prospects through online means. I mean think about the traditional methods you’ve used to reach people in the past like newspaper, radio, print billboards etc. Online is just as important and it’s growing! You’ve got to understand that reaching out to your potential customers and driving traffic into your store, a lot of that is going to come from online means.

So let’s first talk about the biggest area on here and that’s your website. Think of your website as your other store front. Too many retailers often think of their website as a billboard and it can’t be that! Your website has to be more than that. It has to be almost an example of your store, it has to be a second store! It’s got to be consistent. Whenever you have a brick and mortar location, a store front, it has a look about it. It has your logo, it has colors etc. Your website should share that. You never want a website with a separate look than your store front because then there’s a disconnect. You want both to reinforce the other.

You’ve also got to pick your goal. If you’re going to have a website while you’re a retailer, you’ve got to decide what you want this website to do. Basically you’ve got 2 choices. You can either sell something online which is called e-commerce. In other words people can put something in a shopping cart online and pay through their Credit Card. You get paid and you ship it to them.

That’s one goal if you’re gonna have a website as a retailer. The second goal might be leads. This is easier and typically cheaper to build. But basically you want people to go to your website and see a sample of the products you have and then actually go out to your store to buy them or to call you up. So the goal of this is to drive people into the store where they then make their purchases. So decide which way you want to go. Do you actually want to sell online? Or do you want to drive people into the store?

Keep in mind that if you’re going to sell online, you need to ask yourself a whole bunch of questions like are you price competitive online? If other people sell what you sell, are you the cheapest or are you the highest? So this is not an easy decision to make. You need to think through.

Also realize that an e-commerce store requires a little bit more work on your part. So decide which way you want to go. What a lot of retailers do is they start with a lead generating website, nice and cheap and easy. And then once they really get going, they may add e-commerce too.

What are the key ingredients on your website? Number 1, you’ve got to have a call to action, telling people to do something. Too many websites out there are just billboards. They’re just “Hey! We’re here”. And a lot of people think that the purpose of a website is branding, just to remind people who you are!

I don’t agree with that. Branding is automatically gonna happen, but your website should do more than just branching. It should drive people under the store or drive people to a purchase online. And to do that you need a call to action. You also need easy navigation. Too many people build just old standard navigation bars. And they don’t think about it.

You need to use language that your customers understand. Realize that not every customer is like your customer, and so you need to use “their words”, you need to use words that they will understand. And also you want to make sure that people can get to just about any product on your site within 3 clicks. Yeah, the rule of 3 clicks. That’s because everyone on the internet has ADD and they are impatient!

Okay. And they will not wait around if they can’t find it within 3 clicks, they’ll give up and go somewhere else. So make sure they can get there, and that means easy navigation. Even if you were to build your kind of menu system on a piece of paper, just draw a line to show how people would go. Design it not like you THINK a store should look. Design it like a customer would want to use it, which means you may need to ask one of your customers to look over what you’re doing.

Prioritize your products. A lot of people tell me that they’ve got 1000s of products and how to decide what to put on there? Well prioritize them. If you’re gonna be selling online, then I want you to pick the top 10 products that are the easiest to ship and make you them most money. In words, they have the highest of the margin.

You don’t need to put all of your products online, just the ones you want to ship and make the most money on. Also if you’re just trying to draw people into the store you need to pick the most popular products so that when people see examples of them online they go “Oh! That’s where I can get that.” And then they go into your store.

Easy checkout is key. If you’re gonna be selling online, you’ve got to make it easy. And you can always look at Amazon if you want to know what that’s like. A lot of times Amazon will tell you how many steps you have to actually checkout. You need to make sure that whatever shopping cart software you are using, makes it incredibly easy to checkout.

People can easily add and remove things from their shopping cart and then when it is time to checkout, it’s not confusing. They know exactly what to do and they can enter that information and they get confirmation that it worked.

And then of course if you’re generating leads, you wanna make sure that you have what’s called the Trade on your website. Now that topic is way too much for me to go into in this video, so I have a video on that called the Trade. You might wanna watch that. So if you’re trying to drive people into your store, go watch that video to see actually how to do that. Basically it involves giving them something in incentive in order to take the action you want them to take.

You want to drive qualified traffic to your site. We don’t just want any old random person. I don’t just wanna go out and grab random people and put em on your site. It needs to be people who would actually buy something from you.

Also, you’ve got to realize that the easiest way to get qualified traffic to your site is to get those people searching for you, which means SEO (Search Engine Optimization). And I have a great video called “How to rank well on Google” about that. And by the way just as a proof of the concept, if you go into Google and type “How to rank well on Google”, my video is on the first page!

So, go watch that video, it will talk to you all about what Google looks at and what’s important to Google as it relates to getting found. If you want people finding products on your site, you’ve got to make it to when they type that product in Google, you come up! And companies like mine, or online marketing companies can help you with that.

Adwords is one thing I’m a big fan of. Now for those of you who don’t know, it’s pay per click. Basically, Google has a way for you to show up in those ads at the top. And some people must be wondering that why should they pay for a click?

Yes you would pay for a click. And I go into great amount of detail on this in my video “Should You Pay for a Click – PPC Management Strategies”. I know it sounds like this video is just sending you off to watch other videos, but seriously it’s a very important concept. And I know a lot of retailers who focused all of the money they were putting into other traditional means, into Google’s Adwords program and they’re generating huge sales! So check out that video and it will explain.

And of course, Social Media! Driving qualified traffic involves talking to these people, it involves interacting with these people. And that’s where we’re going next. What about social media? First, let’s talk about video. And when I talk about video, I’m typically talking about YouTube. And yes YouTube is social media.

One of the easiest ways to do that is to use your iPhone. Too many people tell me they can’t hire a camera crew or do a commercial because that will be too expensive. Heck I’m not saying do that. I’m saying get your iPhone and just record yourself for maybe 30 seconds to 2 minutes. And you’re saying Eric that’ll look so cheesy, it’ll look so amateur. That’s fine.

It will look real and it will be you the business owner doing it. Trust me i’ve had many customers do this and the success they’ve seen is huge. You’re wondering what will you film. Well if you want some ideas on what you can actually do, believe it or not, I have a video titled “iPhone + YouTube = Online Marketing Gold”. Click on that and watch it. It will give you a lot of ideas on how to do that.

But, I will give you one of my favorite retailer videos that seemed to do really well for my customers. I call it the Open Box Reveal. The Open Box Reveal is basically where you take your iPhone and you film yourself opening a box you just got in a product.

It could be a new product and you could say “I wonder what’s in here. Let’s open it up.” And then you pull it out and you show it and you say “Wow. This isn’t gonna last long. That’s beautiful!” And you put it on there. What is happening over there is that people see that and think “Oh! I want that!”

An increasing sense of urgency and they visit your store! A lot of my retailers who do the Open Box Reveal video correctly say that whatever they tend to put on video, sells out that day! So it really works well. The key is trying it.

I’m sure a lot of you think of Facebook when I say the word Social Media. But Facebook is huge here. Remember the demographic on Facebook is adults. Kids are leaving in droves from Facebook. But adults are growing.

So it’s becoming kind of the adult place to be. Which means if you are targeting adults, then Facebook is a great way to start. Step 1 is to build a business page, and I go over that in one of my videos on How to build a business page? Next once you’ve built a business page which you administer from your personal account on Facebook, then you need to build your fan base! Which means you need to grow the number of fans to your page.

Now in my opinion, typically a business page will not see much success from Facebook until you’ve hit about a 1000 fans! Which means you got to get out there and get people to “liking” your page. And I have a whole lot of ways, like a Facebook contest, yes there’s a video on that to help you do that. And remember you can find all these videos at ericspellmann.com and just click on videos, you’ll see them all.

I also have a video called “Creating the Perfect Facebook Business Post”. And that will show you what’s actually put. A lot of business actually just put an informational piece like “20% off today!” Oh that’s terrible. That is not what you want to be putting on Facebook. Remember!

Facebook is not designed as a one way megaphone. Facebook is designed for interaction. Your goal with Facebook is not to sell anything, your goal with Facebook is to generate interaction. And then through that interaction you will generate sales indirectly! If you do this correctly, those indirect sales will be a major part of your sales. So watch that video on the Perfect Facebook Business Post, and it will make more sense out of this.

Post your videos. Put em everywhere. What I recommend for my clients is that they record the videos on their iPhones, upload em to their YouTube channel (costs you nothing!) and then simply embed em wherever you want.

You know put your videos on Facebook, embed your videos on the website, email your videos and send them out. Trust me if anyone knows how videos work for the business, it’s me! And it does. This is not some academic thing I’m trying to teach you, I actually use these techniques. And it generates a lot of business for me.

Get visual. You are a retailer. It’s all about the visual. So the key is to use some of the picture based social media tools. Now what are those? The biggest ones right now are Instagram and Pinterest. So if you’re not familiar with those, you need to be. Instagram is more of an app on your phone and Pinterest is a website and an app! And yes I have videos on how to use both!

So check those out and it will go in great detail. But remember you’re a retailer, which means people want to see things. So I would use the picture based social media. Also, every single time you post on Facebook, you need to make sure there’s a picture involved.

Use Google Shopping Feeds. Now what is a shopping feed? Basically, if you have an e-commerce site, depending on your shopping cart software, it should allow for what’s called a “feed”. Have you ever noticed that when you do a search on Google for a product, many times it will show you the actual product and when you click on it, you can actually go to that website.

That’s because Google knew about the product itself on that website through a feed. So talk to your shopping cart administrator or whoever built your website and see if it supports feeds.

Now you can either go to Google and sign up to allow these feeds to work, ask your e-commerce provider to do it or you can go to a website that can send it out to a whole bunch of feeds it wants. And there are loads of such websites out there. One of them is called singlefeed.com, but there’s a whole bunch of others out there. (14:11)

Remember Pinterest supports videos. So it’s another place to post your videos like the Open Box Reveal. And Instagram, you’ll probably see that soon, very soon. And if you’re watching this video or it may already have happened, congrats!

And yes I still believe in Email newsletters. I get more business from email newsletters than anything else! The key to having success is to collect those email addresses everywhere. And I mean everywhere! Especially at the counter, at the cash rep. When people purchase something from you, remember that is the happiest they will ever be.

They’ve decided on a product and they’ve decided that it’s worth what you are asking for it and they are ready to give you money. And that moment is the best time for you to say “Hey. Would you like to join our VIP Club?” And basically what you’re doing is capturing their email address so that you can send an email newsletter to them later, pushing more of your products. Because remember the easiest new sale to make is a repeat sale.

My favorite programs to send these huge numbers of emails out are either MailChimp or ConstantContact. And you can find out more information about them at their websites. And yes I have a Success through Email Newsletters video you can watch, that shows you all the things you need to avoid and all the ways to really generate those click backs to your website and also your business’s brick-and-mortar store.

Remember, if you’re gonna be using an email newsletter, PICTURES PICTURES PICTURES! I can’t say that enough. Being a retailer is all about the visual. I don’t just want a text email going out to people describing how beautiful your product is. I want a picture of it! And these programs (MailChimp and ConstantContact) do allow for pictures. So remember. It’s all about the visual.

Link to your videos. Like I mentioned before, good email newsletter does that. Heck my email newsletters link to a video. And that’s how I get the majority of my views.

Well as always if you have any questions, visit my Facebook page or go to ericspellmann.com and click on Facebook. Remember my videos page on that site. Just click on videos up at the top and you will see a huge list of those videos. And most of em are anywhere from 5-10 minutes long, very easy to watch and they’ll give you a lot of ideas. I’m Eric Spellmann; I’ll see you in cyberspace.