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Going digital: Get to know the building blocks of your bike shop’s digital strategy

It goes without saying that the Coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to make changes, most of which happened a lot faster than you would otherwise be comfortable with. So, if you’re thinking, “Okay. Here we are. What now?” The name of the game is: forward. 

Recently, we have been introducing our new marketing service and the variety of tools members can use to build a stronger, more sustainable digital marketing foundation. Below, find a brief overview of the tools included – and how they can come in handy now


Start with Social

Right now, social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin are reporting record levels of traffic. This is an important reminder that digital channels are often what people turn to first.  You probably already consider social media an essential building block for your own digital strategy. 

The following are all good reasons to put a focus on your social media

More traditional forms of advertising can be expensive and hard to measure. On the other hand, posting to your social media accounts to stay ‘top of mind’ with your customers is free, with plenty of opportunity to dive deeper by investing into paid social advertising to target the specific audiences you want to reach.

Social media makes your customers feel like insiders, and gives you an opportunity to interact with them directly. By answering questions, providing engaging content, and offering generous responses, social media can help you build a long-lasting connection with loyal customers (on the cheap). And better yet – your helpful expertise is on display for any potential customer to see. 

Maintaining an active social media following for your business and encouraging your audience to keep coming back sends an important signal to search engines: you’re relevant. As a result: your ranking in search engines will improve.

No matter what:

You should ensure that your business has updated and accurate social media profiles on leading platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Post content that answers questions, provides your expert insight, and encourages existing customers to follow-along. This could include live video, ride suggestions, product reviews, and more.

Now more than ever:

Your customers have questions, like “Are you open?” and “How has your business changed?” and they are going online to get the answers. Starting with social media is the easiest way to ensure you’re there to answer them. During the Coronavirus pandemic, make sure you’re keeping your customers updated and taking a supportive stance.


Follow-up with Email

Collecting email addresses is a lot like collecting baseball cards. You don’t know how valuable it is until you really make an effort – but it’s easier than you think.  By collecting email addresses from your customers (in person and through social media) and promising worthwhile content – your store will be a welcome guest in their inbox. Here’s why:

Just like with social media, email is another vehicle to quickly and effectively keep your customers in-the-know. Remember: these days, most people even check their email before getting out of bed. Talk about “top of mind”. 

From a cost and time perspective, email marketing is a big winner. Even your cheapest direct mail campaign could be more expensive than your email marketing strategy for the whole year, and the ability to track your results ensures you can improve your approach with every message.

An email’s ability to successfully reach the right person at the right time, with the right message is pretty amazing. With just a few best practices, your email marketing can quickly improve store straffic

No matter what:

The most important step to be successful with email marketing is to build your list. Encourage customers to subscribe in-store, on your social media, and everywhere you can. Provide an incentive (like a discount on their next purchase) to quickly give your list a boost. Think: what questions do customers have? What insight can you provide? 

Now more than ever:

How are you adapting to continue serving your customers? Whether you provide in-person service or not, they might have questions. Instead of an urgent call-to-action, you should consider communicating with your customers by adding empathy while still being the expert they gave their email address to. Adjust your message to address the current needs of your customers. Once you’ve identified their points of difficulty, compose your messaging to display your understanding along with how you can be a solution for them.


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Assess Your Website

The perfect time to audit your website is now. Does it represent you well? Does it provide your customers with easy access to the information they need? Can it be found in search engines?

Your customers need to know how to reach you. Whether you want them to visit a brick and mortar store, order online, or give you a call. Ensuring your “NAP” – Name, Address, and Phone number are prominently displayed is key for both user experience and Search Engine Optimization, especially if you serve customers locally.

What’s your story? Why do you do what you do? What makes you better than the competition? This matters to your customer – and it should be clear on your website.

Are you a specialty shop? What brands do you carry? This is where your website’s organization and functionality are important. Imagine yourself as your customer, look at your website, and take notes. Now what would you change?

No matter what:

Your website should be fast, user friendly, and easy to use on a computer or a mobile phone. Think like your customer and ‘experience’ your website to identify where you need to evolve.

Now more than ever:

Don’t have an online store? Make sure your customers know how they can shop with you. It could be as simple as a notice on your homepage. 



Review Your Reviews

As another essential building block of your digital strategy, the importance of online reviews can’t be overstated. On one level: your potential customers see them. On another, good reviews actively help your placement in local search. 

If you have a bunch of online reviews that you haven’t gotten around to reviewing, now is the perfect time. Managing your online presence is crucial to building trust with customers, especially in digital spaces. 

No matter what:

You need to claim your listings and respond to both negative and positive reviews. Remember: everyone who searches for you will see your responses, so think of it as an opportunity. Simply search for your business  on Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook to ensure you’ve claimed your listing. If not, claiming your listing is free. 

Now more than ever:

With many businesses operating under abnormal circumstances due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most review sites have disabled reviews and limited support until further notice. While issues like access to your unclaimed listing might be difficult to solve right now, it can be a good time to respond back to any existing reviews you may have missed. 



Get found with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What’s the use of having a nice website if it can’t be found? As more and more people turn to digital channels first, your website should be a cornerstone of your digital strategy. With that in mind, search engine optimization can help increase the amount of prospective customers that actually find it. With countless books and blogs written solely about this topic, it’s impossible to cover every tool and tactic here. But by focusing on the best practices for each building block of your digital strategy, you are already contributing to your SEO. 

No matter what:

Google your business and see what comes up. Do you appear?  Do the results look right to you? This is where SEO can help. But remember: it’s not a switch you can turn on or off. It’s a long term strategy (one we will go into at length for you soon).

Now more than ever:

With most in-person events cancelled, your website is more important now than ever. While the long-term gains from SEO won’t help you tomorrow or even next week, taking the time to create content that’s relevant to your customers right now will actively support your SEO strategy moving forward. This is because SEO is all about proving to search engines that you’re the most relevant search result to serve up when customers search for your product or service.



Amplify your message with Advertising

Before you get started with digital advertising, it helps to understand that there are a few different formats your advertisements can take. From text ads that boost your search engine exposure to display ads that re-engage potential customers who visited your website, the variety of options available makes digital advertising a smart choice for just about any goal you have.

No matter what:

Digital ads can quickly and reliably amplify your reach. But first, you’ll want to ensure the rest of your digital marketing foundation is in-place (you wouldn’t want a customer to click an advertisement leading to an unfinished website).  

Now more than ever:

If you’re already running digital ads, now is a good time to reassess your message. Take the time to update ads – with a special focus on empathy and transparency – while ensuring your customers know how you’re adjusting and adapting to serve them.


Ready to put together your strategy?

Members of The Bike Cooperative have a team of Marketing Experts to assist with everything digital. From your website to your SEO (and everything in between)

Become a member
Members: Access Your Dashboard