Toys are popular gifts for children, but like any business, toy stores need to market themselves—especially around the holidays, when the gift-giving season is at its peak. If you are a brick-and-mortar establishment, how are you supposed to distinguish yourself from the crowd and compete with the video game and ecommerce retail landscapes? The answer lies in marketing, especially online. Here are a few tips for marketing your toy business with the internet:
Make accounts on all the right platforms
If you are not on social media, it’s arguable that you don’t exist. People might find your brick-and-mortar location while window shopping, but a significant portion of your business probably comes from people searching online for the best toy stores. You should definitely have a website—having one is a perfect place to take advantage of the ecommerce landscape the way Jizels does, share information about your business, and boost your legitimacy—but people are more likely to organically find your social media profiles when they are browsing online than your website itself.
Consider your audience and make accounts on the platforms that make the most sense for you. Facebook is probably one (it has over two billion users), and if you are up to the task (using a variety of automation tools, of course), you can also take advantage of Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or something else. Social media is an opportune avenue to drive brand awareness, so don’t neglect to devise and to execute a practical strategy.
Use social listening
There is another tool you can leverage at your disposal: social listening. With the right resources, you can monitor almost the entire internet for mentions of your brand name or subject matter. Imagine it this way: if you are debating whether or not to carry a board game from a particular brand, you could search for keywords relating to said brand and learn what people are saying about it. Google can take you to the company’s home page, but social listening tools are helpful for locating hard-to-find social media or public forum discussions.
Understand your audience
You can also use social listening tools to learn more about your audience. It is impractical to attempt to appeal to as many people as possible—you will end up spreading yourself too thin and wasting valuable time, money, and effort—but when you are familiar with the people most likely to be interested in your business, you can market to them more effectively.
How else can you gain a better understanding of your niche audience (such as folks in your immediate area or a certain kind of person reachable through online sales)? Social media analytics tools are invaluable. They can tell you people’s online patterns, what times are best to post, what kind of content performs well (content is key!), and help you manage responding to comments and following other people. You don’t want to execute a social media strategy blindly, but you have many insight resources available.
Keep an eye on your competitors
The internet is also an advantageous place for keeping up with what your competitors are doing. While you should never copy someone else’s content, it’s wise to examine what is working well for them and try the same. With analytics tools, you can look into when your competitors are posting, what kind of content they are sharing, how many followers they are turning into customers, what their sales rates might look like, and more.
Remember local SEO
You probably already know what search engine optimization is (if not, it refers to the steps you take to increase your search engine ranking, such as including relevant keywords in your content and indexing your site), but did you know that local SEO is a factor in appearing on Google, Yahoo, and Bing? When people pull out their phones and search for toy stores, they are probably also typing, “toy stores near me.”
There is a technical side of local SEO you need to pay attention to (such as meta description tags), but something you can do right this second is to claim your Google My Business page and add information about your location, hours of operation, and more. Doing so increases your chances of appearing on Google Maps.
Make yourself a community center
Something else you can do to attract nearby business is to establish yourself as a community center. Host events, get-togethers, contests, game nights, book readings, or something else that gives people reasons other than shopping to come to your premises. Market these events online or through email campaigns to let people nearby know what is happening. When you occupy a special place in your community’s culture, physically and digitally, you can acquire a loyal customer base.
Digital marketing is more of an art than a science, but it’s beneficial for brick-and-mortar toy stores to master. How will you advertise your toy business online?