A shop is not a marketing strategy


One complained that no-one had turned up to an event at her venue. She admitted that “I probably should have told more people about it.” The second was the closure of a hospitality business, due to finances. When I went to look for them online, there was no website, scant information on social media, and a barely there Google Business page.

Both of these businesses aren’t failing due to the economy. They’re failing due to marketing.

It’s so easy to think of your bricks and mortar business as a marketing strategy in itself. People can see it. They drive or walk past it. You can throw out a flag, and pop up a sign. When people come in you can be nice to them, and give them a great experience. All of that is good. But it’s often not enough.

If you want to be a chosen destination, a place people seek out to visit, you are going to need to add marketing.

When I’m working with retail stores or hospitality businesses I look at four initial areas to see how the marketing is measuring up. First I check if they have a website.

Websites are meant to be current. They should have up to date opening hours. For retail we need to see your ranges and get a sense of your style. For hospitality we want food pictures, menus and how to book a table.

Next step for me is your Google Business page. Most venues already have one automatically, but it needs to be claimed by you. I’m looking for images of your products or food all loaded up. Your hours are current and correct. You have replied to all your reviews (including replying back to any bad ones with grace). You may have even posted offers or information on it like you would Facebook.

If I search “cheese scones near me” and your website or google business page mentions your amazing cheese scones, you’re likely to be one of the recommended places to buy from.

Then I’ll check out your Facebook and Instagram. If there’s been nothing posted in the last month, I’m going to think you may have closed. I’ll definitely be less likely to make time to come out of my way to see you if I’m unsure.

I want to see images of your food and drink if you are in hospitality. Drool worthy images that make me know I need to see you. I’d also like to see images of your team, with smiles on their faces. I want to feel welcomed. If you’ve got updates on public holidays,this is where I check for them.

For retail stores, I want to see you sharing some of your stock. I’d also like to see some of your behind the scenes, your team, images that help me feel you are going to be happy if I come and see you. If you’re tucked away in a hard to find space I’m going to want a pinned post showing me how to find you too.

The key is to create posts consistently. You don’t need to live on social media, but three posts a week is going to help people see you, and trust you if they visit your page.

Add in a regular habit to post information and updates about your business in community groups on Facebook. Your loyal locals become the mainstay of your bread and butter sales.

If you are going to use Meta advertising, look at creating a simple location based Store advertisement that is targeted at people who live in your area, or are visiting your area. It’s cheap to run, and effective at driving new business your way. This type of ad needs to be run from the proper ad manager in Meta Business suite rather than just boosting a post on Facebook.

Of course once you’ve got me to your venue, the trick is to make sure I feel welcomed, have a great time and want to come back.

Email marketing is most commonly ignored by both retail and hospitality but shouldn’t be. Think about how you can reward a new sign up and make it easy for people to sign up. It might be a link on a sign at a table, a poster with a QR code in the dressing room, a sign at the counter or a simple question at the point of sale. Sure some people say no. But how about we focus on the people who loved us so much they say yes.

I suggest you calculate setting aside about four hours a week per full time employee to make sure you’ve got your marketing sorted. That time may be yours, an employee’s or some outsourced support.

I love the pleasure of visiting a new cafe or store and deciding that’s going to be my new favourite place. People are still spending. If you want them to spend time with you, you’ve got to make it easy for them to find you, remember you, and choose you.

Make your website appealing for visitors so they will return and buy from you.


Jubril Damilare Somade

Tech | Childhood Educator | Entrepreneur

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