We love dealing with owners of convenience stores because usually they’re like us: small business operators, often times family run businesses, just trying to provide the best service and products to a select audience.
Neighborhood convenience store owners tend to agree that despite tight margins and the other challenges that come with doing their business, there are rewards. We want to help you increase those rewards by sharing with you some of the great marketing ideas that we’ve heard discussed among our wide network of c-stores, gas stations, and small grocers that we service throughout the midwest.
Claim your Convenience Store’s Google My Business Listing
My what! You know when you type in “Pizza Near Me” or “Car Repair Near Me” into Google and you get several listings and a map showing their locations? Those are Google My Business listings. Google provides the platform for business owners to list their business organized by category and location and have it appear when someone searches for what you’re selling.
If you didn’t create one of these pages Google might have created it for you. Now you need to claim it. First, find out if you have one by typing your convenience store’s name into Google or by searching for “convenience stores near me” when you are near your store. Does your name appear in the list? If not go to business.google.com and create a Google Business Listing for your store.
If you’re store isn’t showing up in local search results you’re definitely being overlooked by the very people who are looking for “Convenience Stores Near Me,” “Gas Stations Near Me,” and “Grocery Stores Near Me.”
Start a Convenience Store Loyalty Program
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Fortunately in these days of plentiful online business promotion services you don’t have to re-invent the wheel in order to get your loyalty program off the ground and start reaping the rewards of repeat business. Simply type “small business loyalty program” into Google and you’ll be greeted with plenty choices.
In fact, you might find so many options that you’ll want to consider a few things before you start clicking on marketing and loyalty service links. First, find out if your POS (point of service) or credit card processor offers a loyalty program. If you haven’t got a Point of Sale system, you really need to research that first because you NEED one!
Get Social! Create Convenience Store Social Media Accounts
Social media is all about promoting your brand and your convenience store’s personality. Think of social media not only as a marketing tool, but as a way to interact with your regular customers as friends and family. Often times we find that our convenience store operators know many if not most of their customers by name.
There’s no reason that your store shouldn’t be calling attention to itself by interacting socially with those in the neighborhood in which it resides. Create a Facebook Business Page, an Instagram account, maybe even an email newsletter. All of these social media marketing strategies are designed for businesses just like yours.
Your store’s already a kind of center to your physical neighborhood. We suggest you claim your space in the social neighborhood and let the good will you’ve built up work for you. Just remember when posting on social media that it isn’t all about sales. It’s about joining the existing discussion, sending out well wishes, shout outs, and congratulations to all your customers. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will start to develop more “follows” and attract customers.
Invite Loyal Customers to Review Your Convenience Store Favorably on Google and Social Media
Marketing your convenience store might seem overwhelming at first, but soon you will find that it is a natural extension of the social media and applications that you are probably already using every day.
One of the most powerful features of Google Business Pages and Facebook Business Pages is that they make it easy for customers to leave reviews. It’s normal for many business owners to worry about this aspect and almost wish it didn’t exist. But we find that if you embrace it as a chance for your most loyal customers and friends to give their favorite neighborhood convenience store a thumbs up, they usually are happy to help out.
We wish you luck with the marketing of your Convenience Store and remember that if there’s ever anything we can do to help, we can always be reached at: (618) 234-1726