At MINDBODY, we work with tens of thousands of local service businesses, comprising a large part of the global wellness industry of fitness studios, salons, spas, health clubs, and integrative health practices. Brick and mortar businesses have unique digital marketing challenges, and what seems like an ever-increasing set of tools and channels competing for a share of your marketing budget. Whether you’re a single-location business just getting started or a multi-location franchise with global ambitions, here are some tips for crafting a winning local marketing strategy in 2020.
Consumers now expect an omnichannel, mobile experience
A key “megatrend” in B2C marketing is the advent of the omnichannel customer journey. Consumers now expect the right channel for each interaction, which means your digital communication strategy needs to take into account mobile apps, web, email, SMS, and other messaging services (especially if you have a global footprint). Modern marketing software, such as MINDBODY’s Marketing Suite, allows you to plan campaigns across email and SMS to create a cohesive omnichannel experience that takes into account each consumer’s preferences.
Consumers now do most everything on mobile devices, so your digital marketing strategy should now be mobile-centric. For this reason, we recommend most businesses launch their own branded mobile app, which activates the mobile push notification channel to drive repeat sales, and also consider offering a way for customers to get in touch via text messaging. To help wellness businesses deliver a great experience over messaging channels, MINDBODY recently acquired Bowtie, which provides artificial intelligence to handle common front desk tasks, such as client scheduling and FAQs, as well
as a dashboard to centrally manage 2-way text and Facebook conversations. We expect AI-enabled mobile messaging to grow rapidly in 2020, especially given recent launches by Apple (Business Chat), Google (Rich Communication Services) and Facebook (Messenger for Business).
Re-evaluate your customer journey frequently
As you incorporate new channels into your strategy, having a well thought out and documented customer journey is key. The new year is a great time to kick this off. Start with how customers hear about you. For local businesses, word of mouth is often the top channel, followed by directory sites, search, digital ads, and of course organic foot traffic. Most e-commerce and website software provide integration into Google Analytics to attribute digital channels to leads and purchases.
Once a prospect has provided contact information, your marketing automation CRM should take over. Marketing Automation platforms now allow for segmentation on virtually any customer attribute or behavior, meaning your customer journey should be personalized and designed to take your client from their first visit to a recurring commitment. Many MINDBODY customers have intro offers to promote to prospects, followed by various packages and membership levels that are promoted via tailored workflows that take into account visit frequency and buying history, and send over mobile, email, and text message channels.
Choose technology that can scale across your multi-location brand
If you are or aspire to be a multi-location brand, the latest marketing technology now allows you to templatize your marketing content and rules, to roll out a consistent program across your network. This is especially important for franchises, where each franchisee is unlikely to have the resources to create and deploy marketing content themselves. You can now find solutions to centrally manage your online presence, omnichannel marketing automations, and scheduled promotions, while providing local users such as franchisees the ability to review and, if needed, tailor the content to their local customer base.