Thousands of retail companies use inbound marketing strategies to reach new audiences and convert site visitors into customers. We put together a list of retailers using inbound marketing strategies to help you begin brainstorming how to incorporate it into your own marketing plan. The examples we use include small, medium, and enterprise, because we understand not everyone has unlimited resources at their disposal.
There’s a reason marketing strategies for retailers, such as inbound marketing, are being adopted: it’s easier for you, and it’s easier for your customers. Inbound marketing makes it easier for potential customers to discover your business through digital channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.
If ‘easy’ isn’t a compelling enough reason, take a look at these inbound marketing facts:
- B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3x more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month and got 4x as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month
- 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. (Retailing Today, 2014)
- 44% of people go directly to Amazon to start their product searches, compared to 34% who use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for products. (Marketing Land, 2015)
- Mobile commerce makes up 30% of all U.S. ecommerce. (Internet Retailer, 2015)
Field Guide Designs
Based out of Kalispell, Montana, Field Guide Designs is owned by Mandy Mohler, an artist who specializes in adventure art. She uses an e-commerce website to reach a national audience with her art, which includes originals, prints, note cards, and stickers. As a one woman shop, Mandy doesn’t have extra time to spare to implement a complex marketing strategy, so when she started her business she decided to focus on what felt most natural: sharing her story.
In an interview with Mandy, she explained that she focuses on Facebook and Instagram to reach her audience. It works, and has caused a ripple effect contributing to her success. Field Guide Designs was spotted by someone at Sunset Magazine, who featured her art and story in their magazine. Then, Pottery Barn saw the Field Guide Designs feature and picked up her artwork to sell on Pottery Barn’s website. Both opportunities can be directly traced back to her social media channels.
Social media isn’t the only way Mandy has chosen to tell her story. She also pushes out content via her blog. Two years ago, Mandy embarked on a solo, 94-mile hike through the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana’s Rocky Mountain Range. She documented her journey in a series of six blogs, which have become her site’s most trafficked posts. As such, Field Guide Designs currently ranks on the first page of Google for search terms about hiking the Bob Marshall Wilderness. While these stories don’t directly relate to the retail side of Field Guide Designs, the topic is still on-brand and resonates with the persona most likely seeking to purchase adventure art.
From social media to blogs, Mandy rounds out her marketing strategy by offering a form on her website designed to capture visitor’s contact info. She incentivizes conversions by offering contacts the inside scoop on new artwork, flash sales, and company updates, and her customer outreach is done through MailChimp.
Keeping her story at the center of Field Guide Designs allows Mandy to build her company’s brand and market her business in a way that is manageable for a small business owner. Instead of letting outside influences distract her focus, Mandy stays on track producing content that directly appeals to her niche audience and continues to find success and growth as a retailer.
Established in 1902 in Sabin, Minnesota as a hardware business, SCHEELS has grown into a thriving sporting goods store with 6,000 employees in 27 locations among 12 states in the Midwest and West. Now headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, SCHEELS focuses on providing first-class customer service, and offers the world’s largest selection of sports, sportswear and footwear. With interactive product displays and indoor, full-sized Ferris wheels, SCHEELS stores create memorable customer experiences.
An outsider’s look at SCHEELS’ marketing strategy will find that it’s not just the in-store experience the company relies on to get people through the doors. SCHEELS is an employee owned company and draws inspiration from their employees to implement a content marketing strategy. While SCHEELS does continue to utilize traditional forms of marketing, including billboards, and print, radio, and television ads, their marketing has evolved with current trends and data. Today SCHEELS has an expansive online presence, centered in what they call Experience SCHEELS.
Experience SCHEELS is the company’s inbound marketing hub where the content isn’t about products, it’s about – you guessed it – the experience and the sporting experts available to consumers. They offer hundreds of blogs in categories of hunting, fishing, fitness, lifestyle, camp, and sports, and each category has several sub-categories. Their blogs provides tips, how-to tutorials, recipes, gift guides, fashion insight, and real-life anecdotes of sporting stories from customers and employees. The blogs end with calls-to-action to subscribe to stay engaged with the brand on Instagram and Facebook, as well as to subscribe to their newsletter for special offers and promotions.
With several types of personas to attract, Facebook (1 million+ likes) and Instagram (22,000 followers) are not the only social channels SCHEELS uses to reach their various personas. They also rely on YouTube and Twitter. Their active YouTube channel is broken into similar categories found on the blog and offer the same kind of helpful insights about living an adventure, sporting lifestyle. Their YouTube content has nearly 1 million views, and helps attract visitors to the SCHEELS website and to the physical locations.
Finally, SCHEELS uses an offline type of inbound marketing to attract, convert, close, and delight customers: events. Local SCHEELS stores integrate their brand into local communities by offering classes, demos, outings, and activities related to the products they sell. From kids events to fun runs, and community involvement to gun safety, each event is a way for SCHEELS to grow their brand as well as their contact database, which they can nurture and continually provide relevant helpful content to gain customer loyalty.
Nike & Monster Energy
Sure, these three brands are household names that won’t be going away anytime soon, but to stay relevant, they have to employ similar inbound marketing tactics used by SMB companies.
Nike was created when traditional marketing ruled and digital marketing wasn’t even a concept. A multi-generational brand as established as Nike doesn’t get to be what it is by being resistant to change. With some of the brightest marketing minds at their disposal, Nike adopts inbound practices such as blogging, influencer marketing, and publishing content through social media. Casey Neistat’s viral “Make It Count” video is an example of how Nike chooses to reach their audience through non-traditional channels. They asked Neistat to make a video on ‘making it count,’ so he and a buddy took the money and embarked on a 10-day trip around the world. Neistat filmed the entire experience and generated an unreal amount of traction when he published the video to YouTube.
Any marketer can look at Monster Energy’s website homepage and know the three main components of their marketing strategy are: influencer marketing, social media, and blogging. Monster Energy strategically selects extreme athletes, events, and special projects that align with their brand to attract a key persona. The brand focuses on a niche market with their social media and blogging content by publishing stories about adrenaline junkies, Motocross athletes, and extreme competitions.
Companies of all sizes use inbound marketing to grow their business and reach an online audience. It’s a process that can be both cost effective and manageable for small business owners, who struggle to grow an online audience. For medium sized companies, inbound marketing can streamline the marketing process, maximizing team members and maintaining focus to achieve marketing objectives. Enterprise-level retailers can leverage inbound marketing to develop a relationship that feels authentic with their customers, establishing loyalty and retention. Whichever size business you’re running, inbound marketing is a good fit for you if you’re goal is to expand your online audience and use a marketing strategy that will generate revenue.