How would you plan a marketing strategy around something as local and focused as a hardware store? This might seem like a big challenge on the outside, but in reality, a hardware store is a fascinating business.
In a recent #AskGaryVee video on YouTube, Jan van der Reis asked, “How to create interesting content for a boring subject such as a hardware store?”
Vaynerchuk’s answer was simple and yet to the point. Think about your subject for the audience it appeals to. A hardware store is the ground for a wide range of topic ideas, including do-it-yourself projects and home improvement. Just about anything that involves using a tool can be a gold mine in the world of content for your store’s website, and throughout its social media efforts.
Here is my list of ways I would market a local hardware store, online.
Written and Video Content
The first thing I would do is to establish a focus for written content. The hardware store should have a website, and that website can host a blog that drives traffic and interest in the brand. The blog should have a focus on a subject that targets the hardware store’s customers.
In this case, the topics could include do-it-yourself projects, home improvement tips, tool usage guides, and more. Find a focus that no other hardware store in your region is covering, and start producing quality content.
Video content on the brand’s YouTube channel could also be a big plus. Hire someone that can produce great one-shot videos and set aside a weekend to film them. These can be as simple as an expert holding up a tool and explaining how to properly use it, when it is best used, and provide a few helpful tips.
Maybe even a video series focusing on which type of saw is best for a specific project, or how a socket wrench works would play well to your audience. If you demonstrate an item that your store sells in a video, link to that item’s purchase page in the description.
Share this content (both written and video) on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You will be surprised at just how fast traffic can come when the content is made available.
A hardware store should have a presence on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. This is a bare minimum. Each network works differently, and has a different audience, but they can all be used to generate attention to a local hardware store.
Facebook pages are about as important as having your company listed in the Yellow pages was a decade ago. It’s where a lot of people go to look for recommendations and find information. A hardware store should pass along tips related to tools. Home improvement tips, life hacks, and other neat tidbits of information that your audience would be likely to hit the share button on should be shared regularly on the page.
Twitter is where you can have small conversations with your audience. Share links and useful information, photos are also a big eye-catcher on the network. Use Twitter as a way to communicate with people, as well. Set up a search for anyone asking a question related to your subject. Someone asking what type of saw they should buy to cut down a tree would likely respond well if you tweeted them an answer. They might even go to your site and buy it directly from you.
On Google+, your page is what people see when they search for your store, or for a hardware store in your area. Make sure your page is set up correctly, and share similar content to that which you would share on Facebook.
Pinterest may be dominated by the female demographic, but one of the most popular types of posts there are home improvement tips. Share tips and photos of finished projects often. This will increase brand awareness and likely win you a few customers in the process. On Pinterest, pictures are key. Everything you pin should have a photo that catches the eye.
AdWords is great, and you will probably want to have a few campaigns going there to capture search traffic, but I could see a great fit with Facebook ads as well.
Facebook ads come in several varieties, but in general they can be targeted very specifically. Someone that recently searched for a table saw can be presented an ad featuring a photo of one you sell in the shop, along with a link that takes them exactly where they want to go.
Dark posts, another popular advertising trick made possible by Facebook, can enable you to target specific messages to people based on their hobbies, interests, location, and more. You could create a patriotic ad that only appears in the news feeds of veterans that enjoy woodworking which live in your store’s home city. It’s that specific.
Keeping Up with Trends
When the power outage struck during a previous Super Bowl, causing a delay of the game and sending a few million fans to Twitter to talk about it, a hardware store could have easily tweeted a photo of a light bulb or a generator and said something as simple as, “You don’t have to play in the dark. We’ve got you covered.”
During 2014, one of the biggest trends in social media was an awareness campaign for ALS called the Ice Bucket Challenge. Essentially, people dumped buckets of ice water on their heads on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook in order to spread awareness of the disease. It raised a lot of money, and got a lot of attention.
A hardware store could give to the cause while raising awareness by donating buckets and doing a special video with a few dozen locals. Hit up Craigslist and put out a call for people that would like to participate in the challenge, and donate money in their names to the cause.
Doing good things is always good business. Don’t hold back on donating for a follower count or anything like that, either. Just do the right thing and your community will respond accordingly.
This would not only generate attention to a worthy cause (while providing a tax write-off for the company) but bring positive publicity as local media and participants spread the word.
Marketing a hardware store can be done, and it can be interesting. These are just a few ideas. Have a few of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.