If you own a bike shop, chances are you’ve wondered how to tap into that robust bicycle market that exists outside of your current customer base.
There’s advertising, of course, but ads cost money – and the most effective ads also require a thorough understanding of your demographics: those of both your target audience and your “unreachables.” We’re willing to wager at least a few of you may not even have your websites connected to Google Analytics yet, much less know how to deftly parse through its smorgasbord of pertinent information.
Have no fear, however; there are alternatives to both breaking the bank and registering for night classes in IT. In fact, with a little initiative, your shop can tap into resources and communities that already exist in order to promote your expertise to cyclists at home and abroad.
Below we’ve outlined four easy tactics you can implement to help expand your reach beyond your immediate neighborhood and social media following. All that’s required is an online connection and some free time.
1.) TEAM UP
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. If your shop currently rents bikes, or is considering hopping on board the rental revenue train, Spinlister Pro is a no brainer. Their B2B platform was developed and beta tested alongside some of the most demanding bike shops in the US for the sole purpose of delivering you the best rental software experience available.
With regards to our current conversation, your account on Spinlister Pro helps dramatically increase your market reach in three distinct ways:
- Targeted Search – Whenever a member of Spinlister’s global community searches for a bike in your area, your shop will be instantly highlighted. Turn on your “Instant Book” option for immediate rentals and that exposure increases even more.
- SEO – Your dedicated Spinlister URL uses their site’s strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and domain authority to your advantage. This means Google users have even more opportunities to find your shop organically.
- Promotional Advertising – Spinlister’s content developers work with bike shops individually to help tell their story and share it with the global Spinlister audience – from Dallas duos to Tokyo wheel-builders.
2.) REFINE YOUR PR GAME
No, we’re not talking about public relations; we’re talking about press releases. YOUR press releases. While the goings-on around your local bike shop might not seem particularly eventful, there are actually a host of media outlets focused exclusively (or at least partially) on disseminating this kind of information. But they won’t come a-knocking to get it.
If you’ve got a brand partnership to announce, or a new shop opening up, or an expansion in the works, or someone’s inspiring cross-country ride that you’re sponsoring, chances are there are a few outlets that want to know about it. Start by shopping out your information locally (Bike Portland, for example), then work your way up to larger mediums like Bicycle Times and Bicycle Retailer. And if you’re not exactly sure how to compose an effective press release, the National Bicycle Dealers Association can help.
3.) LINK IN
While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are still high atop social media food chain, LinkedIn has become a powerful voice in the content-sharing chorus. If you’re wondering how a career-building website can help broaden your bike shop audience, just check out interest categories like Bicycle Industry Group, which boasts more than 17,000 members. That’s a lot of potential eyes on your business.
Of course, if you want to attract attention, you’ll have to create content first. That usually means updating or, in some cases, starting a blog. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy – one post per week will usually suffice. And if you don’t have a blog, don’t worry – consider creating one on Medium for free under your shop’s name.
4.) SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Think the age of forums has been relegated to the aughts? Think again. Like all good niche markets, cyclists enjoy connecting with other cyclists, whether they’re asking a question or giving advice. And as it turns out, forums are still the place to facilitate these conversations. Being a vocal participant on platforms like BikeRadar, BikeForums, and CyclingNews is an easy way to build up your credibility among an audience of hundreds of thousands of your peers.
It’s important to note that these are not traditional marketing opportunities. In other words, no one here is looking for a shameless plug or an advertisement. However, with a handle that let’s members know exactly who you are (John@JohnSmithBikeShop), you can share your wisdom with no strings attached and still gain some exposure for your shop.
As the adage goes, one good deed begets another.