There’s little question that effective advertising is memorable. When it works, it feels like a subconscious trigger in our brain helping us choose a product that we already know we’ll love. But if you ask a business owner how many people have come into their shop as a result of an ad, they have no idea.

Therein lies the problem: How many times has someone decided to buy a hair dryer from an ad they saw on Facebook or Google? Probably not that often.

From a retailer’s standpoint, online advertising has long been a sound way to drive traffic to their site. And on average, small businesses allocate 1% of sales revenue for advertising. That’s not necessarily a small price tag, especially when margins are slim in a tough retail climate.

While Google is projected to continue to dominate the search ad space, Facebook is the king of display ads. The global digital advertising market grew 21% to $88 billion in 2017, according to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, and Facebook and Google account for 90% of that growth.

However, do they bring businesses any value beyond clicks? What happens when the user gets to your site? Are Facebook and Google ads able to ‘close’ the deal?

Advertising through these vehicles, or even traditional advertising methods like printed ads and billboards, amount to a spray and pray approach. For every 100 you reach, you may be able to convert one or two. That may be fine for large organizations with substantial marketing budgets; however, for smaller businesses, the ROI isn’t as clear. In fact, despite many experts touting the effectiveness of Facebook ads, 62% of small business owners claim that Facebook ads don’t work.

So if you have a small business with limited resources and a niche audience, what can you do beyond delivering clicks to your site? How can you instead draw high value customers through your door?

Invest In Personal Relationships With Your Best Customers

According to eMarketer, e-Commerce accounted for only 9% of all retail sales in 2017, leaving the vast majority of shopping revenue to in store purchases.

It’s not just about building brand awareness but attracting the right customers you want that will bring in the recurring revenue stream that truly sustain a business. Facebook and Google don’t offer the right level of insight and personalization into a business’s unique target audience, let alone build real affinity with customers.

So how can your business establish and strengthen these ties? Word of mouth, properly leveraged, can be the…