Internet Marketing Can Help Your Local Business: The Why, Not the How

A Business Opportunity !

As a Marketing consultant, that’s what I see when I come across a local business that’s running despite the fact that its website isn’t producing results.

I get excited by the growth that could be achieved. I’ve seen firsthand how some businesses can increase sales by 50 or even 100% with better utilization of the internet.  Who wouldn’t want that for their company?

Yet many owners of brick and mortar businesses don’t understand the advantages of a website that gets traffic. They have a website up and running, so the job is done, right? Or maybe they’re not even sure that they need a website since they don’t plan to sell products or services online.

This line of thinking fails to seize on the wealth of ways that your website can better inform your business. The internet is all about data – real-time, quantified metrics – that is more accurate, more inexpensive, and more detailed than information acquired through traditional marketing strategies that were employed by major national brands in a pre-digital age.

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All it takes is a business owner who is forward-thinking and open to taking advantage of this new opportunity.

The Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Improve Your Local Business’s Website

1. Focus Your Marketing 

The process of developing a website is similar to the brainstorming process that you might do when creating a business plan. It forces you to think about who your customers are and what needs they have. Doing keyword research and analyzing the competition is the first step towards finding better ways to communicate with your customers, both online and off.

2. Build Your Brand
Once you’ve defined your target keywords and identified customer segments, you can develop a better communication strategy based on their needs. Data segmentation allows you to further refine as you go.

For example, you’ll likely start out with a list of several dozen keywords, but you’ll find that just a handful are really attracting people to your website. You can delve deeper into those keywords, targeting your imagery and content to what your customers respond to. It takes some of the guesswork out of what people really want from your business.
3. Improve Your Conversion Rate
Your website can help you stay focused on producing results. Instead of just designing something that’s attractive, you can use your website as a tool to track results over time and   continually work to improve your conversion rate over a period of time. This puts the focus where it belongs: on your customers.

You can create metrics to measure conversions, whether that means filling out a form, making a purchase on the site, or going to the “contact us” page to find out how to visit your store. By analyzing the steps that people take, you can then modify everything from content (blogs, web copy) to imagery (photos, graphics) to navigation (menu bars and site architecture) to improve the conversion process. Then take it one step further and use the lessons you learned on the website in your brick and mortar location.

For example, I work with a bike store where we transferred a conversion concept that worked on the website into the store. Based on the keywords that brought people to the site and what content they looked at once they arrived, we laid out the store in a similar way that they were navigating the site. We re-designed the store away from a product-oriented layout to one that was user-oriented, divided into two main sections – performance and recreational usage.

The store doesn’t sell a single product online, yet the changes we’ve made based on using the internet has resulted in huge growth for the store.

4. Automate More of Your Sales Process
Think of your website as conveyor belt that moves people along the sales process until they make a purchase or buy your services. At each step of the way, people drop off. Using the data that your website gathers you can easily apply the doctrine of Six Sigma, identify and removing “problems.” You can constantly refine your process by looking at the behavioral data generated and changing your tactics.

This can help make results happen more frequently, taking more of those customers all the way down that conveyor belt to making a sale.

How much money is your business leaving on the table by not making your website work harder for you? You shouldn’t just build your local business website and walk away. Instead, you can continually use it to better inform your company, improve your practices, and measure your growth.

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