Just because you own a brick-and-mortar store, doesn’t mean you have to stick to advertising on billboards and bus stops. You can use many of the online marketing strategies that big retailers on the web use to get traffic to their site and leverage them to get more foot traffic to your local business.
Consumers today use the internet for more than just shopping online — they use Google to actually find local businesses in their area. In fact, 88 percent of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. So how can you market your local business on the web like the big guys?
Get online and drive more new business through your doors, check out these four marketing tactics brick-and-mortar stores can leverage.
1. Build an email list.
Building an email list is the perfect way to message your customers directly any time you have something to say. Whether you want to promote a sale or an event, announce a new product that’s arrived at your store, or let them know about any other big news — you can get your message straight into their inbox, instead of hoping they check out your website or drive by your promotional sign in the window.
So, add an email list optin on your site and ask customers for their emails in person at the checkout. You can also consider starting a rewards program to entice customers to provide their email addresses. When the people on your email list get regular offers from you in their inboxes, they’ll be more likely to shop with you again because your business is at the top of their minds.
2. Improve your local SEO.
When someone wants to find a new takeout restaurant to order from, where do they go? They go to the internet. In fact, 97 percent of consumers use the internet to find a local business. So if you want more people to find you, you need to improve your local SEO. Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and marketing your business online, so that your business ranks better on Google for your local audience. There are a number of ways to improve your local SEO including:
- Create a Google My Business account
- Create local business profiles on sites like Yelp
- Get more online reviews
- Optimize title tags with local keywords (for example “Breakfast Diner Springfield)
- Add your local information (address) to your website footer
- Use Google AdWords or other paid advertising
Improving your local SEO will help users on the web who are looking for a business like yours, find you easier.
3. Create an online community.
Creating a free online community for your fans and your target audience, on Instagram or Facebook for example, is a great way to promote your business as well as help your audience feel like they’re a part of something. As long as your community is fun or useful — or both — people won’t hesitate to join.
Besides your own social media platforms, you can participate in other online communities as well. Many cities and towns have their own groups on Facebook to connect with other residents and users can even ask where they can find an item they’re looking for. If you’re a member of those groups, you can let users know about your business.
4. Start blogging.
Blogging is the number one source of organic traffic for many online businesses, but your brick-and-mortar business can take advantage of blogging too. As I mentioned earlier, consumers turn to Google to find solutions to their problems. So, if they need to get landscaping done on their yard, for instance, they’ll turn to Google to find information about landscaping and a company that can provide that service for them.
If you start creating content that will help your audience, they’ll be able to discover your business easier and they’ll keep coming back to your site again and again to read your valuable advice. In order for your blog posts to be found on the web though, you need to sprinkle relevant keywords throughout. Think about what your audience is searching for on the web and use a tool like Ubersuggest’s Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords you can rank for. For example, the audience for a landscaping company may be searching for “tips to make your grass greener” or “how to trim a tree”. You can use keywords like these to attract readers to your content, who are likely to buy. Don’t forget to add your city name to your key phrase as well to find the most local potential customers.
Don’t let big online companies hog all the best online marketing tactics, your brick-and-mortar can use them too. Not only can you use them, but you’ll be able to stand out from the competition and more people will be walking through your doors than buying from your online competition.