The misery of brick and mortar businesses is not a surprise. The rise of the online stores has led to a survival crisis of offline businesses, or that what most of the small businesses believe. ECommerce stores like Amazon and Walmart indeed let people shop from the comforts of their homes, still, some shoppers like to go to the local store to have their personal human experience when buying stuff.
This innate behavior of shoppers is making even online mammoths like Amazon launch dedicated brick and mortar stores. Then what’s the reason brick and mortar stores are not getting enough business? Because they think they have to be entirely online to get customers from the internet. As a small business owner, you have to realize that people no longer just go online they live online.
The onus is on the store owners to try to use the potential of the internet to increase their visibility. Remember that a lot of your potential customers are online trying to find the products and services you are selling. If you are not visible in their search results, they won’t show up at your store instead will go to a competitor’s.
So, how exactly can you make your business more visible online instantly?
Let’s find out.
- Mobile friendly, SEO optimized website
Your website is your store on the internet same as your brick and mortar store. And just like your physical store you have to make your online store customer-friendly, easy to reach and easily accessible. Mobiles are now widely used devices for everything online. It goes without saying that your website must be mobile-friendly offering awesome user experience. A mobile-friendly website is just half of the battle won, the other half is search engine optimization or SEO. If you want your website to be found in search results it must be optimized with appropriate keywords. Here is a guide on building an SEO ready website.
- Google Business Listing (kept up to date)
Whenever your customers search for services that you offer in Google, they are provided with some local business recommendations. For instance, this is what a user gets when he searches for “pizza delivery New York”:
How did Google pick up these stores?
Google Business Listing. If you want people to find out your business locally in search results you have to claim your Google Business Listing updated with the latest NAP-Name, Address and Phone. Always keep the NAP information up to date and matching as for to how it appears on your website. According to SeoEaze, a leading digital marketing agency explains, “sole purpose of Google is to provide an answer to users’ queries as quickly as possible. Google Business Listings provides an easy way to display all important business information such as website, address, phone, working hours and reviews.”
- Display advertising via AdWords and/or Facebook Ads
As a business owner, you must be aware of the importance of advertising. Paper, radio, billboard, newspaper, etc. are quite not fruitful as they used to be. Affordable SEO packages do make it easier for you to keep optimizing your website, but while you are waiting for your website to rank organically you can consider Google Adwords to advertise your website. Adwords can have your store showing in the search results when someone searches for keywords related to your product or service. People who search for a product or a service are the ones who want to buy and if you show up, then you are in for a treat.
In comparison, Facebook ads are more passive which make them great for branding and can be highly targeted. Spending as low as $5 per day you can run Facebook ad campaigns targeting customers in a specific zip code, count or further refine targeting based on age, sex and interests.
- Start blogging
Nobody will know the products and services you offer as good as you. Share knowledge related to your business that is not so common through blogging. Don’t be scared to share a post or two every week. If you are not able to pick a topic related to your business, then it is best to build a post around frequently asked questions on your website. FAQs provide you with an insight into what your customers are to find out through search. If they land up on your blog then they will take your knowledge as authoritative which is good for business.
- Know the Analytics
If it can be measured, it can be improved.
This is why you have to monitor the performance of your website through analytics every 30 days at least. You need to know where the traffic on your website is coming from, what sources are getting you most valuable traffic and where is the scope of improvement.
As a business owner, you just cannot rely only on people who know you to get business. You will make real profits from people who don’t know you and still can find you online. You cannot expect to grow your business no matter how good your products or services are or how cheap the prices. People must know what you have to offer and online presence can provide you with the exposure that you need.