While we already live in the day and age of the Internet, there still are plenty of brick-and-mortar businesses that hesitate to bring their brand online. Many think that venturing the Internet will dilute their business model or bring confusion to their clients. This is where they are wrong. Nowadays, if you have a physical store but have no online presence, you are missing a LOT on a huge opportunity to get your brand out to a much wider (even international) clientele.
The Internet exists as a solid channel to market and advertise just about anything. Retailers, even small businesses, are taking advantage of this venue mostly because it is free. Right some, some 70 percent of enterprises have embraced the online world. If your business does not employ any form of Internet marketing at all, it’s high time you do — or you risk being totally ignored.
What does it take to be a successful business owner nowadays? While the traditional buyers are still making a major impact on commerce, it’s the millennial generation’s attention that you need if you want your business to continue to flourish for many years to come. This young generation of consumers have massive buying capacity — and with social media, have the power to make or break your brand by simply sharing it to their other online friends. If you are not including millenial consumer habits to your marketing strategy, you might as well place an end date to your business.
So, what do you do and where do you start? The first step is always the most challenging and that is acknowledging that you need to set up your presence online. Once you’re past this hurdle, take note of these four tips.
- Invest in a good design for your website.
Your website’s design and usability is a reflection of your business in the “real” world. Pay attention to how your site will come out on a desktop and on mobile. If users have a hard time accessing your site, if it takes a long time to load, appears cluttered, and have a difficult time identifying where to click, it’s not likely they will recommend your brand to others.
Load times and placement matter to how viewers will respond to your brand. Remember that they haven’t spoken to you yet or have seen your actual store. Your website is the first time they are engaging with you so make sure it’s a positive experience. A website that’s easy to navigate and provides updated and detailed information is similar to a front desk officer that greets customers as they enter the store.
- Determine your niche and build a community.
Create a following for your website. You can do this by regularly producing quality content, highlighting your products and services with evolving and fresh strategies, and connecting with people who talk about your brand online with public replies.
For example, you have a business that offers laundry services. You can invite more people to engage with you by posting articles on new washing machine technology, environmentally-friendly ways to make detergent, and similar themes. By building an active online network, you are a step higher than the competition because you have already built a channel for future marketing efforts.
- Maximize the power of Google
Think like your customer so you can figure out the best way to address their needs. If your business is new, research the likely ways your potential clients will try to search for businesses like yours. This is where Google Adwords and keyword optimization come in. Better yet, you can invest in paid advertising and Google will determine how best to present your ad and where.
- Take advantage of email.
Collect email addresses of would-be customers and offer some kind of incentive program from signing up to your website. When you collect mail, you can then create a list that can be use to share new information, announce promotions and deals, or inform the public of special in-store packages. Chances are, they will click toward your website or go visit your actual store to avail of the deals.
The road to success is clear — and that’s a path that’s anchored on the Internet. If you want your business to survive in this increasingly competitive world, you have to utilized all available channels to promote your brand.