Every small business we work with first gets a consultation to determine if their business is positioned for growth online. It’s interesting to take a company from any stage in a lifespan, new business (0-5 years), established business (5-10 years), long-time business (10+years), and determine what can be done online to help this business grow and thrive. Whatever stage a brick-and-mortar business is in, there are two things that must be in order for your business to grow. First the storefront, and second, your website. Your website is the online hub which everything else will work off of like ripples in a pond, or spokes in a wheel.
As a small brick and mortar business, your first priority has been making sure your store is set up, your signs are in place, the store is neat and tidy, your customer service is top notch, and the product or service you sell is quality. You’ve got that under control, now what about your website?
How’s the website?
Just like your physical location, your website must be accessible. You want to make it easy for customers to stop in, find a parking spot, and feel safe and welcomed at the front door, it’s the same with your website. You should have a safe and secure site that loads quickly, and can be viewed on whatever device they want to use. If the customer comes to your website and it looks like the site was built in 1995, they might just back out of that site and go straight to your competitor. This could be even before they see your physical location! So we want to make sure your website is giving a good first impression, one that either matches your physical store, or exceeds expectations
Social Media and Email
Once we have determined that your website is in good shape then we move on to the next item on the list. How are you engaging with your customers, and reaching new prospective customers? Social media and email are usually the top answers to this question. If you’re not engaging through these platforms, then that’s where we will start. You must have an email list in place, and you must have a presence on facebook or instagram for those customers who love to interact in this manner. If you are engaging with your customers on social media, and sending an occasional email to your list then you are golden.
Be visible on Google Maps
Is your business listed on GMB (Google my business?). Today one of the most important things for a local business is to be listed on the map so that your customers can find you easily. Having a current GMB listing is important, as is optimizing your website for key terms that your customers are looking for. Yep, you guessed it, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is another major factor here, and works very well with GMB to make sure you come up in local search when someone is looking for your location.
Now the items we have listed so far are great to tell your customers about your business if they already know the name of your business, or if they found you in search by looking for a service or product your provide.
What about all those potential customers who don’t know that you exist? Now we spread that marketing mix farther out as the impact of your business makes in the community grows. 1. Word of mouth. Keeping your business open and approachable through a great first impression will help people remember you and refer you to others.
Attract new customers with Direct Mail
Promote a sale or a special occasion with a direct mail postcard campaign. There are many options for printing postcards online. You can even find companies that will print and mail your campaign to every door in a radius around your address. Partnering with other businesses to distribute your postcards is another great solution.
One of the best ways to connect with consumers in your town is to go where they hang out. For many that means facebook or instagram. Although engagement on business facebook pages has gone down in the past 5 years, facebook ads are still a good option and very affordable. This allows you to target your audience very specifically, which in turn means higher ROI because your audience is made up of exactly the type of person who buys from you already.
Google ads can work really well when done right. When not done right it can be a blackhole for your marketing dollars. Services that people are always looking for do well here. Dentists for example. If I’m a new person in town and need a dentist I am going to go on google and look for a dentist near me, maybe 4 pop up. From there the Ad wording is going to need to really catch my attention to help me decide which of the 4 I would like to try out. Usually a great offer that sets you apart from the rest will help in this case. The landing page that I see after clicking the add could also be a big factor. If it’s easy to use and I can either call or check out this dentist a little bit more from my phone then I’ll continue, but if I call and the customer service isn’t friendly, or I click and it’s hard to find a form to request an appointment, then I’ll be moving on to the next in less than 2 seconds.
Bring them all home
As you promote your business with direct mail, email, social media, SEO, Google ads, and Facebook ads they all lead back to your website, and from the website the goal is to get people in your door. If you’ve been in business for a few years you know where your customers like to hang out, so maybe you don’t need to do all of these. But until you know the best mix for your business, we measure and track all of these channels in a multi pronged approach to getting your message out.
If you would like to discuss your specific business needs and create your perfect marketing mix, give us a call or email today and set up a free consultation.