You have a local based brick and mortar business, so no reason to invest in online marketing, right? Location based businesses couldn’t be more wrong. Do not miss out on sales and customers by ignoring or avoiding online marketing. One of the key principles of business is to be where your target audience is looking for you. A growing number of consumers are searching online before making a purchase decision, so your business needs to be there in order for them to find you and include your company in their decision making process.
According to the BIA/Kelsey report, 97% of consumers use online media before making local purchases. Google Research showed that 9 out of 10 internet searches resulted in a follow up action, such as calling or visiting the business. Mobile searches triggered an additional action or conversion 73% of the time; and 28% of mobile searches resulted in a store visit or purchase. Since mobile searches are on the rise, this behavior is only going to continue to increase. How do consumers search for businesses?
- 90% use a search engine
- 48% use the online Yellow Pages
- 42% use comparison shopping websites
Embracing and online marketing can help you get the edge on your competition; especially when you take into consideration that a recent study shows that 50% of small businesses’ online listings are incorrect and 70% of small business owners state they do not have time to keep their online listings updated. Therefore, something as simple as updating and optimizing your online listings, including the Yellow Pages, will give your business the edge over the competition.
Four takeaways for brick and mortar businesses looking to take advantage of online marketing:
- With so much of your competition having an incorrect listing or nonexistent presence online, taking just a few minutes to fill in the data about your business in your online listing will make your business more visible to consumers searching for the products or services you sell, even if you do not sell anything online.
- Websites for your local business should include a responsive design so that it can be easily read via mobile devices. Especially considering that tablets will outsell PCs this year, and more than half of all cell phones are smartphones. What is responsive design? The Wikipedia definition of responsive design “is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)”. Mashable named 2013 The Year of Responsive Design and rightfully so with the growth of mobile search that results in visits to local businesses.
- Including online sign up for appointments or reservations on your website will increase conversions and also provide an added convenience of allowing them to make appointments online 24/7. Of the consumers surveyed, 19% made appointments with a local business through the business’ website, that doesn’t include restaurant reservations; Cornell University research shows that over half of those surveyed made restaurant reservations online. If you do not have an online reservation system you have the potential to double your seatings.
- Embracing social media will allow you to keep connected with these new customers that are tech savvy; making customer retention easier. Get social with the community, build a following host events, and engage with local consumers in an effort to stay top of mind.