The use of on-line technology can enhance the in-store experience that your customers are having. What’s even better, the technology can be used to turn leads into buying customers and to boost your popularity.
The customers in this day and age are excessively reliant on the internet for their search of information. They rely on online resources to learn more about brands, product selections and the best services and prices in a certain industry. Even if you own a retail business or a small business, you will need an online presence to let the potential clients know about you.
Online marketing comes with a vast array of very important advantages. The fact that it’s affordable and incredibly targeted is just one of the benefits you will get to enjoy by working on your online presence.
As a small business owner, you can do a lot online to increase your company’s popularity. The following guide will take you through some of the most important steps for the creation of solid internet based presence that will help you reach your target audience.
Why a Small Business Needs an Online Presence
Are you attracting new customers and what are you doing to remind people that have already purchased from you about the existence of your small business? There are many channels to choose among but online promotion tends to deliver the best results in terms of turning prospects into actual customers.
Having solid online presence is vitally important, especially if you are competing against some strong competitors. Chances are that they already have a website or they are relying on social networks to present their products and services.
According to 2012 statistics, 87 percent of consumers in Australia base their purchasing decisions on information found online. If they can’t find anything about your store, people are not likely to come in and buy your products.
More than 58 percent of consumers look for information on Facebook before buying. What does this mean for you? You don’t even need to create a website to increase awareness about your small business. Reliance on social networks and other popular channels can often be sufficient to make your shop much more popular.
Convinced about the need to have an online presence? If so, we’ve put a guide together, to help you get started.
Have a Clear Call to Action
Regardless of the channel that you choose to use to promote your store or business, you will need to come up with a very clear call to action right from the start. This rule is valid for social media marketing, blogging, website development and all other online promo tools.
What do you want your audience to do? Do you want these people to contact you and learn more about your products? Do you want to promote an upcoming discount campaign? Are you looking for opportunities to market a particular (exclusive) range of products? Be highly specific!
Keep in mind that people want to be involved with brands. It is your responsibility to offer some interactivity and to conclude the message with an appropriate call to action. Remain available for further interaction with the audience. If you are successful, people will want to learn more about your store, your products and your services. Answer these questions to create a favorable persona for your store and to get the audience curious and willing to find out more.
Start a Blog
Starting a blog is one of the simplest and most inexpensive possibilities for becoming an online influencer. You can choose one of the free blogging platforms like WordPress or Blogger to get started without spending a cent on the process.
Choose some interesting topic inside your niche or go for something even more specialised. If you are selling fashion accessories, for example, you can start a blog about accessorising your outfits on a budget. The more specific and useful your information is, the easier it will be to build a loyal audience.
Keep the nature of these posts non-promotional. People are looking for information and valuable content rather than straightforward advertising. Your primary task is to become a trend-setter inside your particular industry. Becoming a leader will create a great reputation for you. People will remember your name when in need of particular products and they will come to your store.
Naturally, you should end your blog posts with a call to action. These are just a couple of lines at the end of the post that you can use for promotional purposes.
Mobile Marketing Is Your Strongest Weapon
Small business’s have one tremendous possibility to boost their popularity – mobile marketing. Statistics show that more and more people are relying on a smartphone or a tablet to look for products and services in their neighborhood or the place where they are currently located.
An interesting study suggests that nearly 62 percent of smartphone users rely on the device to research the products of a small business. Nearly 41 percent of people consult at least three online resources before buying anything. They will often use these resources while in an actual store.
So, what does it take to make the most of online marketing possibilities? App development is one of the inexpensive options you can try. Giving people an opportunity to view your catalog on a smartphone is a great idea because they will get acquainted with your items before entering your store.
Social media marketing can also be incorporated in your mobile promotion strategy. Branded wallet creation is another possibility. This approach is still quite innovative but a number of retailers have made successful use of it. Branded wallets enable customers to check loyalty points through an account that they have with a particular retailer. All of this happens through a mobile device and the technique can be very effective for increasing customer loyalty.
Make It Easy For People To Contact Or Find You
After coming across your brand, whether you have a website or another form of online presence, many people will be willing to get in touch with you and learn more about your retail business.
Make your brand easily approachable. Integrate social media communication into your online presence. Remember that integration is only one part of the process. Being there and responding in a prompt manner is equally crucial.
Having a landing page with a contact form is another simple possibility that you can rely on to get in touch with potential clients. If you want to, go for immediate response possibilities like instant messaging with people that come across your profiles and pages and that could potentially have questions.
Making yourself easier to contact also means providing information about the location of your store. Use a map to show people your exact address and how to get there. The easier you make it for people to come to your store, the likelier they will be to pay you a visit.
Use Online Directories and Local Listing Websites
You don’t feel convinced about the need to build your own website? Using local directories and listing websites is a great alternative if you don’t think that website development is the right possibility for your small business or retail business.
Build a Google Places page for your business. This is great for local businesses that want to appeal to an online audience. It enables you to create a presentation, to show people how to reach your store, to present your range of products and to interact with prospects.
Be very careful about putting the perfect presentation together – this social network provides a huge possibility for maximising exposure! The more details you provide, the easier it will be for people to choose your store.
Foursquare is another great idea for the creation of a local profile. In addition, when people are located near your store and they use the Foursquare app to look for something interesting nearby, they will come across your listing.
Local directories like Yelp are another great possibility to get yourself noticed. These directories are an amazing marketing tool but they can also be a double-edged sword. Use them to interact with people and to get customer feedback. Listen to what the audience has to say and base future updates of your profiles on this information.
Local listing websites and directories have one great features – satisfied customers can leave reviews about the experience they had in your store. This marketing tool is tremendously important because people tend to trust the recommendations and warnings shared by individuals that have already used a particular service.
Offering stellar customer service at the store is obviously the best way to get positive reviews. If people are happy with what they are getting, they will be willing to share this information with the rest of the world.
Naturally, you will have to accept the risk of getting negative reviews. These can also be used to your advantage.
Take a look at the complaints that people have. Are they making a valid point? Has your staff made a mistake in terms of customer service? If so, offer these individuals some kind of compensation. Getting to act fast and deal with complaints can deal these dissatisfied customers into your biggest supporters.
Getting reviews is one of the best possibilities for letting clients do the promotion instead of you. This type of promotion is really trustworthy and it can do miracles for your reputation. Refrain from abusing the possibility by writing reviews yourself or keeping solely the positive comments on your profiles. People will sense that something is unnatural and you will be decreasing the power of this promo tool.
The Power of Other Social Networks
The local dimension of online marketing is obviously huge for small business but you can do a lot more in terms of building a sensible online presence and getting people to visit your physical location.
A Facebook page is a wonderful possibility that retailers can try. It doesn’t require any investment and you can popularise it without purchasing Facebook ads. The key to making the most of this social media presence is offering followers unique information.
Unique information comes in many shapes and forms. It can be a coupon available solely for the people that have started following your Facebook page. It could be an exclusive sneak peak of an upcoming collection or a special range of products. Think about building a community and making these people feel privileged. If you manage to accomplish this goal, you will bring your Facebook followers to your store.
Try visual social networks, as well. Pinterest is great, especially if you have professional product photographs to share with the world. The same rule applies to Instagram and it can help you bring a young crowd to your small business.
YouTube is the final tool we’re going to mention under this category. YouTube videos have the power to go viral, if they are creative and fun. You don’t need to spend a lot on professional execution – the idea is the one that matters. Getting your target audience to fall in love with a particular clip will result in a quick popularity boost.
Explore the different social networks and try to understand what each one does. Having a good idea about its purpose and specialisation will result in making the most of the opportunity and targeting your message to correspond to the needs and the preferences of the audience.
Think about Building Your Own Website
If you are really serious about making the most of your online presence, you will have to build a user friendly, search friendly website. It doesn’t have to be an ecommerce website. The pages can be used to present your brands, your catalogs, your values and beliefs.
Website development has become easier than ever. You can rely on inexpensive templates or website builders that enable you to put the pages together from scratch. Alternatively, you can work with a freelance designer or a website development company to make the most of the possibility and to get a professional-looking, modern and unique site.
Your website will be the foundation of your marketing campaigns. When optimised properly, it will attract a lot of traffic and acquaint people with your products and services.
Keep in mind that a website has to be updated on a regular basis, in order to contribute to your online marketing efforts. Do your best to add something new, fresh and interesting at least several times per week. It can be a video presentation, a slideshow or a useful posting. The type of content doesn’t really matter, as long as you manage to keep the audience actively engaged.
Do you see how internet marketing can affect your retail business or small business? You have so many amazing promo channels to choose from that failing to utilise at least a few of those will result in significant missed benefits. People rely on the internet more and more when it comes to making buying decisions. Harnessing the power of this trend will help you build the reputation of your business and continue reaping the fruits of your labor for many years to come.