Small, brick-and-mortar businesses have high competition for foot traffic. Building an online presence can help you attract more customers and boost sales through your website. Without a digital platform, your business may be leaving a huge opportunity for attracting customers on the table, limiting your ability to reach customers via search engines.
Our tips for adopting an online presence can help you create the strategy you need to increase sales.
Build a Custom Website
An easy-to-use and fast website is where you should begin your online strategy. Your website is where potential customers will go when they search on an internet browser or through apps like Google Maps and Yelp.
If your website isn’t drawing in the web traffic you want, then you’ll want to update it. Take a look at competitor websites and see what they do well. At the very least, your website should have these elements:
- A content funnel to guide customers to an action
- Links to social media
- Clear, concise content about your products or services
- High-quality images
- Content and design that is optimized for search engines
You don’t have to be a web developer or know code to build a website. Squarespace, WordPress, Shopify and Wix provide custom, code-free design. These companies allow you to build the website you want at affordable rates. They make it easy to build a fast, optimized and beautiful website that suits your needs.
Optimize for Search Engines
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for building your online presence. This practice ensures your website and brick-and-mortar show up in given related searches. You should try to rank as high as possible in searches, as the top five to ten search results receive the highest web traffic.
SEO can seem like a complex topic, but you can start with these three elements:
- A fast, reliable website
- Unique content with targeted keywords
- Meta titles and descriptions
A fast, reliable website enhances your rankings in Google and also makes website visitors more likely to stay on your website. The longer they stay, the higher your SEO rankings rise over time.
The biggest reason users stay on your site is because of your website content. Each page should have clear, unique text that explains what you sell and do. It’s important to focus your content on keywords related to your business. These keywords help Google find your site when someone performs a search.
To find relevant keywords, you can use Moz Keyword Explorer or go to Google and perform searches for competing businesses. Once you find the key terms related to your business, write website copy using these keywords as central themes to your content.
The SEO to-do list can be long, but starting with the above items gets you on good footing. Your next steps will be to create a Google My Business profile, link your social media, write a blog posts, add Google tracking codes and obtaining quality reviews to boost your business’s online credibility
Engage on Social Media
Social media is another tool that funnels customers to your site and brick-and-mortar business. You should set up social media profiles to engage with customers, show off products and share your content.
Consistency is key to building a following. Posting weekly on social media is a good place to start, but you should build up to daily posts.
Social media content should do one of three things: entertain, educate or inspire. Posting content without a purpose makes content bland and uninteresting.
Entertaining content should make people laugh or smile. Educational content informs people on your products and services. Inspirational content shows customers how your products make them feel better. All content should relate to what your business offers. Present yourself as an expert in your industry, and people will pay attention.
Organize an Ad Campaign
The final stage in building an online presence is paid advertisement. Social media promotions and Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns let you target potential customers with ads. You can focus these ads on specific zip codes and demographics, maximizing their reach.
Ad campaigns also help you build your social media following. They’re an excellent tool for collecting emails and information to stay in contact with customers.
Running these ads, even for a short period of time, can boost site traffic, leading to more sales and physical visits to your brick-and-mortar. If you have a special event, discount or something new to sell, an ad campaign can put you in touch with new customers.
Take your inspirational, educational or entertaining content and promote them through paid advertisements. Experiment with the duration of the ads and whom you target to find an audience. Facebook business ads provide extensive data and let you promote on Facebook and Instagram. Try out these platforms and see how your posts perform.
For more advice on social media, SEO and boosting your online presence, see our extensive articles and resources.
By Zachary Roush • April 18, 2021