You hear a lot about the ease of shopping online, but did you know that you can harness the power of the internet to encourage people to walk into your brick and mortar store?
While your regular customers know where you are, they don’t always know what you have on sale or if you’re having a special event. And while thousands of people might buy your products, if they don’t know where you’re located or what your hours are, you’re missing some big opportunities.
Think about how you shop online. You use search terms that describe what you’re looking for. You might want to find the product at a business close to your home. You might want to call ahead. And you’ll want to know where that business is located. That’s how people probably are looking for your business as well.
By taking advantage of powerful sites like Google and Facebook, you can post information about your business for free or at affordable prices and you can even target that information. The free Google My Business listings can get attention from customers via search and maps. To learn more about how to list your business, check out google.com/business. And paid ad targeting from Google (ads.google.com) and Facebook (facebook.com/business/ads) can help you zero in on the demographics that you want to attract.
You should also strongly consider using email and text alerts to keep customers who elect to be notified this way informed. These methods give you a chance to regularly stay in contact with people, whether it’s promoting products, services or events at your business.
Don’t forget to use the power of a standalone website and social media, but realize that once you make that commitment, you’ll need to keep those sites fresh and useful. Let people know about your business, products, hours and locations. Think about using online tools such as how-to videos, useful FAQs, and current business news and events. And make sure your website is mobile friendly.
While not every business chooses to sell products online, if you do you might want to consider offering free pickup at your brick and mortar store to encourage people to stop in and maybe even buy something else. Online purchasing also gives you the chance to make sales even when your store’s doors are locked.
Done right, using the internet to attract business can boost sales and recognition. Then, once you get people in the door, you’ll need to make sure you put you and your staff’s customer-service skills to work so those new faces will turn into return customers.