If you operate a traditional “brick and mortar” businesses, perhaps you haven’t thought much about how you can use web marketing to bring more foot traffic into your store. That might be especially true if your product or service cannot be purchased online.
But I’ve got exciting news for you! Regardless of the nature of your product or service, you can use your website, in conjunction with the right web marketing strategies, to increase your revenues and boost your year-round store traffic. Here are a few ideas about how to go about it:
Use your website to educate potential customers.
When potential customers are getting ready to make their buying decision, they are full of questions, such as:
“Am I getting the right product for my needs?”
“What features does this product have?”
“What other product/service options are available to me?”
At this point in the buying process, you have an excellent opportunity to establish yourself as a trusted authority. When you provide helpful information, you begin to establish yourself as the vendor of choice. An attractive and informative website that encourages long visits strengthens your favorable position.
Design your website to show your competitive edge.
When potential customers search the web looking for the type of product or service you offer, the results they receive from the search engines will include your competitors. They must now peruse the alternatives presented until they find something that interests them.
Make your website the one that grabs their attention! Create a great first impression so that visitors can easily see why you outshine your competition.
How do you do that? First, identify the characteristics of your product or service that differentiate it from the competition. What are the primary qualities that give you a competitive edge?
Next, present your competitive advantages on your website, giving details, examples, customer references, and other information to back up your claims. Most websites don’t do any good job of this. When you present your case clearly and forcefully, you will stand out from the pack.
Form strategic alliances with other companies and use their websites to draw prospects to your own.
Consider what other products or services your customers tend to buy in conjunction with yours. Then identify local businesses that provide those products or services and inquire whether they are open to linking their sites to yours. Such links can be a steady source of highly qualified leads. As an incentive, you could offer to exchange reciprocal links with these other companies, or you might agree with to pay them a percentage of the business that results from their website referrals.
Use web marketing techniques to draw more leads to your website.
When you advertise in the Yellow Pages, there’s only one main way to stand out from the competition: buy a bigger ad. Web marketing is more complex. You must use a variety of strategies and techniques in order to rise above a sea of competitors.
For example, you can use “search engine optimization” (SEO) strategies, including effective keywords, to increase the probability that your website will come up at or near the top when people search the Internet for your product or service.
“Pay per click” advertising is another popular way to increase the traffic to your site. Buy an online ad on a high-profile website, and pay a fee for it each time qualified leads “click through” to your site.
Because web marketing is complex, it is advisable to engage the services of a professional who specializes in it. The results they produce can cover their costs many times over.
Design your website so that it invites visitors into a purchasing event, both online and in your physical store.
Think of your website as a funnel. Design it to guide every visitor toward a purchasing decision.
At the outer edge of the funnel, make it easy for new visitors to find the information they need. Clearly present your competitive advantages.
As they enter farther into the funnel, lead them to the next stage of the purchasing process by inviting them to e-mail you for more information. Or, even better, encourage them to make a personal visit to your physical location by offering them discount coupons, free samples, or other hooks.
Change your attitude.
In conclusion, if you’ve been thinking about your website only in connection with online sales, now’s the time to change your attitude. Utilize the strategies outlined above to create an online presence that initially provides useful information to visitors, and ultimately increases the traffic to your physical store.