There’s something romantic about a brick-and-mortar business. Getting to know your customers in-person, being a part of your local community, and looking around at the physical space that you have put together for your business can instill pride and joy.
But many brick-and-mortar stores have been moving their business online in recent years. An online store can supplement your business, expand it, or — if the overhead costs of a physical store have become too much — it can replace your brick-and-mortar store. One thing is for certain: you’ll need to brush up on your digital marketing.
Know Your Goals for Your Online Store
What are your reasons for taking your store online? Maybe your customers have been asking for an option to make their purchases online rather than in person for some time. Maybe business in the brick-and-mortar store hasn’t been enough to justify the cost of the rent. Or maybe you want to reach audiences beyond your local community.
Do you plan to have the online store in addition to your brick-and-mortar storefront, or are you moving online completely? These situations require different priorities when it comes to marketing. If you keep the brick-and-mortar store, you want to keep a steady flow of customers in the store while also offering them the online option.
Focus on Local SEO
Local SEO is SEO that is meant to boost your website in local online searches. For instance, instead of just showing up on a search for “hairdresser,” you want to show up in a search for “Akron, Ohio hairdresser.” You can incorporate local SEO in your marketing by:
- Using local keywords
- Offering backlinks to high authority local government sources
- Making a contact page that includes your local address
- Creating a Google My Business page
- Adding a map of your location to your website
- Listing any local affiliations or recognitions you might have
Make Sure Your Website Reads Well on Mobile
Having a website is a must for moving your business online. This is either your storefront or the place where your customers can reach out to you to discuss products and services. But most customers these days actually prefer to access the internet through a mobile device. In fact, according to Statista, in 2022, over 60% of online users used a mobile device to go online.
If your website looks good on desktop but it’s clunky and difficult to read on mobile, it will likely drive customers away. Test your website on both desktop and mobile before it goes live and in front of your customer’s eyes.
Get On Social Media
Social media is a good idea even if you primarily operate out of a brick-and-mortar store. Social media can help your customers find you, and it can also show that your brand is relevant to their interests and needs. If you are marketing towards professionals, LinkedIn or Twitter may be good options. If your target audience veers younger, consider getting an Instagram and Twitter account.
Once your store goes online, make sure to post plenty of announcements on social media, so no one misses the news.
Start a Blog
Content marketing is an effective way to boost your SEO and drive traffic to your website. One way to do that is through a blog. In blog posts, you can address common questions in your industry, as well as discussing interesting facts or histories relevant to your brand.
Your blog should be located on your website, with plenty of links within posts leading to landing pages or calls to action. You can also cross-post your blogs or promote them across social media.
Make sure that your blog content is helpful, informative, and engaging. Above all, make sure that it’s relevant to your target audience. If your blog content isn’t interesting or useful to them, they likely won’t expect your store to be interesting or useful, either.
Set Up Shipping and Delivery
Having products shipped right to their door is a boon for your customers, especially those who don’t live within your usual service area. But shipping can be expensive, so you will need to set up shipping costs. Choose which shipping service to use: USPS, DHL, UPS, and FedEx are common options. Based on your shipping costs, you can set a budget for shipping and what to charge your customers.
You can also look into options for local delivery, especially if there are any apps that might offer delivery within your industry. You can also save your customers the shipping costs by offering local pick-up. This way they’ll have the convenience of shopping at home, but they can still come in to pick up the product.
Incentivize Both Online and Brick-and-Mortar Business
Planning to keep your brick-and-mortar store? Make sure you have customers coming into the store as well as purchasing online. If you want to boost your online store’s presence, you can create exclusive offers for shopping online. As stated above, you can have customers forego shipping by picking up their order in your store. You can also hold events in the store to continue to drive physical traffic.