Seven Ways to Market Your Brick & Mortar Business on the Internet
Every small business owner wants high volume traffic to their web site. For some online businesses there are many strategies that can be employed (which will not be discussed here). But for Brick & Mortar businesses there are other strategies that need to be taken into consideration. Here are seven such powerful strategies to market your local business one the internet. Enjoy.
- Get on Google Maps: It’s Free. This is the easiest and fasted way to get to the top of the search engines. If you have actual address where you do business, there is no reason why you should not be on this. If you have more than one address even better. Look at some of these results:
As you can see from the above examples, the barber shops are just not making good use of the internet. Don’t be one of these guys. Get a website and get on Google Maps right away, this is the fastest and simplest way to get to top of the Google search engine for your Brick & Mortar business.
Do this right away. Call your web developer and tell him/her that you want to be on Google Maps right away.
- Merchant Circle. The Merchant Circle website focuses primarily on local Brick & Mortar businesses. It is not the most popular place for consumers to find a local business (vs. Google) but it is growing rapidly, so it is better to get up and going while Merchant Circle is in its growth spurt.
Also, there are so many features on the site that you be would hard pressed not to get some good use out of it. It is like Linked In but for local Brick & Mortar businesses.
- Get local forums like City-Data. They are a great place to network and they come up on search engine results a lot. If you look at the example above for Raleigh Barber shop, you will see that City Data is the second listing (it may be different for you). In this example (on City Data) someone posted a blurb about a barber shop in a nearby town. What a way to get on the second listing of a search engine results page! Another good place is City Search. These are coming up more and more on the major search engines. But don’t just rely on these lists. Other places to check out:
I don’t recommend wasting your time with the Yellow Pages. While they do show up on some searches, they charge a lot to be listed on their directories and it isn’t worth it. Some listings are free but you will be hounded by sales calls.
- Pay Per Click Advertising. If done right, this can be great for your Brick & Mortar business. You just need to be sure that you are only advertising in your local area. This can be a big advantage vs. SEO because you can implement a program in a matter of hours rather than a longer period with Search Engine Optimization. In fact this is much better than a lot of offline advertising options (which I discuss in detail in my guide: How To Stop Wasting Money Month After Month).
Pay per click advertising is great because you can direct people straight to your site without a lot of other distractions, such as being listed on directories mentioned above or social media site such as Facebook (which can be dangerous). The focus is totally on your ad and your website. Even better is advertising straight to a specific page (called a landing page) on your site with a unique offering.
- Optimize your site for the local area. If your Brick & Mortar business is in San Diego, then everything about your site should say and be about San Diego. If you are an electrician then you want it to say San Diego Electrician every where on your website. You may serve other communities, but you stand a better chance if you just focus on the bigger metropolitan area. That is where most people will search.
- Have a blog and talk about local things that are going on. If you live in Raleigh, North Carolina talk about all of the local events happening in your area of Raleigh, North Carolina related to your industry. A blog or article writing is a great way to attract traffic. It’s even better: if you stay on target and really focus to your local market. If own a shoe store Brick & Mortar business in Raleigh, North Carolina, you can talk about all things related to shoes in Raleigh, NC. Your blog will attract traffic from the search engines.
- If a blog is not your style, then you can have series of articles posted on your site that talk about solving a problem in your municipality. There may be a state fair in your area and you happen to sell shoes; well you can write an article or series of articles on what good footwear to wear when walking around the state fair at the North Carolina State Fair Grounds in Raleigh, North Carolina. Get my drift? Did you see the keywords and SEO in action there? That’s how you are going to attract traffic for your Brick & Mortar Business.
You can also be very topical; especially for the holidays. For instance: During the Fourth of July in 2009 a lot of people stayed home on their “staycations.” Writing an article on what to do in your hometown during the Fourth of July would certainly get a lot of traffic to your website. Wouldn’t you say? You can mention “How to Get a Great Chicken Sandwich for This Upcoming Labor Day Celebration.” That would certainly get some traffic. Wouldn’t you say? Say so. Or you could write an article about “The Pros and Cons of Getting a Haircut Before the Thanksgiving Holidays.” You don’t have to write that. I already know they answer: Don’t do it.
These popular search terms like Fourth of July, Labor Day Celebrations, Thanksgiving are searched for a lot more than your business. Not many people search for an “electrician” but many people search for “setting up Christmas lights,” so if you have timely article on how to do that and a “how-to” about safety precautions on your website, then you would get some much needed traffic. You need traffic.
Things to watch out for: Many have been sucked in by Yellow Pages, also known as Super Pages. I don’t recommend such services.
Also, there has been a lot of talk about Local Ad Links. I also, do not recommend this service. While I do not know a great deal about this service, I do know that the service is counterintuitive to bringing in business. In my opinion, it does not work.
Many think Local Ad Links is a scam. I won’t go so far as to say that, but here are two links for such debate: