As you can see, the internet has totally changed the way we do business. It’s become a major force in acquiring and retaining a solid, profit-producing customer-base. This powerful shift presents a great opportunity for you to close the gap between local online consumers and your offline business.
If not, you risk losing potential leads, customers, and sales to your competitors who are taking measures to keep their business in-line with internet technology and popularity.
Savvy business owners understand that the internet can drive a large amount of foot traffic to any local business. Therefore, they are grabbing this powerful tool by the horns and making it work to increase their sales and profits.
If you are still operating based on marketing methods you’ve always used, it’s definitely time for a change; especially if you are spending a lot of money on them and not getting results. While some of them may still generate minimal results, you cannot ignore the internet if you truly want to stay connected with more local consumers.
It is critical that every business no matter how large or small gives some serious thought to what they should be doing in terms of marketing based on current consumer buying behaviour.
Consumers today expect businesses to keep up with technological advances that make their lives easier and more convenient. In fact, many studies show that companies that do not cater to internet users are losing a fair share of their target audience to their internet-friendly competitors.
Here are some ways your business can utilise internet marketing to get more customers, as well as increase overall revenue:
* Get an EFFECTIVE Website
Many businesses today still do not have a website, which is mind-blowing. Unfortunately, some companies that do have websites are suffering because they’re not helping them generate more sales.
That’s because most of those websites are missing some critical components.
Websites are much more affordable today than they used to be; so they are definitely worth the investment. An effective website is one that has a professional appearance with a clean layout that truly reflects your brand.
In addition to being appeasing to the eye, it should be easy to navigate so visitors can find the information they need quickly without a lot of hassles.
Visitors should immediately see your contact details and call-to-action on all pages in order to increase conversions.
Speaking of conversions, your website copy should be complete and written in a way that focuses on the needs of your target audience and not all about your business.
* Use Email Marketing
A huge benefit of having a website is that it allows you to capture leads so you can follow-up with them; this is usually accomplished with an email opt-in form that encourages visitors to join your list.
You can give something away or implement a loyalty and rewards program as motivation for visitors to opt-in. Then, you can follow-up with them using an email Autoresponder series to build a relationship with them and keep them coming back.
It will also help you increase sales because you can send out coupons, newsletters, special offers, and other content that will result in more business coming through your doors.
* Gain a Strong Search Engine Presence
People all over the world have become increasingly connected to the internet in one way or another; but searching for information via the search engines is the top activity.
A website that is buried in the search engine results will not help you get in front of more local consumers. Again, most consumers do not go past the first page of results. This means that we do not spend time combing through pages and pages before we take action and make a decision about what we’re searching for.
In order to get right in front of this massive amount of traffic, your company needs to have a fully-optimised website, along with other online content showing up in the results.
To accomplish this, you need on-site, off-site optimisation, keyword-optimised content, and social media all tied together to gain the type of attention that could seriously turn your business around.
* Claim, Verify, and Optimise Online Local Listings
Local listings are also a major component when it comes to getting more search engine visibility. When consumers search for local products and services, most of them stop at the local listing section.
Sites such as Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and others cannot be ignored if you want more online exposure. If your company’s listing is not claimed, verified, and optimised, your listing is probably buried in the search results.
If someone does find your low-ranked listings, they won’t get the information they need if your listing is incomplete or contains inaccurate information.
A thorough listing will allow you to take control of your company by providing viewers with the correct information regarding your company. The more details you provide the better.
* Monitor and Manage Your Online Reputation
If you don’t stay on top of what your customers are saying about you online, you could be setting yourself up for a hard road ahead. As mentioned earlier, people now flock to the internet to see what others have to say about local products, services, and businesses.
It can be expected that any business will have a negative mention here and there. However, if you’re not careful, your company could end up on a slippery slope to an overall negative online image.
Even just one negative online mention can seriously cripple your business.
Therefore, it is critical that you monitor what is being said about your company and handle these reviews accordingly.
While you can’t stop anyone from writing negativity about your brand, you can handle it in a way that shows other consumers that you actually care about your customers.
Another way to buffer any negative online reviews is to encourage positive online reviews from your happy customers. There are plenty of ways to ask for online feedback; but if you don’t ask, you will not receive in most cases.
The fact is unhappy customers are more likely to post a review than happy customers. But if you ask them to do it, many of them will do it without hesitation.
Take control of your online image by making sure you manage your reputation frequently and thoroughly on an on-going basis.
* Publish Helpful, Relevant Online Content
Your website should contain valuable, relevant keyword-optimised content because it will build trust with your visitors. One way to accomplish this is by creating a company blog.
Effective content revolves around providing the type of information your target audience craves ñ building your credibility in the process. Good, consistent content will keep them coming back for more.
Content, however, should not stop at your website. Content marketing is quickly becoming a powerful way to pull in new leads. This involves publishing different types of content in various places all over the web.
Articles, press releases, presentations, videos, graphics/images, social media, and other types of content all work together to bring as much attention to your business as possible on auto-pilot.
* Get Involved in Social Media
Social networking is another top online activity; sites such as Facebook being number1 with more than 1.7 BILLION users.
If your company is not engaging with your local target audience on social media, you are missing out on an opportunity to utilise a cost-effective method to get more eyes on your business.
People love to connect with their favourite companies on social media sites. In addition, they share these companies with their friends, family members, and other associates in their social network. In turn, your business gets free advertising due to the fact that your followers are doing the work for you.
* Use Online Videos
People spend a lot of time watching online videos every single day; even videos related to products, services, and businesses.
Therefore, videos are a great way to show potential customers first-hand what you have to offer. This can be accomplished with commercial-style videos, product demonstration videos, helpful tips and hints videos, and more.
Online videos are powerful for generating more traffic and increasing conversions. Not only that, but they can provide a nice Return on Investment (ROI) because they are much more cost-effective than traditional videos and TV commercials.
Short, simple, and to-the-point videos work best.
In addition to posting videos to your company website, videos can be posted all over the web to give your business even more exposure. This includes YouTube and other video-sharing sites.
When distributing videos online, make sure your video titles and descriptions are optimised for local viewers so they show up higher in the search results.
Use FaceBook Live for a really great way to interact with your existing customers and potential customers. Live interaction is the way forward.
The secret to your business success all lies in how well you can generate new customers and keep the ones you have coming back.
So, it must be said that businesses today can no longer afford to put internet marketing on the back burner.
The internet plays an important role in our everyday lives. We are in a constant state of saving time and the internet allows us to do a variety of tasks quickly and easily.
The internet is the glue that helps us get through daily activities, as well as stay connected with the world. Technology surrounding the World Wide Web is constantly changing and advancing.
As a business owner, now is the time to get onboard with online marketing if you want to stay ahead of the marketing game and keep up with your local competitors.