5 Things Brick & Mortar Stores Should Do Online Immediately

Twas the Thursday before Christmas and all through the gym . . .

We won’t go there. It was the Thursday before Christmas and I was at the gym. I ran into a friend of mine who owns a local, small business. I knew from his social media that he hadn’t done his Christmas shopping yet. I asked if he had started/was finished and his answer was No, he still hadn’t started, but did this every year.

I immediately said – you know, Amazon delivers in two days. His response – I don’t buy online. To say I was shocked was an understatement (I do most of my Christmas shopping online). So a short discussion ensued. His fear being that brick and mortars would cease to exist in 5 years due to all the online shopping (which is a very valid concern). Therefore, as a small business owner of a brick and mortar, he does his part to help other brick and mortar store owners.

Light bulbs went off in my head. I get it. But what brick and mortar stores need to realize is that people don’t just GO online anymore, they LIVE online. (One of my favorite quotes from Google.)

It is truly up to brick and mortar store owners to use the internet to increase their visibility. Your potential customers are online. They are trying to find the products and services you sell. But if you don’t show up when they are searching for information, they won’t show up at your store. So, how can you do this?

5 Things Brick & Mortar Stores Should Do Online Immediately

1. SEO Optimized, Easy to Use, Mobile Friendly Website

5 Things Brick & Mortar Stores Should Do Online ImmediatelyFirst things first. You need a website. It needs to be mobile friendly and easy to use. You need to optimize the website so that it appears on the first page of search results. Make it easy for potential customers to find you. Don’t want a huge website? A 3-5 page site will work. An optimized home page, an about us page, a product/service page, a contact page, and your blog.

2. Google Business Listing (kept up to date)

Claim your Google Business Listing and keep it up to date. Make sure to optimize it as well and keep your business hours current. If you don’t have a website and you don’t have a Google Business Listing, people could search your business name online and still NOT find you. But they will probably find your competition.

3. Google AdWords and/or Facebook Ads

Advertise. While I am sure you advertise locally, paper, radio, billboard, etc.; make sure to allocate some of your budget to online advertising. While you are waiting on your website to rank, consider Google AdWords. AdWords can have your business showing when someone searches for the product or service you need. These people are ready to buy. If your product/service shows up, they could be buying from you. Don’t assume people know your business exists or that they know what you sell.

Facebook ads are more passive but great for branding and can be highly targeted. For as little as $5 per day, you can run a Facebook ad campaign targeting your ideal client in a specific zip code, county, etc. You can target age, sex, interests, etc. Have an email list? You can upload it and create a look-a-like audience to target.

4. Become the Subject Matter Expert for the products and services you sell

Blog! BLogging does not have to be scary and you don’t need to blog daily. Once a week or every other week can have a huge impact. You know your business and products better than anyone. Put that knowledge online. Best thing to blog about? Frequently asked questions that you get. As potential clients call you to ask questions or come in your store and ask questions, write those down. Each one would probably make a great blog post (or tell you what information needs to be added to your website).

5. Know Your Analytics

And finally, look at your analytics at least every 30 days to see what is driving traffic to your site. If it is high-quality traffic – do more of that. Consider offering online-only specials so you can distinguish those clients that found you online.

Finally, people who know you and buy from you, won’t have any trouble finding you. Your job is to show up for the people who don’t know you, but are looking for the products and services you sell. That’s how you get more business. You can offer the best products at the best prices, but if people can’t find that information when they are searching online (and trust me – they are searching online) – then you have lost a client.

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If you need help with any of these 5 things brick & mortar stores should do online immediately, email me at glenneth@firstviewonline.com to schedule a consult call.

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