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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Brick and Mortar Business Online

Business marketing for local brick and mortar businesses is a complex form of online marketing. Instead of optimizing everything for a broad audience, you need to optimize everything for a local audience, specifically for those who spend money at your business.

You also need to be careful and meticulous in how you set things up as you want to make sure you attract customers who are local to your area. With that in mind, let’s get started.

Master Local Business Marketing by Optimizing Local Search

Google local lists

Google utilizes a user’s location to enhance the search results, especially those that may relate to local businesses. Thus the user doesn’t even need to enter a location for this magic to happen

This is why it’s important for you to optimize each location of your business for local searches. All of the tips outlined throughout this article will help you increase your business’ digital presence, but there are a few things you can do to boost your presence on Google, too.

They include:

  • Obtaining and optimizing a business listing on Google My Business.
  • Encouraging customers to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor, etc.
  • Optimizing your local business website(s) for Google SEO.

You should also make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. The majority of Google searches are on smartphones and tablets, which means you have a higher likelihood of losing a potential customer if your site is not optimized for these devices.

Make sure your website is responsive by using a tool like Responsinator to see how your website looks on a variety of different devices and screen sizes. You should also make sure the mobile version of your website doesn’t look terrible on small screen sizes, such as images with small text, sliders, animations, auto-playing videos, etc.

Finally, you should optimize the user experience of your website by making it as easy as possible for users to find the nearest location of your store. The locator tool My Store Locator Plus allows you to create a directory of up to 5,000 locations. Businesses that use this application include coffee shop chains, restaurants, and grocery stores.

my store locator plus

Develop a Brand Building Strategy

First impression is the last impression.

This also holds true when it comes to business. You need to carefully plan on how to build the brand image that can help you outshine the competition. Our CEO, Mario Peshev, shared some tips at Fit Small Business on how to build your brand:

Your store’s brand is what will make it stand out from other convenience stores in your area. Brand your store’s windows and stick the latest promotions right on the front door. People passing by can be tempted to try your latest snack or beverage. Consider monthly products (using seasoned fruits or vegetables) or special drinks for every season. Turn your customers into returning ones with branded discount cards, special products available to regulars or even a “customer of the month” reward for your best clients. Gas stations and large supermarkets often partner up with boutique product companies offering discounts when aggregating a certain number of points or stickers, which could be something that works for you too.

Manage Multiple Business Pages with Facebook Locations

Facebook Locations

A lot of Facebook users like to share the shops and restaurants they’ve visited with friends and families, connect with businesses, and leave reviews. Therefore, creating and optimizing Facebook pages for each of your locations is a great way to harness the power of Facebook marketing.

However, managing those pages can be a hassle, which is why Facebook has created Facebook Locations. You can make changes across multiple store locations from a single dashboard, promote an ad campaign for multiple locations, and ensure your ads are relevant to the location they’re being promoted to.

Take Advantage of Local Content Marketing

mobile phone camera

Content marketing is a great marketing strategy, and it’s actually one of the cheapest forms of marketing you can implement for your business. Unfortunately, that price does come at a cost – your time.

There are many forms of content you can create:

1. Written

  • Blog Posts
  • Ebooks
  • Newsletters

2. Video

  • YouTube Channel
  • Facebook Video
  • Instagram Video
  • Livestreams Through Facebook Live
  • Livestreams Through Periscope

3. Audio

  • Podcasts
  • Audiobooks

In a perfect world, you’d be producing all three forms of content, but a lack of time and budget can get in the way. Go with what works best for your business. See what’s working for your competitors, and consider what form of content fits in. If time and budget are major factors for you, go with a blog, live stream, or simple podcast episodes.

As far as what topics you should cover and what style you should use, you need to identify your local audience and target your content toward their needs and concerns. One way to do this is to use a tool like IncoPOS by Vladster, which allows you to track sales across multiple business locations. This way, you can see what products are moving where and modify your marketing and advertising strategies accordingly.

Take Advantage of Email Marketing

writing article

Email marketing is another powerful form of marketing, except this one can send repeat customers to your business, and you can even nurture potential customers to turn them into buyers.

Getting people on your list can be difficult, but local businesses can take advantage of discounts and coupons as lead magnets. This means you offer an exclusive discount or coupon for your business in exchange for a customer’s email address.

Place email forms on your website, and create landing pages with email forms on them so you can advertise your list through video and audio content. You can also use a tablet app like Forms on the Go by GetResponse to promote your email list in person.

Along with nurturing potential customers, you can use this list to connect with your audience, broadcast news and updates, sales and products, conduct surveys, and more.

Leverage the Power of Online Advertisements

google search ads

Did you notice the actual locations of the ads in the screenshot from earlier? Those were from businesses using Google AdWords. These locations advertised their businesses under the keyword phrase, “dentist in New York City.”

There are many forms of online advertising you can take advantage of. One of the most popular is Facebook advertising. Facebook allows you to target specific Facebook users using demographics, location, and interests. This means you can target the customers who would be most interested in buying products or services from your business.

Some businesses may also do well with other forms of online advertising. Food and beauty businesses, for example, would do well with Pinterest and Instagram ads while a business law firm would do best with LinkedIn ads.

As always, you should tailor your ads to the location you’re in. For example, a Seattle-based pet shop could potentially create awareness for their brand by creating a Facebook ad campaign to promote a blog post called “10 Best Dog-Friendly Parks in the Seattle Area.” The store could then acquire new customers by promoting email discounts for leashes, portable water dishes for pets, and waste bags.

List Discounts on Coupon Sites

discounts online

A lot of consumers use coupons to try out new businesses. So, if you want another way to reach potential customers online, list your discounts on popular coupon sites for local businesses.

These include:

  • Groupon
  • LivingSocial
  • SmartSource
  • RetailMeNot
  • Valpak

Create and Advertise a Customer Loyalty Program

create and design

Services like Punchcard and Belly allow you to create digital loyalty programs for customers. A loyalty program gives first-time customers an incentive to come back. They receive discounts the more they spend on your business. Customers may like your business, but they may also need that extra bit of encouragement to return.

Combine the power of content and email marketing to advertise your business’ loyalty program.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, your main goal with local business marketing should be to attract new customers by marketing your brick and mortar business online. Optimize your business for local searches to ensure it appears in Google search results when users search for keywords related to your niche.

You can also optimize your Google listings, your Facebook pages, and by leveraging the power of content marketing and online advertisements. Furthermore, you can encourage customers to return through email marketing and a strong loyalty program. That’s local business marketing in a nutshell.

So, what do you think? Have you had any luck with these brick and mortar marketing strategies? Let us know in the comments below.

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