One of the best ways to be competitive in today’s economy is to have a website for your brick-and-mortar business. After all, what better way to expand your sales and reputation than opening yourself up to a global customer base?
Learning how to create a website for business might seem as simple as hiring a coder or using a template, but there are some unique challenges that brick-and-mortar business owners need to consider.
The biggest challenge is standing out in the sea of noise that is the modern internet. Most businesses already have websites and are marketing products. Not to mention the large corporations that pay billions to be at the forefront of online advertisements. Outside of business, there’s news, gossip and cute puppy videos.
In all of this, how are you going to impact your customers in a positive, non-invasive way and still make sales? How are you going to bring value to your current customers? How are you going to reach locals looking for information? These are the types of questions we’ll be looking at today as we sort through what it takes to create an online presence for your brick-and-mortar business.
Local Customer Base
One of the first things you’ll want to do is consider your local customer base. These are the people that you can provide physical value. After all, brand loyalty is easiest to create in person.
First, think about your current customer base. How can your website be beneficial to the locals currently buying and using your products and services? How are you going to add value to the experience they already have in store?
Failing to think of your local customer base first, could result in creating confusion around your brand. For instance, having your business hours and phone number easily accessible are key things local customers could be looking for.
Local Potential Customers
The next group you want to focus on, are local potential customers. Those who are in the same area as your brick-and-mortar, but not actively shopping there. Once again ask yourself how you can use a website to provide value to this group. But this time, you’ll want to think of ways to encourage local potential customers to come into the store where you can create brand loyalty. Some examples of strategies for this include providing in-store coupons, same-day local delivery, or local events to drive these potential customers into your brick-and-mortar.
Once you’ve thought about value, you’ll also need to think about accessibility and marketing. Consider the various ways you’ll want to reach people.
For instance, if providing your local customers with business hours is important, you’ll want to make sure to do local SEO.
If however you’re adding value through coupons, you might want to look into paid marketing on Google or Facebook using location tracking.
Global Customer Base
After you have a local target audience and marketing plan in place, you’ll be ready to think about expanding your business using the internet to a global base.
This can be difficult because it requires the business owner (you) to figure out how to integrate local needs together with global needs. Someone halfway across the world probably doesn’t care about your store hours or your in-store coupons. So, think about how you can balance your site to be advantageous for this new audience.
One of the best ways to make sure your site is accessible for a global base (and local base for that matter) is by making it responsive and mobile optimized. Responsive websites automatically shrink to the screen size to increase the functionality of a site on tablets and phones.
Obviously this is a huge deal since many Google searches are done on smartphones and you want to accommodate those searches. A lot of website designers can handle this for you, or you can check yourself to see if your site is responsive using an online tool.
Take Advantage of Content Marketing
Just like you want to do local SEO to attract your local clients, doing content marketing and global SEO is a great way to provide value while getting your name out in the industry.
You can create a variety of content such as blog posts, ebooks, newsletters, youtube videos, podcasts and audiobooks to post on your website and attract a new and broad audience.
In an ideal world, you would produce as much high quality and high value content as possible, but in reality a small business might not be able to produce much and if that’s you, that’s okay. Just focus on making the highest value content you can.
As you can see, creating a website for your brick-and-mortar is much more extensive than just hiring a designer. For best results you’ll want to really dig into how a website will be beneficial for the audience you have and the new audience you want to reach. This will allow you to create something that will reach the people most important to you across the board.