February 19, 2016
Instead of the usual inspirational or insightful quote to start an article, I would like to start with this:
“Cause we are living in a material world and I am a material girl.”
Yes, that’s an excerpt from Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Why was I listening to it? I don’t know. Madonna’s song may be partly right, but if you replace the word “material” with “online”, then we’re closer to hitting home.
We live in an online world, no doubt about it. That doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar businesses are dying. In fact, B&M companies like Walmart, Nordstrom, and Target have increased their revenue through the internet.
How? For starters, try these six ways:
1. Online Customer Service
Providing excellent customer service is critical in every business. Customer retention is one of the most important key factors in commercial success. With modern technology, customers are expecting to get a proper support, which means convenient, fast, and efficient.
With the internet, it becomes easier to provide customer satisfaction that lessens bad reviews. Connect with customers via email and chat. Monitor your business’ social media accounts too for inquiries, comments, suggestions, and even complaints. Happy customers mean an increase in profitability of the company.
2. Inbound Marketing
It may sound overwhelming because of the amount of work needed but it will be worth it. Once set upped, you can attract customers, build identity, trust, and authority. Inbound marketing can quickly establish that you are an expert in the industry and a professional business owner. Sharing information about your business in Social Media is now essential to create an effective online presence. Develop a good marketing content for your website and make sure that it stands out from the rest.
3. Email Marketing
Regardless of its age and even at this era of Social Media, most people still prefer email as a medium for important transactions and communications. This is the reason why they say that it outperforms Social Media in generating profits. Also, unlike sending your campaigns via Facebook and Twitter, no particular algorithm will control the number of your recipients. Thus, you can effectively offer email promotions conveniently. You can sway customers to subscribing to your services and buying your products by offering discounts or exclusive promotions on either an instant purchase or next visit.
4. Local SEO
Even a small physical business needs an SEO element, specifically a local search optimization. It is one of the best ways that potential customers discover your company by ranking in search engines. Customers now rely on Google when they are looking for a specific service or product in the market. They get information online and of course, you need to be competitive. You want your business showing on the top of the list.
5. Online Reviews
Ratings on websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Local.com, Hotfrog, Foursquare, etc. have become important in establishing trust and confidence of existing and future customers. Get your company listed on these sites and be proactive by inviting people to review and answering negative reviews while giving discounts and perks.
6. Mobile Advertising
Let Smartphone users discover your shop when they are nearby. This is the main purpose of mobile advertising – GEO Targeting. Potential customers will likely visit your store if you are just within the vicinity. Offer some deals when they Check-In for higher brand exposure and rewards when they make a purchase. You can integrate your business with your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts so your customers can learn about your recent promotions on their mobile phones.
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