Start Using Online Tools to Market Your Offline Business
Even if your business is strictly brick-and-mortar, your customers are online. So are your competitors. And if you want to compete over the long term, you need to find creative ways how to use online tools to market an offline business.
This begins with a simple, clear and easy-to-navigate website that highlights your physical presence and showcases what you offer and/or what you do. Exterior photos of the business help spark recognition and familiarity, and high-quality visuals of your products, services, employees and satisfied customers add appeal. Include colorful descriptions of your products/services as well as relevant information such as your hours of operation, phone number and directions to your location(s).
Next, get listed on Google Places and in other local and industry directories like Bing Business Portal and Yahoo! Don’t overlook online classifieds such as Craigslist, OnlineClassifieds and Oodle.
Social media is another great way to steer traffic to your business and also an ideal way to listen to, and engage with, your customers. Platforms such as Foursquare enable you to reach out to consumers who then network with one another to discuss, rate and create a buzz about your business.
You can also generate foot traffic by using email to promote sales, introduce new products and market special offers or events. Many businesses today are also successfully using text messaging to capture leads and communicate with prospects and customers.
If you provide recurring services, such as landscaping, bookkeeping, tax accounting or pool maintenance, offering an online account portal so that customers can manage their accounts online is a great convenience and a smart business retention technique.
Complementary or colocated businesses can also benefit from online referral or affiliate programs that drive traffic to each other. So there are some great tips on how to use online tools to market your offline business.
What tools have you tried?