For high street businesses, from shops to restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and the local garage, having a high street presence is no longer enough. Using digital marketing to get found online is more important than ever and can make a huge difference to the number of visits to your business.
With 86% consumers relying on the internet to find a local business and 29% searching for a local business at least once a week according to GoGulf, it’s no surprise that major bricks and mortar retailers have been focusing on online to offline marketing strategies for some time to use the internet to drive traffic to their stores.
But what does this mean for high street businesses who don’t have the huge digital marketing budgets of the national chains? There are some easy things you can do to help you get found online:
• Make sure you have a Google My Business listing and can be found on Google Maps (they’re free) which will help your business get found on Google searches.
• Have a social media presence. You only have to look briefly in a local Facebook group to see that people are asking for recommendations – so having a Facebook page where people can then go to find out more about you and see what you offer is important. Just make sure you are able to post regularly – at least once a week.
• Manage your website. People want to browse before they buy, so showcasing what you offer as well as your opening times, and ideally a price list, are important. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an important aspect of managing your website so that you can be found online. It isn’t a quick fix, but something that needs to be worked on consistently over time.
The power of Google
• Google is the most popular search engine and is used for over 87% searches.* As Geoff Roy, SEO specialist at Leapfrog Internet Marketing explains, “When someone searches for your products or services it’s all about being on Google Page 1 as only 5% people will look on Page 2. However, it’s not a quick fix as Google looks at over 200 different factors when deciding where to place your website and it takes time to address these. It normally takes 6 months for businesses to start seeing more sales and footfall through the door, but the results are sustainable for months and years to come and can really drive up retail sales. For example, one of our clients with a showroom in the home sector found that, by focusing on SEO, walk ins increased by 60% year on year, and phone enquiries increased by over 50%. This sustained effort on SEO also generated business from further afield, in effect extending the reach of their showroom to previously ‘out of area’ customers.”
• Reviews are an important way to build your reputation online and attract new customers. The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business and 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews according to BrightLocal.
• Google My Business and Facebook both have review facilities so make sure you encourage customers to leave a review – and don’t forget it’s better to get a steady trickle of reviews throughout the year rather than all in one month.
• If you’re a restaurant, hotel or tourist attraction a Trip Advisor listing is essential.
• Many business owners we speak to are worried that allowing people to leave reviews means that they will receive a negative review. However, this is not something that you should worry about too much. Customers can be suspicious if all they see are 5 star reviews and, if you get a negative review, make sure that you respond to it – your response will show the importance you place on customer service and can enable you to turn a negative into a positive. And of course, review sites are worried about their reputation too and should remove fake reviews.
The rise in importance of voice searches
• With more of us owning smart speakers such as Amazon Echo, using Siri on Apple, Bixby on Samsung as well as Asking Google, Google predict that, by the end of 2021, there will be more than 1.6 billion people who use voice assistants on a regular basis.
• Voice searches are different from typed searches with people asking questions, so consider FAQs on your site based on the sort of questions customers, and potential customers are likely to ask.
• Directories are also important, and not necessarily the ones you might always consider. For example Samsung’s Bixby, Alexa and Siri use Yelp for their data so make sure your business is listed there.
As you can see, even if you have a limited budget, by focusing on digital marketing there is a lot that high street businesses can do to ensure you are found online to increase visits to your business.
About Sixth Sense Marketing
Sixth Sense Marketing provide busy business owners with a skilled and experienced marketing resource, a ‘head and hands’ marketing service providing strategy, planning and implementation to improve the effectiveness of marketing by using the right message, at the right time to the right people. If you’d like to know more about helping grow businesses, about digital marketing support for your business, or just want to bounce a few things around that have been in your head, feel free to get in touch. Call 01252 213131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about Sixth Sense Marketing here.