Regardless of what type of brick and mortar store you may have, be it car parts, used cars, or anything else, one of the main challenges has always been trying to get new customers into the front door.
Many businesses don't realize that this challenge, known as customer acquisition, is by far the most important area of focus for your marketing efforts. Obviosuly once the customer is in the store, you are able to make a sale in person and move them streadier along the path of becoming a routine and habitual customer for your business.
In other words, it's not just the first sale that's the hardest, but the first conversation. And that's where online marketing can play a big role.
Consider an Ecommerce Storefront
The first point you might want to consider is putting up an ecommerce storefront to support your retail efforts. You can sell all of the same items you do in store, but sell them through your website and offer shipping. You can work with your local UPS or FedEx store to help you create standard shipping prices for different products.
Ecommerce also has the benefit that it becomes something you can promote with affiliate marketing, which is one of the best ways to get new customers online, since you only pay affiliate marketers after they've sent you a customer that made a sale. This commission based marketing is a huge opportunity, and it isn't too difficult to learn.
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the act of ranking your website so that it appears at the top of search results when people are looking for your product online.
In general, the best way to work with SEO is to identify a core set of key products or services to use for your "keyword base" to market your website. If you have a service based business, for example, you might do your service plus your geographic location. A mechanic in Trenton would want to rank for "mechanic Trenton" or "car repair Trenton."
This method is a really effective way of getting new customers, even if you don't sell your services online. It accomplished that main objective of getting the individual who has never been to your store or perhaps never even heard of your company to make that first contact, and hopefully the first sale and conversion to a long term repeat customer!
Another great way to promote your business online is through Google advertising. These ads are the ads that come up alongside the search results, or that you see across many websites online, usually on the right or left column of a page. These ads allow you to get in front of people who, like with SEO, are directly searching for your business, and with the display ads you can also get new customers who are looking for related products or services, for whom your business would be a good fit as well.
Yet another way to introduce new customers to your brand online is through social media. There are lots of different channels you can use, depending on which is the best fit for your company. If you have a B2C business, Facebook or Twitter might be best, while B2B businesses would probably want to use linkedin.
Whichever platform you choose, you can promote your business either through paid advertising, or through posting about your brand, meaning it can be a low cost way to get more attention and hopefully earn some new customers or clients!
Read more about how to do social media marketing from Constant Contact.
I hope this post was helpful and look forward to hearing more ideas about how to promote your business online!