In my last post I made the claim that every business should be an internet business. In the past the world tended to group internet businesses and brick-and-mortar businesses into separate categories. How many times have you heard “he got rich from an internet start-up”?
Well those days are over. Businesses can not be separated into these two categories any more because the internet is such a huge part of everything that we do.
Today there are the strictly internet businesses that don’t have a physical presence, and then there are the brick-and-mortar businesses that have a physical presence but also must have an internet presence.
People search Google locally to find what they need on a daily basis. You need to be there! Yes, someone may just stop in to your store or restaurant to check it out, but most people don’t do that.
People get into routines. They drive the same streets every day. They have their favorite restaurants they revisit. They need to be able to find you online. You need to give them a reason to break out of their routine.
Plus, having an internet presence increases the range of your visibility. Someone 2 towns over may never see you just driving by solely for the reason that they never drive by. But they may be able to find you just browsing the internet.
Technology is such a huge part of our life that it basically tells us where to go. How often do you look to Google to find out where you can buy a certain item? My bet is pretty often. So I repeat myself: You need to be there!
Plus gas is too expensive now for you to be driving around looking for a store
A business has far more credibility if they have a website; especially a well designed website. In the past, a business with no physical address or phone number seemed a little shady. Having a website has now become a standard as well.
And what looks more legit on a business card: “contact@MyBusiness.com” or “MyBusiness@gmail.com”. What seems more trustworthy?
There is no better marketing than word-of-mouth and friends telling friends about your product or service. The great thing about today’s business environment is that it is far easier than it has ever been to create a social buzz around your brand.
This can be especially effective before your business even opens its doors. Create a pre-launch buzz around your new products and/or services and your location. Get people talking right off the bat so that you have interested customers from day one.
You can actually be one of those friends that are spreading the word through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. You may already have hundreds of friends on Facebook. Not utilizing that for some word-of-mouth marketing is a sin.
Having a good product is obviously a necessity. But there are plenty of good products out there. What can set you apart is the way you interact with your customers. Utilizing email lists allows you to interact “personally” with your customers.
What’s more effective: an ad in the local newspaper or a personalized email directly to the customers inbox? The big corporations are using email lists for a reason. They are more effective. And not only more effective, but also cheaper (go figure!). The great news is that you don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar corporation to use the same method.
Let your customers know of any news about your business. What new deals do you have? Let them be a part of your world. Personal connections can go a LONG way.
Brick-and-mortar businesses do not stay open 24/7/365 (in most cases). But the internet is always there. Your business is always open when you have a website. It is there to greet people even when you are sleeping.
You can be collecting information about your customers while you sleep. Use surveys to find out what your customers actually desire; or ask them how happy they are with your service. Offer them value so they keep coming back.
An internet presence also makes you more available in terms of ease of contact. It is usually easier to remember a website than a phone number. If existing, or potential, customers have questions it is far easier to contact you through your website (or even a Google Local business listing) than to go searching in the yellow pages.
Your business, as an internet entity, can be working for you even while you’re not working.
Do you use the internet to improve your brick-and-mortar business?
Did I miss any other benefits of utilizing the internet to improve your brick-and mortar business? (I’m sure I did :))