5 Strategies to Market Your Local Store Online – Start with a .BIZ Domain
Life no matter what we may say has changed! Normal or the new-normal – it doesn’t matter anymore as we’ve all adjusted to it. But this change does bring with it a set of new challenges, and if you’re a local store owner, we understand running your business in the midst of this pandemic is tougher than ever – be it connecting to your customers or finding new ones.
This reimagination of your local store and the journey forward in this digital world need not be challenging. However, if you’re new and need a tip or two on how to market your business online – this is the right place to start.
As with anything, we assume you are new to the online world and this is your first attempt at setting shop! According to a research survey published in 2019, ‘90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% looking every day.’ Moreover, 82% of consumers even read online reviews. Given the statistics, it is therefore important that your online business has a great marketing strategy in place.
Note: When we say marketing strategy we do not say you can compromise on the quality. Marketing is a means for consumers to know more about the awesome business you’re running.
In this article, we will cover the most important strategies for marketing your business online:
- Business website
- Social media presence
- Email marketing
- Registering on a listing site
- Engaging content
Let us get started in demystifying these for you in simple terms.
- Business website
The first and foremost step when taking your business online is to start by building a website. Yes, a social media account is alright, as well as, presence in the online marketplace but all these have to be backed up with your business website.
Here are 3 things you should keep in mind when building your website:
- Domain name
Your domain name is the first thing that makes an impression on your potential customer. Therefore, it should reflect your brand and the services you offer. Obviously, this becomes easy if you’ve already decided the name of your business, however, if you’ve not then the best course of action is to find one closest to your brand values and niche.
Next, it is important to keep the domain name as short and as simple, as possible. For instance, say your brand name is ‘Grocery Now’. Now there are several ways of registering this domain name, but as a potential customer online which one would you rather click on – www.grocery-now.biz or www.grocerynow.biz?
Domain names that are simple to remember are most likely to be remembered and thus, clicked. So, avoid using numbers, difficult spellings, long names, hyphen etc. to your domain name. Keeping it simple and crisp is the key!
Next, it is crucial that the domain extension you use should also give a fair idea of your business. As you are a local store, it makes more sense to choose a domain extension that reflects that. One of our recommended domain extensions is .BIZ.
For instance, if you’ve chosen, www.grocerynow.biz, you’re letting your customers know you’re a business as the .BIZ domain extension is synonyms with businesses, it is short and crisp, suits your business irrespective of it being small or big and, it is even great for the SEO of your website.
After you’ve decided on the domain name, it is time to register it and make it live. The choice of the hosting provider and the type of hosting depends on your website, the traffic you estimate it will receive, the money you want to invest, etc.
Ideally, for a startup online business Shared Hosting looks like the best bet, however, depending on your business model this might not be the case. If this sounds like jargon to you, you can read our ultimate guide to understanding web hosting, and choose the one that best fits your needs!
A mobile-friendly website is the need of the hour. What are the odds – you are reading this article on your mobile device? Well – there’s a 50% chance that you are. Hence, it is important that your website is mobile-friendly and responsive.
Want to check if your website passes the test? Run your website through the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google, and hey if it isn’t responsive – you know what to do right? Make it responsive!
2. Social media presence
Social media has dominated us and we’re connected to it on a daily basis, for both personal and professional pursuits. For this reason, investing in social media marketing is an essential marketing strategy.
Here are three things you need to take care of:
- Deciding on a social media channel
The choice of a social media channel strongly depends on the audience you are catering. If you’re a ‘grocery store’ having a presence on Instagram and Facebook makes more sense than LinkedIn or Twitter.
Choosing the right channel can help you focus on what you want to market and how you want to do. As you are just starting out, focus on building your presence on one channel – once you’ve made a name for yourself, your customers will recognise you across different social channels.
- Build your channel
It takes time and effort to connect with your customers via social media. Use engaging creatives, captions, clickbaity Ads, etc. A visually appealing social media channel can attract costumes to read more and know more.
- Register it with your business name
Lastly, make sure that your register your social account using your business name.
Pro Tip: Think big, and register your business name on all the social media accounts you think you could market your business. So, when the time comes – you need not worry about someone already having registered it!
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is a powerful way to communicate with your customers. It not only gives you direct access to their mailboxes but also, allows you to cater to them for their specific needs.
To do so, you first need to create a list of subscribers. The easiest way to accomplish that is to have a ‘Subscription Form’ on your website, or once your customer has made a purchase – ask them for their email address. Initially, your database may be small but as more and more customers register themselves you get a chance to analyse them better and implement the learnings to promote your business better!
4. Registering on a listing site
Remember the 90s and the fat Yellow Pages directory? If you’re a millennial you most likely do remember. A listing website is nothing but the online version of your Yellow Pages.
However, this is one online marketing strategy that businesses can miss or not think of investing in. Nevertheless, creating and claiming listings is a great way to market your business and be found by potential customers easily.
Some of the popular listing sites include:
- Google My Page
- City Search
- Yahoo Local
- Bing Local
Make sure no matter which site you choose, your listing should be accurate, professional and up-to-date.
5. Engaging content
Lastly, comes the content but it should not be taken lightly as ‘Content is King’. No matter where your content goes – business website, social media account, listing site, emails, blogs, etc. it should be engaging and useful to the customer.
Yes, you should always use search engine optimization (SEO) and keywords for your content to be easily found. However, it is crucial to remember, content that is not relevant or repetitive will drive the user away instead of engaging them.
One simple way to make sure your customer connects with your content is to analyze their shopping habits, the posts they click, the pages they visit and so on. Your content marketing strategy should aim to reflect your business and enhance your user’s experience. After all, online is all about data and data is nothing but content!
Establishing a digital presence for your local store might seem like a daunting task but it isn’t. All you need is patience and the right online marketing strategy and tools, and you’re good to go!