David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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Four ways to get your retail business online

It’s almost comical to imagine it, but there are still a ton of businesses that are not online.  I know, right?  That includes retailers.  But it is never too late to get online and discover how the Internet can make your business take off, as Brian Young discovered.  He got punched in the face, but you don’t have to take it that far to see why getting online makes good business sense.

Here are a few ways to quickly get online.  There is so much more than this that you can do, of course, if you want to be serious about it.  But this is a start.

Get your retail store online

1. Invest in a website.

Having your own website on your own domain is the basic foundation for your online presence.  As a retailer, you are selling products, so you need to make sure it is eCommerce enabled.  You can have a site designed and programmed from scratch, or you can invest in an eCommerce website builder  like www.web.com that comes with features like shopping carts to help people make their purchases and databases to store your product information. Here is a your eCommerce game plan.

2. Start blogging.

This is almost an advanced tactic, because so many eCommerce website owners just don’t “get” this yet.  A website that just sells is just a store.  But the Internet is the “Information Highway”, and you need information to draw people to you through the search engines, through social media and through referrals.

If all you have is products, that’s like a restaurant that has only food.  People go to grocery stores for food; they go to restaurants for the experience.  People go to boutiques for shopping; they go to the Internet for information.  If you provide great information, people will get interested and buy your products.

So what would you blog about?

  • Innovative ways to use your products.
  • News about your niche (Keep an eye out for stories on Google News).
  • How-to tips related to your products.
  • Things of interest to your niche market (If you sell products to plumbers, anything about plumbing is great!)
  • Customer pics, if you have a visual product.
  • Anything else that will be helpful to your target market and endear you to them.

3. Synchronize your online and offline marketing.

You are probably already doing offline marketing.  Make sure to synchronize the two.  Your website should make it easy to find your retail locations, and your billboards and business cards should make it easy to find your website URL.

Furthermore, your website can be an extension of your offline marketing, because there is infinite room for information on your website.  For instance, you might put your top three offers in a pamphlet with a short summary and a call to action.  But don’t forget to include your URL with an invitation to read more details online – because online is where you have room for more details.

4. Hire professional online marketers.

So much of this can be done by you, but professional digital marketers can do it better.  For instance, professionals can write and promote your blog posts.  They can give your content better reach in social media and in the search engines.

It is still best do your own social media interaction, because delegating your conversations is just not “social”. You should look to professional marketers for guidance and strategy, and many tasks can be delegated to them.  But from my experience, it works best when you work together with a professional, taking their advice and feeding them information.

Why is it so important to get a pro team on board?  Because a website that just sits there is of absolutely no value to you.  Blog content that doesn’t get read won’t advance your business.  Just like with your retail location, your web real estate needs promotion.  And if you are reading this article because you have not yet developed an online presence, there is so much you don’t yet know.  This really is “Online Presence 101”, an absolute beginner’s guide and starter kit.






 

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2 Responses to “Four ways to get your retail business online”

  1. Brent Jones (7 comments) Says:

    Nice topic, David! I’ll share it to my Facebook page tomorrow.

    My wife and I moved to the small town of Fort Erie, Ontario last year… and we’re astonished at how many local businesses have zero online visibility.

    Might need to drop off printed copies of your article to a few local businesses I frequent. 😉

    Have an awesome day,

    Brent

  2. David Leonhardt (160 comments) Says:

    I am sure you’ll be getting them all online soon, Brent. :-)

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