Online marketing is crucial to small business success today–but on its own, it’s not always enough. Do you have a brick-and-mortar business with an online component, such as a retail store that also sells products online or an accounting business with a website featuring blogs and tax advice? If you want to get more website traffic, one of the smartest moves you can make is to integrate both offline and online marketing tactics.
Sure, online marketing is important for a website (or even for a brick-and-mortar business), but many small business owners forget how offline marketing can also drive traffic to a website. Here are some tips.
Make sure your business is listed in local search directories. When consumers go online to search for what you sell, your company is a lot more likely to turn up in their search results if you’re listed on search directories such as YellowPages.com or Local.com. Getting listed is free—in fact, chances are the bare-bones info about your company is already on these sites. Visit them and make sure your listings are correct and updated. Then add more info, such as hours, directions, phone number, and photos. The more info you provide, the more it boosts SEO.
Get brick-and-mortar customers to your business website. With social media increasingly important to online marketing, getting offline customers to go online and interact with your business can boost its profile on social media and help spread the word. Use signage in your store or office to highlight your website URL. Put it on your store window. Bonus: Customers who walk by your business during off hours can check your company out online even though the physical location is closed.
Think print. Your business website URL should be on every piece of marketing collateral that you create—your business cards and letterhead, your store shopping bags, your receipts or invoices, your product packaging, your brochures and media kits. You can imprint it on promotional items like mugs and T-shirts, put it on the banner at your tradeshow booth—you get the picture.
Don’t forget traditional advertising. Whether you’re advertising in the local newspaper or on a bus stop bench, make sure to include your website URL. Depending on the cost and longevity of the ad, it’s a good idea to create a specific URL and a “squeeze page” with a special offer/call to action related to the ad. For instance, if you’re an attorney advertising on a bus stop bench about your divorce services, you could have the URL www.yourpractice.com/divorce and take users to a squeeze page where they can fill out a form to be contacted for a free consultation. If you’re advertising in a local paper, you could use www.yourpractice.com/suntimes or whatever the name of the paper is. This enables you to track results from different types of advertising. You should also show your URL on cable TV ads and spell it out on radio.
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Maria Valdez Haubrich
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.