Websites, Google, Facebook, Search Engines, Online Video Marketing, Link Building, Local Search, Twitter, YouTube, Pay Per Click Advertising, Social Networking, SERPs, e-Mail Marketing, SEO, Organic Search, LinkedIn, Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Blogs, Shopping Carts, Natural Search, Social Media, Bookmarking, Bing, Text Messaging, Yahoo, Facebook Business Pages, Pay Per View Ads, and on and on it goes.
Augh! It All Seems So Confusing! Where Do You Start? What Is Most Important?
In this article let’s take a step back and look at all that the Internet offers us in the way of marketing our stores and how we can implement them.
Having your own website for your store on a domain name that you own is the base or hub that you build all your Internet Marketing around. All of your other online marketing efforts will link directly or indirectly to your website. This common connection builds unity in your marketing efforts which establish you as an authority. New customers may visit your store because of other online marketing efforts without ever seeing your website, but your website remains the center that everything else is built upon.
Today this is more affordable than ever before. Domain names are $10 a year and website hosting can be found for as little as $3 a month. A great website for a brick-n-mortar retail store can be created for around $500.
While pictures of your store and jewelry are important elements of your website, a minimum of 200 words of text MUST be on each page of your website. The search engines such as Google cannot see what is in a picture. They can only tell what your website is about from the text on the pages. In addition, if all your potential customers see when they visit your website is pictures, they will not be enticed to get off the Internet and into their cars to drive to your store to make a purchase (the goal of Internet Marketing for brick-n-mortar stores). The text on your pages should be sales orientated “selling” the online viewer on the virtues of shopping with you in your store versus buying online or from one of your competitors.
2. Search Engines
Once you have your website established you need to start marketing it so that it will show up on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). When someone is looking for product information or looking for a place at which to shop, they still go to the search engines. When have you gone to Facebook or Twitter and typed in a search for a product you want to buy? Google reports that 20% of all of their searches (approx. 2.6 billion searches a month) are for local businesses, and with the emergence of SmartPhones this is expected to increase.
Targeting your marketing efforts to your local geographical area is called “Local Search Marketing” and is the most effective online marketing for local brick-n-mortar stores. Listing your store and website in Google Maps is the first thing you should do. Then start listing it in yellow page and other business directories.
Once this is done, start creating posts about your store on as many different types of websites as possible. These include but are not limited to; videos on video hosting sites such as YouTube, Blog posts, articles in article directories, document sharing websites, photo sharing websites, and social media websites such as Squidoo. Not only will the links on these websites help your website appear in the search engines, each of these pages can also appear. By creating many different pages you can have numerous pages show up on a search results page. When you start to have 5, 6 or more of the top 10 listings you will look like the authority in your industry to potential customers.
3. Social Networking
Social Media and Social Networking are extremely popular and many Internet Marketers are extolling their virtues. However, local brick-n-mortar stores need to be cautious in their zeal to put all their online marketing efforts into Social Networking. We have already discussed that when someone is looking to buy a product or find a store at which to shop, they turn to the Search Engines NOT Social Networking. In addition, Facebook and Twitter users are three times more likely to buy online! Why spend all your efforts on consumers who are least likely to buy from you?
However Social Networking, if done right, can be an effective part of your online marketing. Social Networking is one of the best opportunities to develop relationships with your current clients and bring them back into your store. It also provides your current customers a platform to share your information with their friends and acquaintances. It’s Word of Mouth Advertising on Steroids!
When developing your Social Networking strategy it is essential to your success to integrate all Five of the Top Social Network Websites. This combined approach reaching across various platforms creates a powerful network that provides you the greatest marketing success. There are over 1600 different Social Media websites, but don’t worry, you don’t need to be involved with all of them. Utilize the top 5 and forget about all the rest.
The Top 5 Social Network Websites are:
• Facebook the largest Social Media website - 600 million users can’t all be wrong! Your customers and potential customers are among them.
• Twitter the fastest growing Social Media website - 300,000 new users every day. 33% of Twitter users have household income of over $100,000 per year.
• LinkedIn the largest Business to Business Network – It’s how you’re viewed professionally. All the top executives and high-end clients spend time here.
• YouTube the leader in online video - over 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Video has a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of search results. Adding YouTube videos to your other 4 Social Networking profiles can double your chances of gaining and retaining fans, friends, followers, or connections.
• WordPress Blog the most overlooked and most important link to Social Media success - Consumers trust blogs more than twice as much as Facebook and Twitter. Plus, businesses that have Blogs receive 55% more traffic than those that don’t.
4. e-Mail Marketing (& Text Messaging)
With all the press about Social Networking, e-Mail Marketing has taken a back seat in the minds of all but the most successful marketers. Developing and maintaining a comprehensive e-Mail list of your current and potential customers is still a powerful marketing tool. Remember, your Friend and Fan lists on Facebook are owned by Facebook, NOT You! If anything ever happened to Facebook you would loose all your contacts. The same can be said about Twitter and all the other Social Networking websites.
Your e-Mail list is one of your most valuable assets. You should be constantly working on collecting current e-Mail addresses and maintaining your list as well as sending frequent, relevant messages to them. There is still no better method to quickly and inexpensively reach your customers than e-Mail Marketing.
In addition, with the development of bulk Text Messaging and Direct to Voice Mail technologies you also need to be collecting cell phone numbers in your database.
5. Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads
The most popular PPC advertising programs are Google’s AdWords and Facebook Ads. These programs allow the advertiser to place their Ads on Google’s search results pages and on Facebook webpages. There is no cost to set-up the ads. You are charged only when someone clicks on your ads. You can bid on how much you are willing to pay for the clicks and the ads are placed based on the highest bidders as well as several other ranking factors.
Often Internet Marketers recommend PPC Ads because it is easy for them to get you onto page one of the search results, and they don’t have the knowledge to get you there any other way. This is, of course, at your expense in placing high bids!
PPC Ad campaigns can be effective if done right, but very expensive if not constantly monitored by a knowledgeable marketer. These campaigns are most effective if combined with the first 4 marketing methods we have already covered in this article and should not be done until you have a firm grasp on your Internet Marketing.
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