I want to know how to make an online presence for my local business? I have been running a local business for the past 5 years selling wigs, hair products and cosmetics with similar shops in the same shopping arcade.
My business seems to be the only one in the whole arcade that is not growing in terms of new clientele. Unlike my business, my next door neighbours even get customers coming from far and my checks revealed they got referrals from social media and other online sources.
I am not a social media or online savvy but I really want to catch up with the new trends and get my business to grow and profit from these online strategies.
I need your advice.
Dear ADZO, There is no need to fret or feel left behind. Below are a four solid ways, as basic steps, that you can take to lay a foundation to make an online presence of your local business.
Rest assured, you will also get a share of the online profit and grow your business.
I know most people would start by telling you how you desperately need a website. I don’t disagree but it’s just that not everyone needs a website. If you are a local grocery store, a website might help you in the long run but your first task should be to make more and more people aware about your physical store.
Once that happens, you can start selling online. My first priority would be to take Facebook seriously. You need to create a Facebook page for your local business, complete with profile and cover pics – make sure they show happy customers – and description with your store address (a map would be great) and contact details. Then ask your friends to like that page.
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Whenever a person likes a page, many of his friends get the information on their newsfeed. This increases visibility of your store. Many will open your page. Now, the next strategy is to get them to like it and come to your store. Announce a Facebook exclusive offer. Like you would offer free delivery or nominal discount for one order to anyone who orders using Facebook. This is how you get new customers.
This is something that is ignored quite often as we underestimate the importance of getting listed on online aggregators. If you are a restaurant, cosmetic shop, hair business or any other, you need to be listed on Google My Business.
Make sure you provide all the details to the concerned aggregator. Most of the times that people Google the thing that they are looking for, it’s one of these aggregators that turn up and if you are listed on them, you are sure to get more customers.
Once you have done the above two things and you are pretty sure that your store or business has benefits from getting a fully functional website – be it for providing information about your service or for actually selling your goods or services online – you should focus on building a website.
Take professional help if you are building an e-commerce site as there are many aspects like payment gateway, store and inventory management that may confuse you if you are not tech friendly.
Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – I know a lot of people swear by the fact that these sites have helped them a lot but is really dependent on the kind of business that you have.
A restaurant or a YouTuber or photo blogger might be much more benefitted by Instagram. An ecommerce site might instead focus on Twitter to tackle customer complaints. Make sure you understand your target audience before investing time, money and effort into these sites.