Everyone with a business on the web has questions about e-commerce, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. They ask – How will e-commerce change my business, all my customers are local? How does SEO apply to my brick-and-mortar business? Why does social media marketing matter to my mom-and-pop operation? –and I quickly point out that the internet has gone mobile.
Thanks to smart phones and wireless high-speed internet access, shoppers no longer need to wait until they get home to compare prices, features, and reviews of products and services. The mobile web has inspired a new trend in “showrooming”. In the early days of the internet, people would arrive at a store with a pen and paper to take notes before comparing prices online. As the early smart phones acquired cameras, the pen and paper was replaced with a camera phone.
Today, the savvy shopper arrives with the power of the internet in the palm of their hand, and their camera doubles as a bar code scanner. Some shoppers are only looking for the lowest price and they’re willing to wait for shipping, but others are looking for the lowest local price at a store they trust. Having your inventory available online and search able from mobile devices can bring waves of business from these tech savvy shoppers.
Today, SEO is important to every business, even the ones that don’t have a website. This point can be driven home by asking your family and friends one simple question – The last time you were looking for a local business, did you use the phone book or the internet?
Millions of people are asking Siri and Google to find local restaurants, cafés, movie theaters, attractions, parts stores, and other businesses. These results are based on local search data and search engine optimization ensures your business will appear in these results.
Social Media Marketing
The beauty of social media marketing is its similarity to word-of-mouth advertising. Basically, someone you know and trust recommends a product or service to you and you are more likely to try it simply because they recommended it. The same is true of social media marketing, except the number of friends which receive the recommendation is many times larger.
There are various ways for customers to recommend your products and services to their friends online, but they all require that you setup an account with the various social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are the top three. When someone visits your store, uses your product, or enlists your services they can share the experience with their friends. They may take the form of a written review/post, a photograph, or a simple check-in. Either way they are telling their friends they know your business and recommend it.