Brick and mortar stores have begun to adapt to the digital age. Before the rise of technology, businesses would rely on traditional advertising to bring in customers. Owners would promote their business by setting up billboards and hand out flyersto generate foot traffic.Nowadays, customer traffic to your stores may be generated online with the help of a website that contain relevant pages of your products and services. Here are a few tips that can help generate foot traffic to your business with the help of SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization, is a process that involves optimizing a website in order to appear onsearch engines like Google and Bing’s 1st page of search results. Search Enginesscan your website and create an “index” that search engines store in their database. Think of search engines as the librarian of the internet. As the librarian, it’s the search engine’s job to hand out the book that best matches your inquiries.
Like any good book, you want your website to have the right content so the search engine, or librarian, will choose your website to be displayed. SEO makes the librarian (search engine) inform readers (customers) that your book (website) is the closest match to what they are looking for.
The following SEO tips are essential for businesses to drive foot traffic to their stores. Let’s apply the first tip using an example.Let’s pretend you are a customer who wants to visit a local business. You suddenly had a craving for Chinese food. Since you’re hungry and looking for a place to eat, you’ll enter the term “Chinese restaurants near me.” Here’s where Local SEO comes into play.
Think of the Google as your guide. As a customer looking for Chinese restaurants, businesses need to be visible when customers search online. This is where the “Snack Pack” comes in handy. The Snack Pack is a mapped display on google that showcases the different businesses you are searching for.
1C1 Partners, an agency that provides Denver SEO services, mentions that 45% of users who make an inquiry in searchselect one three listithe map pack.
These are the following sections to take note of in the Snack Pack. The first section is a map that pinpoints all the restaurants listed. Second is the filter. You can narrow your choices based on your preference. Adjust the filter to show you a list organize by star ratings, operating hours and price. Third, you can find information on the restaurant. All the information you need can be found on the cards including title, rating, address, operating hours and a brief description of the place.
The Snack Pack provides general information on the places you’re looking for. Having details on the Snack Pack can potentially bring in more customers because you can provide reviews, addresses. operating hours and images to give visitors an easier time to drop by.
How do you appear on the Snack Pack? Through Google My Business Listings.
Claim your Business Listings
Google lists businesses on the Snack Pack, Maps, and on the Search Engine through Google My Business. Google My Business is the business listings of Google where you may create or claim ownership of a business and input information that Google will display on its results. Use this feature and fill up relevant information of your business to show potential visitors that you are the true owner of the location.
2 Once a Google My Business listing is optimized with the correct business information and is verified, the information should appear on a knowledge graph when users search for your business.
You will find a short description of the business, its address, operating hours and telephone number. Other listings would also include the website of the store. Notice how convenient the listing is for me as a buyer? When you have all the details of your business listings available, customers know where to find your store, contact you, and check out your website to see if your services or products are what they are looking for.
Claiming a business listing makes things easier for the customer to drop by and make a purchase. There’s no need to scroll down and find the relevant information of the store because you would find the details on the business listing right away once you make a search on Google.
Improve Your Online Presence
You may improve your online presence by working on the following to improve your website:
- CreateAmazing Content for your Website
Creating relevant and quality content is a must for any business. As the owner, you want to make content that will helpyour customers understand what your products andservices can do for them. Userelevant keywords that visitors may enter on search engines to find your business.
- Mobile-Friendly Website
Majority of buyers visit a website before making a purchase. A study conducted by Performics shows that 32 percent of buyers relied on mobile search more than their computer. Create a mobile-responsive website to make the viewing experience a breeze for your customers with friendly versions of your website on mobile or desktop.
Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS)
Customers would rather save and skip shipping costs. And to comply with the demand of customers,many retailers have given customers the option to pick up their items in-store. Despite the rise of e-commerce, many people still prefer to purchase items in the establishment instead of receiving the item online. The hassle of having to wait for the delivery man is time-consuming and frustrating so, people would rather pick up the items in-store.
3 The option to pick up items in store carries a lot of benefits for customers looking to buy.
Picking up items in the store gives buyers a ton of benefits they would never get if they bought online.
- Buyers can get their concerns handled immediately when in the store.
- They don’t have to spend more money on returning the item they received.
- Customers may even be convinced to buy more items while in-store
- Picking up in the store doesn’t just let sellers handle concerns immediately, buyers said they even ended up buying more because they were in the shop.
4 The image above shows how BOPIS convinced shoppers to buy more items while in-store.
Another idea that businesses can use is to allow reservations online and purchase the items in-store. Apple has done this with the iPhone several times which always results in long lines. Businesses can generate excitement when they show upcoming items online and customers may be convinced to buy more when they collect their items because they were excited.
Offer Mobile Promotions Redeemable In-Store
Who doesn’t love a sale? Giving users a promo code helps entice them to purchase items. Update your customers through your website with promos that are only redeemable in-store. Convince your customers to drop by to purchase the item or service that they saw on your website so that you can provide a personalized experience in your store and showcase the rest of your products. There are a few types of discounts that can help you bring in more foot traffic.
- Buy One, Get One: A promotion like this helps you get rid of old stock
- Percentage Off: Give customers a certain percentage off, if they purchase in-store
- Expiring Promotions-Send codes to customers that would expire on a pay weekend
You can drive foot traffic to your stores by taking advantage of what the SEO can improve on your website.Other than harnessing improvements on your website, give customerswhat that they are looking for by having great content on a mobile responsive website. Claim your business listings or create them so customers will have no issues locating or contacting your business. Convince customers to spend with help of digital codes that can only be used in store.While not all of these tips may apply to all businesses, these SEO tips will help improve foot traffic to your store by addressing the needs of your customers.
Dan Smink is the founder of C1 Partners, a Denver SEO company that helps small to medium enterprises with their digital marketing strategy. Dan comes from a background of 20 years in business leadership and has a track record of helping businesses achieve million dollar revenue values. He is an active community leader and a contributor to the Forbes.com’s Agency Council spreading the word on how digital strategies can make a positive impact on today’s businesses.