In today’s world, it’s all about transforming your brick-and-mortar business into a destination – a place where customers are excited to visit. Quality customer service, extensive product/service knowledge, and your storefront’s overall vibe are important pieces of the puzzle. But the digital world we live in today demands a positive online experience as well, with positive interactions and quality content that share your brand story.

By their very nature, websites for brick-and-mortar businesses attract people in every stage of the buying cycle: while many people find your business on the Web and then visit your store, other users might see traditional ads for your business (such as billboards, radio ads, print ads, or even just word of mouth), and this may cause them to seek your business online. Or users may be return customers checking back on a particular product or service after visiting your establishment. There are a lot of SEO and social tactics that can increase your site traffic, but for brick-and-mortar business, that’s only half the battle.

Regardless of how or why users are on your site, the objective for a brick-and-mortar business should always be to convert users into customers. But how do you turn website traffic into brick-and-mortar traffic, and vice versa? We give our top six tips below.

  1. Kick your social media presence into high gear.No more automated posts or dull updates – if you want more brick-and-mortar traffic, engagement should be paramount. And not just any engagement: targeted engagement. With a little legwork and a bit of innovation, brick and mortar brands can build quite a local following, which can lead to brand loyalty and thus a healthy conversion rate. Social media contests, discounts and even scavenger hunts are fun ways to build positive awareness for your business and get people in the door. Rather than looking like just another company, you can make yourself look like the dynamic local business that is giving its customers something. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Get your company on all relevant social platforms, and be prepared to update regularly with unique content. And if you just don’t have the time, let the experts at Sage Island execute your social media strategyfor you.
  2. Target audiences through paid social media ads and PPC campaigns.Remember that when it comes to advertising, quantity is important but quality is key. Fifty followers within your demographic are better than one thousand new followers unlikely to utilize your services. And with paid advertising, you have the opportunity to select targeting criteria based on those buyer personas. These factors include age, education level, gender, interest, income, relationship status and more. That means that you can essentially cherry pick who sees your PPC and social ads to get the highest brick-and-mortar conversion rate.
  3. Go local. When your business is local, you need to be easily found by your prospects. And in a competitive marketplace, it’s important to take advantage and optimize every factor within your control. The information that appears online – well beyond the look, feel and functionality of your website – has the power to make or break a sale. Don’t let potential customers down with incorrect or outdated information on the Web (pro tip: try Google My Business). Write good content that’s relevant to your local audience, optimize your site based on how locals search, and make sure you’re using local landing pages.
  4. Use responsive design.Now more than ever, consumers are looking to their smartphones to decide where they want to spend their money. Whether it’s shopping, looking up reviews for local restaurants, or even just seeing which stores are closest to them, most of today’s consumers are searching for fast, clear answers. Using responsive design is a great way to help customers find you easily on any device, and increases their brand trust.
  5. Send out email newsletters.If you own a brick-and-mortar business, email newsletters just became your new best friend. By providing a fast, simple email newsletter sign-up option both in your business and online, you are setting up a system of communication between you and the people actively interested in your brand’s products and services. In order to get the most out of email newsletters, be sure to follow current best practices, and create genuinely useful content as a reminder to your core audience that you are still there for them. Don’t just send something for the sake of sending something –nothing drives a user to that ‘unsubscribe’ button faster than content that seems like spam.
  6. Turn customers into brand advocates.Your marketing campaign doesn’t end once you’ve made the sale. The way to continue the cycle is to take satisfied customers and turn them into brand advocates though social media and the Web. Encourage customers to write testimonials and submit content on social media, or offer local discounts to get them back in. Offer various incentives to get your customers and potential customers engaged. Create share-worthy content across all platforms! You’ll be increasing interest and sales, but more importantly, you’ll be cultivating a community and facilitating discussions about your brand in the social space.

Sage Island has more than 17 years of experience in the greater Wilmington community helping brands reach their potential.

Written by Regina Diperna, Sage Island