A lot of local businesses still aren’t looking at digital marketing the way they should be. It’s looked at as a secondary effort, in which extra time and money can be spent. If you’re spending more money on newspaper, radio, or even TV ads than you are on digital, your business is already dying.
If you want any hope or surviving the next five years, you need to dedicate 90% of your time and marketing budget to digital. Social Media, Online Directories, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, you name it, you need to be there. Digital marketing is no longer a secondary consideration, it’s the primary. Traditional media is totally irrelevant with todays consumer, and they rarely consider walking through your door without first spending a few minutes online digging up reviews and searching social media.
The chart below analyzes how buying decisions have been made over time. Just 5 short years ago, 40% of buying decisions were made in store, face to face. By 2015, only 15% of buying decisions were made in store! That means 85% of customers already made up their mind before even walking in.
So how do you take control of how your customers view your business, and influence their buying decisions. Simple, you need to optimize and manage your virtual doorway. Your virtual doorway is essentially what a customer sees when they discover your business online. This doorway consists of 5 pillars outlined in the image below. When managed correctly, businesses with a positive online reputation generate between 6-9% more revenue each year, compared to having a negative or non existent presence. That number is huge, and I don’t know about you but I think I speak for most business owners when I say: I’d love a 9% revenue increase!
So how do you make the transition? Simple, start by having your online presence evaluated and compare to competitors in your local market. See how you stack up, and identify both your strong and weak points. We can help you with that totally free HERE
Once you have an idea of how you stand, you can start by fixing two of the five core components of your virtual doorway, Listings & Online Reviews. Start by listing your business on as many directories as possible, and claiming any unclaimed listings. Ensure information is consistent across all of them. Start by making sure you’ve claimed your Google Business listing as this is #1, you can create one here if you don’t have it yet: https://www.google.com/business/
You can then proceed to claim listings on sites like www.411.ca and www.yp.ca but also industry specific directories such as www.zomato.com if you’re a restaurant or www.dealerrater.com if you’re a car dealership. Find out how Suits Social makes it easy to optimize and manage all of your online business listings HERE
Next you can tackle your online reviews by responding to all reviews both positive and negative. Make sure you handle all reviews professionally and with courtesy. Don’t forget that even positive reviews provide a great opportunity to prompt word of moth referrals and even upsells. Your going to want to make sure your business is listed on all directories that allow reviews specific to your industry. You also want to make sure you monitor daily the big 4: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook (Your business better have a FB page!), & your Google Reviews. They will likely be the first thing customers find when they search for your business, make sure what they find is positive and represents you well. You also want to make sure you have a system in place to generate new reviews from as many customers as possible, and preferably have a way to screen them before publishing/sharing. Find out how Suits Social helps you manage your online reviews HERE
Now all of that was just the basics. It’s the bare minimum, just like putting gas in the car before you can drive. Once you establish the foundation you can then proceed to explore social media advertising, content marketing, Email Marketing, even direct SMS marketing.
Learn more about how Suits Social helps businesses dominate the digital landscape by visiting us online at https://www.suitssocial.com
Thanks for reading!