Getting new local customers can be challenging in today’s marketplace. The internet has made it both easier and more difficult to attract new customers. You need to pay attention to the 5 Pillars of the “Virtual Doorway” to attract new customers online. How does your business stack up?
Pillar 1 – Advertising
Traditional advertising in newspapers and magazines is not very effective anymore. Running an ad in the newspaper used to be the main way customers found out about a business. But people don’t read newspapers today. They get their news online. Building brand awareness is still very important but the method to do this has changed. It’s important to advertise where your customers can be found, and that means advertising online. The question to ask is: Do your potential customers know about you?
Pillar 2 – Listings
Listings on the various review sites and search engine optimization (SEO) are vitally important today. People use the internet to look for a business 76% of the time before visiting a new business. They want to know more about your product or services before they even come in or give you a call. Your business needs to be listed in the major review sites with accurate information. The question to ask is: Can your potential customers find you?
Pillar 3 – Reputation
The third important pillar is your reputation online. Do you know what your customers are saying about you? Do you monitor the review sites for negative reviews. It’s not enough to have accurate listing on the review sites, you need to proactively engage your customers online. Respond quickly and respectfully to any negative reviews you see. Responding to positive reviews also goes a long way in building trust online. The question to ask is: Do your customers trust you?
Pillar 4 – Social
Are you active on social media? Are you paying attention to the feedback your customers are giving you? Having an active social media presence can have multiple benefits to your business. Social media is a great way to advertise your business online. You can focus your ads to specific customers and locations. Social media is a great way for your customers to learn more about you and your business. Share the good things that are happening in your community and participate and post pictures. Pay attention to the feedback your customers are giving you. It’s a great way to get ideas for new products and services as well as understand your customer’s needs. The question to ask is: Do your customers like you?
Pillar 5 – Website
What is the experience like for people who visit your website? Is it easy for people to find your phone number or address? Can visitors navigate your site easily and find the most important information quickly. And most importantly, does your website look great on a mobile device? More and more, people use their mobile devices to locate and check out a business online. If you only rely on social media for your web presence you are making a big mistake. Websites are important to search engines and give a sense of legitimacy to your business. People will look for a website and if they don’t find one, they often leave and go to a business that has a website. The question to ask is: Do your potential customers buy from you?
Pillar 6 – CRM
Another pillar to consider is your CRM or customer service management. CRM is becoming more important in our online world. Adding your customers to a data base and contacting them on a regular basis with offers and specials builds loyalty. It’s not just contacting them via email. You can also use your CRM to send out snail-mail (postcards) or text messages. The important thing is to have a way to keep in contact with your customers. It’s much easier to sell to someone who has purchased from you before than to get new customers. The question to ask is: Do your customer remain loyal to you?
Take some time and review your online marketing process. Are you paying attention to these 5 Pillars of the Virtual Doorway? Where do you need to improve? Some activities are one-time events, i.e., setting up a website or social media site. Other activities require daily attention, i.e., monitoring your reputation and posting to social media. Decide if this is something you can do on your own or if you need expert assistance. The process can seem overwhelming, but we can help. Give us a call to see how we can provide automation and/or personal assistance in getting your business online and finding more local customers.