Many designers are hopping on the SEO Video trend in 2017 and their clients take their word as the gospel truth and put all their marketing dollars into that basket without considering what the real effects are of ignoring other key items and options they should be taking advantage of. Video has it’s place in digital marketing for sure, but with the rise of personal assistants such as OK Google, Siri, Alexa and the like Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence are going to be the key motivator for helping in-person sales when one can simply ask the assistant “What is available for family fun’ in ‘insert your town here’ or ‘Where’s the best place to eat’ in ‘insert your location here’ … ask and be told what you want to know.
It’s no secret that in-store traffic is valuable for most businesses. In fact, while the average website conversion rate is 2.35% across industries, for in-store traffic the average conversion rate is 33%. That is to say – if you can move that website visitor to knock on your door, there is roughly a 1 in 3 chance they will make a purchase. So how can you make that happen?
Here are six ways you can use digital marketing to drive in-person visits to your business location:
1. Optimize Your Website
Did you know that your user’s experience begins before a prospect even visits your page? User experience begins wherever on the web prospects find you. Everyday consumers turn to search engines like Google to find answers to what they are looking for. Some experts say that as much as 30% of all searches queries have local intent.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, uses a knowledge of search engines and how they work to update and tweak your website to make sure you are easier to find in the search engine results pages. A secondary impact of a well-optimized site is a better user experience on your page. This is because when determining your page rank (where you land on the search results page), search engines account for everything from navigation, to page load times, fresh relevant content, images, media, and more.
In addition to a strong SEO strategy, a few things to consider for your website that can help increase in-store visits:
- Online appointment scheduling – Appointments can be scheduled after-hours!
- Calls to action – Make it clear what the next steps are. Ex: Visit us today!
- Print-at-home and mobile coupons – That can only be redeemed in-store
2. Take Advantage of Paid Search
For searches with high commercial intent, paid listings still reign supreme. They receive preferred placement at the top of the search engine results page across Google, Yahoo, and Bing. We’ve already talked about local intent and how important it is to rank for these searches. How can you optimize your PPC campaign to be competitive for these searches and increase in-store visits?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Be sure you are targeting all relevant geos
- Make sure all relevant geos are included in your keyword list
- Check your keyword list for “near me” keywords
- Utilize ad scheduling to bid more aggressively during business hours
- Consider optimizing for mobile users
3. Get Smart About Social
Social media marketing yields hard-to-measure results. And with all the other aspects of your business that need to be managed, Twitter or Facebook may be last on your list. However, if you are not taking advantage of social media at all, you could be missing out on opportunities to drive in-store visits.
Facebook is a great place to start – it hosts a wide demographic of users in every geography and is relatively simple to use. You don’t need to post daily to be successful, but you do need to have a presence. Here are a few easy ways to encourage in-person visits using Facebook:
- Optimize your profile
- Make certain your business information is accurate (including location address and hours)
- Showcase positive customer experiences
- Promote sales or store events with Facebook Ads
- Share pictures of goods and/or services
4. Harness the Power of Mobile
With the advent of the smartphone, today’s world is smaller than ever. We are always connected; even while we dream. A recent study found that 71% of people sleep with their smartphones. You can take advantage of the amount of screen time prospects spend on their phones and tablets with mobile advertising. Geofencing is a cost-effective way to get in front of your local prospects while they are on the go. Whether you want to target a radius around your store, or even target local competitors directly, your brand can appear on the screen of users just steps from your door. And it presents you with another perfect opportunity to entice them with coupons or specials.
5. Don’t Forget Current Customers
When putting together a marketing plan designed to drive in-person visits, you cannot neglect your loyal customers. Returning customers are the most valuable segment of your business. They keep coming back to use your services time and again – increasing their lifetime value. And they also become brand ambassadors and influencers, recommending you to family, friends, and colleagues. Because returning site visitors are often already customers, retargeting is a great way to get in front of them again. Tailor your message for these ads to your repeat customers. Make sure it is seasonally appropriate and related to goods or services they may need in the near term. And don’t forget a call to action!
6. Claim Your Local Listings
Prospects often turn to the internet for directions and general business information. These are common searches before an in-store visit takes place. While your business information may be front and center on your web page, a prospect might not look any further than your map listing. Don’t make your customers and prospects jump through hoops to get to you. Remember your competition is at every turn trying to distract them. Loyal customers are less susceptible, but first-timers can be easily deterred by something as simple as not finding your store location the moment they need it. Make sure that you have claimed and verified your local listings. Focus on big hitters like Google My Business or Yelp. But don’t forget industry-specific listings such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, ZocDoc, or ApartmentRatings.
Website traffic is important – and should still be a metric that you consider when evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. But in many industries, conversions or purchases are still made offline. That means if you focus your marketing on driving website traffic, you might not get the results you need. By taking advantage of the strategies listed here, you can drive more in-store traffic and watch your business grow.