When you see people talking about promoting a business, more often than not, all the information you find online is about online businesses. If you find information on promoting a brick-and-mortar business online, it’s usually the online aspect of it. But businesses have been around for a very long time, much longer than the internet has been here, so how do you promote your business in the real world? Let’s say you have a new coffee shop, or a boutique, or even a small hardware store, you still have to promote it and get people in. In these days of anchor stores and Walmarts, it’s even more important. Here are a few things to think about as you’re promoting your business.
It’s really all the same
The basics of business are all the same. Whether it’s something from the last century or cutting-edge technology, the reality is that business is business. You have a customer that wants something from you whether it’s a product or a service and is willing to pay you. Your goal is to make more money than it’s costing you, with the least amount of work. So understand the basics. Think outside of the box and remember that your job is to make more money and bring more customers in for more future money to grow your business. Remember to stick to the basics and don’t get lost.
The online aspect
Regardless that you’re a new brick and mortar business, remember that the Internet has become part of our lives. You don’t have to move your whole business online, but you should at least make your presence known. When people are looking for something these days, they generally don’t look in the Yellow Pages like they did in the old days, they look up things on their phone. So if you don’t at least have your address and address online, you’re throwing business away. You don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing your online presence and spend half your day on Facebook, but you need to prepare and get a good basic presence. Set yourself a Facebook business page, take over your Google listings, and even put a web page with anything specific for your company. If you can’t do it yourself, just hire somebody to do it. You don’t have to update them all the time, but they should exist with your accurate contact information and address and any other pertinent information for your business
Opening the door
A long time ago, JCPenney stores had a theory that they did whatever was needed to just get you inside the door. They didn’t even try and sell you something to do it. The theory being that once you were inside the store, it broke down your resistance to coming inside the store another time. So they may not make the money on that first visit, but they know that they will make the money on subsequent visits. This turned out to be fairly successful and JCPenney rose to be a very large store chain. Use the same theory and just get people through the door. Give out coupons or free estimates or anything that you think people will be interested in just to get them started. You can hire people to hand out flyers in the whole area depending on what kind of business you have, but again it comes down to the basics. You need to let people know you are there, that you exist, and that you want them to shop with you. If they don’t know you’re there, they’re never going to buy from you.
Just like online, you need to make a customer database. If you can get the address information and/or contact information, of anyone that comes in your store then you are well ahead of the game. In the beginning, this does not seem like it is an important thing, but over time you will find that database may have a 1000 people in it or even 10,000 people in it. When you have a special or something you wish to promote, you have a way of contacting these customers and bringing them in. Or if business is a little bit slow, you can send out coupons to your customers. Your customer database is your fish pond and your gold mine so make sure you treat it well.
Signage and Image
Just like anything, how you look will imply how good you are. For signage, if people do not see you or do not know you’re there, they will not spend money with you. As you are a brick-and-mortar location you need to attract their attention for future business. So instead of just putting your company name up, you need to put up small sales pitch as to who you are and why they should come there. So when people drive by, they can see what you do and what makes you special almost immediately. They might not come in that day, but you have planted the seed in their head for a future sale. Your image is everything. How you look, how the shop looks, is important to trust, and this is how it’s been for hundreds of years. Treat your customers as family, and treat your store as your home.
When we say Social Clubs, we’re not talking about Facebook or Pinterest or anything online, we’re talking about such things as the local Chamber of Commerce, or the Lions Club. You can also go to meetups, or even create a meetup yourself. Just to give you an example, if you are a coffee shop and you set up a gaming meetup every week that meets at your coffee shop, you are pretty much guaranteeing yourself some business. The Chamber of Commerce, by its very name, Commerce, will help you in business for the area. Any other social clubs from Shriners to the Lions Club to Toastmasters, will help you make other business contacts in the area and hopefully generate some business. All of these things take a little bit of work and effort, just like online, but they are well worth it in the long run.
There are literally hundreds of ways you can promote your business in the real world, from having events to having sales and a hundred other things. Instead of telling you all of these things you can do, we’re going to tell you to go back to the basics. Once you understand the basics, then all the other things will work better. Remember that you’re going after customers, and you want to turn them into long-term customers that will be happy with you and talk about you to others. When you hear about viral Marketing Online, really all it means is word-of-mouth. You want your customers to talk about you in a good way’. Your image is everything, even more than it would be online. So give the best customer service you can. Once you have the basics, you can search for many business books on how to promote your business in the real world. You might have to go back a few years, as most of the ones today are about the internet, but there are thousands of businesses books on how to get the best marketing you can out of brick-and-mortar business. But until you get yourself back down to the basics, they won’t make any sense.