Every business today has some sort of online storefront. They can range from a simple HTML info page to a fully optimized website ready to take customer orders. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s not only online companies that have an online presence.
No, many brick-and-mortar businesses are now investing more and more of their operating budget into online SEO efforts. Brick-and-mortar SEO investments range from web optimization to Google AdWords, to Yelp reviews, to anything in between.
The point, however, is that successful offline businesses still think of themselves as being an online company. They use SEO tactics for business development, marketing awareness, diversified sales funnels, and overall brand presence. Using the right logo helps in creating a memorable brand as well.
Today’s brick-and-mortar companies are at least partially online. This is why SEO is so important for businesses with physical locations. It helps online users discover your business and brings them offline and into your store.
One of the main reasons to invest in SEO as a brick-and-mortar company is to better the business’s reviews. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to increase SEO on Amazon, Yelp, Google, or similar platform. The key is positive reviews.
The more positive reviews you have the more inclined these recommendation engines will be to promote your product or service to their users. And just because you offer an offline product or service doesn’t mean that people don’t check your product online before making an in-person purchase decision.
If you own a dental practice, for example, many people still use Yelp to search for a dentist. If you focus on putting your customer reviews online and asking happy customers to leave an online review, it betters you SEO and increases the probability that people who’ve never heard of you might discover you and trust your service.
Investing in SEO can also increase the number of overall revenue streams for your business. If you run an auto repair service, your main source of business comes from mechanic services you perform in-person.
However, if you keep an excess of spare parts lying around, you could also list those parts online for sale. Then, once you have a sales page up with Amazon or similar online retailer, you can use SEO-optimized ads to drive qualified users to your sales page where they can purchase your additional products.
If you start to think about the sales possibilities that the right SEO investments allow, you can start to identify additional revenue streams for your offline business.
The beauty of SEO is that you can target as granular as by city or local region. So, if you want to increase the number of local customers who find you online, you can focus on doing that with SEO.
In fact, creating local business listings is a key component of any SEO strategy. There are literally thousands of online places to list your brick-and-mortar company, and many of them are local-specific.
Yelp, for example, sorts its recommendations by area. Google’s search engine does the same. So, if you’re the same mechanic from the previous example, you can optimize you SEO in the local market so that when someone’s car breaks down in your hometown and they search “mechanic,” your business comes up first.
Further, even the local customers will find your listing first, growing your offline name and offline business, even though everyone found you online.
Let’s face it, almost everyone is online. Further, almost every single person with online capabilities also has a smartphone that they carry with them everywhere. Talking with customers online is a key component of any successful business.
The reason is that you want to reduce the friction between you and your customer whenever possible. If they like to interact online, that’s where you have to engage with them. And that’s where SEO comes in.
SEO increases the likelihood that a new customer will find you or an old customer will remember you. If all your customers are online, even if they need to physically come in to purchase your product or service, the most important place for them to find your business is online.
SEO helps with that.
It sometimes takes a customer up to ten touch points before they purchase your product or service. A touch point refers to any time a consumer interacts with your business. This can be anything from a Facebook ad to a commercial, to a Google search result.
A customer purchases a product or service when they’re in the “buying mentality.” And the only time they’re in the buying mentality is when they have familiarity with your brand. This is why it’s important to invest in SEO.
SEO tactics make sure that your product, service, and business pop up online. It increases the number of touch points between you and your consumer. Then, when it’s time to make a purchase, the consumer already knows who they’re going to buy from.
The bottom-line is that SEO is important for any business. It sources online customers and brings them offline and into your business.
Use SEO as a marketing and lead-generating tactic for your brick-and-mortar business. Invest in business activities that grow your online brand presence.
Before long you’ll be attracting customers you’ve never met before. And they’ll all tell you that they found you online.
Evan Fraser is a web marketer with 10+ years of experience in web design. He helps companies create intuitive user experiences and build memorable brands. When Evan is not hard at work, you can find him listening to some 50’s blues or traveling southern Europe.