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Drive Web and Foot Traffic

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 14, 2011

While big-box retailers spend millions to grab attention with sales and promotions, many small business owners struggle to keep up. But having a strong online presence and a strategy for driving traffic to your brick-and-mortar store is an affordable and effective way to stay competitive. First, start with a strong, professional website you can manage on your own. The importance of this simple step is many times overlooked. According to a recent study by Pew Research, 44 percent of all U.S. consumers research businesses online before purchasing items, making a strong online presence more important than ever. From there, take the following steps to quickly and cost-effectively increase website traffic and, subsequently, foot traffic.

1. Clean design. Do not clutter pages with unnecessary information, as it will just confuse potential customers and drive them away without giving your company a chance. This is especially important with Google Instant, which enables consumers to see a small preview of your site within their search results.

2. Optimize your website for search engines. Have searchable words, images, and page titles for search engine optimization.

3. Make sure customers know how to get to you. Store location and hours need to be up-front and clear on your website. Also make sure your address links to Google Maps so the user can receive quick, easy directions.

4. Shoppers love coupons. Use your website to post coupons that are only redeemable at your store to incentivize new and existing customers. If coupons are a regular occurrence on your site, people will continue to come back again and again.

5. Create an event. People want to interact in an authentic way, but face-to-face community can’t be achieved in cyberspace. Use your website as a springboard to events at your store such as hosting appetizers or hiring live musicians.

6. Use the entire Web. Although your website may be your primary marketing piece, make sure you use the entire Web to drive traffic to your shop using tools such as Facebook and Twitter. This gives your customers multiple opportunities to hear about your business. The goal is to use the entire Web to create a culture around your company, and inform clients and customers about what is happening.

Jim Elliston
Newbury Park, Calif.

Reader Comments

Doug Carleton

January 14, 2011 9:44 AM

Having worked with small business owners in financing for 17 years, that is probably one of the best simple summaries of how to do and use a website that actually makes sense and shows that it is not that difficult to execute that I have ever read.

Well done.

Mark Schmulen

January 14, 2011 4:03 PM

Great post!. In addition, I would suggest creating a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites. It is absolutely true that people research buying decisions online, and it is also equally proven that there is no one they trust more than a person they already know. The beauty of social media is that it provides an easy way for your brand's fans to talk about your company and its products. By integrating social sharing with your email marketing efforts and website, the people who love your goods and services will help spread the word to their friends by posting comments, retweeting, etc., driving people to your storefront or online shop.

Air Jordan 6 (VI)

March 4, 2011 10:55 AM

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