Confluent Forms LLC, located in Easthampton MA, is a boutique branding, graphic design, web design, web development, Blogger development, and PHP/MySQL application development firm providing services to customers from the Fortune 100 to local non-profit organizations and academic institutions. Serving Western Massachusetts and beyond.

A simple local brick & mortar small business web strategy

by on July 24, 2013
Last updated on
When it comes to web strategies, few experts talk about the needs of a small, local-focused, brick and mortar store and how they should be approaching the Internet to increase their visibility and success. Instead, their advice and recommendations are more suited to businesses that can operate anywhere, sell to anywhere, and are targeted to the entire web instead of just a local market. When they do give advice for a small local market, the advice often consists of two directions: Facebook/Twitter and Search Engine Optimization.*

(* for our thoughts on Facebook please read Forget Facebook, keep your fans to yourself!, for our thoughts on SEO please read Develop a user-centric content strategy instead of SEO)

Because of this, we believe that most small, local businesses are getting poor advice and wasting their time, money, and effort.

Instead we propose undertaking efforts that the small business themselves can manage while creating long-term growth in their online presence and employing a capture strategy meant to bring clients and customers through their doors.

Get locally listed for location-related searches
Search engines are getting better and better at local searches, meaning that they will either know your location and use that as a factor in the results they return, or the user will have entered their location into the search query.

Getting listed in directories used to be a time consuming and frustrating experience (in fact getting listed in dmoz still is). However, it is now possible to easily, and fairly quickly, get listed in the directory that will drive the most traffic to your site: Google Local Search (more later).

By claiming and maintaining your Google+ Business Page you'll be inserting your store in the searches that matter most for you: the people that could conceivably walk in your door momentarily. By giving yourself a landing page within the search results, optimized for the actions that people are most likely to be looking for, you can more easily convert Searchers into Customers.

Develop a content strategy and blog
Yes, a blog, a technology that was so 10 years ago and had everything to do with recipes, fashion icons, late night rants, etc.

But for a business a blog is a valuable way to keep your customers informed about new products, services and events, learn more about you and how you approach subjects, and in general to follow you and your content. A blog provides an easy to use, and easy to follow method of producing a content rich experience for your viewers, while also providing a smorgasbord of content for search engines to index. A blog doesn't have to look or act like your notions of a blog, but is instead a platform for producing timely content that is frequently updated.

Assume a high percentage of mobile visitors
As a local business, you can not ignore mobile search. This isn't to say that you need to have a mobile-friendly, mobile-version, or a responsive website, but simply that you need to have put thought into how you are targeting and making yourself accessible to visitors using a mobile device.

The growth in mobile search, and the high percentage and immediate goal conversions that occur from those searches, means that if you can put yourself in front of those mobile searches, and have a site that enables them to immediately fulfill their information goals, then a customer could be walking through your door within the hour.

What would a mobile-searcher be looking for if they landed at your site? Identify that information and make sure it is easily accessible to user on a mobile device. Curious to know the percentage of people visiting your site from mobile devices? If you've installed Google Analytics you'd be able to see your traffic by device type along with lots of other very useful information. And if a website redesign isn't in your budget for fixing mobile display issues in your site, there are a number of services that can provide an add-on mobile site for a small monthly subscription.

Email marketing is still relevant
Yes, email marketing and newsletters are still a great way to keep in contact with your fans. There will be social media "experts" that will push Facebook, but we don't agree with that position. Put more simply, and looking specifically at Facebook, in order to get a high percentage of people to see your post, you need to "boost" it and pay for that privilege. With email marketing you can pay a monthly subscription based on the size of your list, or pay per address on one-off emails. That doesn't mean you can't post to Facebook in addition to an email, but that you might not feel the need to boost your post.

In terms of simplicity, most providers give you a code snippet that is easy to incorporate into your website for collecting email addresses, and the management tools that they provide are simple to use and allow very targeted lists to be generated.

All of these tips can be done by you
There aren't any secrets here; all of these tips that we've provided in this strategy can be implemented by you, easily and cost-effectively. So why did we provide them? Because when you need to take your presence and strategy to the next level, you should call us.

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