Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Main Street 2.0: Local internet Marketing (Part 2)

In part 2, we are going to discuss some more similarities between how a business markets themselves on and offline. Main Street businesses spend lots of money to generate word of mouth. Let's examine the most expensive part of those activities especially for a new business: their storefront.

Main Street is popular because of all the unique storefronts that decorate the sidewalks with entertaining window displays, inviting scents wafting from restaurants, and the colorful characters that make shopping downtown memorable. Companies spend a lot of initial investment creating the right look and feel for their storefront. Every element of their design is meant to attract customers and create word of mouth. It is most effective when foot traffic or window shoppers with no set shopping agenda say,"Ooh that place looks neat. Let's check it out!" And you know, when they get home they tell their friends about this really cool store they found.

Internet Marketing has a similar expense when building online storefront. Although a website is much cheaper than designing a physical store it still needs the same care and attention. Like a window diplay your website needs to be attractive and compelling. Like having good employees your website needs to be able to inform customers to turn traffic into purchases. We call these conversions. Conversion based architecture needs to be included in your website design to make your investment effective.

Businesses want to be located on Main Street because it brings them the most foot traffic. Local internet marketing does the same thing for online traffic. Companies need to invest in IM strategies to have the best location among their competitors. Thus, they will gain the most traffic and the most customers for their type of business. Like Main Street the Internet used to be small and simple to market your business. When malls and big box stores started to compete with Main Steet, it had to up its game. Nowadays the Internet is flooded with comeptition and local businesses once again need to up their game. The best strategy for them is to leverage proven Internet Marketing techniques.

Webdesign is the starting point but you can't stop there. You need to promote it and measure the results. Traditonal media can be hard to measure. The Internet makes it easy with web analytics. Like your accountant can tell you how much ROI you are getting per sqaure foot of store space, your Internet Marketing consultant can tell you your ROI for all the ways you promote your online store. Ask a WSI Internet Consultant to show you how.

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