The 21st-century business world has gone digital in every possible way. Companies like Google and Amazon have dominated the digital marketplace and set the tone for new promotional best practices. Startups like Uber and Airbnb have even reinvented traditional industries into digitally-driven services.
However, there are still many non-digital companies that face challenges when it comes to shifting their marketing operations online. Plumbers, painters, landscapers, and auto shops all must keep their businesses based in the reality of physical services and brick-and-mortar locations.
If your company is familiar with this struggle between online marketing and the geographic limitations of your day-to-day business, here are some tips and suggestions to help you set up a successful online marketing campaign without overly investing your time, money, or resources.
Consider Your Budget
As a non-digital business, it’s always wise to start your online marketing efforts by going over your budget. All businesses must set aside a marketing budget in some capacity. However, if you’re a nondigital company shifting to a digital marketing model, there will likely be extra costs that would already be built right into an online business.
While many of these costs are minor, such as website hosting costs or running social media, there are a few pricey-yet-effective ways to market online, such as pay per click advertising, and having a firm idea of what you can afford is a good starting point.
Completely Fill Out Your Google My Business Listing
Whether you’ve got a shoestring budget or a marketing fund in the millions, it’s a good idea to begin your online marketing venture by fully setting up your Google My Business Listing. This is the listing that is often displayed along with search results. It provides things like hours of operation, a link to your website, basic descriptions, and contact information.
Google My Business Listing is a free service. Simply claim your listing and then make sure that all of your information is correct and check in regularly to make sure it stays up to date. You can also respond to customer reviews on your listing, which is always a good idea, as it shows that you are responsive and provide good customer service.
Get Listed in Service Listings
Another powerful way for a brick-and-mortar operation to be seen online is to make sure you’re listed on any local service listing sites. This can be larger sites like Angie’s list as well as local or industry-specific directories.
For instance, if you’re trying to start a successful lawn care business in Rochester, New York, start by listing your services on Angie’s List and Yelp, but also look for localized, lawncare-specific listings like LawnStarter or GreenPal to help you get exposure on as many platforms as possible.
Build a Simple Website
A website is an invaluable piece of marketing collateral at this point. Fortunately, they’re extremely easy to build by using a website building tool like Squarespace or an intuitive eCommerce platform like Shopify. These tools have made the website building process incredibly simple. If you’re geographically limited, you can also utilize things like local SEO (search engine optimization) to help your site show up higher specifically in local search results.
When it comes to the actual look of your site, don’t aim for flashy or overly complicated. Keep your site simple, easy to navigate, and focused on user experience. Include calls to action that drive customers to contact you, purchase your products, or book your services. Also, don’t forget to use your website as an opportunity to further cultivate your brand image in an online format.
Set Up Social Channels Strategically
Along with a website, you can use social media channels to help communicate with your customers, find new leads, respond to reviews and feedback, and provide quality customer support.
Don’t feel the need to set up ten different social media platforms. Instead, consider your core demographic and look for the platforms that they tend to use most. For example, if you’re marketing to Generation Z, look for sites like TikTok. If you have picture-friendly products, use Instagram or Pinterest. If you want to spark conversations, try Facebook.
Create an Email List
It’s always a good idea to have an email list and even customer relationship management software. This allows you to cultivate a highly-targeted group of both potential and repeat customers that have literally opted to hear from you. If you’re a small operation, you can typically set up a free, though limited, account through a larger site like MailChimp.
You can use your email list to tastefully promote your services, bring attention to sales, and generally stay in front of your digital followers.
Create Killer Content
Once you have your social media and a website set up, you have to take the time to create some content. Don’t worry about quantity so much as quality. For instance, the plumbing company Mr. Rooter has used its company blog to create authoritative content that answers basic customer questions such as how to unclog a drain or why pipes make noise. This establishes the company as an authority in its industry and a company worth trusting.
Pay for Clicks
Finally, if you have the budget, you can use Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising to create ads and literally pay to ensure that they are shown to potential customers. Cutting-edge developments like Google lead form ads are making it easier for potential customers to submit information via PPC ads, thus streamlining the entire lead generation process for small, large, physical, and digital companies alike.
Marketing Non-Digital Services Online
While it may feel like an insurmountable task, there are actually quite a few easy and affordable ways to promote a non-digital company online. All it takes is foresight, a little budgeting and planning, and confident execution to establish your non-digital enterprise on the World Wide Web for all to see.