Be Where Your Shoppers Are

97% of consumers use online media at some point in the search process while researching products in their local area (Rothstein Tauber Research, 2013). Whether it's on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, today's consumers are going online to find the information they need when they need it. Now more than ever, it’s critical to be where your consumers start shopping — online.

How Customers Find You

It's important to stay connected with shoppers through each stage of the buying process. Using different digital marketing initiatives, you are able to increase and optimize your online presence during each phase of the shopping journey.

  1. FIND: Your business must be found via search engines, local online listings and directories, social media sites and other online outlets.
  2. CONSIDER: Your business must be relevant to be considered. Your store is constantly being considered by buyers in the research phase. Nurture those potential customer relationships by posting helpful content on your website and in all email communication.
  3. CHOOSE: Ultimately, your digital marketing strategies must move the buyer along to the selection phase of the shopping journey.

Local search listings include online directories and map results for businesses related to the search term (including those shown on GPS navigation systems). Managing these listings is important because it makes your business information available to consumers who are searching online in your area. Proper management of local search listings also includes monitoring for incorrect or conflicting information that can hurt your online presence.

Paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an opportunity for your store to appear at the top of search engine results. You can craft ads based on potential search terms that are focused on specific ZIP codes in your area to increase traffic online and in-store. Pay-per-click ads allow your business to control the message and greatly boost your ROI when used with other digital tactics.

Organic search results are listings returned by search engines based on their relevance to the original, generic search term (e.g., carpet stores in Colorado Springs). You can increase your chances of being returned in the top organic search results by keeping your website and Google+ page populated with fresh, dynamic content on a regular basis. This will help improve your online visibility and allows consumers to find the right information when they want it.

Social media is a great way to create an online community that highlights your customer service and expertise. However, it's important to remember that the health of your online reputation is critical to your store's ability to attract new shoppers and maintain existing customers. Social media (reputation management) allows you to address negative comments to prevent damage to your brand name.