Using the Internet to Sell Offline Services in an Online World

The Internet has come a long way since the days of AOL message boards, chat rooms, and basic email. It has turned into the driving factor for selling goods and services.

Since 2005, EBWAY Creative has been helping eCommerce business owners market and sell their products to a global audience. However, there are quite a few businesses that would not see a benefit from having an eCommerce platform. We get it. Not everything can be sold online. These businesses offer a product or service only available offline. It requires physical contact to complete the process.

In order for these types of businesses to reap the benefits of using the internet, the Web has to be treated as a portfolio of sorts. Utilizing online marketing tactics and strategies to improve a Web presence for an online store is just as important for offline businesses operating in an always on and hyper-connected online marketplace.

The following are a few of tactics and strategies for marketing an offline business restricted by their tangible goods.

Blogging

Many small businesses often avoid heavy Web usage and marketing due to the fact they feel their product cannot make a smooth transition online. It’s true that they may not be able to sell the product online, but it doesn’t mean they can’t sell to the customer online.

Educating consumers through the use of blogging will give individuals a firm picture of what they can expect if/when they decide to pursue a business. A blog post can share the intricacies, features, and benefits of the product or service which will generate interest. Nurturing leads by giving them valuable, industry information will increase the likelihood of converting them on a sale.

To use blogging as a vehicle for lead generation, consider:

  • Writing tutorials on how to use a product or service you offer
  • Interview industry professionals and leverage their reputation to build your authority
  • Hold Q & A sessions with your customers and respond via blog post
  • Conduct webinars and online meet ups to educate interested parties about the business

Comparison Shopping

Did you know that 86% of consumers use search engines before making a purchase? Well, now you do.

An increasing difficulty with conducting the research process is the sheer amount of websites, products, and services out there. For this reason we now greatly rely on comparison shopping portals.

A comparison shopping site gathers everything about a product, service, or business and neatly packages it in a fashion that makes it easy to read and understand. They save time for the consumer.

To use something like this, with your business, consider:

  • Creating a page on your business website which compiles and shares competitors information
  • Writing regular blog posts about the differences in the industry
  • Utilize a review system that lets consumers sort and read reviews about the competition
  • Record and publish online video reviews from customers comparing their experiences

Local Search Optimization

Local search optimization is employed to increase search rankings, reputation, and consumer engagement on a local level (within the city boundaries).

A business optimized for local search will appear higher in search results when consumers use industry keywords when conducting online research. This higher rank directly leads to the businesses’ ability to develop a stronger reputation, online and offline, through reviews. The larger Web presence leads to the ability to engage with an increased number of consumers through social channels.

A few of factors and strategies to consider, if your business falls under this type, are the following:

  • Use online profiles such as Google+ Business or Facebook fan pages for a business portal
  • Solicit and leverage online reviews through Yelp or MerchantCircle
  • Proper website structure and page signals such as phone number and address

Examples of this strategy can be found frequently employed by small mom & pop restaurants which do not handle online ordering. These businesses strive to increase their rankings within the area which leads to a great bump in sales and referrals from the regulars.

The fact is - offline businesses can use the web to sell products and services in an online-driven world.

Questions? Need some help? Make sure to reach out to us and we’ll help you put these strategies in place so you don’t have to worry about becoming just another statistic. Contact us today for a free consult! 

Author:
Jonathan Hinshaw

Post Date:
Thursday, October 22, 2015

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