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Three digital strategies to better target online and local customers

You know that your customers are always online. Here's how you can take advantage of that to boost your business.

Published: September 22, 2016

Whether you own an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store, your customers are all looking for you online. By learning how to strategically target your customers there, you can increase website sales and/or encourage more people to walk through your doors. Let's review specific strategies for how both local and online businesses can better target online customers.

Local search opportunities

It is a myth that search results only help e-commerce businesses. In fact, Google research shows that 75% of shoppers who find local information in their search results are more likely to visit physical stores. The research demonstrates that they are searching online for:

  • Item prices and availability

  • Store locations and map directions

  • Basic details such as hours and phone number

To help your business stand out in local search results consider doing the following:

  • Claim your Google Business listing. This helps searchers automatically see key information like business hours, phone number, directions, and maps.

  • Create/upgrade your business website. Whether you use a simple platform or get it uniquely designed, pay attention to local SEO strategies.

  • Set up social media pages. Fill out all profile fields and include answers to frequently asked questions (Facebook even allows restaurants to upload their menu.)

  • Claim your listing on other local business directories and review sites, including Yelp and Foursquare.

Web analytics

Understanding web analytics is a must for all e-commerce businesses. Web analytics help you make sense of the activity on your website. E-commerce businesses can use analytics in these ways:

  1. Information about your visitors' ages, genders, languages, and locations can help you target your marketing efforts and even determine the best location for fulfillment warehouses.

  2. Are visitors typing in your URL directly? Are they being referred to your site by social media, or getting to it through Google? These trends can help you maintain your most effective channels and boost those that aren't performing as well. And you can even use Google Analytics to set up custom campaign tracking.

  3. By linking your e-commerce platform to Google Analytics, you can see what products are being sold, revenue per transaction, and more. Among other features, this helps you identify your best products and categories.

Beacon technology

Brick-and-mortar businesses can also benefit from beacon technology, a location-based method of communicating with customers. To use this service, simply place a beacon at your desired physical location and have customers download your app. When they approach, you can send them a custom greeting that addresses them by name, shares a special offer, or lets them know about new products they may be interested in. In the Physical Web project, Google is even exploring how to enable such communication without apps. Here are a few ways retailers are implementing beacons:

  • Macy's: Tracking movements and presenting shoppers with recommendations and discounts

  • Major League Baseball (MLB): Offering seat upgrades and discounts on concessions

  • Airlines: Sharing travel and airline information, walking times to gates, and boarding updates

Beacon technology isn't just for the big guys. In fact, several small businesses are now putting beacons to work.

Whether your customer base is local or online, you can use these techniques to understand customers and eventually boost your sales.

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