This article is contributed by Kristie Lewis.
Some businesses are ideally structured when it comes to Internet marketing. For example, it’s easy to plan an Internet marketing strategy when you are a business like Groupon, in which all business is conducted online. But what if your business is a very traditional type of business, sometimes called a bricks-and-mortar business?
Your physical place of business may be imposing but that is not apparent on the Internet. Newspapers have learned the hard way that if they don’t establish an Internet presence, then they will face a slow and ugly death. From my personal experience in the construction business, I know what it’s like to turn a very bricks-and-mortar institution into one that is Internet savvy. Here’s how.
1. Your website is not aesthetically appealing. Hire a good designer and developer to change it.
Almost all non-e businesses start with remarkably crappy websites. If you’re in a very traditional business, it’s likely that your website simply exists because someone said it was important to have one. No one sees it in Google searches, and no one visits the site, not even your employees.
Part of the problem is that your website is a dinosaur. Dull graphics and a confusing and hard-to-navigate user experience can be a huge turn-off for potential customers, even if your business is very strong in its market niche. You think it should not matter, but it does. Hire an experienced web designer and developer to give your website a makeover. Talk also with a freelance SEO consultant to get your website on at least the first page for Google searches for industry-related keywords.
2. Get your employees involved in writing content for your site and others in the industry.
Your employees are, like most employees, probably tired of doing the same tasks over and over again. If you are in a traditional business with little or no Internet presence, it can be hard to get your employees excited about your brand. By involving them in the creation and maintenance of a company blog, they’ll feel closer and more motivated about their job and company. Also, have employees write guest posts for other industry blogs in order to market your brand and spread the word about their specific expertise throughout the blogosphere. You’d be surprised by how excited they will get!
3. Go social, even if it doesn’t make sense in the beginning.
When I first started a social media marketing company for my construction business, a lot of people in the company laughed. After all, who is going to “like” a construction company? The answer – more than you’d think. It’s all about spreading the word about your brand, and there are lots of businesses and individuals who do need the services of a traditional construction company. All these organizations and individuals are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Just give it a try.
Of course, it can be particularly difficult convincing others in your company that an Internet marketing strategy is worth the hassle. But if you stop to consider the strongly growing importance the Internet has in nearly every aspect of human existence, it’s important to realize that every company will have to make the shift. Those who don’t will be left behind and may not even survive. Good luck!
Author Bio: Kristie Lewis is a freelance writer and blogger who has spent most of her career in the construction business. She now primarily contributes to Constructionmanagementdegree.org, while also working on other writing projects, raising three children, and finding time to read and travel. She welcomes comments and questions at [email protected]