Running a business without a physical store can be challenging when it comes to getting visibility. With no storefront to catch the eyes of passersby, it’s important to find other ways to make your business known. Fortunately, with the internet and social media to hand there are plenty of ways to get your business noticed. Here are 10 steps on getting visibility without having a high street presence.
1. Make your website a digital shop window
Your website is your virtual shop window. It’s where people will go to learn about your business and see what you have to offer. And then with any luck make a purchase. A good website should be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and well optimised for SEO.
TIP: Remember to make your site not only visually appealing but also instantly recognisable as your brand. Showcase how unique it is too. Why should people shop with you? Build trust by sharing your story and testimonials too.
2. Drive traffic through SEO strategy
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website visible to search engines like Google. This means using keywords and description on all the pages of your website. Choose phrases and words that people are likely to search for when looking for your product or service.
TIP: Work on link building. Both internally from page to page on your website but also externally too, both to and from your website. Don’t forget about older pages on your website too, set some time aside once a month to update links to and from them.
3. Use social media to your advantage
We all know that social media is a powerful tool for gaining visibility. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest can allow you to reach a much wider audience. Use social media to share updates about your business, promote your products or services, and engage with your followers. It’s the place your potential customers get to know you.
TIP: The key to good social media is consistency. Sit down and plan ahead to avoid the case of feast and famine when it comes down to your content.
4. Leverage influencer marketing
Whatever the size of your business and budget Influencers and Content Creators are a great way to reach more potentials clients and customers. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes too and you can often negotiate mutually beneficial and engaging content by partnering with the right ones for you.
TIP: Make sure to choose influencers who are a good fit for your brand. Do they match your ethos and aesthetic? Do they have a loyal audience? And, is the majority of their audience based in the same country as your business? Do they have a good engagement rate?
5. Collaborate with other businesses
Collaborating with other businesses is a great way to gain visibility. You can team up with businesses that complement yours to create joint promotions or events. This is a mutually beneficial partnership, helping both businesses reach new audiences by sharing theirs.
TIP: Make it official. Even when you collaborate with someone you know, set expectations mutually agreed expectations and have that agreement in writing so that both parties can sign off on it.
6. Network at trade shows and events even when you don’t have a stand
Attend trade shows and events to get your business in front of potential customers or similar businesses. Even if you don’t have a stand it’s a great way to network. Look for events within your industry and do also consider setting up a stand to showcase your products or services if you can.
TIP: Make sure to take plenty of business cards and promotional materials with you to hand out, you never know who you might meet.
7. Offer free samples or trials
People just love free stuff. Offering samples or trials of your product or service is a fantastic way to get people interested in what you have to offer. This can be especially effective if you have a product people can try out before they buy. But don’t be limited in terms of thin king about product. Could you offer a free downloadable? A how to guide? Or a mini sample or a free 30 min consultation?
TIP: Whatever your offer is, do make sure to follow up. After all you want to maximise your chances of a converting the free offer to a purchase.
8. Invest in online advertising
There’s no doubt about it that advertising can be a tricky business and costly when done wrong. But get it right and you can reap the rewards. Not only can you promote products in SERPS (search engine result pages) but there’s also social media paid marketing too.
TIP: Watch your spend carefully and if you are in any doubt hire in a professional.
9. Get that media coverage
Media coverage whether online or physically in a magazine or newspaper gets you in front of a whole new audience. Whether you’re a start-up, emerging brand or well established. Send out press releases when you have something new to shout about.
TIP: Build a library of contacts and research writing engaging press releases to really up your game.
10. Build and nurture your email list
What would happen if overnight all social media vanished? Unlikely to be fair but over time social sites loose popularity as new ones emerge. One way to negate the time and effort needed for socials is to build your email list. These people are your champions, they signed up to hear your news because they love you. So, send out weekly engaging emails and grow that list. It will always belong to you unlike your social channels.
TIP: To build your email list offer a gift in exchange for sign up. Perhaps a discount code, a fee guide or an insiders club where your newest offering are released to this list first.
In conclusion, getting visibility without owning a physical store does require some effort, but it’s definitely possible. By following all the steps and tips above you can get your business in front of potential customers and start generating and increasing your sales. With a little creativity and persistence, you can make your business a success, even without a physical shop window.
Written by Rachel Edmonds
If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to our bi-weekly “Creative Advice” round-ups? That way you never miss out on a good idea, case study or tip that you can get inspired by and use in your own business.