With COVID vaccines all US businesses are hopeful that the pandemic will soon be behind us. Empty stores will be full of customers again!
It turns out the the smallest business with a physical storefront can now track ads from click to in-store purchase. Yes there is some work involved but all the data and analytics is free- for the Google ecosystem. For our variety of dear readers we discuss 5 different scenarios that would apply to your situation as a store owner :
Scenario 1 : What if we don’t have a website? Many small businesses just don’t have a website although they might have a Facebook page. These include restaurants hard hit by the pandemic. For such businesses it’s good to get a free Google My Business account. Just fill in all the fields entirely. Ask your customers to write reviews. There is a verification process – but it works. You can also build your free first website.
Scenario 2 :We do have a website- but no digital advertising. With the global pandemic and high digital adoption you’ll be surprised at the number of visitors you have already. To understand your current web visitors make sure that you have Google Analytics installed. It’s also possible to look at what people searched before arriving at your website by installing Google Search Console. Both these products are free. We recommend going with Google Tag Manager as the platform for installing all types of computer code snippets on your website. This could include Facebook Pixel that you need to keep track of Facebook Advertising. Think of Google Tag Manager like a bucket that is outside your website so that nothing is disturbed as you try out various types of analytics possibilities. See Scenario 5 for continued ideas on how to track conversions when you have no paid advertising.
Scenario 3: We are redesigning our website. Do not junk your old website. Just because you are building a new one. Why? Because your search engine ranking gets lost. We have an earlier post (2012) on Why do organizations find it so hard to update websites. But in the last decade and through the pandemic website content management systems have become far more intuitive and user friendly. Sadly though, even the biggest organizations are not able keep old links intact. We believe that new people think that the old was useless despite the many links and traffic to that old content. If you have influence on this one thing, request rather plead with your organization to keep old content reachable. 301 redirects work pretty well or you can just retain the link addresses and replace with updated content for the purpose of that old page.
Scenario 4: We don’t have a customer list. You need to start having one. Because this is a requirement if you want to get the full benefit of the tracking of your digital clicks to website.Preferably you should have the name and contact details of all customers who have bought something from you. A great way to do this is to offer a loyalty card with special discounts as they check out. Keep in touch with customers when you have something of special value for them. Avoid blast emails or text messages because repeated and meaningless contact bothers people and you get unsubscribes. This is part of your direct mail or direct marketing strategy including email and text. This can be most valuable when you want to sell your business because it gives your business a book of customers. Today CRM systems (including SalesForce.com) are very affordable and worth getting started because they offer numerous benefits in digital marketing (we’ll cover in later posts, for now note that your direct digital customer relationships are best for increasing privacy concerns) . We limit our discussion in this post to the tracking question for local stores.
Scenario 5: We have a CRM system and ongoing Local Google Ads: In the scenarios above, we have not discussed Google Ads or any paid form of advertising like Facebook Ads. (there is other Google Ads content on this blog) . Extending Scenario 2 where you have no paid ads you can track valuable customer actions. This involves creating Goals in Google Analytics. In this situation, your store conversions whether from Google My Business (local) or SEO (free organic) can be tracked.
Let no SEO “wizard” tell you that SEO is “free”. It is not free, quick or assured. It takes years, huge investments in content creation. SEO is costly,long drawn and uncertain.Dr. Roy @StratoServe
Whatever the source of your traffic (paid or free) the technique to track in-store purchases involves tracking store visits.
We wish all physical store owners great success as we put the pandemic behind us.