How to Market Your Brick & Mortar Business to Online Customers!


Q: My family owns an independent book and gift store. What are the best ways to market ourselves, stay afloat, and compete with online bookstores?

Marketing your business online is an essential part of doing business, even traditional brick and mortar businesses. In a word, marketing your business online is all about creating an exceptional customer experience. If your business is a stand alone, meaning not in a major shopping center or mall, you have several things going for you.

First, what any of the online giants or big box stores could never offer for the simple fact of who and what they are, is personalized customer service. The more you emphasize a great customer experience in your daily business practices the more successful you will become. Continually look for any opportunity to add a special touch or service throughout every stage of each business transaction. We will give you some reasons why and then we will give you some examples of what we mean.


Create Instead of Competing With Online Businesses

First, stop trying to “compete” with others in your industry whose presence is primarily online.  Instead, keep your focus on serving your customers and creating new ways to bring more value to them and their experience with you.

If you have been following any of the trade publications over the last year or two, you will see one glaring fact and that is e-readers, digital downloads, and smartphones are here to stay and now make up the bulk in book sales.  When you are marketing your business online, highlight books available for digital download.

Our recommendation to you is to build your own e-bookstore online and set up an in-store kiosk so your customers can shop online, in your store, download digital books, or purchase a hard-copy all under your brand.  You should already have a website up and marketing to your customer base even though you are a brick & mortar business. If you don’t, get one pronto!  We have a list of resources to help you get your business setup online and we have put a link to it just below.

Having an online presence will also allow you to build your online “customer list” and send thank you auto-responders after they purchase and campaigns or notices of special events.  In today’s market this is an absolute essential. You will be able to continually upload new books as needed for your customers to purchase. Now, here is the kicker.  Brick-n-mortar bookstores who also have an online store have seen a 30% increase in revenue.  Your online store works for you 24/7, 365 making you money while you sleep and letting your customers shop at their convenience and well beyond your physical location and community.

Serving Your Customers

The key here is customer service.  The better your service to your customer in all the ways they like to shop, the deeper the brand loyalty.  Then, add that something special they can only get at your store such as year round gift wrapping and gift cards that can be used for digital downloads at your online store or in-store purchases.


Listen to Your Community When Marketing Your Business Online

If you’re providing a great product or service, you can bet your customers are talking or writing about their experiences. Provide a friendly home for your community by inviting ideas, comments, and participation. Create a community space on your website that allows customers to interact and share feedback. Your best customers will be glad you asked for their input. You can gather information through online surveys and share special invitations and advance notices of upcoming products and services with them through email. Be prepared to accept input–good or bad–gratefully.


Highlight Online or Curbside Pick-up When Marketing Your Business Online

If this global pandemic has taught us anything in regards to business, it is the fine art of pivoting. Being flexible in exactly how you serve your customers is going to be key to your survival over the long-term and your ultimate success as we begin to recover. Keep your focus on meeting your customers’ most urgent needs and if it benefits you, use the big box online companies as tools to better serve your own customer base. Pivot, create, repeat. Luxury label fashion houses stopped dead in their tracks to create desperately needed facial masks. Tesla stopped production to create respirators. Whisky producers began creating much needed medical grade alcohol. Restaurants offer curbside pickup. Small retailers offered online ordering from their website with curbside pickup. If you have your own success tips please share them below or on our Twitter page. You will be helping our entire planet!

Something Special to Help You Get Started!

We hope this post has inspired you with a more effective way of marketing your business and help you generate real results. In addition, we want to empower you with tools to actually do the things you just learned, so that you can personally experience the level of success you are currently seeking.

The more you know about who your ideal customers are, the more focused you can make your message. In addition, the more focused your message is, the more effective it will be in creating business success. To help you accomplish this we have a Marketing Message Toolkit that you can purchase and download here. It will guide you step by step through everything we are talking about today and help you implement it into your business right away. Super simple to use and works great for podcasting and video creators as well!  If you have any questions along the way please feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to help.

If you would like a template to help you identify your particular target market and then to develop and organize your marketing message I have created a step by step guide How to Identify Your Ideal Customer and Maximize Sales. You will be able to take the next step quickly to identify your target market and then clearly communicate a marketing message that your products, services, and expertise will deliver the solutions and results your customers are looking for.  Now go rock your marketing campaign and grow your business! So who is your target market?

Your Thoughts…

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Now, we have a few more things for you!


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More Success Tips!

If you are looking for more practical hands-on help we have two other resources for you. First, we have created Business Genesis  and our Small Business Toolkit for small business owners just like you to help you start and grow your own successful business and meet today’s challenges head-on with confidence. You can find yours right here.

Small Business Toolkit

Business Genesis is a Step-by-Step Online Training Course That Shows You How to Start, Grow, and Market Your Own Successful Business Doing What You Love!

Everything you need to guide your very first steps is laid out for you in simple , easy to understand and organized modules with easily accessible lessons.

Business Genesis shows you exactly how to create financial security and build your brand and customer base, shows what works in marketing your business to the world, and guides you how to leave a legacy of success with tips and tools to help you build financial security and positive impact on your local and internet community.

You can finally enjoy the freedom of doing something you love and generating an income you can actually live on. Get Started Now!