A 30-Day Master Plan for Marketing Your Brick-and-Mortar Business

brick and mortar

Many small business owners today think that owning a brick-and-mortar business excuses them from having to learn and master digital marketing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, mastering SEO and local optimization for your locally run business will bring a higher ROI than just about any other marketing activity you use.

It’s one of the quickest ways to quickly and simply (notice I did not say easily) get your business in front of thousands of new eyes and earn customers for life. With a few simple steps, you can set yourself on the path to long term digital marketing success.

But how do you start marketing your brick-and-mortar business in the digital world? What steps do you need to take over the next 30, 60, or 90 days to successfully grow your online reach and increase sales like you have never seen before?

I’m glad you asked.

In this article, I’m going to give you a step-by-step and day-by-day plan for marketing your brick-and-mortar business.

Thirty days from now, if you follow the steps I’ve outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful and profitable local marketing plan in place.

The basics: Days 1-10

The irony of digital marketing is that the simplest steps are often the most important.

Sure, PPC advertising, advanced Facebook campaigns, and AdWords can play a huge role in boosting your sales. But what’s next?

For brick-and-mortar business owners, particularly owners who don’t think they are very “tech savvy,” following these simple steps for the first ten days alone will result in a huge increase in the number of sales they see from their marketing budget.

Download this step by step and day-by-day plan for marketing your brick-and-mortar business.

Step 1: Create a platform

Something I have found with many brick-and-mortar businesses is that the owners think that having a website is an unnecessary luxury.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Having a place for all your customers and fans to congregate is one of the simplest and most important steps on your path to success.

The first step to mastering local SEO is the simplest one. Give your audience a place to find you!

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Notice that almost none of these shops have websites that come up in Google…

For the first 10 days of this master plan, focus on building your website and ensuring it has a great design. After that, focus on 1-2 social media platforms.

That’s it.

Creating presence on a couple of platforms that are easy to navigate and even easier to find is the first key to your marketing success.

Once you develop your website, set up your Facebook page and a Twitter or Instagram account. Then, the real work begins.

And what is that “real work?”

Creating quality content.

Step 2: Start creating high quality content

One of the fallacies many entrepreneurs believe is that simply having a website with some on-page SEO is enough.

But that’s not how Google works, and that’s not how people work either.

If you want to attract new customers and build a loyal fan base, you need to place a premium on creating and curating high quality content.

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Look at the bottom of the image above. Ramit has 241 PAGES of content on his blog.

I’ve got 162 pages of blog articles on Quick Sprout.

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Content is huge.

But how does this apply to marketing a brick-and-mortar business? Here’s how…

Let’s say you own a coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado.

You take the first 2-3 days and pay to create your website—design it to look great and navigate easily. Then you set up your Facebook page.

Now, it’s time to start populating your website and your social media with killer content.

Continuing with the coffee shop example, the next step would be to start writing articles or filming videos based on your niche.

You could write an article about the best locations for growing coffee or about 3 unconventional brewing methods you can try today, or you could film a video showing people how to do cappuccino art.

The list of things you can do is endless.

By creating this content you will improve your chances of ranking on Google, and you will also start providing free value to customers, which will increase their trust and their desire to give you their business.

Step 3: Increase the number of your email subscribers with a lead magnet

Now that you have a great website and are regularly uploading content and sharing it via social media, it is time to increase your email subscriber list. That’s where the real money is made!

The key to a successful lead magnet is to offer something that a customer would be willing to pay for—but free.

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An excellent example of a lead magnet is from Lucky Brand (above).

Back to the coffee shop…

A great marketing method used by many successful brick-and-mortar owners is the free giveaway.

If someone has found your site or is in your store, offering them a free coffee or pastry (which they would normally pay for) in return for access to their email is a win for both parties.

They get something free. You get a direct line to market your company.

Once you have collected the email, you can start sending updates about specials you are running, events you are putting on, and other cool things happening with your business.

Anytime you have a special event or a 2-for-1 deal, people will actually know about it. They will then take advantage of it.

Mastering local SEO: Days 10-25

Many brick-and-mortar business owners make another mistake when delving into the world of SEO. They don’t fully understand the difference between “regular” and “local” SEO.

The biggest difference is that local SEO contains a geographical aspect. This geographical information is crucial in “convincing” Google that you’re a bona fide local company serving local people.

The entry into local SEO may seem a little bit more complicated than normal SEO. Why? Because it’s no longer just about the keywords. There’s an element of mystery.

The result? You may have experienced this yourself. Few businesses execute local SEO efficiently.

However, in my opinion and experience, local SEO is easier. Why? Because there is less competition!

Don’t worry. I’ll remove some of the mystery and help you understand how it works.

Here are some of the essential ways to get started on your path to local SEO mastery.

Step 1: Set up Google Search Console and Analytics

These two tools are absolutely instrumental for successful on-page SEO.

There is a ton of information you will be able to gather about your website from these tools. Using them effectively will allow you to run tests, analyze the results, and make changes as necessary.

Here’s how to set up Google Analytics.

  • First, create an Analytics account here.
  • Sign in to your new account.
  • Select “Admin.”
  • Select an account from the “account” column.
  • Select a new property from the “property” column.
  • Click “Tracking Info” and then “Tracking Code.”
  • Copy the ID.
  • Insert this number into your website’s code.

Here’s how to set up Search Console:

  • Create a Search Console account here.
  • Log in to your new account.
  • Click “Add a site.”
  • Add your website’s URL.
  • Copy the ID.
  • Add it to your website’s code.

Step 2: Make sure you have the correct NAP data on your site

While this may not seem like a big deal, it is one of the quickest ways to accidentally shoot yourself in the foot with your SEO pursuits.

What’s NAP?

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It’s the Name, Address, and Phone number of your business.

If you do not have the EXACT same Name, Address, and Phone Number on your website that you have on your Google My Business account, you will basically ruin all the hard work you have put into mastering local SEO.

Let me give you a few pointers on doing the NAP portion right.

Make sure the phone number listed is your local number (no 1-800 numbers).

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Make sure the NAP info is listed as text on the page and not as an image. You need web crawlers to read the information. They won’t be able to do that if it’s in an image.

Include the NAP info in your website footer if possible. This means it will be visible on all pages.

If you’ve had a different name, address, or phone number in the past, find the variations anywhere on the web and correct them. You don’t want to confuse users or web crawlers. NAP consistency is important!

Step 3: Optimize your meta descriptions and title tags

For on-page optimization, this is one of the most important steps you can take.

The first step is to make sure your title tag includes these three things:

  1. Your city
  2. Your state
  3. The keyword you’re trying to rank for

It is easy for this to come across as spammy and artificial, so put some time and effort into this before you hit “Publish.”

For example, these websites are perfectly setup for local SEO success:

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If you’re looking for some more inspiration, check out this article for a list of local SEO-optimized title tags.

Next, you want to optimize your meta description.

The meta description is what appears beneath your title tag. It explains a little bit about your company and what you do. The meta description appears in the SERPs to help users understand what they’re about to click on.

I recommend that you include your city, state, keyword, and phone number for maximum efficiency.

A meta description doesn’t technically improve your SEO. It’s designed for users. However, user behavior does influence SEO, so it’s still important to optimize this bit of information.

Step 4: Include your hours of operation and directions

According to one study, Google said that 54% of smartphone users who search for a local business are searching for the hours of operation. And 53% wanted directions.

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The simplest thing to do is simply put an “Hours of Operations” or “Business Hours” heading and image next to your maps widget.

This will make life easier for your customers. Plus, it will make Google love you.

Step 5: Leverage the power of social proof

While it doesn’t directly influence your local SEO ranking, including customer testimonials really helps. Adding BBB ratings, integrating Yelp, or citing other highly trusted sources will build customer trust.

In the example below, The Worthwhile Company cited their “Small Business of the Year” award from the local chamber of commerce. Information like this helps local residents to feel a greater degree of trust in the business.

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Social proof also decreases your site’s bounce rate, increases the views on your site, and likely increases your opt-ins—all things Google is looking for.

Reaping the rewards and keeping the customers: Day 25-30

By following all the above advice, you will likely see an increase in your SEO ranking and the number of emails you collect within the first 30 days.

Things will move slowly at first.

That’s okay.

These things take time. Slow and steady wins the race.

The final step is to continue producing great content that you can rank on Google. Educate yourself on more advanced local SEO tactics you can start implementing. Most importantly, keep your customers happy.

The more satisfied customers you have, the more people will share your site with others, the more email opt-ins you will receive, and the better your business will be.

All that’s left to do is sit back and reap the rewards of a job well done.

And of course, keep on hustling.

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Conclusion

To many entrepreneurs, SEO seems like a black box. And local SEO? It’s even more of a mystery.

Often, it’s viewed as something to be feared, something far too complicated to get involved in, and something that you sure as heck don’t have the required experience to excel at.

My hope, however, is that after reading this article, you’ll realize that SEO is just like any other skill. With a few simple tweaks, you can massively improve your local business’s results for years to come.

So, take this advice, and implement it. You’ll see the results for yourself.

What’s your experience with using digital marketing to drive a brick-and-mortar business? Share your worst mistakes or best tips!

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Comments

  1. Christopher Corbett :

    Outstanding fundamentals!

    • It always comes down to the FUN-Damentals!

      • I second that Neil!

        It’s important to have fun around data and play around fundamentals.

        It was hard for me to make some of my clients understand that how important it is to create a presence on Google.

        This resource here has helped me a lot in that case 😛 Thanks for that (:

        Best,
        Akshay

  2. Luke Glowacki :

    I don’t own a brick and mortar business, but if I have one some day I’ll come back to this article and read it again. Or at least I’ll be able to give somebody a piece of advice what to do when they have an off-line business.

  3. Amazing master plan for budding entrepreneurs finding their way to success, how you can up with title for brick and mortar business?

  4. Moe Koueifi :

    Most of my clients are local businesses, this is a great and very helpful article to share with them.

    I would add moz.com/local it’s a great tool to help your business improve ranking and make sure your business information are accurate in major directories.

  5. Exactly the article topic I was searching for. Glad I found your site Neil

  6. Hi Neil, this is a very informative article and I like how everything is laid out step by step. Would you consider writing a blog post for a 30 day plan to market your SEO business to brick and mortar businesses?

    Thanks for considering my request!

  7. Neil. you are a mind reader. I just completed the new website for a brick and mortar business and will do another one for an upcoming local restaurant and they want me also to propose a day-to-day marketing plan for these websites. I am still a beginner and still learning slowly but surely and this is amazing. Thank you for this.

  8. Andrea L. Allen :

    Hello again Neil. I’ve been working on the creation of a video-based mini-course that trains my perspective clients on the ‘WHY’ behind SMM and SEO. They tend to know WHAT they should be doing, but find it difficult to see why they need to do it.

    I often hear… “What’s the point of all of that expensive technical stuff? I mean, what difference will it really make to my business?”

    I’ve found with brick and mortar companies (which usually means ‘Mom and Pop and maybe Son’), even though they’re continuously being given direction on how to build their online presence, are bewildered as to why they have to do so much. It’s simply overwhelming for them.

    I take as much time as I possibly can to explain the vagaries of Google, and even draw out little diagrams that show the inter-connectedness of the web. How a simple video here, can lead to a little post there, can lead to interest by a group of potential fans, can lead to a thousand shares and links, can lead to virality, can lead to… new customers!

    Taking the time to enlighten local businesses on the WHY behind all of these ‘crazy online activities’ makes them much more willing to pay for my services as a marketer.

    • It all comes down to educating you’re clients with what they need to know and the sale will be natural

  9. Alexander Robinson :

    Great info as always Niel. This is especially great for Brick n Mortar businesses even BEFORE they open for the first day of business. This can help ensure customers on the first day of business.

    I agree with Moe as well. Using Moz Local to create power listings helps boost your businesses local search inclusion with accurate mentions. I’ve helped several of my small business clients achieve both organic and Google local inclusions in their local and targeted markets. Thanks again Neil.

  10. Thanks Neil, as usual this blog post is full of actionable steps that a person can follow and get the type of results you are talking about.
    I never start my day without reading your posts. and I always find myself predicating my Google queries with Neil Patel

  11. OTA Blogger :

    Um.. as per usual. Good Sh*t, Neil. Too bad most local business owners are spread too thin to manage their own digital marketing campaigns themselves (successfully).. oh wait that’s not a bad thing, that is why us digital marketers exist 🙂

    Cheers, Neil! Keep it up man you always motivate me.

  12. Thank you for the insightful article Neil. As a brick and mortar business owner, I have found this guide really useful in helping me implement some of the tactics mentioned for my website.

    Thank you

  13. Brian Downard :

    Hey Neil,

    I completely agree that local businesses need to start with a website and local SEO. That way people in their area who are already looking for their products/services can find them.

    However, I think brick and mortar businesses should be careful just creating “high-quality content” unless they sell online or ship products nationally. That’s because even if they were able to rank for their desired keywords it wouldn’t help if people all over the country saw it. Customers have to physically be there to get the coffee.

    An alternative approach we are starting to use for local businesses is to creating location-specific content. Building on the coffee shop example, you could write a post like “Top 10 Places To Drink A Cup Of Coffee In (insert city)” or for a gym, “10 healthiest things you can do in (insert city)”

    Then, we run ads on Facebook to generate local likes, then advertise our local articles to our local fans. Then we retarget article readers with relevant lead magnets and promotions.

    Last thought, we’ve also had clients find success printing out their lead magnets (high-quality eBooks, checklist, buying guides) and they give them to shoppers to take home if they don’t make a purchase that day.

    • Those are fabulous ideas Brian! I agree with what you’re saying, especially for some, more creative methods are necessary

  14. Great job Neil! Amazing how local SEO sound like some huge task. I’m glad I hopped in here, the comments are also very helpful. Thanks guys.

  15. David Flannery :

    Thank you for your information. I am working in the local SEO area and I am always looking to learn something new. I like adding the address and phone No. to the menu footer. I will be adding this to my arsenal of tricks. Bear

  16. Hey Neil quick question:

    I just started my blog (not local geographically speaking), should I register it with google? Or does that even exist? I use optimize press and have already posted articles, does that theoretically mean that it will get ranked (good or bad) the second I post it? Do I have to register it anywhere etc? Sorry I know the question is basic

  17. Never knew of Google Console or it’s ability to improve on page SEO until now.

  18. Thanks you very much for the very surprising article once again.

  19. good info. how about a local business that has multi locations? and how about if these locations are not local? lets see it’s a business that has offices in 3 states. is there a recommended strategy for NAP and google? would each location open their oen google plus account?

  20. Arifuzzaman Arif :

    I have no brick-and-mortar business but I think this article will help me in future. I have learned from this article is that simple strategy is the best strategy.

  21. Neil! Great post! This Info is hard to find elsewhere. With the amazing quality you put into your posts this is invaluable. I just forwarded it to my friends who own a local business.
    Keep up the good work.
    Thanks
    Philipp

    • I’ve been doing it for long enough that it just feels like second nature… glad these tips were helpful!

  22. Daniel Knowlton :

    Wow, another really great piece of content Neil – great work!

    I was hoping you could answer a question for me…

    I’m trying to streamline my content creation process and was wondering if you have any tips? You seem to pump out tons of awesome content so it seems fit to ask you. 🙂

    Cheers,

    Daniel

    • Sure… write every single day for 30-60 minutes non stop. After about 30 days, you’ll be a content generating machine

  23. Nice job by Neil, I love this. Keep it up.
    Regards.
    Sunney

  24. Shonda Rogers :

    Your posts are some of the few i always stop to take a few minutes to read – always find a few nuggets to use for clients…thanks!

  25. Himmat Chahal :

    Very timely article for my own needs 🙂

    Thanks for another great article!

  26. Joseph Mwema :

    Thank you for sharing this great information. It will help us in our SEO endeavors for our business websites.

  27. Thanks Neil for posting such a great information . Very timely article for my brick and mortar business.

  28. sudhir shukla :

    Tremendous Job Neil, you have well written how even a small business owners can follow the internet marketing tips to increase their business.

  29. Scott @ St. Louis SEO :

    You always over deliver. Great post. Some messages I’m trying to get across to my audience. I think I’ll link back to this one.

  30. Corey Zeimen :

    Why do you need to learn online marketing if your a offline local business?

    Well to start, because I don’t think people are even responding to offline marketing methods anymore or less all the time whether thats youtube, xm radio / mp3 players / transmitters in their cars, news online, unless all your counting on it word of mouth you’re market share is going to dwindle as your competitors are online doing stuff over time, virtually guaranteed.

    Secondly? Because if you don’t at least have a basic understanding of this stuff when you do realize you need it, then the person you hire to do it is going to appeal to you cause there cheap and resultant suck and drain your money when your a already a little late to the game.

    Hey, its not a nice reality but its the truth.

    • 100% yes. You must be aware of what’s going on, even if you’re not the one who is implementing it

  31. Mirjam Marastu :

    Very good step-by-step guide. Got some ideas for my accounting business.

  32. Shameer Shah :

    Nice one Neil! Funny how I explain some of the points that you have mentioned here to my clients and they simply fail to implement especially, the more localised retail businesses.

    For example, why do I need to capture email and give away free stuff when they can simply walk in to buy the products off the street!!… some would ask.

    I’m going to have to reinforce by emailing some of them this post.

    Cheers

    • Thanks Shameer, glad this was helpful 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions I can help you with

  33. Ketan Bhalodi :

    Very good step-by-step guide. some ideas for my business. great work.

  34. I’m glad this was helpful!

  35. yogesh vishvakarma :

    Hello Neil,
    This is Really helpful article.
    Thanks a lot 🙂
    Regards
    Yogesh

  36. Prem chouhan :

    This is really a great article Neil, i am glad that i am here to read this 🙂

  37. A big relief for me Thanks a lot man (y)

  38. Duncan Pattinson :

    Many thanks for this article. We are now using the info and will watch for the next golden nugget of info

  39. Neil, I found your article to be helpful as always! We have begun applying your recommendations. One question in regards to the phone number point of your post. The local speech therapy group I work for Ridge Zeller Therapy, has listed all of our phone number mentions to just one number. It appears on many pages of the site as a CTA. However, we do have a couple of other numbers listed on our Contact Us page. Would this somehow confuse the search engines? Also, there are a couple of websites who have scrapped our info and created a listing of our business even though we would prefer to take it down, it is proving difficult to do so. They have another number listed for us than the one we currently use. And yet they rank on the SERPs for our business name 🙁 Will this impact us negatively? Thank you for taking the time to reply!

    • Can’t do much about the scraping sites other than report them, but they will just keep showing up.

      I would create a blog for your site, and write unique quality content every week, that should take care of it

  40. Awesome Article Neil Bro..

  41. Great resource!! Thank you Neil!

  42. InMotion Hosting Coupon :

    Great read. I have picked out a few things I need to work on thoroughly. Thank you for sharing

  43. By following all the above advice, you will likely see an increase in your SEO ranking and the number of emails you collect within the first 30 days.
    Things will move slowly at first.
    That’s okay.
    These things take time. Slow and steady wins the race.

  44. offiline marketing :

    Right here is the right website for anybody
    who would like to understand this topic. You understand a
    whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years.

    Excellent stuff, just great!

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