Still Not Online

I know it is 2011, but I still talk to retailers that do not have a website. It's hard to imagine doing business in today's tough economy without having some sort of valuable online presence. Yet, there are stores that still do not have any sort of web presence.

Are you still not taking advantage of your store's BIGGEST sales tool, a website??? Here are a few compelling reasons to have an online presence.

Effective Sales
A website is the single most effective tool for creating sales for your store. In addition to expanding your in-store traffic through people finding you online, if you have the proper content on your website, you can also sell your customer on a product without the customer even entering your store!

Level The Playing Field
It is a great way to level the playing field with the many giant chains that exists in the natural products industry. It doesn't matter how small your store is, you can be listed next to those big chains on Google/Bing/Yahoo and have the same opportunity to gain a prospective buyer's business. (The quality of your website will have an effect on whether you actually gain their business, more about that another time)

Build Trust
Offering your customers an email newsletter is a great way to build trust in your brand. Your customers are already looking to you for advice on what products to buy, but you can't be with them 24/7! By sending out a monthly newsletter with valuable health information and content that your customer will share with their friends and family, you will increase the trust your customers have in you and increase your sales.

Expand Your Reach
One of the best ways to reach new customers is through search engines. However, if you don't have a website, search engines won't know you exist! If you are listed properly on Google, people can not only find you on the desktop and laptops, but also on their mobile devices. When my daughter started cheerleading classes in an area of town we were not familiar with, I pulled out my phone and search for a coffee shop to hang out in while she was at her class. It's that easy, and people WILL search for your business. The question is, will they find you, or your competition?

Test Your Message
You can use your website to test coupons, specials and your overall message. You can monitor your websites traffic and see what content your customers frequent the most. If, for example, they like the recipes section, perhaps you can hold a monthly cooking class, or drop a recipein your customer's bag as they are checking out. If they spend a lot of time researching health information, perhaps install an in-store kiosk that will allow you to be nearby to recommend products to your customers.

These are just a few of the great benefits you will receive when you have a website. If you still haven't taken the leap, give me a call and I would be happy to discuss a strategy with you.

Local Traffic - I Can Get It For You!

I have been working with a store recently to try to increase their website and store traffic. We have seen some really great results and I wanted to share some of those results with you.

Here is an overview of their website traffic before they started working with me.
Unique Visitors Per Day - 15
Listed on Google Local - No
Listed on Local Search Service (, - No

Basically, this store was not showing up on the search engines AT ALL when someone typed, "health food store, city, state" (they would type his city and state). This was costing him a lot of potential customers.

In less than 2 weeks I had his website ranked #1 on Google when typing in the above search. The store is also showing up on the local search services as well.

Here are some results (based on past two weeks traffic)
37 visitors from (not previously listed)
31 visitors from search engines with "health food store, city, st" as search.

That's 68 people in the last two weeks that have searched for his store locally and found it!!

If he just gained one person from those searches he will have more than paid for my services. I can help you capture the local traffic and help you see results! Visit my website for more information on the services I offer,

Importance of Store Specials

What do the following websites have in common?

Answer: They all showcase PRODUCTS and DEALS on their home page. The first thing you see when you visit their site is a product with a great discount being offered. It's common to see 25%, 35%, 45% and even 50% plastered on their home page.

One of the great things about the Web Genius program is the easy to use product special module. You can rotate specials on your home page and even set them up to expire automatically. You can list the great sale price as well as the SRP so your customers will know they are getting a discount. If you sell online your customers can easily click Buy Now to add it to their cart.

However... most Web Genius customers are not utilizing this POWERFUL feature and are missing a great opportunity to increase sales both online and in-store. You don't need to discount every product on your website, but you should offer at least 4-8 products on special on your home page, and have a good offering of special on your specials page.

It is also important to make sure those specials are "above the fold". Meaning, when someone comes to your website, they are above the bottom of the page with out needing to scroll down.

Part of the Monthly Marketing Program includes Web Naturally submitting your specials to Google Base. This will list your product when someone is looking for them on Google.

By listing specials on your homepage, above the fold, you are letting your customers know that you sell online and offer great prices. This should help you increase online sales. If you are not selling online, then the specials are a great way to increase traffic into your store.

How Many Posts Will I Need?

One question that has come up often in regards to a store creating a blog is how many posts will the store need to keep their readers coming back. To answer this you have to know what you goals are. Are you aiming to make money off ads on the blog, or simply drive traffic to your website/store.

If you are trying to get people to your website/store, then a few posts a week will be fine. However, to get a lot of traffic from, Google, Stumbleupon and other traffic generators, you should be updating rather regularly.

Remember that your readers are there to learn about your store, and to get information on Healthy Living. Make sure to keep them informed about events in your store as well as new products and your personal recommendations.

If you need additional ideas on what to blog about, read my What Can I Blog About post.

Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing

While the buzz around Web 2.0 seems to be lessening, the benefits are just starting to explode. Is your store taking advantage of the unique new marketing opportunity that exists today? Consider these facts found on Facebook's Press Release pages.

*There are more than 175 million "active" users on Facebook.
*More than half are outside of college (I know of numerous 50 year olds that are using it daily).
*The faster growing demographic is 30 years and older.

These stats alone beg for the Natural Health Industry's attention. 150 million people, 75 million of which are out of college, and most new users are 30+. Does this sound anything like your customers?

Here is another great stat you should pay attention to regarding Facebook users.
*More than 3.5 million users become fans of Pages each day.
Pages are free and create a presence to engage your customers and let them engage with each other. What better advertising than word of mouth?!?

In addition to Facebook, there are numerous sites that allow your customers to interact with your store and spread the word about your great service. One such website is According to, has around 5.7 million people visiting their site monthly. 55% are female, most are in the 18-49 age group, and over 35% have an income of $100K+. Sound anything like your customers?

But what are these people doing at Yelp provides a place for people to go and leave reviews for stores and services they have used. They can easily share these reviews with friends and find out what to expect before visiting a store.

This provides a great opportunity for your business. If you have a good amount of reviews and a great rating, people will be more likely to visit your store versus your competition. If you provide good customer service, great products and a friendly atmosphere, then you will get good reviews. however, you can also address any issues that a person may have with your store and rectify it. By doing this online, people will see that you care about your customers and want to make sure they are happy.

I can help you navigate this newer marketing opportunity. I can guide you through the set-up process and help you implement a strategy that will encourage customer reviews and interaction with your store via the social marketing mediums. This is turn with increase your business and improve your local image. You have an opportunity to become the Healthy Living Expert in your area, Social Media Marketing will help you get there.

Visit for more information on the ways I can help your store.

Google Result Changes in Two Years

Two years ago I wrote an article on Web Marketing for my Web Genius customers. In it I had a list of results from a Google search for "Health Food Store". I though it would be interesting to compare the results from January 2007 to today's results. Below are the results from each search.

January 2007 - Googled "Health Food Store"
1. - Directory
2. - Chain Store
3. - Chain Store
4. - Chain Store
5. - Online Store (E-Tailer)
6. - Directory
7. - Information Site
8. - Directory
9. - Directory
10. - Store

February 2008 - Googled "Health Food Store"
1. - Chain Store (UP from #4)
2. - Chain Store (UP from #3)
3. - Directory (DOWN from #1)
4. - Online Store (E-Tailer) (NEW)
5. - Directory (NEW)
6. - Online Store (NEW)
7. - Information Site (NO MOVEMENT)
8. - Store (NEW)
9. - Store (NEW)
10. - Directory (DOWN from #6)

So what has changed in the last 2 years? Less directorys, less chain stores, more online stores and non chain stores. It seems that stores, both online and offline have made some progress in competing for health food store keywords. Directorys are still as important as two years ago (more if you change the keywords and try for local results). 6 of the 2007 listings are gone, replaced by another 6.

I visit these store, directorys and info sites to check out what they are doing to get listed at the top, and will help you apply these things to your website.

MORE IMPORTANT than these results are the localized results you find on Google (notice Google added a zip code feature just above search results). I will write more on these very soon as they are VITAL to your store's online success.

Visit my Services Page to check out the packages I offer. I can help you achieve success with Search Engines, Directory Listings, Email Marketing and more!

What Can I Blog About?

One of the main challenges of running a blog is coming up with content. Ideally, you should be writing a few posts a week. However, I believe Health Food Store owners have a unique advantage! You are running a store in one of the fastest growing industries! There are new products, new stories, recipes, and so much more that you come across every day! Why not write about them?

Your website is chock full of content that Living Naturally provides. People look to you for healthy living information. A blog is just an extension of your website, which is an extension of your store. Integrate the three together and you will always have things to write about.

Just in case you DO run out of stuff to write about, here are some suggestions;
1. Check out Natural Market Watch. You can find new products information, reports on the best selling products, reviews from industry leaders and much more!
2. Create a List - Keep a list in your pocket at all times! You never know when an idea will pop up. Over the last week and a half, I have had numerous ideas for my website, some of which have gone by the way side because I had no way of recording them!
3. Review a Product - You have vast amounts of experience with the products that you sell. People want your knowledge! Sell your products by reviewing them!
4. Ask your Customers - As you chat with them, ask them what kind of health information they would find interesting and read about. Give them your card and tell them to check out your website and blog. It's a great way to drive traffic and come up with ideas!
5. Respond to Readers - If someone leaves a comment and it is worth expanding upon, put it in a post! It can be a great relationship building tool.
6. Write a How-To Post - Write about how to use a certain product you sell. If people seem unsure when buying the product, wouldn't it be great to have the instructions on your blog!
7. Write about HOT PRODUCTS - Combine the review strategy with the Natural Market Watch and you have a great opportunity to find out what the best selling products are and write about them. This is a great way to attract traffic.

Hope this helps you come up with ideas!

Review - Google Analytics

Looking for more stats than Living Naturally offers??? You are in luck! Once service I always suggest my clients sign up for is Google Analytics.

I use this on all my websites. It help me track EVERYTHING I need to know! It's easy to use and set up, and it is free!

My favorite feature is the ability to analyze exactly where my customers are coming from. This helps me know which of my marketing ventures are the best and which ones to scrap.

Check it out and if you need help setting it up, visit my website and contact me.

Generating Customer Feedback

I am working on a program that will generate customer feedback on listing websites. This will help improve your image on the internet and will help you attract new customer. I plan to add it to my monthly marketing package. I can set it up and help you implement it!

More to come!

Do You Blog - NFM Article

Check out this Article from It has some great information on blogging in the Natural Foods Industry.

Do You Blog - Written by Cara Hopkins

Los Altos, Calif.-based Merchant Circle, a social networking site for small businesses, reported that its members posted 15,676 blog entries in the month of January, a 190 percent increase from January 2008.

It got me thinking, what makes a good retailer blog? It’s a fine line…There needs to be a balance between marketing your store and generating content that anyone other than your mother would want to read. I quickly scanned the blogosphere and found two examples of retailer blogs that take a stab at engaging customers.

I started with the Whole Foods Market blog. It includes everything from recipes to a list of recently recalled peanut products. One blog post features a letter from a “happy customer” thanking the grocery chain for its affordability. Hmmm … Printing customer feedback is a great idea, but this feels a little too convenient for a store with the nickname “Whole Paycheck.”

On the flip side, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, an El Segundo, Calif.-based chain with stores in the western U.S., mixes up its blog with candid photos of customers in its stores and forums like “What’s your favorite Fresh & Easy product?” Getting the customers involved in this way—putting their mugs up on your site and letting them drive discussion through online forums about your store—is a great way to balance public relations with personality.

So, do you blog? I want to know about it! Send me an email at, or leave a comment below.