Recently, I’ve decided to get my 10,000 steps a day in by walking around various neighborhoods in SF. With the bonus of going up and over the hill in Bernal Heights for some added cardio. As a startup business guy, I can’t help but notice the comings and, sadly, goings of local businesses. I’ve lived here long enough to routinely utter, “I remember when that was a….” But I digress.
Launching a new business is tough – permitting, health department, working capital, and that’s to get the doors open. And plenty of empty storefronts remind us of the entrepreneurial dreams that didn’t pan out. And for a new business, creating brand awareness is crucial. Getting those first customers is crucial, whether driving foot traffic or eyeball.
I always make it a point to stop in and visit new businesses and offer support. Sometimes it’s a paid engagement, some friendly, free advice, or simply hooking them up with much-needed resources like grants and city programs. And, of course, I check out their marketing. It’s what I do; I can’t help myself.
Up the street from me, at the corner of Cortland and Ellsworth, I came across a new business – SF Tequila Shop. They had taken over an old corner market, changed the inventory, spruced up the store, and posted a website in the window. When I got home, I checked the website and was greeted with a “Coming Soon” notice.
I continued my daily walks and passed the Tequila Shop regularly; it looked quiet, and as the weeks went by, the online site continued to display “Coming Soon.”
I stopped in, met the new owner, and asked about the website. He had a friend working on it, and it should be live soon. So noted, and I went on my way. A few more weeks went by, and still no website.
It turns out the friend had flaked, and they needed some help.
Building from the Ground Up
A new business, no website, no brand awareness. Where do we start? The client already has a URL – sftequilashop.com, and it was self-explanatory as to the nature of the business – a good start.
In talking with the owner, he desired to be able to sell online. So, we decided the website would be a Shopify store. Shopify has a relatively user-friendly back end; more on that later. But in the meantime, we wanted to drive foot traffic to the physical store while we were working on building an online presence. So, naturally, we turned to a Google Business Profile and Google Maps.
Google Maps – the King of Local
We set up a Google Business Profile and ensured the business appeared on Google Maps. This gave us instant visibility and began driving foot traffic to the store.
Since the shop carries nearly 1,000 tequila, mezcal, and other spirits – we had plenty to work with. Once the profile was complete, we focused on the photo section. We added interior and exterior shots and pictures of the inventory.
As a result, these photos have been viewed close to 42,000 times in the last month. People are looking at the products, getting a sense of the breadth of inventory, and getting a feel of the store. We are getting eyeballs, creating brand awareness, and driving traffic to the location.
Build, Grow, Convert
This is just a piece of the Build, Grow, Convert puzzle. So follow us on this journey as we build the online store, deal with Google Ads and product feeds, and try converting visitors into sales.