Growth Hacking 101: Adopting Brick and Mortar Techniques for the Web

A lot has changed for businesses over the past few decades. In the past, most businesses were set up in a physical location – offering services or goods from a storefront. As technology has improved, and become a more integral part of our lives, many businesses are now choosing to be conducted solely online, and are abandoning the old brick and mortar methods. While the days of every business having a store may be gone, that does not mean the techniques that made them successful are gone with them. Many of the tools that work for brick and mortar establishments can apply to the web, as long as you are willing to tweak them a bit.


One way that business owners attract customers into their stores is through promotions. We’ve all seen the giant signs letting you know about a current sale, or seen a TV commercial advertising a company’s latest gimmick. Using a promotion to draw in customers is certainly not exclusive to storefronts though. Put a banner on your website advertising your current “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” sale, or post on social media about the current contest you are running. The only difference in this technique is that rather than directing people towards a store, you are steering them towards your website.

Eye-catching Signs

For decades, different types of business signs have been crucial towards marketing a business. Bright, bold signs outside a store can draw people in, billboards can let people know where your store is located, and in-store signs help customers find what they are looking for, or alert them to different sales. You needed your signs to not only convey your business’s relevant information, but to do so in a way that would get noticed. The same concept applies towards online marketing.

When placing advertisements online, you need to think about which information is the most important to display, and how to do so in a way that will draw attention. Web advertisements are the equivalent of business signage, and the same rules apply.

Word of Mouth

Brick and mortar locations also consistently rely on word of mouth in order to drive in new customers. They hope that by providing an excellent product or service, people will tell their friends and family, and provide a recommendation. While traditional word of mouth will also work for a website, there are ways to expedite the process.

Social media is now one of the biggest forms of social interaction, and if you want to be a part of people’s conversations, you need to be where they are happening. By promoting your business through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, you can help to get the conversation started, or join in when the conversation mentions you. Any business that is not taking full advantage of the possibilities that come from social media is doing themselves a disservice.

Marketing Partnerships

The last common brick and mortar technique is to partner with other companies. The goal of this is to expand your own audience by spreading your message into another niche. If two businesses reach a marketing agreement, they both get to reach a new audience, making the deal mutually beneficial. For example, think of a restaurant that leaves fliers at a nearby hotel, and in exchange the hotel posts a sign on the inside of the restaurant.

While a similar marketing partnership can be established for your website – swapping ad space with another business – there are also other forms of marketing partnerships. For example, Affiliate Marketing is when someone else promotes your business for you, and in exchange they receive a portion of any sales they generate. Or there is Guest Blogging, in which your provide content for another website, including a link back to your own site. The other website gets free content, and you get to reach a new audience – making it a win-win.

Don’t Throw Out the Old Methods Just Yet

Even if your business is entirely online, that does not mean you can’t learn a thing or two from brick and mortar establishments. Some of the same principles these locations use can still apply to your web-based business, they may just require a little bit of tweaking. Marketing is an essential skill for all business owners, and by adapting the best practices of brick and mortar locations, and implementing the best ones solely for the web, you are putting yourself in a strong position to succeed.