Whether you’re in the market to start or buy a pawn shop, or have owned one for years, the demands of your business will always revolve around the customers walking into your doors. Long have we been in the digital age, but figuring out how to position your business through online channels to attract that foot traffic remains a constant struggle for many business owners. There’s no such thing as a magic pill, but there are some methods you can take to give yourself the best performance possible! It all starts with finding your audiences, learning what they need, and then reverse engineering the competition.
Finding Your Audiences
There are thousands of possible search phrases and concepts that any business could potentially want to rank for, but at the end of the day, you want terms which have actual ‘buyer intent’, and therefore will deliver a paying (or selling) customer to you. When it comes to Pawn Shops, your audiences can be put into two buckets: Buyers and Sellers.
Driving Buyers to your stores tends to be the easier part of the equation, but getting them to actually buy depends entirely on the inventory available. That’s where the Sellers come in! It’s important to not only position yourself as a shop to browse, but also a welcoming environment that people can feel comfortable bringing in their valuables to pawn. Because of this, your website and your overall strategy should make it abundantly clear you are open to both sides of the aisle.
Strategy to Win
Knowing that you have two groups to target, it’s then important to realize how those audiences look for things. Right now, Google is king, with over 85% of the common search engine searches. Everyone goes to Google to look for whatever is on their mind, and the results that come up on any search are called the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). On every SERP there can be a mixture of ads, local map packs, structured snippets, organic results, shopping ads, pictures, videos, etc., and it can be incredibly overwhelming for anyone who is just trying to figure out where to go. The process by which a business can make waves on this SERP is either SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing), with the distinction between the two being simply running Google Ads versus not.
For both of your audiences, there will be commonly sought terms: “Pawn shops near me” or “Can I pawn X?” with so many variants on both that the list would be too long to write out. By searching for these terms, seeing what shows on the SERP will give you an understanding of what you should look to do. Ultimately, your business should try to be in as many places on the SERP as possible, which means ranking well organically, ranking well in the map section, running ads, and any of the miscellany possible. But how?
Why invent something new when others have already shown they can do what you want? Sure, you have your differentiation over a competitor, and therefore want people to realize that, but those competitors exist because people haven’t yet realized that difference. Similar to how people understand your business, Google does the same; determining the most valuable business for a particular search phrase by analyzing their written content, external linking, internal linking, brand strength, and general site structure and performance. If a particular competitor is ‘everywhere’ on Google when you or your customers search, then there’s a reason Google likes them. Taking that reason, reworking it, and making it better is the angle of reverse engineering.
Too often businesses try to be different, and show off that difference, to the point of making it hard for both customers and Google to understand them. By reverse engineering what competitors are doing, you’re bound to get a leg up on them. Google will see your website and online presence as relevant to the market you want, see that you’re ‘better’ than the competition, and over time will serve you higher than those you want to beat.
Putting it all Together
The most important thing you can do as a business is to stay strong to your brand, recognize your audience, and push to attract that audience. While every person is different, there is a general pattern to the way they search, and that’s something you can pinpoint through SEO and find a plan to make yourself more relevant for it. Ranking is just a piece to the puzzle to help grow a business, as the most important thing in all of this is strength of brand. Be diligent, active, and continue to build yourself, and so long as the website and presence online is strong, the rest will surely follow.
If you’re a pawn shop who is looking to help grow their presence, please visit our page on getting started!