Online marketing strategies are no different than traditional marketing strategies when it comes to goals and purpose. Both types aim to increase brand awareness and help businesses find more customers online.
Online marketing or digital marketing as it is more widely known, has a number of channels that cover every aspect of online promotion, from content creation to delivery and sales.
In this post you’ll learn about the 5 most important online marketing strategies that can be used by small businesses to improve their online visibility.
1. Search engine marketing
In simple words, SEO will help you get more organic visits from search engines for free while Paid search Advertising can get you visits from search traffic but you will have to pay for them.
Here is a diagram showing all available Search Engine Marketing tools and techniques.
What is your goal with SEM? Your goal with SEM is clear: get more visits from search engines either from organic search or through carefully designed and targeted PPC campaigns.
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How: To get more visits from search engines you need to make sure that your website is optimized for search.
Tools: There are many SEO and PPC guidelines you can follow and although each rule is important on its own, if you apply a number of rules together, that would produce better results.
- The complete SEO Checklist
- How to perform an SEO Audit
- On-Page SEO Guide
- How to create profitable PPC Campaigns
- Difference between SEO and PPC
- Website Marketing Guide
Tip: When you make changes to your website to improve SEO, these changes will not be immediately considered by Google or other search engines.
You have to be patient and monitor your pages for improvements in their ranking through Google Analytics Reports.
2. Mobile Marketing
Normally after search engine marketing, you can expect to find social media marketing or content marketing as the next online marketing strategy for small businesses but the increase in the number of mobile searches raises the importance of mobile marketing.
As stated by Google, mobile marketing isn’t an option but it’s an imperative for every business. Some recent statistics about mobile usage re-enforce this statement:
What is your goal with mobile marketing? To provide your users with the best possible experience when browsing your website using their mobile devices.
How: How can you achieve the ‘best possible experience’? First you need to make sure that your website looks good and usable when viewed through a mobile browser i.e. you need to have a mobile friendly version of your website.
Tools: Your starting point is to check your website with the Google mobile friendly test tool.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is at the core of every digital marketing campaign. Once you have a good foundation (that’s search engine marketing) and a good delivery platform that can cover all your user needs (that’s mobile marketing) then the next step is to take all actions needed to create content that rocks!
Content is what will create loyal visitors, comments, social media shares and most important of all sales.
What is your goal with content marketing? To put it simply, your goal is to create high quality content that your readers want to read and try to convince readers to become customers or execute a call-to-action process (register to a newsletter, follow on social media, vote for a poll etc.).
How: Before even creating content, whether it is an article, a video, or image, try to think how that particular content will benefit your readers or customers.
Don’t just create and publish content for the sake of keeping a publishing schedule or to satisfy your desire to have something to publish.
In the past this technique of publishing mass amounts of content to trick search engines used to work but not anymore.
It is more important to have less published pages but with good content rather than lots of published pages with low quality content.
4. Social Media marketing
Social media marketing is naturally the next marketing strategy for your business. You managed to have in your hands great content (from the previous strategy) so now it’s time to spread the word out and the best way to do that is through a well-designed social media marketing strategy.
What is your goal with social media marketing? Your social media campaigns should serve two purposes.
First is to gain as many targeted followers so that your content and brand gets as much attention possible and second to get visits from social networks that will eventually convert into customers.
How: You need to establish a good presence in all major social networks (Facebook, twitter, Pinterest) by sharing useful related content on a regular basis and by engaging with people interested in your website, products or brand.
Have a look at these 3 articles to get started:
- 10 social media marketing tips for beginners
- Social media mistakes to avoid
- How to get more followers on facebook
I know that it’s not an easy process to follow and it is rather time consuming to run campaigns on many networks at the same time but this is how online marketing works for small businesses these days and you have to do it too.
The good news is that social media traffic does convert (despite the initial believes a few years back that visitors from social media don’t become customers) and if you don’t have the time or knowledge to manage your social media presence, there are professionals (see our seo packages for small business for more details) that can do it for you.
5. Local SEO strategy
Since we are talking about small businesses, I thought that it is more appropriate to have local SEO listed as a separate strategy because it is very important for them.
Local SEO is a must for every company that has a physical address. Whether you are a doctor or florist, a mechanic or retailer, local seo can help you find more customers online.
What is your goal from local seo? The goal from local seo is more than clear: to get high rankings for searches related to your area.
When people search for long tail keywords with the addition of location in the query (for example: “divorce lawyers in las vegas”) you want your website to be listed in the top positions.
How: There is no straightforward answer for that, as with any other SEO related question.
What you can do is follow Google seo best practices to ensure that Google will not penalize you for trying to cheat on their algorithm and optimize your website for local SEO.
Think outside the box
While the 5 online marketing strategies explained above are great and can generate fantastic results, you need to also think outside of the box for even better results.
For example, besides search engines, mobiles and social media what are some other ways to increase traffic coming to your small business website? To be more precise here are some ideas that worked for some of my clients:
Direct Advertising on other websites: Besides running PPC campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook, you can also try to ‘rent’ advertising space per month or other related websites.
You can easily find related websites in your niche that offer advertising and contact the webmasters directly and ask for their rates. It will cost you less than PPC and with proper tracking you can evaluate the results and ROI.
Guest posting on high traffic websites: Guest posting for traffic (and not for links) is a good way to increase your online reputation but also gain traffic from other websites. If the website you are guest posting on has a good social media presence then the benefits are even more.
Small businesses can succeed online if they follow proven techniques and practices. When you build your website the first thing that you should look at is search engine optimization.
Once you get this right then you need to enhance your delivery channels by going mobile.
After that you need to revisit your content strategy and ensure that you have content that matters and makes sense.
Next in line is social media marketing that will help you to push your content to the world.