How to Market Online – A Complete Guide 
There are billions of customers out there but not many companies that are ready to explore and expand to new markets. A lot of people and businesses still associate marketing with high-end events, excessive expenditure, and pricey marketing strategies.
Fortunately, there are many ways to get your audience interested in your brand and not all of them require an investment that breaks the bank.
The last decade has been revolutionary in how businesses market their brand, products, and services with the advent of the internet, social media, and other digital platforms. However, it was much easier back then to gain visibility on the web. Since many algorithm updates, today you require technical knowledge, awareness about hundreds of factors that impact online ranking, and consistent effort for relevant discoverability in the online search.
In this article, we will be looking into a detailed guide for online marketing and learning different ways to stay relevant in the digital era and market your business online.
Introduction to Marketing Online
As an individual looking up any business, product, or anything else for that matter is very easy. You can look up information on almost anything, located almost anywhere in the world effortlessly using blazing-fast internet networks on your mobile phones and laptops.
That said, if you are a professional or business owner, you know being found online is not that easy. Showing up for your industry-relevant and high search volume keywords is becoming increasingly challenging. So, how are you supposed to market your business online when appearing on Google search engine result pages is such a difficult task? And how some people tend to dominate the search pages while others seem to try and fail.
This is the reason why most businesses around the world are spending thousands of dollars per hour for SEO specialists, who can analyze, optimize, and tweak their SEO strategy. These professionals enable businesses to drive relevant traffic to their websites using different strategies that help boost sales.
However, if you are interested in marketing your business online, it is important to understand that it can take up to years to build a strong profile, authority, and online content that ranks for specific keywords on search engines. Google algorithm works in such a way that you need to be ready for the most amount of work initially while accepting the least return if you are serious about bringing in traffic through organic SEO marketing. That said, it is also important to direct your efforts and hard work in the right direction and right online marketing strategy for your business to gain the most traction in the long run.
How to Market Your Business Online
As Google algorithm updates have made it more and more difficult for businesses to market themselves online, marketing specialists have also come up with new ways to market a business online. It means business owners can market a business online without having to wait years to move up in search engine ranking. Some of these ways will offer better returns than others and some may show results in weeks while others may take up to months and years.
In this section, we will look at some of the best short and long-term ways you can market your business online and drive traffic to your website. Make sure you choose a combination of methods to market your business online and ensure they add value to your business.
Create and Publish Blog Posts Regularly
One of the most important and organic ways to market your business online is to create a blog and publish high-quality, relevant content that adds more value to your website on a regular basis. This method requires a lot of consistency and as it is a long-term online marketing strategy you cannot accept an overnight return on the investment.
Posting quality content on your blog is one of the most popularly used ways to drive traffic to your website in any industry or niche. Besides, regularly posting new content peaks the interest of Google and it also creates authority of the platform. The more authority you are able to build for your platform the more attention you can drive from potential customers, internet surfers, media, and other business owners. This, in turn, will bring more authority and an increasing amount of online visibility and sales.
Promote Your Content Online
If you want to bring traffic to your platform earlier than what traditional methods allow with a fairly new domain and little authority built up, you need to focus on marketing your content on other online platforms. You can market your content on sites like Quora and Medium which helps you drive some traffic back to your blog from these sites.
Every time you publish a high-quality post on your website and make sure it’s insightful, useful, keyword-centric, unique, and adds value to your site, you can give it an additional push to drive more traffic. Next, you need to write another article for platforms like Quora and Medium and make sure it’s also insightful, keyword-focused with something unique and valuable to offer readers. To market your blog post you need to link the article on Quora or Medium to the main blog on your site by a relevant keyword. Content marketing is an effective way to gain more traction from Google search engine result pages and you can reach more audiences through these high-authority websites.
Connect With Others Using LinkedIn Groups
Using LinkedIn groups is a great way to quickly connect with other professionals in your industry or niche to help you spread the business message. LinkedIn groups also make a great platform to promote the content you create as long as it doesn’t give a spammy feel. It’s better to first build up some value to the conversation before dropping links to your content. Making sure your content adds value to the discussion also increases the effectiveness of this content promotion method.
Besides, LinkedIn groups can be very helpful in contacting professionals with whom you don’t have any mutual connections. You can message any member of the group even if you don’t have them on your contact list. Try to share updates and stay relevant in the group to make a good impression.
Use Facebook Ads and Strategically Targeted Landing Pages
Facebook Ads may not be free but they make a great way to reach the right demographics for your business. Facebook offers several metrics to filter your audiences like interests, marital status, geographical location, age, and mothers. This means as long as you know your customers very well, you can make sure to send strategically-targeted landing pages to your potential consumers.
It is recommended to make test Ads with a micro-budget to check which ad copy and landing page is getting the best response for adding consumers into your sales funnel. You might take a few tries to find the right mix of elements to advertise on Facebook, but once you run a campaign that’s profitable you simply need to continue to scale.
Capitalize on the Power of Instagram Influencers
It is recommended to use the increasing power of social media to instantly reach a huge number of people from around the world at once. However, with a huge amount of content being shared every second on social media, the algorithms and visibility are not working in your favour particularly if you don’t already have thousands or millions of followers on social media.
This is why you need a middle person or amplifiers to reach billions of people using social media. Instagram influencers can be very effective in spreading your message across. Even though you will have to pay a fee for this, it will give you instant access to a large audience within your specific niche given that you have selected the right Instagram influencer to represent your brand or spread your message.
Create Useful Video Tutorials on YouTube
When rightfully done, you can market your business online with great results by creating unique content for each social media platform. People are increasingly consuming video content and you can use YouTube as a great way to market your business. Consistently creating and posting useful and engaging video content like video tutorials can help you eventually reach a large audience. However, you need to make sure the content you are creating adds some value to viewers’ life.
YouTube is a video platform and an easy-to-understand format can be used to teach people almost anything. From screen-sharing videos that teach a digital skill to recording real-world videos, you must share high-quality content that engages the audience. You can also add the link to the video on other social channels and relevant website blogs.
Use Email Marketing to Build a Relationship With Your Customers
A lot of businesses use email marketing to engage with their existing and potential customers or to keep them informed about any recent updates, discounts, and other. However, building up your email marketing funnel is not easy. You often need to give away something for free to get a new consumer email address added to your list. It needs to be something valuable enough for the consumers to want to become your email subscriber.
A great way to collect emails is to create a useful report or e-book that will offer valuable insights to people in your industry and offer them for free against downloaders’ email addresses. Once you have collected the email, make sure to develop a relationship with your subscribers using drip-fed campaigns using an email marketing tool like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and Get Response. That said, make sure to develop a relationship first before you try to pitch your product or service.
Build Customer Trust Through Platforms Like Yelp and Trust Pilot
Trust in the brand often ends up being one of the biggest barriers that businesses have to slowly overcome. People are hesitant to trust businesses and especially new brands that they don’t have direct information about or they don’t know anyone who has used their product. That is why people often use websites like Yelp and Trust Pilot that can assist them before the buying decision.
Yelp and Trust Pilot hold reviews and ratings for most businesses and they are dedicated to helping consumers find the right business to associate with. Consumers can find out how other customers’ experiences have been with the business, which helps them make an informed decision. With the increasing use of such websites, businesses can leverage them to build trust in the brand among potential customers.
Collaborate With Popular Bloggers Within Your Industry
Another effective way to market your business is to reach out to popular bloggers in your industry and collaborate with them. However, it is important that you find the right bloggers to collaborate with as your efforts will be most effective when you add some value to their posts. Try to find a blogger who shares content on a subject that directly relates to your niche for a smooth collaboration.
You can also market your content by offering your services as a guest blogger. If you have good writing skills, you can find a popular blogger that takes guest posts and writes a guest blog for them. Try to make the article as insightful as possible and link it to a relevant blog post on your website.
Contribute to Industry-Specific Forums Regularly
The forum posting strategy for SEO purposes doesn’t work for many people. Often people follow the strategy where they share spammy links in forums and they wonder why they were booted off it. This strategy won’t lead you anywhere. If you do want to market your business online and you have found a forum relevant to your industry instead of leaving spammy links, join the conversation and try to add value before dropping links to your website.
Nobody likes the new person in the forum who randomly starts sharing links. You need to spend some time on the forum and you should accept the least initial return after putting in a lot of effort. Start conversations with other members, make suggestions, add value, and ask and answer questions. Just don’t spam links. Once you have made a few posts, you can start leaving relevant links in your signature and try to include links in an organic way.
Offer a Free Product or Service to Customers
Marketing your business online is all about driving more traffic and visibility to your website and making an attractive offer to your audience that makes them stay and come back. It helps when you understand what your audience wants and more often than not people like it when they receive something for free rather than having to pay a nominal price. Hence, offering a free service or product is a great way to attract your audience and make a memorable impression. Depending on the nature of your business operations, you can offer a free one-month subscription, a 15-minute free consultation, or a free product sample.
However, you may decide to attract the consumers, make sure to collect their contact details so you can reach them later and try to develop a relationship. In case you have decided to give away a free service or product, you have the immediate opportunity to upsell your paid services. People are more likely to take interest in your business and what you have to offer when they accept something for free.
Use Business Listing Sites Like Yahoo Local or Google Local
Even when you are running a local business, you can market your product or services online to attract consumers nearby to visit your brick-and-mortar location. You need to list your business on the local business listing platforms like Google Local and Yahoo Local. You can also do this if you are offering any geographically-specific professional services.
Google Local can be an effective way to list and get your business verified. The more information you provide publicly like company address to be located on Google Maps, store opening hours, contact number, and other information related to the business, the more you increase your chances of being found by the potential customers. Make sure you keep your business information accurate and up-to-date to avoid any inconvenience.
Optimize Your Website for SEO
Optimizing your website for relevant industry keywords with high search volume is one of the very important elements of marketing your business online. That said, you need to remember that if your business is fairly new and you haven’t yet built a lot of content or authority on the website, you are going to have a tough time trying to rank high on Google’s search engine result pages for all marginally competitive keywords.
Hence, before you try to rank at the top of Google search pages, focus on building excellent content and make sure you optimize any piece of content that goes to your site with recommended on-page and off-page SEO practices. There are many things that fall under a complete website SEO, make sure you focus on website speed, meta-text, mobile usability, readability of the content, link profile, citing of sources, insightfulness, quality of content, and more. SEO is a long-term strategy, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get big results in the short run.
Co-Sponsor a Giveaway in a Contest
A great way to stay relevant on the internet is to find something to give away or co-sponsor a contest or award with some other company or professional in your industry. It helps to use tools like LinkedIn and Facebook to build your professional and social network, locate other like-minded professionals who you can collaborate with, or conduct giveaways or contests. The goals of this method are to be noticed by the audience and to add value to the business persona in the public eye.
If professionals in your industry know you and if you are an authority figure in your field, it’s a good idea to start a webinar or talk at a professional conference. You can also go for more mainstream professional conferences like TED Talks or you can start from any event or conference and online webinars. It will make a big difference in helping create and expand your professional network and authority in the industry. A lot of professionals and companies run webinars where they talk about relevant issues and share helpful information that their audience will find insightful. Webinars have become one of the powerful tools to sell almost anything by keeping the consumers highly engaged.
Attend Professional Conferences
If you are not much of a public speaker, you can instead opt for just attending professional conferences and events within your industry. Professional events are a great way to meet other important people from your field and to grow your network. It’s important to try to connect with people you meet at such conferences through LinkedIn and other social media platforms to develop the relationship. These connections can come in handy in various ways from collaborations, sponsoring contests, and giveaways to inviting professionals to your webinar and other company-organized events.
Do Press Releases to Share Important Company News or Events
All efforts that you are taking to market your business online, it is important to make sure it gets enough attention and it’s talked about. One way to do it is to conduct press releases to announce any company news and events. However, press releases always get you immediate media coverage. This is why many companies also use platforms like Help a Reporter to drive more traffic to their piece.
However, publishing a press release that’s written well and has a strong profile can help with your SEO. It also makes a proper way to communicate important business news and events that you can also use to reach out to media outlets for coverage.
Create a Branded Email Signature
Not every way to market your business online has to be complicated, it can also be as simple as using a branded email signature that’s easy on the eyes. Make sure to include your business links and any potential accolades that the company may have received directly in the email signature. This will act as a passive way to market your business to other professionals and companies that you are in contact with on a regular basis.
It is also a good idea to include your social media account links in the email signature as well as any relevant links to your website or important marketing material like digital brochures. You can also add a small, engaging tagline or one-liner catchphrase that tells the email receiver what your business is about and how it adds value.
Implement the 80/20 Marketing Rule
The Pareto Principle, more popularly known as the 80/20 rule, states that 20 percent of your efforts are going to drive 80% of the results. It means that a small portion of all that we are doing actually leads to results. You can apply the same rule for sales as well, which means 80% of your total revenue will be coming from only 20 percent of your business customers.
That said, if you can successfully identify which group of clients are generating the most business income, you can more effectively grow the sales of the business by making additional marketing efforts on these clients like special offers and discounts. You can also tweak your online marketing to more directly cater to these customers in case they are using a portal network to log in, in through email marketing, or if you can track their cookies.
Post Photos and Videos on Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram
A big part of promoting your business online is being active and relevant on social media. People are increasingly consuming pictorial and video content to stay relevant. Businesses need to use this form of media to produce their content as well. You can post your pictures and videos on several high-domain authority sites with a vast user base like Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Tumblr.
Maintaining your business profile on these platforms won’t just help you engage with your consumer but it also is a great marketing technique to drive more traffic and sales to the business. It might take some time but consistent efforts and sharing content that adds value and shows how passionate you are will eventually drive results. That said, make sure to stay active on your profile, comment, like, and engage with your audience and professionals within the industry.
Use Relevant Hashtags
One of the important aspects of using social media to stay relevant in the industry and drive traffic to your website is to use the right keywords that give your content targeted traffic. Hence, make sure you are using relevant hashtags and descriptions for your visual content to properly categorize your online content. Make sure you also follow others within your niche who also post content with the same hashtags and have a high following.
That’s our list of short-term and long-term methods to promote your business online and drive the most results. You can find enough information about each method in this article to get you started and occupied for some time. Besides, it helps to have a marketing budget so you can allocate them within different marketing methods to make your online marketing strategy. Make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, try to work on multiple online marketing methods discussed in this article, so you can drive results from several platforms and ways.
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