Starting a business is expensive.
And once you’re finally ready to launch, chances are that you won’t have too much budget left for marketing, especially when you consider how expensive some of the traditional promotion methods can be.
Luckily, if you have a website, there are plenty of methods to promote it online that are not only affordable but also very effective, if you know how to execute them properly.
In fact, many new business owners have built businesses using online marketing methods only, so if you put in the effort, it might be more than enough to launch your business with a bang.
But how exactly can you market your business online?
With so many methods, determining which methods are right for you can be challenging.
That’s why, before we can jump into the actual tactics, we must first determine the ideal customer that you’ll want to target in all of your online marketing efforts.
So, Who’s Your Ideal Customer?
If you started a business, you probably have at least a general idea of who you want as your buyers.
But to make your online marketing efforts worthwhile, you need to be as specific as possible in determining the people that you want to reach.
You see, the internet is already full of businesses that are competing for the attention of their audience, so you need to make sure that all of your marketing efforts go towards reaching the people that have the highest chance of being interested in what you have to offer.
You need to be very specific – think about the age, gender, location, occupation, and any other relevant information that applies to your customer base.
Try to spot trends and new opportunities to market your products or services – if you have operated in a similar industry before, think about who your best customers were and why were they such a good fit. This can help you become even more specific and help you spot the underlying reasons why prospective customers would be interested.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one audience segment – if you can target different audiences, that can help you reach more people and, ultimately, grow your business faster.
After you know who you need to target, we can move on the actual process of implementing online marketing tactics to get your offer in front of them.
So, to get you started, here are a few surefire online marketing strategies that have worked for thousands of website owners, and can be just as useful for you as well.
SMS marketing may sound like something from a decade or more ago, before the rise of smartphones. After all, who still uses SMS messages anyway, right?
Well, you’d be surprised at just how effective SMS marketing for small business can be, even today.
In fact, according to a report by Retail Dive, SMS marketing can produce engagement levels that are up to eight times higher than those achieved via email marketing.
And because most people today have smartphones, they can click a link on an SMS message and get taken directly to your landing page, without having to type in the address manually.
SMS marketing is affordable, out of the box, and reaches your audience wherever they might be, so if you put together a compelling offer, you might receive an influx of customers starting from day one just by using this one strategy.
Every online business simply has to be on social media if they want to have a chance to compete in the marketplace – since social media platforms contain such a vast majority of all consumers, having a presence there can be the single most effective tool for engaging your audience and driving up sales.
But in order to make your social media marketing strategy work, you need to figure out how to stand out from the sea of businesses competing for the attention of the same users.
Obviously, the first step is to set up your social media accounts on all the major platforms. When doing this, remember that if you want to maintain a professional image, you need to make sure that the branding of each page is consistent with your business.
But merely having social media accounts is not enough – producing content that’s not only relevant to your audience but is adapted to each social media platform is the only way to maximize your chances to achieve good engagement numbers and reach your goals.
You should also utilize Facebook Ads because they allow you to target the very best customers for your business and quickly grow your social media following.
If you want to stand out online, you need to develop a content marketing strategy that generates interest from your prospects and drives them to take action.
Without high-quality content, it would be all but impossible to generate any traction for your website – content is the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy because it allows businesses to provide value to their audience, build trust, and showcase their position as an authority in the field.
What’s more, content such as blogs, videos, how-to articles, and even podcasts can serve as a powerful tool for generating traffic to your website – if you produce good quality materials, it will get shared online and reach people who are interested in your message.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most popular ways to increase traffic to a business website. Basically, it’s the process of optimizing your website and content in a way that gets it noticed by Google and other search engines, earning your site a place among the top results for the relevant keyword phrases in your niche.
The problem is, most business owners get overly excited about the prospect of new customers flooding their website and try to cheat Google by stuffing keywords into their content and buying cheap backlinks, instead of trying to grow their SEO presence organically.
That’s why, if you want to achieve long-lasting results with SEO marketing, you should hire a reliable SEO company that will help you come up with a plan that follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Although there are plenty of free ways to generate traffic over time such as using search engine optimization, they do take some time to deliver results, so if you want to increase traffic quickly, your best bet is to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) ads that can get targeted visitors for your website in a matter of minutes.
PPC ads can be purchased from Google AdWords, as well as the other major search engines.
But while PPC can be incredibly effective, there are a couple of things you need to know before trying it.
First off, you need to understand that with PPC, you’ll be paying for every single visitor that comes to your site, so if you aren’t sure what you’re doing, you may end up losing a lot of money, quick.
What’s more, learning the ins and outs of pay-per-click marketing isn’t easy – there’s a lot of technical knowledge that’s required, so it can be challenging to master for someone without the necessary experience.
That’s why most savvy business owners opt for hiring a Google AdWords services provider that can guide them through the entire process and significantly increase the chances of the campaign being a success.
Jonathan Henning is a co-founder of Trafik, a New Zealand based web design agency. His strategy-first approach has helped clients gain more visibility online and generate quality leads through customised website and online marketing solutions. He loves to write and meet people from the web design and development space discussing trends that help SMEs grow their online presence.
Also published on Medium.