The evolution of digital marketing and social media has created many new opportunities for small businesses. No longer do you need to rely on traditional adverts on TV to gain new customers. With a little effort, you can gain access to a much wider audience and engage with them on a personal level.
Traditional marketing, although still effective, is now merely a small part of a digital marketing strategy. That means that if you’re not making the most of online marketing methods, you’re losing out on a potentially huge audience.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to attract potential customers to your business. When optimizing your site for the Google search engine, you are aiming to have your website appear in the top three results of a Google search for your chosen keywords. This is highly competitive, but with a little bit of focused effort, decent SEO is well within reach for almost any business.
Some of the most successful online businesses rely heavily on SEO. Examples include Amazon, which uses SEO to gain its impressive sales ranking; Facebook, which builds its audience primarily using SEO; and Google, which is the most popular search engine worldwide and frequently used by people looking to buy products or services online.
In contrast, some businesses get by with less reliance on SEO. Take YouTube, for example. In 2017, YouTube’s parent company Google decided to cut the number of sponsored videos on the platform from 200 to 100 a day. While this might not seem like a significant change, it represents a potential loss of business for some companies that heavily depend on branded content.
The decision was a reaction to the growing distrust of consumers in online marketing. In 2017, 54% of consumers said that they wouldn’t engage with content that’s linked to a brand or product, according to HubSpot Blogs research.
SEO is not a quick fix, and it certainly requires effort to achieve high search rankings. However, the upside is that you’ll eventually start seeing organic, performance-based growth.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is another cost-efficient and potentially very effective way to spread the word about your business. The key is to build a list of email addresses that you can then use to send out regular emails. These emails will often contain offers, discounts, and other valuable information that might pique the interest of your target audience.
The problem is that many businesses don’t put in the time and effort to develop a comprehensive email marketing strategy. A 2018 HubSpot Blogs survey found that only 16% of businesses use email to market their business, and most of those respondents said that they planned to grow their email list by using a service like HubSpot rather than developing a strategy themselves.
If you’re looking to grow your email list, take some time to brainstorm different ways that you can do it. What works well for one business might not work for another. You can also hire an expert to help you develop an email marketing strategy that will work for your specific industry and brand. Just make sure that you don’t get fooled by cheap offers that come with a high volume of email marketing.
3. Social Media Marketing
If you’ve ever shopped at an online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy, you’ll have undoubtedly noticed that these businesses enjoy huge success with social media marketing. The key to their success is twofold: first, they use platforms like Twitter and Instagram to gain support from their audience; and second, they engage with their followers on a personal level by replying to comments and engaging with content posted to their feeds.
The downside with social media is that it can be heavily saturated with marketing messages, which might confuse or upset audiences. Additionally, many businesses rely on heavily on social media to gain attention and make sales, so if your product is more of a niche thing, you might not see the results you’re looking for.
That being said, social media marketing is critical for businesses, and it’s a strategy that can be easily implemented by almost any business.
4. Content Marketing
Last but not least, let’s talk about content marketing. If you’ve ever read a business blog post or watched an informative YouTube video, you’ll know that these articles and videos usually contain valuable and useful information that might pique your interest and encourage you to learn more about the product or service.
Content marketing is a form of online marketing that involves creating and sharing content that is likely to appeal to your target audience. The main goal of content marketing is to establish thought leadership in your industry and create awareness around your brand or product. As a content marketer at HubSpot, you’ll regularly create blog posts, gather information and statistics, and design infographics to help businesses like yours succeed.
What’s interesting is that 65% of businesses that use content marketing to market their business said that they planned to implement the strategy in the next six months, according to Hubspot Blogs research. That means that if you’re not making the most of content marketing, you’re potentially losing out on a massive audience.
5. Paid Advertising
Last but not least, let’s discuss paid advertising. Just like with social media marketing, you’ll often see online businesses that rely on paid advertising to gain customers. The key difference is that you’ll often see ads on social media, while paid advertisements are usually displayed during commercial breaks or at the end of videos on websites.
Paid advertising is one of the oldest forms of marketing. However, with the rise of the digital age and the explosion of mobile technology, paid advertising has become much more effective and affordable.
Additionally, the role of digital marketing and social media in today’s marketing landscape means that more and more businesses are incorporating paid advertising into their strategies. What’s more, since most people get their news and information from online sources, paid advertisements are frequently found in the free content that people stumble upon online.
Commercial breaks or end game ads on a TV news channel? Which do you prefer, and why? Let us know what you think in the comments below.