Google Online Marketing Challenge 2018: Win $1,000

Are you looking for ways to grow your business online? Do you want to learn about the most effective digital marketing strategies and tactics? Do you want to find out what others are doing and how you can beat them at their own game?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

The Google Online Marketing Challenge is a global competition where small businesses and brands can compete for a share of a $1,000,000 prize pool. Launched in 2016, the Challenge is now in its eighth year. 

Every year, the Challenge features six key areas of marketing that can be optimized to increase reach and online business growth. These areas range from search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and display advertising.

To qualify, businesses must conduct marketing activities online through email, social media, or search engine channels. The Challenge also requires that businesses set a budget and measure the results of their efforts. 

If you’re interested in taking part in the Challenge, you can find all the information you need right here.

Key Areas of Marketing Optimization

While the areas of marketing that the Challenge focuses on each year are always important, over the years some areas have risen in popularity while others have decreased in value. Below we’ll discuss the six areas of online marketing that the Challenge sets you up for success in 2018.

1. SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the actions taken to improve a website’s performance in search engines like Google and Bing. Over the years, SEO has become extremely beneficial to businesses of all sizes, especially since its effectiveness can be measured and proven.

SEO is still one of the most important areas of online marketing, if not the most important, because it allows businesses to have their websites ranked highly in the search engines, which in turn drives traffic to those sites. The easier a business can be found in the search engines, the more likely potential customers are to discover them.

2. Content Marketing

While SEO focuses on the ‘how’ of getting traffic to your site, content marketing focuses on the ‘what’ gets you there — the content itself. Simply put, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract, engage, and convert potential customers into paying customers.

In content marketing, you’ll want to focus on creating valuable and authoritative content that is regularly published. When published, the content is meant to attract, educate, and inspire readers.

The catch is that you’ll likely also want to track the content’s performance within the search engines, so you can measure its success. This way, you can continually improve the content you’re distributing and make sure it always performs as expected.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing is an old school form of marketing that allows business owners to send out mass emails to customers with offers, discounts, and more. Even though email marketing has changed a lot in the past decade, its value has never been more visible.

With the rise of the email newsletter, marketers can now target and engage with customers in a more personal manner — one email at a time.

Whether you’re using HubSpot or not, you should be setting up your email marketing campaigns and gathering customer’s email addresses. Then, you can begin to develop meaningful, personalized correspondence with interested parties.

Optimizing your email marketing can be quite complicated, especially if you’re using a tool like HubSpot that automatically creates and sends out weekly email newsletters for you. But, it’s worth it! Collecting and using customer email addresses is a great way to grow your business.

4. Social Media

If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you’ll know that social media has forever changed how we connect, communicate, and find information. While traditional forms of marketing like TV advertising and print media still have their place, so too does social media.

The good news is that you don’t need to know exactly how to use social media to get results. You just need to know WHICH social media platforms to use and How to use them. After you do, the results will speak for themselves (and you can always adjust and optimize your strategy as needed).

If you’re looking to grow your business on social media, you should start by building a presence on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Then, you can begin to engage with potential customers there. If you put in the time and effort to build a following on these platforms, you’ll be able to attract more people to your business than you could ever dream of selling to.

5. Mobile Marketing

More people are accessing the internet and searching for information via their mobile phones than they are on desktop computers. This trend will continue as more and more people have adopted mobile phones and the internet grows as a form of social media.

Since many people are searching for products and services on their mobile phones, marketers should target mobile users via advertisements that appear in mobile search results. That’s where mobile marketing comes in.

You can take advantage of this trend and gain more customers by putting in the effort to learn how to code for mobile phones and testing out various marketing strategies and offers on your phone. You can even get a small business loan specifically for mobile marketing efforts.

6. Display Advertising

While search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, and social media all contribute to attracting audiences to your business, display advertising is what actually brings them in. Display advertising is basically online advertising that’s placed on a website or mobile app in the form of a banner or a text ad. 

Once you have an ad on a platform like Google Display Network, you can target users based on their interests, demographics, and/or geography. So, if you have an e-commerce store, you can target web users that are likely to buy your products via banner ads on sites like Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

As you can see, there are many areas of online marketing that you can focus on to gain more customers. However, in order to be successful, you’ll need to set up automated marketing systems that can capture and analyze data such as email opens, clicks, and purchases. Luckily, Google already did that for you and is making it much easier for small businesses to track the results of their efforts.

The Risks Of Not Marketing Online

If you’re reading this, maybe you’ve already launched your business and are making a profit. Maybe you’re just getting started but want to make sure you do everything possible to grow your business as successfully as possible. Either way, you should know the risks of not marketing online.

One of the major risks of not marketing online is that you won’t be able to track the results of your efforts. While you can get a decent guess at what is happening based on what you see on social media platforms and search engines, knowing the actual figures can be very helpful.

If you do track the results of your efforts, you’ll most likely find that your efforts in SEO, content marketing, and email marketing are paying off. However, you should also be tracking the results of your mobile marketing and display advertising efforts to know if this is actually bringing in the customers you’re looking for.

Based on the areas you chose for optimization and the results you’re getting, you can determine if mobile marketing and/or display advertising are worth continuing with or if you should change your focus to one of the other five areas.

What Next?

Based on what you learned in this article, you can begin to formulate a plan for marketing and grow your business. Are you ready to put in the effort to learn more?

If so, then great! Below we’ve listed several resources that can help you get started marketing your business online.

Join the Google Marketing Challenge

If you want to take part in the upcoming Google Marketing Challenge, then you should apply today! The deadline to apply is November 15, 2018.

The good news is that you can register yourself and your business for free, even if you don’t win the grand prize. Each year, the Challenge features six different areas of marketing that you can use to your advantage.