In the last 10 years, the world of business and marketing has changed dramatically.
Thanks to the internet and digital marketing, which allow businesses to target consumers with unprecedented accuracy and engagement, businesses of all sizes can now compete and thrive in a global market.
But that doesn’t mean that traditional marketing strategies will no longer be effective. Quite the opposite—marketing through traditional channels, such as print or radio, can still reap significant rewards for businesses that adopt them.
So whether you’re starting from scratch or you want to refine and expand your current marketing efforts, here are four perfectly legitimate ways to market your business online:
1. Product Review Sites
Product review sites, like Yelp, have created an entire ecosystem that supports and encourages consumers to read reviews before purchasing a product or service. In fact, 94% of people read reviews before visiting a business location, 23% read reviews while there, and 3% after leaving.
Many companies, brands, and products have taken advantage of this natural tendency and have used online review platforms to gain credibility and encourage people to purchase their offerings. If you’re not equipped to offer product reviews, consider hiring a freelance writer to provide in-house content to review sites such as Yelp or Google Reviews.
The importance of establishing yourself as an expert in your space cannot be overstated. A 2019 study from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) revealed that 69% of people have chosen a business or brand they know little about based on social media reviews. You never know what could happen if you establish yourself as an expert in your space.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Whether you’re an experienced marketer or you’re just getting started, you’ll soon discover that affiliate marketing, a form of online marketing that earns you a commission when someone clicks a sponsored link or buys a product that’s promoted on your website, is a wonderful way to generate revenue and establish your authority in your space.
If you’re not familiar, Affiliate Marketing is a type of marketing where you don’t directly sell a product. Instead, you provide a website or blog along with a link to a product. When someone clicks that link and buys the product, you earn a small commission.
There are a number of very good reasons why this form of marketing is effective. First, it’s incredibly scalable. You don’t need a massive budget to get started, and you don’t need to invest in expensive advertising or expensive product listings to make money. Second, it’s a form of marketing that’s gaining popularity among businesses of all sizes and among new and experienced marketers alike. Third, if someone discovers your site through an affiliate link or buy, they’re highly likely to be interested in your space and may even visit your site to learn more, increasing the chance of earning a commission.
There are a variety of affiliate marketing strategies you can use to make money, so you can find one that works best for your situation. For example, you might want to try a hybrid strategy that combines affiliate marketing with SEO or PPC (Pay Per Click Advertising).
3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO, short for search engine optimization, is an important component of any digital marketing strategy. When you optimize your websites and rank highly in search engine rankings (often referred to as search engine “Matching”), you’ll gain credibility with potential customers and drive more traffic to your site.
In general, SEO involves using a combination of techniques, including on-site content (such as quality blog posts), off-site content (such as product reviews and videos), and backlinks (a website’s content linked to another website)
Why should you invest in SEO? First, because, as mentioned above, it’s a great way to gain credibility and traffic to your site. Second, because SEO takes time to implement and establish, and it’s never truly “done” —you’re always able to improve your rankings and gain more traffic and credibility.
There are a variety of free tools you can use to track the performance of your SEO efforts.
4. Social Media Marketing
While SEO focuses on attracting potential customers through organic search results, social media marketing focuses on attracting customers through social media channels, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Often, businesses think that having a physical retail location or office is the key to success on social media, but that’s certainly not true. In 2020, 96% of consumers discovered or learned about a business online — before they ever set foot in a store.
To attract potential customers on social media, you’ll want to focus on creating high-quality content that will engage your audience and encourage them to follow and connect with your brand.
Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
1. Grow a Community
Instead of just using social media to attract customers to your brand, you can also use social media to generate engagement and discussion among your existing customer base. The more you engage with your audience on social media, the more they’ll appreciate your brand and be inclined to buy your products or services.
To prove this point, take a look at TripAdvisor’s Instagram account. It currently has over 23 million followers, and what do they get when they arrive on the platform? An endless stream of discounted deals and offerings from brands that are trying to attract their attention.
In other words, brands can use social media to directly engage with their audience and encourage them to do business with them, often without even having to ask.
2. Measure ROI (Return on Investment)
If you want to evaluate the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts, it’s important to remember that social media is largely free (unless you invest in expensive ads) and is very accessible — someone just has to want to find you.
As a result, businesses have very little reason to not try it. They simply need to understand how to measure the return on their investment (ROI). The good news is that with the right tools, this is a simple endeavor.
A variety of software and platforms, like Hootsuite’s social media dashboard or Marketo’s Social Business Suite, make it incredibly easy to track the performance of your social media marketing activities and determine the exact ROI of those efforts.
3. Paid Media
Last but not least, we have paid media. Paid Media is, essentially, the same as traditional marketing, with the difference being that you’re paying for the exposure. Most businesses, whether they’re small or large, have a budget set aside for paid media, often in the form of paid ads on social media platforms or paid content on websites. These are often the methods used by large corporations to reach the largest audience possible.
If you’re looking to grow your audience and want to explore this option, keep in mind that there are many different kinds of paid media you can use, so find a way to fit into your existing budget.
Which One Should You Choose?
While digital marketing may hold many advantages, none of this matter if you don’t know how to properly implement and measure the results of these strategies. Luckily, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to do this —you just need to have a basic understanding of how the internet and digital marketing work together.
So, while you may decide that SEO is the best approach for your business, you must also remember to track your results and evaluate whether or not this was indeed the case. The same goes for any other form of digital marketing you may choose to pursue.