Marketing your business online in this day and age is a no-brainer. An estimated 205 million Americans shopped online in 2015, an increase of more than 30 million people over the previous five years.

However, don’t expect to tap into this huge marketing opportunity by just starting a Twitter or Facebook account…

Writing a blog or dabbling in AdWords won’t be enough, either. Catching the eye of online shoppers requires more than blind trial-and-error with various marketing platforms – you need a long-term strategy that you can realistically execute over the long haul.

If you’re serious about building an online presence, then read on to learn about four of the best digital marketing tactics that every small business should use. These tactics don’t require extensive marketing budgets, but they do require patience. Remember that online brands aren’t built overnight. Keep at it, though, and you’ll eventually connect with today’s newest customers.


1. Invest In SEO

Google processes more than 100 billion searches per month, Bing handles more than 3.6 billion searches per month and Yahoo gets roughly 2.2 billion searches per month. With so much search activity, you can clearly see why ranking high in the search results can be a game-changer for your business.

But your business might be invisible to those shoppers without an SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website’s organic (aka not paid advertising) search engine rankings.

With SEO, there are a collection of simple changes you can make to boost your rankings over time. Making sure each page of your website has a defined theme with at least 500 words of quality content (and matching meta titles and H1 headers) is a great first step toward SEO success.

Not only does solid SEO get you noticed, but it is also proven to win customers. According to research from Google, roughly half of customers who search for local businesses on their smartphones end up visiting stores and making purchases during the same day!

2. Dive Into Digital Ads

If SEO is the long game, then digital advertising is the short game. Digital advertising, such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads, allows you to instantly connect with online shoppers.

The great thing about digital advertising is you only pay when people click on your ad. And if you’re careful about writing honest, remarkable ad copy that is consistent with the promises found on your landing page – and if you’re willing and able to place a high enough bid – then you’re almost guaranteed a high-ranking placement above the top organic search results.

According to Google’s data, the clickthrough rate for a first-position mobile search ad is 27.7%, and the clickthrough rate for an equally placed ad on a desktop browser is 19.3%. Both figures show the potential of digital advertising to drive prospective customers to your website.

There’s just one catch. Launching advertising campaigns before your site is ready could result in you paying for traffic that doesn’t convert into customers for your business. So make sure your ad landing pages are structured logically and are congruent with your ad copy so they don’t turn shoppers away.

3. Reach Out With Email

Email marketing is an older tactic that still yields great results. The goal of email marketing is to gradually build an email list of customers and prospective customers for your business.

Encourage people to give their emails by requesting free information, accessing coupons, signing up for contests, and registering to make purchases on your site. As you build your list, you can regularly send emails to these prospects and customers with information about new products, hot sales and other news about your business.

Keep in mind that nobody likes being bombarded with ads. That’s why email marketing campaigns are also effective in building a brand for your business. Launch email campaigns that educate customers about trends in your industry, or send out seasonal “how-to” guides offering relevant and helpful advice.

You can also use email campaigns to advertise your blog or social media profiles.  That leads us to the fourth channel…

4. Engage in Social Media Marketing

Being active on social media is a must for many businesses now.

Creating your profile is free whether you start with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. And as you build your social presence, you’ll be able to engage with prospective customers with sales and information to nurture and educate them. Plus, high-profile social media pages are often shown in organic search results, making investing in social media another aspect of SEO.

The risk with social media is feeling like you need to be on every platform and then spreading yourself too thin. Don’t go overboard with social media. Yes, it’s all free. And yes, people use all kinds of social media. But unless you have a team of marketing experts at your disposal, you’ll be better off focusing on the social media channels your customers use the most.

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