You can have a killer business and still fail.
The differentiating factor is marketing; who knows that you exist and you are the answer that they are looking for.
Truth is, you can be doing the most amazing things, have huge solutions for people, but if you don’t market it and no one knows, your impact is short and your business profit stays shallow.
The Internet casts a huge net for you to get your business in front of many people quickly.
In fact, there is no other platform out there that gives you such wide influence without costing you a dime.
But, it is your choice whether you’ll take advantage of it.
Internet marketing stands out among the rest because it is low-cost (if not free!), convenient, provides you with massive reach, and you can do it in such a way that is personalized and custom to you and your brand.
You have an opportunity to strategically position yourself before your clients and your clients-to-be.
So, stop holding off and let’s see how you can effectively market your business online and stand out as the expert you are.
16 Effective Ways To Market Your Business Online
1. Build an Attractive Website
Your website is your first impression and your website will either pull your ideal audience in or instantly turn them away.
You need a website that will speak directly to your ideal customer; one that is professionally made, easy to navigate, promotes a call to action, has strong landing mages, accessible via mobile and uses attractive images. All of these things make for a website that will cause you to stand out among the millions of websites out there.
There are important pages necessary for a strong website and those could include about, testimonials, contact, portfolio, services, products, blog, contact, terms & conditions. Depending on your business and your niche, picking the right pages is almost just as important as the design.
To learn how you can build a website for your business, click here. It's a step by step guide where I will teach you how to create your own website.
Here's an example of an e-commerce website I recently built - take a look at the design and how the most important pages are in there (I'm using WooCommerce on this one btw!):
2. Prioritize Blogging
Blogging has the potential to take you from an option to the obvious choice. To many, blogging feels like too much work or inconvenient, but it helps to establish your credibility, humanize your brand, and elevate your expertise.
Place importance on creating and maintaining an editorial calendar. Think about the type of content that will speak directly to your ideal audience. Examples: tutorials, lists, inspirational posts, printable downloads.
Also, guest blogging (writing) for other influential websites relevant to your niche can give you more exposure. To find blogs to contribute to, simply, google “your niche” + “guest post” and ta-da!
Don't forget to install social sharing plugin to your blog. It's a great way to encourage users to share your content around. I am currently using SumoMe for social sharing buttons and image sharer (see the social buttons when you hover on the images). Here's how it looks like:
Who to hire: a content writer or content manager to help write blog content and create an editorial calendar!
3. Work on your SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's the process of getting website visitors from the results on search engines.
For example, when people search for "how to market your business online" and my website (TwelveSkip) shows up in the top search results - this means that I'm in the first pages in the search results because my website is optimized for the search engines. When people click on my site, I get new visitors that could potentially become new customers.
Here's a visual example of how it works:
Optimizing your website for the search engines will help you gain more traffic, more clients and more exposure. Additionally, it is cost-effective and brings awareness to your brand.
One huge way to improve SEO? Create consistent and quality content relevant to your niche. More SEO tips here.
Who to hire: a SEO consultant, manager or firm
4. Build Your Email List & Send Emails Regularly
Your email list is a powerful tool for your business. Sending emails regularly keeps you at the forefront of your audience’s mind, sets you up as a leader and/or expert and builds a loyal community out of your audience. Here are some tips for building your email list:
- Offer incentives for those who sign up for your email list. Examples such as a free e-book, printables, resources, free community, etc. Lean into what your ideal audience’s pain points or biggest needs are and create something that will speak directly to that. You have an answer! Here are the most reliable email marketing softwares I've been using to collect emails: MadMimi (free up to 100 subscribers) or Aweber (starts at $19/mo).
- Make sure your opt-in is visible on your website. It can be placed as a popup, locate it on your top bar or at the sidebar. My top choices for popup optin are Optinmonster or LeadPages (they're not like the old school annoying popup forms btw). Since I started using a popup optin, my email list has been growing a lot. Here's a beautiful example of a popup optin:
- Send quality content consistently. Think about what your audience would love to hear from you such as blog posts, exclusive content, downloads, coupons, discount codes, etc.
For more ways on how you can double your email subscribers, click here to read my article "12 Effective Formulas To Grow Your Email Subscribers".
5. Use Other Channels To Sell Your Products
There are some huge communities that you can use to boost your visibility towards your products. They have willing and waiting audiences ready to spend their money and buy your products. Position yourself to be one of those people by using the following platforms:
Etsy: Beside my own website, I'm currently using Etsy to sell products and it works well because it's where most of my audience hangs out. Click the image below to view the store.
Cratejoy Marketplace: If you operate a subscription box or recurring e-commerce business, then Cratejoy’s Marketplace is the perfect channel to grow your revenue quickly. Marketplace is the only destination where consumers can browse hundreds of subscription boxes in over 90 different categories. The Marketplace has over 3.4 million page views every month so you’re guaranteed to get eyes on your business.
For sellers, Marketplace is a zero-effort, zero-risk channel to increase revenue and reach new subscribers. Listing on the marketplace is free and merchants only pay a small performance fee once they receives sales. Businesses listing on the Marketplace benefit from Cratejoy’s expertise in reaching subscribers through a variety of methods, such as national partnerships, organic marketing, affiliate marketing, and public relations. Existing e-commerce businesses can expect to see revenue double or even triple by adding a subscription model and listing on the marketplace.
6. List Your Business on Local Directories
Gone are the days of people going into the phone book or newspapers and searching the classifieds and directory for what they need. Now most often, people go straight for Google and the Internet. By putting yourself in online directories and apps, you can increase your exposure at little to no-cost. Here's a good example:
Most popular directories you can list your business to:
7. Use Classified Ads
There are some incredible classified ads resources that you can use to create listings for your business offering your services. It has the potential to connect you with the people who are looking for what you and your business have to offer.
8. Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Create a social media strategy. You can have all the passion in the world, but without a strategy, things just don’t happen. Determine what social media channels your audience hangs out on the most. From there, prioritize the three top social media you will give your attention to. Play with your strategy and experiment to see what works really well and what does not work at all! Stay fresh, authentic and on top of your game.
- Share useful or entertaining content consistently. Create consistent and fresh content that speaks right to your audience to encourage, empower, give advice; whatever the language of your brand stands for.
- Encourage people to share your content around. Install visible social sharing buttons to your blog to make it easier for people to share your posts. See those social buttons hanging beside this post? Also, when you hover over images, you'll also see social sharing buttons. I am currently using SumoMe for these.
- Use visuals. People love images! Social media posts with images will gain more attention and sharing than those with not. Keep your images on brand.
- Make your social media pretty. Use Twitter headers and Facebook cover photos to communicate your brand. Create a profile picture or avatar that exudes your personality and is of high-quality.
- Give discounts or run contests. Use your social media to create a brand experience and draw people into your offerings. Using discounts and contests create buzz around what you’re doing.
- Join Twitter chats, Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups. There are many groups on all social media platforms that you can be a part of, meet new people, collaborate and establish your voice.
- Be authentic and professional. When people are negative, stay professional. Drama is the never the answer. Be yourself on the Internet. That’s what people will fall in love with.
- Engage with people. As your people comment, reply or share your content, engage with them! Reward them by showing up for them. This creates trust and loyalty between you and your audience.
- Be human. People don’t fall in love with businesses, they fall in love with people. Humanize your brand by being your authentic self.
Who to hire: social media consultant, virtual assistant, copywriter!
9. Create Videos
People love videos! There are things that people will watch that they would never take the time to read especially with your unique and engaging personality. Keep them short, to the point and infused with personality and they are an incredible marketing tool.
Types of videos to create: quick tutorials, inspiration, tips and advice, fun videos. Here's an awesome example:
10. Consider Paid Advertising on Social Media
Leverage huge social media platforms to boost your posts or accounts. Jump into the world of Facebook ads or/and Promoted Tweets to promote your page, website, webinar or event. Spend a little money to see how that sets you up for success.
Who to hire: Facebook Ads specialist, copywriter, graphic designer, social media expert!
11. Buy Banner Ads
Explore high-traffic websites in your niche or where your ideal audience hangs out online and see if they offer banner spots for advertising. There are some websites that can help you find high-quality websites to advertise on, some examples: BuySellAds.com / Passionfruitads.
Who to hire: graphic designer to create your ad banners.
12. Partner Up With Influential Bloggers
There are some bloggers out there with high-level influence and thousands of followers. Partnering with them to give you and your business exposure is an awesome way to market your business.
Some ways to partner with bloggers:
- send free samples
- reward them a commission per sale
- pay them per post or barter services with them
SixPushMedia can help you look for influencers or bloggers that can help promote your brand.
13. Create an Affiliate (or Referral) Program
Whether you are a product or service based business, setting yourself up with an affiliate or referral program will help you bring repeat customers, new clients and ultimately create ambassadors for your brand.
How does this work? You will invite people who are in your industry to sign up as your affiliate then they will do something to promote your products/services to their audience such as writing a review about your product or advertise your product throughout their social media channels. When people buy from their affiliate link (you provided), they will get some commission from you.
Here are some great management systems that can help you create + manage an affiliate program:
- ShareASale: This is one of the most reliable and well-respected affiliate marketing management system. They will help you expose your business to a wider audience through affiliates websites. Some awesome features include affiliate list tracking, and clicks + sales tracking. You can easily manage everything in one place.
- AffiliateWP: If you’re using WordPress, this is a good plugin that can help you manage your affiliates. You can integrate AffiliateWP with all major WordPress ecommerce and membership plugins. Some awesome features include viewing moderating affiliate registrations, top earning affiliates, earnings, paid + unpaid affiliates, and track your affiliate’s performance. Want to see it live? Here’s an example.
14. Collaborate With Other Business Owners
There is so much potential online for collaboration. Collaborating with other creatives, freelancers or business owners gives you more traffic, more exposure and more profit. Be bold about reaching out to people if you have an idea of how you want to work with other people!
Examples of collaborations: guest posts, podcast interviews, webinars, campaigns, events, link-ups, Twitter chats, even business partnerships.
Who to work with: Pick people in your complimenting industries! Are you a graphic designer? Work with a copywriter or business coach. Are you a photographer? Work with a stylist or a product shop!
15. Try Google Adwords
Google Adwords is pay-per-click advertising on Google where when people use keywords to search for specific products or services, if they match with your keywords, your paid ad appears next to or above the search results encouraging more clicks, more visitors and hopefully more sales!
The benefit of using Google Adwords are that there are extremely targeted, cost effective and highly relevant. It positions you as an answer for the problem people are facing which is exactly what you want.
16. Learn From Other Businesses
There is so much that we can learn from one another! In the places where we feel weak, there is someone who can step up strong with practical advice, services or inspiration. We can lean into each other and kill it together.
Maybe you can collaborate with another business owner to create an offering, product or service. Maybe you can look at someone else’s success and be inspired that it is possible for you too!
This list only scratches the surface of all the potential there is in the world of online marketing.
You can be effective. You can stand out. You can be the obvious choice.