What does it take to effectively market a business or product online? Today, online marketing involves activating a myriad of different online channels, each of which requires a different set of skills and tools. Some will definitely provide a return on your investment better than others, but all of them can play a part in the tapestry of modern online marketing.
While the following list is far from exhaustive, it contains 10 solid ways to promote a product or business online.
Content marketing encompasses quite a few things, but in this case we refer specifically to blogging and vlogging. Creating high-quality, relevant content on a regular basis not only helps to establish a brand’s authority and expertise on a topic, it also helps boost a site’s value for search engines. After all, a site loaded with lots of content relevant to a particular topic will tend to rank higher in search results and contain more relevant keywords.
Content marketing tends to have long-term value, but less of an immediate return on investment. It takes time to build up enough content to rank as an authority on Google. Yet, once this happens, the return on the long investment can make all the effort worthwhile.
To boost the results of a content strategy try guest posting outside of your own site. Using sites like Quora or Medium can prove an excellent way to build credibility, while contributing content to blogs of companies in similar industries (though not in direct competition) can generate a lot of backlinks.
Sure, Facebook may have lost some of its shine over the last few years (especially after having embroiled in a few scandals with fake news, manipulative ads, etc.). But, it remains a major platform with well-developed marketing tools that you should use. At a minimum, your company should have a page for your product or brand that you update regularly and through which you actively engage your audience.
Better yet, take advantage of Facebook’s marketing tools. For a relatively modest investment, and with very little technical knowledge, you can easily produce well-targeted ads that reach an ideal audience that will want to know about what you have to offer.
As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Instagram has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Companies not using this social platform in their online marketing campaign risk getting left behind. Using simple image based content, companies can communicate volumes to customers in a way they never could through written ads or even videos. What’s more, its ad platform allows advertisers to insert ads that look almost like part of the user’s usual feed, which can lead to much higher engagement.
YouTube has long been one of the most popular search engines. While it takes a little effort to get into the rhythm of effectively using YouTube, if you focus on creating useful content with good production values, you will build an audience and see results in no time. Just like other types of content marketing, though, this is a long-term investment. Results rarely occur overnight, and creating content that goes “viral” is trickier than many people believe. Still, with solid fundamentals and engaging content, you can extend the reach of your brand to a vast new audience.
This one may seem antiquated to some, but email marketing remains a powerful tool for online marketing. The best way to use it (especially for newer brands) is to give away something of value in exchange for someone giving you their email address. Take the time to create an eBook, a template, a report, or something else that your audience will actually want (not something solely filled with advertising for your product or company). Develop a relationship with the customer, learn about their habits, gather data on the best ways to reach them via email. Avoid trying to sell at every opportunity. Connect first, gain their trust and interest, and create an environment where the sale feels almost secondary to the content of the email.
Use the Many Tools Google Relies on to Add Dimension to a Search Result Entry
For years now, Google has had ways that companies could add information to their search results. Yet, most people never avail themselves of these techniques. For example, companies with locations open to the public can claim their address on Google Maps. More advanced users can use rich snippets, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and other tools to help Google pull information directly from your site to create larger, more noticeable, and more interesting search results for your page.
Optimize Your Page
This may seem another no-brainer, but many people spend all of their time focusing on creating a beautiful website and completely forget to optimize it for search engines. SEO has become something of an art form over the last few years, so it may not hurt to hire an expert to help you. But, at its core, the formula for strong SEO is a mix of page speed, performance, easily indexable content, and audience engagement. Again, SEO is often a long-term strategy, so do not get too discouraged if you do not see immediate results. But, a solid game plan can lead to much higher search rankings, which can affect all of your online marketing channels.
Press releases may also seem like relics from the past, but the digital age has given them a new life and form. Creating a press release and strategically broadcasting it across social channels and through targeted emails and direct messages can still get your product or brand in front of a new audience. With the millions of blogs online, you may even be able to create relationships with smaller properties that will actually print and promote your content if it closely aligns with their subject matter. You can also use sites for posting and distributing press releases, but these often like to charge and usually get much less impressive results than you can achieve through your own direct communications.
Collaborate with Other Brands
Identify other brands in your space with which you do not directly compete. If your product or brand aligns well with what they do, consider collaborating. This could be as simple as writing content with links to their site and asking them to boost it on their social channels. Or, it could take the forms of a true strategic alliance in which you both throw resources into a joint campaign of some sort. Things become much easier when you do not have to do them all on your own.
Spread Your Brand Everywhere You Can
In the digital world, just as in the real world, repetition can create a sense of familiarity with a brand. Of course, in the digital world, the cost for this repetition is usually much lower than billboards or radio and TV ads. The key is maintaining a consistent, easily recognizable brand message and logo. Add your logo to your email signature. Put it on all of your social channels. Add it to articles and guest posts. Put it anywhere that seems appropriate (and where you can retain control so someone else doesn’t use it to disparage your brand). This familiarity will cause consumers to believe your brand is well-established, trustworthy, and a good choice for them.