A good marketing strategy is a key to business success and growth, in addition to reliable products and services. There are several types of marketing strategies— digital marketing, to be exact— that have been proven to expand small businesses. Here are 10 digital marketing strategies to try if you’re a small business owner just starting out, or even if you’re a seasoned business owner looking for new strategies.
#1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO refers to the techniques used to ensure that a website will “rank higher” on a search engine. Google is the most popular search engine, with more than 70% of searchers using this search engine. Microsoft, Bing, and Yahoo are the next most popular search engines in the Western hemisphere. With that being said, millions (if not billions) of searches are being conducted every day and the proper SEO techniques will ensure that your website ranks at a high slot when someone searches for content related to your business.
There are several types of SEO marketing, including local SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. Basically, each type utilizes keywords and phrases found on your website that people are likely to type into a search engine. This is the key to getting your website to at least show up on the first page of a search engine, rather than the second or third. In most cases, people using search engines don’t look past that first page
#2: Content Marketing
This type of marketing strategy is used more so to increase brand awareness, rather than actually promoting the brand. The content used for marketing can be any type of content, whether it be blog or guest posts, photos, videos, and anything posted on social media. Ebooks and infographics are also forms of content marketing. Anything that helps educate visitors when they reach your website is an opportunity to turn them into a customer.
A company blog, in particular, is a great addition to your website. Through a blog, you’ll be able to provide both information and research on the benefits of the type of products and/or services you’re offering. A blog on your website also presents a great opportunity to utilize SEO techniques.
#3: Pay Per Click (PPC)
PPC is when you have an ad placed on a website, social media platforms, or a search engine, and every time the ad is clicked, you pay the publisher a fee. The idea of PPC is that even though you have to pay once you’ve had your ads clicked, that “click” will take a potential customer to your website, turning them into a potential paying customer. Google Ads is the most common PPC method, where you pay to have your website rank first on Google.
#4: Affiliate Marketing
This is a very common type of marketing in which the products of a company are promoted on another company’s website (usually the company blog). When the affiliate link is clicked and a purchase is made, the company or entity promoting the product receives a commission. There are specific types of affiliate marketing, but basically, you would have an affiliate (a blogger, etc.) promote your product on your website, and when a sale is made through your website, they’ll earn a portion of the profits.
#5: Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is very similar to affiliate marketing, in which you pay another company to promote your product. The key differences are that with sponsored content (also known as influencer marketing), you pay that company or individual a set fee for promotion, rather than paying them every time they make a sale, like with affiliate marketing. Also, sponsored content can be posted on a blog, as well as other forms of social media, whereas affiliate marketing links are usually just posted on blogs (but they can be posted on other platforms). When it comes to blog posts, sponsored content means that the entire blog is about your product, whereas with affiliate marketing, your product may only be mentioned in a paragraph.
#6: Native Advertising
Native advertising is similar to content marketing, except that the ads don’t actually resemble “ads”— they look similar to the content on the platform. A good example would be Instagram advertising where the paid content looks more like a normal post on your company’s Instagram feed (native), rather than resembling an ad.
#7: Social Media Marketing
In the same way, search engines are utilized daily for information, so is social media. It’s come a long way since the mid-2000s, and it’s one of the best ways to promote your brand to the largest audience possible. Facebook is currently the largest social media platform with billions of users, but it’s also important to market on other platforms to reach a wider audience. This is especially true if your products/services are used by people of all ages because some platforms are used more by Generation Z (TikTok, YouTube), while others are used more by Millennials (Instagram) and Generation X (Facebook).
Just about every social media platform has business tools for you to access in order to reach the biggest possible audience when promoting your business. However, you’re likely to see more success with the help of a social media marketing agency.
#8: Marketing Automation
As the name suggests, this is an automated way of marketing your company and its products/services to an audience. Examples include campaigns, newsletters, and regularly scheduled social media updates. Marketing automation should always be done on a consistent basis, so your audience will stay informed about your company and products. This is especially true for social media platforms because daily social media engagement is essential for business success.
#9: Email Marketing
Email marketing is a very specific form of marketing automation, but it is also a complex form of marketing itself. The purpose of email marketing is to have your audience click on your website to make a purchase. This can be the advertisement of new products that are now available or any discounts and promotions you may have going on at the moment. Email marketing can look like this:
- Welcome emails to customers who have just signed up.
- Notifications of new blog posts on your website.
- Holiday promotions.
#10: Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a special marketing strategy that uses all of the strategies listed above. The goal is to naturally get a potential customer interested in your company, rather than bombarding them with advertisements coercing them to buy from you. An example would be a well-written blog post with a catchy title to catch their attention, rather than having your ads (annoyingly) pop up on another website. If there is a way for a person to make a pop-up ad go away, they will likely close it as soon as possible.
As stated in the beginning, all of these are different types of digital marketing— (marketing done over the internet). Digital marketing is usually the most effective form of marketing, allowing companies to reach goals that may not have been possible with traditional forms of marketing. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that traditional marketing practices are completely ineffective. In fact, small businesses in small towns may see more success from traditional forms of marketing at first, but should definitely utilize digital marketing techniques for future success.