1. Search Engine Optimization:

Search engine optimization doesn’t mean you need to pay a lot of money. Many small businesses undervalue SEO and pay outrageous sums for ads that don’t even make the top 10 results. It’s like paying $20 for a newspaper ad that only gets read by 1% of your customers.

Find an expert in SEO services who is willing to work for you on a cost-plus basis. Maybe you work for a large corporation where you can afford this luxury. If not, ask around and see if you can finagle it somehow. Just make sure you do it sooner than later.

The experts I mentioned above are hard to find and they get booked up early.

2. Search Engine Marketing:

If you’re new to search engine marketing, you’ll usually see it abbreviated as SEM. It’s a form of Internet marketing where you increase your SERPs through paid advertising methods.

You’ll want an expert to help you in this field as well, especially one who’s worked with Google Ads and search/display ads. In the case of Google Ads, you’ll want to educate yourself first on how the process works.

Go all the way and hire an expert in SEM or a search engine marketing agency if you can afford it. There are many people with degrees in marketing who are starving for clients and there are many agencies also who will help you out with this. Don’t settle for anyone less than an expert.

Many small businesses don’t even try to compete on a level playing field. They pay peanuts for advertising and rely on word-of-mouth referrals. That won’t cut it in this new millennium. You must outspend everyone else if you want to win. And don’t be cheap; spend what’s necessary. You can always economize later.

3. Content Marketing:

This is one of the biggies. It’s what I call the “4th Pillar” of marketing. It’s essential for search engine optimization, and it’s also an important part of the social media ecosystem. Without content, none of the other marketing strategies will amount to much. Content marketing doesn’t have to be long-copy written material.

It can also be videos, infographics, photos, white papers, webinars, podcasts, and so on. The main thing is that you must create content that is valuable, relevant, and has staying power.

Make your content as unique as possible, because you’re competing against millions of others online. Your first step is to do your homework.

4. Responsive Web Design:

This is the hot new technology which makes your website look good on any screen. With RWD, your site automatically changes format to fit whatever screen it is being viewed on. Tablets are the biggie here. What this means is that you can now create a website which looks great on a phone, and even a tablet, and also a computer monitor.

It will adapt to all devices without you having to do a thing. This is going to be important for several reasons. First, people are now using more than one device when they surf the web. They may be on their phone in the car, on their tablet at home, and then later use a laptop or desktop computer.

By making your website responsive, you make it easy for everyone who visits your site to access it.

5. Email Marketing:

Email is one of the most cost-effective ways to communicate with your customers. You can use it for free, unless you are using third-party email service providers such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Aweber. These companies have a lot of tools to help you manage your campaigns. You should be testing and measuring everything you do, even if it’s free. If you don’t measure, you can’t improve.

Your first step is to choose an email marketing tool. There are many to choose from, and they are constantly evolving. The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a hosted solution (the service provider offers to host your emails for you), or if you want to set up your server.

Whichever option you choose, you will also need to decide how many email addresses you want to allow your users to have. This will determine how many email lists you can create.

6. Social Media Marketing:

No doubt you’ve posted content to social media already. Yet, what can you do to make it more effective this year and the next?

To capture today’s audiences, Forbes notes various things, including automation to post your content when you know your audience is reading. Using tools like Hootsuite for post scheduling helps immensely when reaching users in other time zones.

You’ll also want to curate some content if possible to prove your clout. Don’t be too proud to do this since it adds luster to your expertise and brand. When you curate content from others, they’ll likely reciprocate.

Plus, don’t forget about hiring influencers to post content for you on popular social media channels.

7. Video:

Over the last decade, we became a more visual culture attracted to imagery in the digital realms. A lot of this comes in various forms, but there isn’t any question video rose to the top.

We’re at the point now where more consumers of content prefer video above any other visual medium. Recent statistics show 87% of all online marketers now use video content of some sort.

A lot of this comes from massive viewership on places like YouTube. Regardless, where you post videos isn’t going to matter without compelling content. Personalized video has become a norm lately, or at least one directly addressing the pain points of targeted viewers. The same goes for making your business look more human.

Successful video marketing can mean behind-the-scenes tours of your business, or testimonials to show the human side of your brand. This means paying attention to one major trend in video marketing: Storytelling.

 

When you can tell a compelling story about your business and prove you can solve the pain points of customers, you have a can’t-miss formula. It’s also smart to keep your videos as short as possible, if not in a series. Attention spans are as short as ever, and you’ll need to tell your story in a compact way with a compelling hook.

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