Has the time come to promote your business more aggressively online? Sometimes you start exploring fresh Internet marketing tactics, but hit a wall. If you’re not sure what all the options are, nor which techniques make the most sense for you, this free marketing guide aims to help…
Why Add New Web Marketing Techniques?
There’s stiff competition in every niche. Plus, search engines are demanding “more and better” from digital marketers. Bottom line: It’s now more difficult than ever for many Web marketers be found on search engines! For most, obscurity on the search engines is unacceptable. It often equates to low online sales volume.
Google, in particular, keeps raising the bar for the Web pages it’ll show prominently to searchers, if at all. So, now’s the time to be more arftul than ever.
Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are adding new components to their Web marketing mix — strengthening what they do to attract search engine traffic plus implementing strategic new workarounds. Search engines are crucial marketing venues for the vast majority of us, but they’re hardly the only game in town.
The Art Behind the Best Internet Marketing Tactics
The Web Marketing Store compiled 14 Artful Internet Marketing Tactics to help new and intermediate marketers explore some new approaches. You’ll find here insights, tips and links for more about:
1. Search Engine Marketing
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
3. Content Marketing
4. Business Blogging
5. Social Media Marketing
6. Email Marketing
7. Forum & Group Marketing
8. Free Report Marketing
9. Infographic Marketing
10. Mobile Marketing
11. Podcast Marketing
12. Online Publicity
13. Video Marketing
14. Article Marketing
Here’s hoping you’re inspired to breathe fresh creativity into your online marketing activities!
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing help the vast majority of Internet users find websites matching their interests. To ensure your potential customers can find your Web pages on those sites, it’s essential to use the latest search engine marketing (SEO) techniques. This is how search engines understand to whom your Web pages should be shown.
- Write your keyword in all the right places. I.e., in your article title; early in the first paragraph; and repeated sensibly throughout your text. Also use similar, synonymous keywords and phrases.
- When writing meta data for a Web page: Include your keyword in the meta title and page description. If your website is built on the WordPress.org software, use the plugin All-In-One SEO for an easy and effective way of getting search engines to recognize your meta data.
- Inbound links to your Web pages are crucial. Web pages that are well-shared on social media gain favor with Google Search. So, prioritize creating great business-related content that more people may want to share.
- Google Search also gives preference to Web pages linked to its social networking site, Google Plus. This social site continues to grow in leaps and bounds. That’s because more small business marketers are discovering there’s greater search engine visibility for their websites when they link their pages on Google’s social media site.
2. Pay-per-click Advertising
Coupling pay-per-click advertising with other online marketing strategies can significantly enhance sales. Also called keyword advertising, PPC is a low-cost way of quickly driving a target audience to your Web pages.
PPC advertising is about as democratic as it comes. It’s an arena in which small businesses and entrepreneurs can truly compete with the mega brands. Marketers with a limited budget can easily advertise alongside the big boys.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising: Benefits & Options
With PPC, you retain great control of your expenses. You set your own daily spending limit, according to how you see fit. Plus, you only pay for the actual clicks that land people on your site.
These are the most popular pay-per-click advertising services: Google AdWords, YouTube Advertising, and Facebook Ads. Also noteworthy: Mobile Search Advertising is hot, accounting for about half of all search activity.
In the area of results measurement, few Internet marketing tactics allow this like pay-per-click advertising. You’ll immediately know how effective your ad copy is. You’ll also be able to measure whether your landing page is successfully converting enough site visitors.
Follow these links for the latest on PPC advertising:
- 5 Google AdWords Tips for a Small Budget at Verticle Response
- How to Start YouTube Advertising in 9 Steps at Search Engine Watch
- Quick Guide to Facebook Advertising at Wix Blog
- Mobile Search Advertising: 5 Key Strategies at Search Decoder
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing offers a vast ocean of possibilities. What is it exactly? Content marketing is any non-advertising way of creating and sharing information, with the goal of attracting sales leads and customers.
Technically, Web “content” is anything that isn’t an “ad.” It’s a how-to blog post, an ebook, the funny video or animated GIF, the photo gallery, the news article, the Twitter tweet, and all of those inspirational quotes we share on Facebook. It’s the intent to ultimately induce sales that turns it into a content marketing tool.
When marketing via content, you’re offering something they value e.g., some kind of solution, something they’re highly interested in learning. Content marketing, really, is about helping your prospects achieve their goals.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing can be less expensive than advertising, yet can yield great results. It also does more to help build and promote a brand by instilling trust and spotlighting your leadership and expertise.
For today’s small business or solo entrepreneur, content marketing is the soft sell that works hard. Content is king, the saying goes. That’s because the more content you generate, the stronger your ability to gain brand favor from prospects and search engines alike.
Content marketing has become a key component in online brand-building. What follows is an array of Internet marketing tactics, each falling in the “content marketing” category…
4. Business Blogging
Business blogging is enormously popular among Internet marketing tactics. Most Web marketers, in fact, consider blogging essential. When best practices are followed, blogging can deliver a stream of fresh sales leads — and help convert them to sales.
Business Blogging How-to & Best Practices
- Content on a business blog can be updated with: written text, photographs, videos, audio podcasts, art, and music. These elements make a blog an interactive platform — more memorable, more visited, and one that prospects trust when they’re ready to purchase.
- A business blog is best updated on a regular basis. At least twice a week is the best practice. Blogging signals the availability of fresh content on your website, and search engines prefer to show users fresh quality options. Blog entries often have a better chance of attracting more Web traffic than the static, older Web pages on a site.
- Much of a blog’s success is keyword-dependent. Use free services like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to study which of your Web pages and keywords are attracting the most traffic. Or not.
- Make your blog analytics actionable. Once you study the performance of your keywords, make strategic improvements like these steps outlined at Search Engine Watch: How to Increase Conversions for Your Best (and Worst) Performing Keywords.
5. Social Media Marketing
Developing an active presence on the mega social networks is more necessary now than ever. Social marketing on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn not only helps your website directly pull traffic, there’s now what are called “social signals” that impact your site’s visibility on search engines.
Social Media Marketing Tips
- LIKES and Retweets impact your bottom line. How much “love” a Web page gets from social media users now plays a greater role in how visible it is on search engines. So be sure to place Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and other buttons on your website. This way, visitors who value your information can share it. Web page popularity pays off many ways!
- Keyword your social media content. When sharing your content on social media, it’s important to use your keywords in those intro messages. Doing so helps:
- Humans who’re searching on social sites find you.
- Search engines know to whom to show your shared content.
- Use a hashtag # in front of some of your keywords for even more traction getting found on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
Ways to Grow Your Social Business Following
- To take advantage of Facebook’s powerful new search engine, Graph Search, follow this infographic at Right On – No Bull.
- To gain more Twitter followers and/or automate your Twitter account updates, see our 12 Free Twitter Tools That Super Charge Internet Marketing.
- To get started on Google Plus, Small Biz Trends offers this tutorial: How to Create a Google Plus Page for Your Small Business.
It isn’t easy to gain traction a sizable business following on these sites. Engaging with your contacts a couple times per week is essential. To be effective, social marketing requires ongoing time and people interaction.
For help with starting or growing your social media marketing presence, contact the Web Marketing Store.
6. Email Marketing
Despite the advent of mobile apps and the social media explosion, email remains the most direct way to stay connected with prospects. Why does email marketing remain so popular? Because it’s the best tactic for building brand loyalty, nurturing leads, and sales conversions.
At least that’s the case if you’re committed to following-up. And “following-up” is the beauty of what some of today’s popular email marketing systems allow — easy and ongoing contact!
3 Email Marketing Techniques
There are several email marketing techniques. The most popular and effective are:
- RSS Blog Subscription. This is the most common way website publishers stay connected by email, offering a subscription to their blog. Using Google’s Feedburner service is a free and easy way to build an email list of blog subscribers. Whenever you publish a new blog post, Feedburner automatically sends it via email to all your subscribers.
- The obstacle that many bloggers eventually face is wanting to email a message to subscribers without it being a blog post. That’s why the next two options have gained popularity.
- Newsletter Marketing. With an e-newsletter, everyone on your email list is sent your communique simultaneously. Most systems allow you to create various list if you want. This way, you can send your news or message to only one group, but not others. But basically, everyone gets the same electronic document, and they all get it at the same time.
- Autoresponder Marketing. The beauty of autoresponder software is that it automates sequential email distribution. For example, you can offer a 10-module e-course and start each new subscriber with Lesson #1 — regardless of when they enroll.
Not all Web marketers use autoresponders to send out a sequential e-course, but that’s one way to offer value in exchange for email addresses. Marketers offer a variety of content types, from how-to information and industry news to discounts on products/services.
Email Marketing Tips
To learn more about email marketing, don’t miss these insightful reads:
- Copyblogger provides this free ebook on email marketing, which is full of best practice insights and tips.
- The Crazy Egg published 6 Unbiased Email Marketing Software Reviews, which is helpful for quickly comparing everything from pricing to features.
- At ProBlogger, don’t miss How To Use Auto Responder Emails to Boost Your Blogging Efforts, a good autoresponder marketing how-to.
- MediaPost offers this very insightful read about email marketing in the mobile age: Game-Changers in Email Marketing Best Practices.
7. Group / Forum Marketing
Here we’re talking Facebook Groups, Google+ Communities, and countless forums around the Web. Group or Forum Marketing is ideal for marketers who’re passionate about their niche or industry. Find a lively group or two, personally commit to being involved, and enjoy the support you’ll eventually attract!
How to Get Sales Leads
You might be surprised by the limitless number of groups online, focused on all manner of topics. From food, parenting and science to marketing, writing and health, you can find a vibrant forum or group dedicated to the topic.
With this Web marketing tactic, the key is to:
- Join groups related to your products or services.
- Contribute new posts or comments 2-3 time a week, to build relationships and enhance your visibility.
- Become an active, helpful community member before you start pitching.
Sales Leads That Deliver Results
Really, you can benefit a variety of ways from joining groups. You’ll typically realize more Web traffic, blog subscribers, and sales leads. Groups and forums also are excellent places to connect with joint venture partners, or people who can support your business in other ways.
If you’re already on a social networking site, find a few relevant groups by simply doing a search. Use the new Facebook Graph Search for “groups.” On Google Plus, search for “communities.”
8. Free Report Marketing
Most free reports contain high-value, informative tips and how-to content. You usually are providing readers:
- The answers and information they seek for a problem they want to solve,
- A good idea of your expertise,
- Proof that you can actually help them, and
- Recommendations on related products or services.
Free Reports for Lead Generation
As lead generators, special reports work wonders. Most often, you allow people to download your information product for free, in exchange for their email address, a Twitter tweet, or Facebook like.
Check out these powerful WordPress plugins and other tools that make capturing sales leads:
- Viral Lock is a premium WordPress plugin ($16) that allows visitors to download your free report — but only after they’ve given it a Twitter tweet, Facebook like, or Google +1.
- Pay With a Like is a similar WordPress plugin ($9). This one puts a social share “wall” in front of any page or blog post you set. People have to share your freebie before they can see and read your information.
- Email Before Download is a free WordPress plugin. In order to download your free report, site visitors must first enter their name and email address.
How to Write a Report
- The Zebra Blog published this how-to on how to write a report.
- Or, learn how the Web Marketing Store can help you here: Ebook Ghostwriter.
9. Infographic Marketing
Infographic creation is one of the hottest among Internet marketing tactics. Infographics combine data points and visuals to tell a quick, compelling story. What’s most beneficial is the rate at which they’re often shared online by so many people, making many of them viral marketing winners.
These very tall info-images can be themed around anything — from food or science to education, debt and far beyond. A few places to discover cool infographics:
- Check out the 70 Best Infographics On the Web, according to CreativeBloq.com.
- Blog Marketing for Business is one of our Pinterest boards, which has several good infographics on all aspects of business blogging.
Benefits of Infographic Marketing
As a Web marketing tool, an infographic attracts potential customers to learn more about what your business offers. It creates a fantastic first impression, drawing people to visit your site. The conversion rates for infographics are impressive when promoted aggressively.
Infographic Creation: The Best Practices
The best infographics are those which have been well-researched. The facts and data are so finely mined, you’re amazed and wonder where on Earth the author found this information, how they calculated the statistic, and so forth.
This is why involving a strong copywriter is essential in infographic creation. Copywriters know how to dig-up fine data — and how to write it so simply that it’s compelling yet digestible.
Other best practices for infographic marketing:
- Choose a related and compelling theme, but not a super complex one. Examples of good infographic ideas:
- A step-by-step about the making of your product or service,
- The history and evolution of the industry your product or service is in,
- A comparative analysis of related products or services,
- Little-known or surprising facts about your niche, and
- Never make an infographic soley about your company.
- The best infographics are visual eye-candy. However, it’s the knock-out data or facts that make them a success.
- As pretty as an infographic may be, it’ll hardly be shared if the research and copywriting are of poor quality.
- Prepare to work HARD at marketing an infographic. You can’t just upload the piece on your website or social media page and expect it to take off. Infographic marketing requires a marketing plan and time commitment.
How to Create an Infographic
There are three ways to create an infographic:
- Hire a graphic designer who has access to a good research copywriter.
- Hire a copywriter service with creatives who’re adept at designing around the key data points and information.
- You can DIY, i.e., create your own infographic on one of the sites listed in this article at Moz.com: 10 Tools for Creating Infographics and Visualizations.
10. Mobile Marketing
According to a February report by Cisco:
- Smartphone usage grew by a whopping 81 percent in 2012.
- There will be more mobile devices on the planet by the end of 2013 than there are people.
These are but a few of the startling statistics… and they’re pretty convincing reasons to make mobile marketing a priority. If you do nothing else, cross this Internet marketing tactic off your to-do list soon!
You can’t afford to wait any longer. It’s costing you lost sales if mobile device users can’t at least properly view your website.
Easy Ways to Get a Mobile Website
The great news is that’s now very inexpensive and fairly simple to make a website mobile-ready. Here are three easy ways to do it:
1. WordPress Plugin: The Duda Mobile Website Builder is a free plugin that makes a WordPress site mobile-friendly. No coding required.
2. DudaMobile: If you know how to change font colors and build links on a blog, you can just as easily create an actual mobile website using DudaMobile. Just place a link to the DudaMobile version of your site in a prominent place on your main website.
- You can create a mobile site for free, which will have Duda Mobile’s branding logo in your footer and URL.
- Or you can pay $7.99 per month to have Duda remove their logo from your mobile site’s footer and URL. Excellent customer service, too.
3. Responsive Themes for WordPress.org sites: If you’re planning to get your first website or update an existing one, get a “responsive” web design. Responsive simply means the site design will automatically and perfectly resize, regardless of whether your visitor is viewing on a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Once Your Website’s Mobile-friendly, What’s Next?
Making your website look and behave welcoming to mobile device users is great, and it’s crucial at this point. Theoretically, you could stop there. But really, that’s just the entry point…
Once you discover what your competitors are doing to woo the mobile crowd, there’s plenty more artful marketing to consider. Here’s what many savvy marketers are doing:
- Mobile Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to SMS, QR Codes, Bluetooth, and Apps at Smarta.com
- Small Business Gets Boost from Mobile Marketing at USA Today
- Design and build your own app easily and for less money than you’re probably assuming via services such as ShoutEm and Buzztouch.
11. Podcast Marketing
In this Internet marketing tactic, short audio files are shared online to reach your target audience. Potential customers listen to audio podcasts on computers and mobile devices, typically as an MP3 download file.
One thing people like about podcasts is that you can listen and learn while your eyes and hands are busy doing other things.
Content Ideas for Podcast Marketing
Podcasts are ideal for sharing information about your products, services and other information. For a business that wants to create more brand awareness and a strong audience connection, podcasting helps achieve this.
Think about the content of broadcast pros like NPR. Using an NPR podcast as the gold standard, you’ll realize the sky’s the limit regarding your own subject matter — from food and fashion to science and photography.
Also, your content approach can be varied. It can be you talking solo or script-reading, or it can be an interview you conduct with a guest.
A few podcast examples:
- Mad Marketing by Marcus Sheridan the Sales Lion (on iTunes)
- 5 Must-do Book Marketing Tips by Tyora Moody (on SoundCloud)
- Content Marketing 360 Radio Show by Pamela Muldoon (on Spreaker)
How to Start Podcasting
It’s fairly easy to produce quality podcasts for marketing your business. Basically, all you need is a decent microphone, some free audio software, and a passion for telling the business-related stories you wish to share.
For best practices and how to start podcasting, see these articles:
- Podcasting Guide: How to Do a Killer Podcast from Your Blog, at Blog Tyrant
- Top 5 Pieces of Free Podcasting Software, at RichardFarrar.com
- 6 Podcasting Tips from the Pros, at Social Media Examiner
- 11 Easy Steps to a Best-selling Podcast on Itunes, at MarketingWisdom
- How to Start a Podcast – Step-by-Step Tutorial by Pat Flynn
12. Online Publicity
Press releases have always provided an excellent way to announce products/services, offers, promotions, a relocation, and other brand-building news.
But a funny thing happened when the Internet explosion occurred: Press releases — normally sent to the media as a tool for requesting coverage — became everything but…
Today’s online press releases are great tools for communicating directly with consumers.
Impact of Google’s Link Scheme Change on Press Releases
Until recently, online press releases also were a smart way to acquire strong backlinks from PR directory sites. But on 7/18/13, Google announced a backlinks policy change that affects press release sites. Now, links from press release sites won’t pass along SEO juice to your website.
Still, distributing search engine-optimized press releases can send good consumer traffic and journalists your way. Just be sure its a well-trafficked, authority press release distribution site you upload your document to.
Free Publicity Tips
When uploaded to a leading site, a press release can reach a VERY wide audience in a short time. For keen insights on issuing online press releases, follow 50 Tips for Free Publicity, a Pinterest board by Joan Stewart.
13. Video Marketing
Video is now the 6th most popular content marketing tactic. According to a recent ComScore study, 90% of respondents said that viewing a video played a part in their purchase decisions. Couple that with the fact that daily, 230 million people watch a YouTube video and it’s clear that video marketing is one of the smartest Internet marketing tactics on the scene.
One immediate benefit of marketing via an engaging video is the likelihood that it’ll keep prospects on your website longer — up to 2 minutes longer, studies have found.
In addition, many marketers find that video sales tools result in higher conversion rates.
Media Platforms for Video Marketing
Your website is one obvious place to upload your marketing videos. And placing them on sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook will help reach an even wider audience.
Also hot is the video sharing app for Instagram. This now Facebook-owned social video service allows 15-second pieces — the same amount of time we’re used to seeing in short-form TV commercials.
Video Marketing Tips
- Start with a bang, end with a boom! Strive to create stunning, distinctive videos. Build in creativity, tight craft, and clear messaging. This makes a better chance that people will share your videos and/or become customers.
- Lean toward the soft sell. The most effective videos today aren’t the blatant advertising pieces. Instead, the good ones are centered around some of the following themes:
- Product or Service Demonstrations, so viewers see the benefits firsthand
- Instructional Videos, providing a tutorial or other how-to information
- Testimonials featuring satisfied customers
- Leadership Talks, underscoring your expertise
- Repurpose existing content for videos. If you have a blog with content you’d like to revisit, repurposing that information as a video is a great way to present the information anew.
How to Make an Online Marketing Video
Luckily, there are many ways to create a marketing video. You don’t have to go on-camera, nor does it have to cost a fortune to produce. Many people simply create an animated PowerPoint or Prezi presentation and use free editing software to save it as a video.
There also are several free or low-cost services that make marketing video creation a snap. Follow these links to discover some of the best video marketing tools, tips, and easy online services:
- 10 Tools to Make Your Marketing Videos Wow at OpenForum
- 5 Killer Video Marketing Tips at MarketingProfs
- 5 Ways to Make a Marketing Video On a Budget at SEOchicks
- Instagram vs. Vine at KissMetrics
If it isn’t something you have time to learn, our Internet Marketing Consultant service can help.
14. Article Marketing
- Makes you a published writer and shows you’re a subject matter expert
- Increases your footprint online, allowing more people in your target market to be exposed to concepts related to your goods or services.
Until recently, article marketing also was considered a great way to boost backlinks for your Web pages. But with Google recently announcing its new Link Scheme, article directories may wind up making all or most of people’s article links “juiceless.”
Still, this is an important technique in an online marketing mix.
Article Marketing Tips
- Publish your articles to highly-regarded directories. This would be sites that rank high on search engines such as GoArticles, Hub Pages, EzineArticles, and Squidoo. These sites get more Web traffic from the search engines, so you’re more likely to get traffic clicking through to your site.
- Lengthy, meticulously constructed articles work best. In order to grab the attention of the readers, make each article’s heading, sub-headings, and author’s resource box enticing. And where possible, include photographs and/or video to make articles more engaging.
- Be keyword-conscious when writing. Moderately work your keywords into these articles so the search engines can find and rank them.
Similar to article marketing is the tactic called guest blogging. Here, you contact blog publishers in your niche and offer to submit an article their readers will value. You benefit from the exposure to their audience as well as the backlink leading their readers to your site.
A few good resources for guest blogging:
- WritersWin.com offers this roundup article of the top guest blogging sites you can signup for: Author Guest Blogging: 5 Must-Know Sites to Expand Your Audience.
- If you’re tight on time to do a lot of writing, an experienced content writer can develop, pitch and secure quality articles on your behalf.
Be Strategic When Choosing Tactics
The key to choosing new Internet marketing tactics is to do so strategically. Most of us can’t do them all — couldn’t afford to! But also, not all of them make sense for your particular business.
It’s usually best to do 2 or 3 tactics well, rather than be too ambitious and execute several not so well. When deciding new marketing territory to explore:
- Research, evaluate and brainstorm each potential new tactic to decide whether it really can be beneficial.
- Audit the competition. Look for information and platform gaps to exploit. For example, if you can’t find an infographic that covers an angle you know loads about, there might be an awesome opportunity.
- Get a clear understanding of costs and efficiencies. Calculate what can be done in-house vs. what isn’t a smart use of your time. Do your homework to ensure you’re accessing software and services that help produce the most attractive product and results.
What’s your best advice for implementing some of these Internet marketing tactics? Share your insights in a comment — we’d really like to know!