blog, Content Marketing

9 Ways to Grow Your Small Business Online in 2013

#1: Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC)

PPC is the perfect tool for a startup business to start driving traffic online instantly.  Its costs are upfront, but its benefits are immediate — you don’t pay unless the ad you wrote actually drove a customer to your site. In terms of cashflow, it’s the best form of online advertising you can find, even though it’s also one of the least efficient in the long term. But by pairing PPC with the next item, you have a solid plan for both short and long-term growth.

#2: Organic SEO

SEO, or “making Google love you”, is in many ways the spiritual opposite of PPC. You spend money upfront just like PPC, but the payoff comes later — much later. 5-12 months later.  5-12 months of continuously spending more money later.  But when the payoff comes, you learn it was well worth the investment as organic traffic comes off of the search engines in droves, looking for your product or service. The only problem is surviving those first months, which is what PPC is for. But of course there are many other ways to grow a business that don’t involve the search engines at all…

#3: Opt-In Email Marketing

Email marketing starts by getting someone’s permission to send them marketing emails without them accusing you of spamming. Once you have that permission (often obtained by giving them some useful information in a digital package), you can send emails, most of which should be useful information, but some of which can totally be sales material. The people who get caught up in the sales stuff become customers. Bam!

#4 YouTube

Posting videos about your business to a branded YouTube channel can be a startlingly effective way to inform and entertain your customer base. YouTube Search recently overtook Bing as the second most-used search engine in the country, so marketing on YouTube is an inherently good idea.

#5 Start a Blog 

Blogs are your opportunity to tell your customer base about your business in an interesting and fun way. If built correctly, they also have benefits for your ongoing SEO campaign as well as acting right alongside the next items –

#6, #7, #8, and #9: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Other Social Media

Each of these social media platforms deserves a book about how and why they can benefit your small business, but for the purposes of this limited article, we’re going to lump them into a single group. That’s because you use them all for the same basic purpose: to communicate with your customers and potential customers and get them excited about things going on at your business.

‘Other social media’ can include Google+, Flickr, Reddit, and almost any webpage that allows you to post content and other people to respond to it. Together with your blog, social media platforms allow you to gather crowds, get them revved up, and then send them off to spend money on your business.

Are there other ways to grow your business online?  Absolutely — far too many to list, much less describe in any relevant amount of detail. But these are the core tools for 2013; you won’t get far without them.

I have over 10 years of experience developing inbound marketing strategies for small to medium sized businesses. My hands-on marketing and technical skills related to SEO, PPC and Social Media continue to provide my clients a tremendous online exposure – with an outstanding conversion rate.

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