As a business owner, you know how important it is for your business to stand out online. Even if you’re running a brick-and-mortar store like a furniture store or law firm, people these days find out about businesses online first. And they also use the Internet to spread the word to their friends, and they enjoy engaging with businesses on social media. That’s why it’s so important for you to have a strong online marketing strategy. Without a real focus on your online presence, you’re going to miss out on lots of opportunities to sell your services or products. So you need to be great at online marketing to keep your company running in the long-term.

But online marketing trends are always changing, and it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips–so that you’re doing everything right to make your business as successful as possible.

 

1. Understand your ideal audience

The first step you need to take is to understand who your customers are. Are they college students, working mothers, or finance bros? Whoever it is, everything you do with online marketing follows, from knowing when to post on Instagram to figuring out what you want your logo to look like. Do your research by scoping out competitors and creating ideal buyer personas. And once you’ve started showing your business off online, use free analytics tools to learn more about your audience, and engage with them directly using surveys and quizzes to learn more about them.

If you master understanding your ideal audience, then you can be part of the 50 percent of businesses that survive five years or more.

 

2. Optimize your website

When it comes to getting your ideal audience to visit your website, you need to understand how to optimize your website. Use SEO strategies, such as finding the right keywords in your blog posts, to get your ideal audience’s attention. But it doesn’t stop there. According to Lyfe Marketing, “Optimizing your website includes making sure you have an H1 tag, a title, meta description, relevant keywords, alt text for your images, and the appropriate amount of text. You can do this organically or you can pay for it.” If this all sounds complicated, think about taking a free course with HubSpot to learn more. And don’t forget to optimize for mobile. After all, 40 percent of ecommerce sales during the 2018 holiday season came from a smartphone!

 

3. Choose your social media networks wisely

Another benefit of understanding your ideal audience is that it’ll help you focus your social media strategy on a specific platform. For example, if you’re selling stylish shoes to Gen Zers, then you’ll be spending a lot of time on Instagram. (After all, Gen Zers surveyed prefer Instagram to Facebook, with 36 percent saying Instagram was their preferred social network and 26 percent choosing Facebook.) But if you’re creating software for businesses to use, you might be better off making connections on LinkedIn. Research where your customers are spending their time, and create a social media calendar using apps like Hootsuite so that you’re posting regularly and when your customers are most likely to be online.

 

4. Focus on content

Having great content is one of the best ways of building your brand online. There’s a reason why every business has a blog, and that’s because it’s a great way to both attract readers and express what makes their brand special. Remember that your content should inform and provide help to readers; you want to be a trusted source for them. Additionally, your content needs to be high quality and express your brand’s tone, so it might be worth hiring a content writer to complete this work for you. After all, content marketing generates about three times more leads for every dollar spent.

 

5 Work with influencers

Word of mouth is huge when it comes to marketing, which is a reason why so many people, after the recommendations of friends and family, trust the recommendations of influencers they follow. If you have younger customers, it’s a good idea, because they follow many influencers on platforms like Instagram. It’s a shortcut that will help, just like affiliate marketing URL shorteners help professionals make affiliate marketing money faster. To get started, research who the big influencers in your industry are, and if you can’t afford their usual rates, see if there’s something special about your company that they’d be interested in backing. For example, if you’re selling high-quality faux-fur products, you may be able to work with a vegan or animal rights influencer at a lower rate than usual.

17 percent of companies spend over half of their marketing budget on influencers, so if influencers are popular in your industry, think about investing in this strategy.

 

These are some of the best ways to improve your business’s online presence. What other online marketing strategies do you think would work for other business leaders like yourself?