When you're looking for the types of online marketing strategies that can work best for your business, cost is probably top of mind.
After all, the economy may be booming, but not every business has a marketing budget that necessarily reflects that. And sometimes keeping your company going requires keeping your marketing strategies as inexpensive as possible.
With that in mind, you may want to consider implementing the following marketing advice. These types of online marketing strategies can be effective no matter whether your budget is large or virtually non-existent.
1. Offer your audience helpful and interesting content.
Writing your own content—or having a staff member write content—can be more affordable than hiring a content creator or marketing firm. (You may decide it's worth the investment, though.)
Creating content allows you to showcase your expertise. It's one the most common of the types of online marketing strategies, but arguably also one of the most effective. Content can be anything from blog posts aimed at attracting potential consumers or clients, guest posts on other company's blogs, white papers available on your website for download, e-newsletters and other written materials.
—Nicole Faith, founder, 10 Carat Creations
Geoff Hoesch, CEO of Baltimore-based Dragonfly Digital Marketing, has some suggestions for any business owner who plans to add content to their online marketing strategy.
“Try to be as original as possible, using your own images and definitely your own words, all while including important keyword phrases," he advises. “This content should be long-form, in-depth and well-researched pieces that attract links over time, not fluff pieces about what's bothering you at the moment or what you want to promote.
"This is your opportunity to be an expert," he continues, "and show potential clients or customers that you know what you're talking about."
2. Start creating video content.
If you have a marketing budget, Hoesch recommends putting some of your money into video.
“There's a lot of talk in 2018 about time spent on a web page being a ranking factor, and to bring that time up, it's a good idea to create videos on your site," he says. “That means hiring a professional videographer to take videos of you discussing your services and business."
Or you could skip the videographer if you want to do it on the cheap. But it may take some trial and error if you want it to look at all professional.
Of course, it depends on what type of video you're considering. Not every video shoot needs professional lighting and makeup artists.
"Don't be afraid if you don't have Hollywood-level production skills. Even large brands are using short, digital camera-level videos," says Bob Bentz, president of Advanced Telecom Services, a company that provides interactive telephone services and is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Whatever the case, video can be a smart approach when it comes to the types of online marketing strategies out there.
And to that point, Bentz recommends keeping your videos short.
“Fifteen second and even six-second videos are best," he says.
3. Harness the power of YouTube for your video content.
Gabe Kramer, co-founder of Si Certs, is a fan of this marketing method. (His Salt Lake City-based company offers online courses and certification to construction inspectors.)
Six years ago, Kramer started a YouTube channel for his company.
“Since then, the channel has gotten over 300,000 views," the company's co-founder says. “Therefore, I recommend creating videos and publishing them on YouTube. Many online business owners don't seem to understand the traffic potential of YouTube. The site is the second most visited site in the world, according to Alexa.com."
There's another reason to consider getting a channel on YouTube, Kramer says.
“YouTube is owned by Google, so the search engine has incentive to rank YouTube videos highly in its search results. It's not uncommon at all to see YouTube videos doing well in Google's rankings," he says.
“Since we started our YouTube channel," he continues, "we've seen a steady increase in direct traffic and traffic from branded keywords, like 'si certs' and 'sicerts.' When we talked to our customers, we found that many of them discovered Si Certs through our YouTube videos."
And creating a YouTube channel and putting videos on it is free, Kramer says.
"Anyone can do it," he says. "Creating a YouTube channel is like creating a Twitter account. The difference is instead of publishing tweets, you upload and publish videos."
4. Get your customers to leave positive online reviews about your company.
“Encourage happy customers to leave reviews online, on Google, Facebook, Yelp or wherever you're collecting them," says Justin Quick, the chief marketing officer of Netblaze, a soon-to-launch digital marketing management software company in Charlotte, North Carolina.
From an SEO-wise standpoint, Quick says, that'll give you a lot bang for your buck. It can also help you attract new customers and encourage existing customers to return.
And even better, you don't have to write the reviews.
5. Focus on just a few platforms when you're trying various types of online marketing strategies.
"Most of my clients have no budget, which is perfectly fine because the best marketing tactic is 'less is more,'" quips Nicole Faith, the founder and owner of New York City-based 10 Carat Creations, which designs websites for solopreneurs.
"You can't be everywhere nor should you want to be," she says. "You should focus on where your target market hangs out and speak directly to them there."
For instance, Faith says that many of her clients are "aspiring digital nomads who either have a job they hate or freelance among a million other freelancers."
Because of that, most of them hang out on LinkedIn, looking for a job or gigs.
"As a result, I have focused most of my marketing efforts on writing weekly articles that really resonate with them. I post them on my own website and LinkedIn," she says.
Taking this route has worked well for her.
"Doing just one thing consistently costs no money and has a larger payoff than dumping hundreds of dollars into ads," Faith says. "Simplifying your marketing saves you time [and] money, and results in a more memorable experience with your business."
If you get to the point where you can add another type of marketing—for instance, maybe you start blogging for an industry website—then Faith recommends going forward, full steam ahead.
But she is sincere that less is more. Faith says that if you do try to be everywhere on the internet, it can get confusing to manage all of your types of online marketing strategies. You may start to feel like you're devaluing your work, she adds.
While there are a lot of stellar types of online marketing strategies, there are some not-so-helpful ones as well. Finding the ones that work best for your company can give you more time to focus on your clients than on your marketing.
Read more articles on content marketing.