Let me guess what your small business online marketing strategy involves. In three words: blog, Facebook and Twitter. Now there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you had any sense that is exactly what your online marketing strategy should look like. If you play your cards right, this may be all you'll ever need to effectively promote your small business online.
But is that all there is to online marketing? Of course not. Social media has been great for promoting business using the Internet, but there are other options that can also give excellent results. It would help your small business to explore how these alternative online marketing platforms can augment your current initiatives. The list here is absolutely just a drop in the bucket, but it can help you get started without having to get overwhelmed by all the options out there.
Many people have forgotten all about e-mail marketing. But this old reliable remains a great way to maintain communication with prospects and customers. Here are some strategies you can employ when promoting your business using e-mail:
Integrate your email marketing tool with your customer relationship management (CRM) system to segment your customers and personalize your e-mail campaigns.
Use analytics to gain actionable insights on your customers.
After the initial contact, continue to follow up on those who remain inactive on your mailing lists. Craft personalized offers for these people to entice them to respond positively to your campaigns.
Include social media share buttons on each e-mail that you send out.
Meerkat and Periscope
Meerkat was recently introduced early this year at SXSW, and soon after Twitter bought a company called Periscope. Both are live video platforms, and live video is all the rage these days, especially among the younger segment of the market. You can use live video for your small business in the following ways:
Make big announcements (as well as not-so-big announcements)
Cover and comment during live events
Carry on an actual live conversation with people
Provide information and content
Cloud technology is known for securing large amounts of data and running applications that need to be delivered across the entire enterprise. But the technology is also useful for automating parts of the marketing process, particularly on the mobile front, and encouraging collaboration. At this point we are just beginning to glimpse the uses of this technology for small business online marketing. I will not be surprised to learn in the near future about how cloud computing is being applied and adopted in new and exciting ways to online marketing.
SlideShare is a great way to share content, but it remains under-exploited by businesses. Convert your blog post into a slide show and upload to SlideShare where, as its name suggests, you can share it with other professionals.
This LinkedIn feature is currently suffering from too much awful content being shared and its value has been somewhat eroded. But it continues to be home to thousands of professionals and entrepreneurs - prospective targets for your own small business. You can share content directly with a targeted group to reach a specific segment of prospects outside of your own connections.
Pinterest and Instagram
Both these platforms are visually oriented and very popular. By sharing your pictures and images on these, you can attract a whole new set of people to your website or blog.
This is a huge online community - or maybe it is a mega-community of different online communities - where users vote on content. Through the years Reddit users have built forums and sub-forums on virtually every single topic imaginable, so the best place to start will be to look for forums relevant to your brand. Its huge user base means that if you manage to get your blog URL listed, you will get a ton of traffic from this source alone. Be warned, though... Reddit users are a passionate bunch so make sure the content you share is high quality and very relevant to the forum you have chosen to promote in. Otherwise you will get down-voted and you may earn a negative comment or two that all but eliminate your chances of attracting readers.