7 Online Marketing Strategies to Make 2009 the Best Year Ever For Your Business
By Kenton Newby

With the whole world in a bit of a financial mess, more and more business owners are looking for better ways to attract prospects and customers to their business.  The Internet has become a powerful means of doing just that.  Here are a handful of online marketing strategies you might consider using for your business to make this year the best year ever.

1. Start a Blog – No, they’re not just for political groups or high school kids.  In fact, many businesses use blogs as a way to provide valuable information about the products/services they offer.  Having a blog gives you the ability to easily add new content to your site and to automate when that content is displayed on your site, among other things.  They’re also a good reason for your website visitors to continue coming back to your site.  Ever wondered why you don’t get much traffic to your website?  Do you give people a reason to come there, and to come back?  If not, a blog would be a great way to fix that.

2. Post Videos and/or Audios – Another great way to get people to your site and keep them coming back is to use multimedia.  You can easily upload videos to sites like YouTube that offer a different way for you to get the word out about your business.  It’s easy to add audio to your site too, especially in the form of podcasts.  Both of these strategies allow you to reuse written material you may already have available, but in a different format and possibly to a different and wider audience.

3. Email Marketing – Once people are coming to your site, there’s no guarantee that they’ll buy, call, or take whatever action you’re hoping for.  A good way to increase the chances of them taking action is to follow up with them over time.  Then you can provide case studies, additional information or other offers which they might be more interested in.  Email marketing allows you to do all of this and more, and most of it can be setup once and automated.  This is a very powerful strategy that many businesses pay lip service to, but don’t go “full throttle” with.

4. Pay Per Click Marketing – If you’re paying for advertising in magazines or newspapers, the rates are most likely based on the circulation of that publication.  But there’s no guarantee that the 3 million (or whatever) subscribers to that magazine are going to see your ad, or respond to it.  What if you could only have your ad show up when someone was already looking for something related to what your business offers?  And what if you only paid when someone actually responded to that ad by visiting your site?  That’s what pay per click marketing allows you to do and it’s a very powerful, but misunderstood online marketing strategy.

5. Search Engine Optimization – Take all of what I said about pay per click marketing, then make it all “free”.  I put “free” in quotes because there’s still a cost in learning search engine optimization or hiring someone who already does.  But many time, once you achieve good rankings, you’ll hold those rankings for quite awhile (unless you’re in a hyper competitive market).  Good rankings + good conversions of website visitors to sales is the Holy Grail for most online businesses.

6. Testing and Tracking – Often overlooked yet extremely important.  If you’re not tracking your results, how will you know what’s working?  And since it’s so easy to track the effectiveness of online marketing efforts, it doesn’t make sense not to keep tabs on which campaigns are working.  This allows you to get an even better return on your investment and avoid spending time on things that just aren’t working out.

7. Consider Social Networking – For some businesses, social networking still doesn’t seem to make sense for me.  But if you have a brand you’re trying to promote or you’re an expert with a specific area of expertise (e.g., a consultant, sales professional, etc), then social networking can be useful.  In much the same way that it’s beneficial to have a responsive email list of interested prospects or customers, it can be good to have a list of responsive followers or friends on some of the larger social networks.  Online social networks can also serve the same purpose as local networking…allowing you to get to know others in your business.  But online, this can be done more efficiently and at a larger scale.

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