Have you been trying to market your small business online and just feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels? You’re not alone. Even with all the hype over the Internet and social media, many small business owners still don’t get the whole Internet marketing thing.
Luckily, the end of the year is around the corner. It’s a perfect time to take a step back and put a critical eye towards your marketing efforts and to look for ways to ramp things up for the coming year. The following are several online marketing strategies that savvy business owners can employ to build up their brand and increase sales conversions.
Tap Into Non-Traditional Traffic Sources
These days it seems like nearly every business on the planet, from Fortune 500 behemoths to mom and pop shops, has an account on the big social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Getting your message heard among all the noise currently in social media is becoming harder (and more expensive) with every passing year.
Savvy small business owners are going against the grain and spending their marketing resources in places that many others overlook, such as:
Industry-Specific Forums. Forums where your customers hang out can be a gold mine of quality traffic. Forum marketing may not be exciting or trendy, but if you can provide value to the community, you’ll be rewarded with boatloads of targeted traffic and brand awareness.
Q&A Sites. Q&A sites like Yahoo! Answers, Amazon’s AskVille, and Ask.com, are some of the most untapped traffic sources online. Where else can you find an active community of people asking industry-specific questions about your business’s products or services?
SlideShare, DocStoc and other content directories. Why play the YouTube lottery, hoping that your videos go viral, when you can get your message in front of a large audience with much less competition using content directories, such as the presentation sharing site SlideShare.net? To give you an idea of the power of these types of “second tier” social media sites, I recommend reading this case study of how one creative webmaster got 2000+ visitors from a SlideShare presentation. These two traffic heavyweights can bring you a fair amount of traffic if you provide something of value to the community.
Tutorial and DIY Sites. Here is another, largely untapped source of promotion and traffic. Tutorial sites, such asTutorialized.com, and DIY project sites, such as Instructables, are heavily visited and give you a chance to showcase your expertise to potential customers.
Infographic Marketing. Got some interesting statistics that would fit nicely into an infographic? There are many sites, such as visual.ly, that specialize in showcasing the latest and greatest infographics and that can send you some quality, targeted traffic.
Ebook Marketing. Taking your best content and turning it into an ebook can be a great way to get a completely new source of free traffic. Free ebook sites, such as Free-ebooks.net and Bookboon.com, get thousands of visitors every hour. Make sure you have a link back to your site throughout the ebook so that interested readers can check out what you do.
Obviously, this is far from an extensive list. But as more and more marketers clamor for elbow room for “2013′s next big thing”, by providing consistent value to the sites less traveled (by marketers, anyway), you’ll quietly amass a stream of quality traffic.
Learning the Art of Effective Newsjacking
The days of writing up a press release about your business’s new hire , sending it out via PRWeb, and getting significant amouts of traffic are long gone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the millions of people that search online for the latest news updates.
You can try a technique known as newsjacking; it’s straightforward, cheap and effective if you do it right. Here’s how:
Sign Up to Google Alerts. This will keep you posted on news in your industry. You may also want to head over to the big news sites, like CNN.com and NYTimes.com to see what’s hot.
Get in on the Break. Like surfing, you’ll need to get in right as the news breaks. Once you see a story that you think would work, it’s time to get to work.
Write a Blog Post Related to the Topic. Let’s say that you run a coffee shop. When the U.S. Presidential election was a hot news item, you could have written a blog post about how different candidates handle coffee-related issues, such as tariffs, worker’s rights, or even sales taxes.
Write a Press Release About Your Post. Next, write up a quick press release with the keywords people are searching for related to the election and send it out using a high-profile distribution network.
Share Your Press Release On Social Media. Once it’s approved by the network, it’s time to get the word out about your press release. Share your press release on social media so others can share it. For a more in-depth overview on Newsjacking, check out this article from Hubspot.
Spencer is a professional blogger and CEO of SurveySpencer. His site covers several different ways people can make money online with very little investment, such as freelance writing, tutoring, and selling on Ebay.