how to market your online business

Starting a new business and not sure where to begin? Out of ideas for marketing your existing business? You’ve landed in the right place.

This post contains exactly what the title promises: 27 ways to market your business online. These are tactics I employ every day for my clients, and you can use them yourself to get more customers.

Remember—you never know if a strategy’s going to work until you try. A marketing channel someone else swears by may be a total flop for you, or vice versa. Try many different avenues and be sure to measure and analyze the results. If one tactic isn’t a hit for your business, move on to the next one. You never know when the next strategy you test could be a breakthrough for your business.

Happy marketing!

1. Facebook

It’s the number one social network and consistently ranked among the top three most visited websites in the world. Facebook has become a daily part of life for more than one billion people, and if your brand isn’t on it it’s going to be hard for many consumers to take you seriously.

First, make sure your brand has an official Facebook page. Then, populate it regularly with high-quality content your intended audience will find interesting. I’ve got a full month’s worth of Facebook post ideas for you right here.

2. Run Facebook Ads

After you’ve got your Facebook page set up, the next step is to get people to engage with it by setting up Facebook ads.

You can use Facebook ads to do a number of things, including:

  • Build awareness of your brand
  • Reach the people you intend to sell to
  • Get more engagement with the things you post
  • Send traffic to your website
  • Get people to buy your product
  • And more

For a crash course on which ads will help you achieve which objectives, check out my guide to Facebook ad objectives here.

3. Instagram & Instagram Stories

If you sell a physical product, you definitely want to be on Instagram. This is the platform where visuals shine, so it’s the perfect place to show off how great your product is and how much people love using it.

Use your Instagram account to show off high-quality photos of your product, tutorials on how to use it and user-submitted content of real customers engaging with it. Be sure to include relevant hashtags with each post to help other users discover your content.

Instagram Stories are a fairly new extension of the popular platform where you can share photos and short video snippets in rapid succession. The catch? They disappear within 24 hours.

For brands, Instagram Stories are a nice real-time way to engage with your audience, as opposed to the standard photo post, which can feel a bit more scripted. I share 8 ways to beat the Instagram algorithm and gain more followers in this post.

4. Brand Partnerships

People love hearing about new products from friends and companies they trust. Capitalize on this trust by establishing a partnership with another brand in a parallel niche.

If you sell baby strollers, you might buddy up with a company that sells cribs to cross-promote one another’s products. If you sell wine, you might partner with a gourmet food shop to offer customized pairings to one another’s customers.

The key to a successful brand partnership is that the arrangement is mutually beneficial for both companies involved.

5. Work With Influencers

Simply put, an influencer is a social media personality with a significant following who’s trusted as an authority figure in their niche. Influencers are commonly found in the fashion, beauty and technology industries, but they exist across literally all niches.

Marketing ideas

The goal of working with influencers is to secure their endorsement and promotion of your product. In some cases, you can gain this for free simply by presenting an influencer with a great product that’s truly the perfect fit for them. In most cases, you’ll pay a set fee to have an influencer try and subsequently promote your product.

I have a full breakdown of how to get started working with influencers here.

6. Blog

Unlike your social media accounts, which are owned by the platform they’re on, your blog is solely your property. It’s your place on the web to let your expertise shine. In a way, it’s the backbone of your online business.

Your blog is also a major piece of getting your website found by search engines. If you have a small website with just four or five pages, there’s not a whole lot of content for Google to send searchers to.

But if you have a blog with hundreds of useful posts? Google has lots of material to display to searchers who are looking for information in your niche.

7. Distribute Your Content

It’s not enough to just create great content on your blog and wait for people to find it on Google. You need to actively distribute it to help get eyes on what you’re posting.

Each time you publish a new blog post, share it on relevant distribution channels like LinkedIn, Reddit and news aggregators in your industry. You can also create and post articles on Medium, a popular content sharing site, with a link back to your own blog at the end of your post

8. Twitter

Twitter is, admittedly, a tricky beast to tame. It’s filled with trolls who go looking for users to pick fights with, but it does still have a base of engaged users looking for great content, too.

At a minimum, use Twitter to Tweet your latest blog posts and sale information using relevant hashtags.

You can also pick up new fans by jumping into conversations around your field. For example, if you sell athletic shoes, you might monitor for conversations around the topic of running and join in to engage with other users on the topic.

9. Twitter Chats

In a Twitter chat, a group of users meets up virtually to talk about a topic that’s of shared interest.

Twitter chats can take place around products, industries, education, and virtually anything else you can think of. While they’re not typically a direct sales channel, they can be a nice way to get your brand’s name out there to a group of people in your target audience.

Ways to market your business

Twitter chats are most effective if you have an established following on Twitter already or if you partner up with someone who does to promote the chat. For a better idea of how Twitter chats work, check out this post or browse the #Twitterchat hashtag on Twitter.

10. Snapchat

Snapchat may feel like the new kid on the block to a lot of marketers, but in fact, it’s been around since 2011 and has a reported user base of 60 million daily Snapchatters in the US and Canada. That’s a whole lot of potential eyes on your brand.

Snapchat is a lot like Instagram Stories, with a few subtle differences. To use Snapchat effectively, you’ll need to push out new content on at least a daily basis, preferably multiple times daily.

11. Practice SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, has been around as long as Google has existed. It’s the practice of optimizing your website so that search engines are able to find it and display it to the most appropriate audience.

Proper on-site SEO practices change with each new search algorithm update, but two things are a must for modern online brands: your website must be mobile-friendly, and it must be filled with information-rich content.

Today’s SEO is less about keywords and more about intent—providing the user with what they were actually looking for when they clicked through to your site.

The Moz Blog is the definitive source on the web to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO news and best practices.

12. Pinterest

Pinterest is a product marketer’s dream come true. With some great photography and a little time, you can drive large amounts of traffic to your website and even sell products directly on the platform.

How to market your business online

Pinterest is all about showcasing aspirational living: beautiful interiors, delicious recipes, hacks that make life easier, and so on. Figure out where your product fits into this realm, then create native content (known as pins) specifically for Pinterest.

To get an idea of what type of content does well on the platform, register for an account and spend some time scroll through the newsfeed. If a pin has received a lot of re-pins, you know it’s a goodie.

13. Email Marketing

When done correctly, email is the marketing channel that’ll give you the most bang for your buck, far and away. Why? Because you’re not reaching out to cold leads; you’re reaching people who have already engaged with your brand, and that’s a key principle of successful marketing.

You should begin building your email list from day one, before you ever try anything else on this list. Just like an investment, an email list can grow exponentially over time, so the longer you wait to start one, the farther behind you’ll be.

To execute email marketing effectively, you want to send customers the right email at the right time. I talk a whole lot more about types of marketing emails to send in this post.

14. Retargeting

As we just mentioned, one of the musts of an effective marketing strategy is following up with people who’ve already had an interaction with your brand. This is what’s known as remarketing or retargeting.

Use platforms like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords to show remarketing ads to people who’ve already visited your website or otherwise engaged with your brand. Make them an offer they can’t refuse to come back and interact with you again!

15. Giveaways

Everyone loves the chance to win, and that’s why giveaways are one of the fastest ways to grow your following and spread the word about your brand.

Giveaway something your target audience would love to win and spread the world on social media, email and your website. Require an email address or social media follow for entry. Once the winner has been awarded, follow up with everyone who didn’t win to offer them a special discount on their next purchase.

16. Reach Out To Media

It’s one thing when you say your brand is great. It’s another thing entirely if a trusted third party, like a media outlet, says you’re great. One high-quality media mention can translate into thousands or even tens of thousands of new sales.

Online marketing ideas

Reach out to media outlets to share interesting stories about your brand. If you’re never done this before, your local newspaper, business magazine and television stations are a great place to start.

The key to media outreach is that you can’t pitch how great your product is—that would just be a free commercial. Instead, share the amazing, funny, inspiring or unusual stories behind your brand.

I have an entire course dedicated to earning major media coverage for your brand; I take you step by step through the process I use to get my clients in the headlines. You can find it here.

17. Submit To Product Guides

I don’t know about you, but when I’m researching a new product I often search Google for a ‘top’, ‘best’ or ‘most affordable’ list on the item I’m shopping for. Getting your product featured on these lists is a strong way to drive traffic and sales.

To do it, you’ll need to put in a bit of legwork researching lists of the top products in categories that apply to you. Start making a list of these in a spreadsheet.

For each one, look to see who wrote the article, then do a little more digging to find their email address (Hunter.io can be a useful tool for this). Once you’ve got a solid list of authors and contact info, reach out to each one to let them know you’d like to be considered for their existing or future product guide.

18. Gather Reviews

84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This means your review game needs to be on point!

Marketing your business ideas

Don’t just leave positive reviews to chance; have a strategy in place to follow up with customers post-purchase and ask for a positive review on sites like Google, Yelp and Amazon. Offer an incentive, like a discount code, for their participation, and be sure to emphasize your customer service options in case they’re not 100% satisfied with their purchase.

19. Create A Case Study

A case study is a wonderful way to showcase the hard work that goes into keeping your customers happy. For new customers, it’s also a very compelling argument to buy from you.

The best part is a case study doesn’t have to cost you a dime to create. All you’ll need is a willing customer to talk about their positive experience with your brand. Gather their input and package it into a nice, easily digestible format like a video or PDF, then make it accessible on your website.

20. Follow The Seasons

When you’re neck-deep in running your business, it can be easy to lose sight of the outside world the consumer is living in. Consumer shopping habits are largely driven by the seasons and the holidays on the calendar. Take this into account with your marketing efforts.

For my clients, I like to keep a spreadsheet of every upcoming holiday or event that’s relevant to the brand so we can tailor our promotions and content accordingly.

Some examples might be a 25% discount to celebrate the first day of summer, an Instagram-worthy ice cream party on National Ice Cream Day, or an email blast to promote our best gifts ahead of Mother’s or Father’s Day.

21. Offer Freebies

As a business owner, your biggest win is getting your awesome product in the hands of consumers. The easiest way to do this? Give it away free.

If your bottom line allows, offer a sample size or free trial of your product in exchange for an email address. With strategic remarketing and email campaigns, you can often convert your free-trial user into a lifelong customer.

22. Guest Post

Once you’ve got your own solid blog game going on, reach out to other blogs in your niche and inquire about guest posting. As a guest poster, you contribute an article to their blog for free in exchange for a link to your website.

You’ll build search engine credibility through a backlink, though this isn’t as effective a strategy as it used to be. More importantly, you’ll expose your brand to a new set of audience members who read the blog you’re posting on.

23. Make Videos

The average U.S. adult now spends more than an hour per day with online video. It’s where the attention is, and it’s been growing for some time.

Be where the viewers are by creating your own video content and uploading it to YouTube, social media and your own website.

A few intro video ideas include a how-to with your product, a behind-the-scenes of how it’s made, or a user testimonial about their positive outcome.

24. Join Online Communities

Every topic, from child rearing to gardening to scuba diving, has an online community dedicated to it. Find the top few online hotspots surrounding your niche and engage on them regularly.

The key here is not to push your product, but to chime in regularly with relevant information, like a blog post on your website that answers another forum user’s question.

25. Max Out Existing Customers

There’s no point in attracting new customers if you’re not maxing out the lifetime value of the ones you already have. It’s much easier to convince a prior customer to buy from you than a totally new one, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper when it comes to marketing spend.

Get the most value out of your existing customers by rewarding them with frequent shopper discounts, perks and most importantly, reasons to love the brand.

26. Apply For Awards

Some awards, like your local newspaper’s ‘best burger of the year’ medal, are nice for warm fuzzies and maybe a little name recognition.

Others, like Garden and Gun magazine’s annual ‘Made In The South’ awards, can put your product on the map in front of hundreds of thousands of engaged fans. All it takes is one major breakthrough like this to turn your company into a household name.

Do a little research to find the most prominent awards in your industry and submit to be considered for them regularly. You can’t win if you don’t apply!

27. Offer An Affiliate Program

Like influencers, affiliates can help get your product in front of new customers by sharing it with their audience. Unlike an influencer, who is usually paid up front or in the form of free product, an affiliate makes a commission on each sale that results from his promotion.

For you, there’s no upfront cost (besides your time) to setting up an affiliate program. A platform like AvantLink works well if you’re looking for a more structured system. Or, if you want to test the waters first, you can simply engage individual affiliates by offering a custom discount code to share with their audience.

So there you have it: 27 ideas to market your business online. Which are your top three marketing tactics to explore next? For a more in-depth explainer on these ideas plus 10 more free marketing avenues to try, grab my free e-book here

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Tami Brehse

Tami Brehse

Tami is a television news anchor turned digital marketing consultant who helps small businesses achieve their PR and marketing goals.
Tami Brehse
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