You don’t need to have an enormous marketing budget in order to promote your business and increase its visibility. With the help of the Internet, you can invest in a few key online marketing initiatives to build your brand online.
Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Building a social media presence is important for every business, especially if you’re targeting millennials and the youth. It’s relatively easy to do SMM once you have a clear strategy that’s fit for your brand.
Select one or two key social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube) to focus your marketing efforts. Almost all platforms are free to use, although promoting ads do require a minimum investment, depending on your desired reach and other factors.
You’ll be able to talk to a targeted audience – or expand your current audience – and you’ll be able to gain insights into their interests and consumer behavior.
You can communicate with your audience directly, gather feedback, publish content, and promote your business easily and instantly. Major social networking sites offer many convenient tools for businesses to advertise online, and to analyze the results of their efforts.
However, SMM can sometimes have negative effects on your online brand. Because social media is very public, any little mistake you make in posting can immediately be picked up by thousands of users and shared to a thousand more. A few negative or malicious comments or posts could ultimately ruin your brand’s reputation, so you should take measures to protect your online brand.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Maximize your business website’s visibility by using SEO. Basically, this marketing strategy optimizes your website to perform well in search engine (primarily Google) results, such as in the ranking and appearance based on search keywords and its variations that are used by your target audience in their organic searches.
SEO helps you gain relevant traffic to your website and generate leads to be converted into sales. Like with SMM, SEO allows you to reach your targeted audience.
However, SEO also has its drawbacks. It can’t really guarantee the results you’re expecting, and you can’t have full control of it, since no one can completely figure out Google’s algorithm. There’s also the risk of being penalized by Google for not complying with its specific requirements and conditions, or not adapting to its changes.
SEO can sometimes work too well: you end up with too many leads and sales that your business can’t handle or accommodate. This will result in lost sales, disappointed customers, and a damaged brand image.
You can build relationships and partnerships with key online influencers who are relevant to your brand or business. These influencers can serve as unofficial endorsers of your brand by posting positive reviews and promoting it to their followers, who are your target consumer market.
You can connect with these influencers either directly, via social media, or through PR agencies. Send them your products to try out, gift them with vouchers to your services, or invite them to attend and promote your events.
Of course, doing these doesn’t immediately guarantee the participation, support, and positive feedback of your selected influencers. You can’t exactly control how they will feel and talk about your brand, or what other brands (like your competitors) they might support.
You can consider contracting influencers to ensure that you get the desired and exclusive advertising content from them, but this could end up damaging both the authenticity of your brand and the influencer’s, because online users often have an aversion to blatantly sponsored or manufactured content.