If you’re a business owner, you want to know how to promote your business the right way.
You’re learning more about marketing — especially online marketing — because you know promoting your business online is necessary in 2020.
The problem? There are a million different ways to promote your business and a million different “experts” giving you advice on how to do it.
How do you know which way is the right way?
Before we dive into specifics, let’s talk about the truth you need to understand to promote your business the right way.
Online Promotion in 2020 Means Adding Value for Your Customer
Whatever content you put on the web has to genuinely engage your target customers.
Inform them. Entertain them. Teach them.
Simply putting your customers first relates to SEO in a lot of ways.
When you build a well-designed and user-friendly website because you want your visitors to have a great experience, you get “SEO-credit” in the form of “dwell time” and a low “bounce-rate.”
When you create content people want to share and link to, your site builds authority naturally.
The better your product itself, the easier it is to get positive engagement both online and word of mouth, which helps boost the “engagement signals” Google uses to rank websites.
All of our tips on how to promote your business revolve around putting your customers first.
…But Your Product Has to Follow Through
Here is an aspect of business promotion that goes overlooked — improving your product or service.
- Have you been going the extra mile with customer service?
- Are you actively listening to customer discussion and feedback?
- When was the last time you did a deep analysis of product development?
When you start to hear back from customers online, listen to them. Engage with them.
Take their experiences to heart when they discuss your product, for good or bad.
And when you do improve your product or service, promote the heck out of it. Get that message out. Let the customers know you listened and you acted.
Nothing compares to the reputation of a business that’s sincerely tuned into its customer base. That good sentiment is invaluable in a market that increasingly rewards companies with transparent operations.
Smart digital marketing will take that sentiment, amplify it, and share it with as many potential customers as possible.
#1 – Invest in Your Website
When it comes to promoting your business online, all roads should lead to your website.
Your website is the one piece of the internet you totally control. You own it.*
Social media can drive engagement with your business, but you’ll never have 100% control of those spaces.
When you invest in your website, you build equity for the long-term. You develop an asset that never stops working for you. You build a home base for your customers.
Build a beautiful, easy-to-use website, and fill it with content that’s useful for your customers.
*(Or you should own it. All too often we’ve seen small businesses pay a monthly fee to a web development company for a custom website. NEVER do this! If you decide to engage an agency for a custom web site, make sure you 100% own it.)
#2 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO continues to be relevant in 2020, and you should still (mostly) care about Google, whose sites receive over 90% of search queries.
It’s true that the SEO game is changing. One SEO expert notes that June, 2019, was the first time when fewer than half of all Google searches resulted in no clicks.
What does that really mean?
Many people nowadays use Google search and then find their answer without actually visiting a website.
Google continues to grow as an answer service rather than as a simple (but massive) index.
Still, organic SEO drives traffic to your site—but your SEO has to be smart. You must be able to identify relevant keyphrases with strong click-through rates.
Organic SEO will build equity in your site, keeping it working for you in the long-haul. That’s why we recommend organic SEO over pay-per-click ads in many cases.
A couple of factors to keep in mind:
- Your market – what keywords do your customers use when searching for services or products you offer?
- Competition – Who else is ranking high for your best keywords?
- ROI – Some industries have searches with more “buyer intent” than others, meaning people use search to make purchasing decisions more in some industries than others
Organic SEO is STILL a great way to promote your business online, but it’s getting harder in 2020 and will continue to do so.
#3 – Reviews
Google and other search engines use online reviews as a ranking signal.
You should seek reviews on these platforms from your customers.
Also, reviews are a basic kind of social proof, demonstrating your quality.
To get those reviews, you have to have an awesome product or service.
Here are some quick tips for improving your product/service to get more reviews:
- Actively seek feedback from your customers and use it to improve your product/service
- Make sure to ask for reviews after your service has been performed or product delivered
- Follow up with customers regularly (for long-term customers)
- Aim to have the best customer service possible (this is not a trivial insight)
#4 – Brand-Building
Marketing expert Neil Patel wrote an article about the future of SEO. In it, he mentioned brand building as one of the top ways to promote your business.
Why is brand building important?
Google trusts established brands.
If you have an established brand, your website has a better chance to rank.
If you create a product or service people rave about, more people will search for your business online by name.
The more searches your business gets by name, the more brand credibility it has.
Focus on putting yourself on the map in your industry with both product/service quality and digital marketing.
#5 – Content Marketing
“Content marketing” means producing content (blogs, videos, graphics, memes, etc.) that resonates with your customer base.
Content marketing is NOT writing a blog post about the 10 reasons someone should buy your product. That’s an advertisement (and a bad one, too).
Content marketing is the long game. Imagine it like you’re building a fanbase for your business. You’re building a following of people who are interested in what you say and do.
You build that fanbase using consistent, engaging content.
And remember: “engaging” is determined by your audience!
Content marketing from a CNC manufacturer might mean white papers and case studies. Something a purchasing manager at an OEM would like.
Content marketing for a B2C company like Casper, who sells mattresses and sleep products, looks like this:
An instructional “how-to” video like this is useful content that adds value for your customer. It’s not a straight-up advertisement. It makes your business look good, establishes authority, and keeps customers tuned in.
Content marketing has mixed results for different companies.
This excerpt from Smart Blogger highlights why:
You need to plan your content around your business as a whole.
You need to keep the following in mind when creating your content:
- How familiar is the visitor with you when interacting with a certain piece of content?
- What type of content is needed to build more awareness so visitors know, like, and trust your company?
- What are the goals of your campaign – building an email list, increasing brand awareness, increasing conversions for a particular service or product?
- What problems, pain points, aspirations, and desires are your content addressing?
- Who does your content need to target (this changes based on the stages of awareness)?
Content marketing is a topic worthy of an ultimate guide of its own.
The bottom line – content marketing is a tool that works for any business when done the right way.Top of Form
Next we’ll look at some specific forms of content – especially what will be most relevant in 2020.
#6 – Optimized Blog
Blogs will continue to be a relevant way to promote your business in 2020.
An optimized, consistent blog is the backbone of your website’s organic SEO.
A solid blog takes time and a regular commitment to research, writing, and revising successful posts.
Here’s what an optimized blog can do to promote your business online:
- Generate traffic. Blog posts should target keywords that relate to your business and that are frequently searched. Blog posts can be great ways to target longtail keywords.
- Build an email list for email marketing (see more below). Write engaging and useful content for your audience, and they’ll be more willing to sign up for email communications.
- Drive conversions. Blog posts cannot simply be advertisements for your business. However, they can drive good traffic to the parts of your website that are designed to convert visitors.
#7 – Video
There are two great frontiers in digital marketing in 2020: video and podcasts. Let’s talk video first.
Look at these video marketing statistics:
- The 25-34 (millennial) age group watches the most online videos and men spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than women. (Wordsteam)
- Cisco has projected that more than 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021. (Impact)
- 45% of people watch an hour or more of video per day (Hubspot)
There are many different ways to promote through video.
You can add a humorous twist and make creative commercials like Dollar Shave Club:
You can make “how-to” videos for using your product:
Or, you can leverage video in paid ads to grab people’s attention:
#8 – Podcasts
Podcasts are becoming the next big frontier in online promotion.
The audience for podcasting is growing significantly.
Check out these key stats from this 2019 Edison Research study:
- 32% of Americans over 12 listened to a podcast monthly
- 41% of Americans say they’re listening to podcasts more than they did last year
- Americans averaged SEVEN podcasts per week during the period studied
What does this tell us?
There is surging demand for podcast content.
Podcasts are becoming the new radio – but much cheaper, easier, and with far greater reach.
If your company can pull it off, a regular podcast can be the center of your content marketing strategy. A good podcast will build an audience and establish your brand’s authority.
Don’t have the resources to do a good podcast regularly?
However, you can still promote your business with podcast advertisements.
Many podcasters include advertisements in their regular shows.
If you can identify niche podcasters with audiences relevant to your business, they can be a goldmine for targeted advertising.
#9 – Infographics
Infographics are another engaging medium. Here’s an example from a demo version of our employee referral tool – Referral Factory Pro:
Like all your content, a good infographic should add value for your audience. Teach them something. Show them something useful. Don’t simply advertise your business with an infographic.
Share a good infographic through your online channels – blogs, social media – to engage with your audience and link back to your website.
The bottom line – the more relevant and engaging media you can use the better.
Each of these content marketing channels should lead back to your home base, your website.
Not only is it informative and entertaining for your visitors, but it helps improve important SEO metrics like:
- Dwell time
- Bounce rate
- Total time spent on site
#10 – Email Marketing
If you don’t already do it, you might not think about emails when you think of how to promote your business.
But why should you do it?
For the same reason you should invest in your website:
When you invest in building email lists, you create a long-lasting asset for your business.
According to Hubspot:
- “More than 50 percent of U.S. respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.”
- “59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.”
- “>59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.”
These stats are HUGE—and only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to email promotion.
Just about everyone today has an email and pays attention to it.
If you can get them to trust and value your brand, they’ll be more than willing to share their email address.
Implement smart (read: not annoying spam emails) marketing, and this list can generate leads and repeat sales.
To build this list, you need compelling, useful content. You need to demonstrate to your audience that you’re worth listening to.
The takeaway: email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business. It’s not going away anytime soon. Invest in it–though it’ll take time to create an email list, it’ll be worth it.
#11 – Social Media Marketing (duh)
Yeah, of course social media plays a big part in promoting your business online.
It IS useful, but don’t come to wholly rely on it and expect it to do all the heavy lifting.
Again, invest in your website first — the piece of the internet you do own.
You can spend a lot of money on social media channels, but you’re not building a long-term asset like you would for a website.
Instagram is top-notch for visual marketing, so make-up would look great there.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn is your place to be.
You’ve probably said to yourself “I need to promote my business on social media more.”
But which platforms are right for you?
Each comes with its own pros and cons.
Let’s take a look.
#12 – Facebook
Facebook has excellent audience targeting features for paid advertisements.
Facebook’s organic reach – traffic you can get for free – is not so great for businesses.
It’s still wise to have a Facebook page for your business to get likes and reviews, which count as a ranking signal for Google.
Bottom line: You should probably have an active Facebook page for your business.
The best organic activities on Facebook are:
- Sharing content and media – blog posts, videos, and other forms of content should be shared on Facebook
- Reviews – encourage people to leave reviews on Facebook and respond to them
- Engagement – if you have a community based-product, e.g., an education business for parents and children, answering questions and interacting with users works well on the platform
Facebook does tout one of the top social media paid advertising platforms.
Here are some excellent articles on creating Facebook ads the right way:
- 13 Examples of the Best Facebook Ads that Actually Work
- 9 Tips to Write the Best Facebook Ads Ever
- 5 Simple Steps to Creating an Unbeatable Facebook Ads Campaign
#13 – Instagram
Instagram works well for products and services you want to show.
Custom home builders, health and nutrition companies, and landscape design companies are all examples of businesses who should leverage Instagram.
Also, if your target audience is in a younger demographic (<50), odds are they use Instagram.
If you can create quick, punchy, and entertaining/informative videos about your brand, Instagram is a great cross-promotion channel, too.
You can run Facebook ads to both Facebook and Instagram, too, since Facebook owns the company.
#14 – LinkedIn
If you have a B2B business, you should be promoting it on LinkedIn.
Over the years, LinkedIn has improved its features in both paid advertisements and organic reach.
The trend shows LinkedIn is gearing up to become a much more user-friendly and community-oriented platform, shifting away from its old identity as a dry B2b social media company.
While companies like Facebook and Instagram had explosive growth, LinkedIn has played the long game.
LinkedIn has been steadily building its userbase and functionality for years. It’s getting more solid as time goes on. That makes LinkedIn more than worthwhile to continue using in 2020.
Marketing expert, Neil Patel, has been doing a ton of videos on LinkedIn. Always pay attention to the early adopters in marketing trends:
Notice the engagement on a simple and short video.
If you can create bite-sized content:
- Short videos
- Short excerpts of posts
- Shared posts with insights
You can reap the rewards of LinkedIn’s algorithms.
Look at the insane amount of reach from one shared article:
All B2B brands should utilize sharing, curating, and storytelling to promote their business on LinkedIn in 2019.
#15 – Twitter
Twitter engagement varies from industry to industry.
In the content marketing and SEO space, Twitter is a great tool for promoting content about marketing because users engage with it.
Businesses with a heavy focus on media do well on Twitter:
Online magazines, public figures, marketing companies, authors, news outlets, and personal finance experts are all examples of businesses who can benefit from Twitter.
Local carpet cleaning companies? Not so much.
If your business uses content marketing as the main tool, Twitter is a great place to promote your work.
If you can’t think long-term, digital marketing won’t work for you.
Neither will marketing in general.
Digital marketing isn’t a cookie cutter solution.
You have to learn what works — and what doesn’t — after a long period of time.
How long, you ask?
Well, when we work with companies, we tell them SEO and Content marketing takes 12 months before the campaign fully kicks in.
It can take even longer to build a stellar brand and reputation that stands out above all the competition.
It’s counterintuitive. Some of the most important aspects of marketing have nothing to do with the marketing tactics.
They have everything to with your vision, outlook, tenacity, persistence, and willingness to collaborate with other smart companies like digital marketing agencies.
That’s why we call ourselves “strategic partners” to our clients.
It takes more than tactics to succeed online. It takes a level of dedication and patience that doesn’t come easily for everyone.
This also makes digital marketing easy, in the sense that most companies aren’t willing to invest the right time and resources into their marketing.
If you differentiate yourself, you can win in 2019.
Commit to Promoting Your Business in 2019
Above all else, you need to commit to promoting your business online to succeed in 2019.
The biggest marketing secret isn’t a secret at all.
Either on your own or with the help of a smart digital marketing agency like MLT Group, make this your year to invest more in marketing than any year previous.