Just about anyone can start a business today. The barrier to entry in many industries is almost non-existent, as technology continues to empower aspiring entrepreneurs with the information and inspiration they need to get started.

For you, this means more competition. More headaches. More sleepless nights.

However, while it might be easier than ever to get started, keeping that train going is harder than ever. With so many businesses competing for your customer's attention, getting your message to cut through is complex and muddied by noise.

This increased competition, combined with an increasingly digital savvy consumer, is forcing traditionally offline businesses to move online. To survive in today’s business environment, you need to be online.

But that’s easier said than done.

There are so many options for marketing your business online, and finding the ones that are the most suitable for your business can feel like a daunting task.

Is SEO still relevant or should you focus on social media? Is email marketing dead or thriving better than ever? What are the most effective digital advertising channels?

To help you answer all of these questions, and cut through the noise of the online world, here’s a helpful guide about how to attract new customers to your business using the four most important online marketing tactics: SEO, Social Media, Marketing Automation, and Digital Advertising.

Tactic 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Why SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to put your business on the map. However, most business owners believe that SEO isn’t worth the investment.

Why?

It’s because SEO can be difficult to understand, and even harder to implement and see results.

But, here’s the thing: 89% of consumers use search engines to find information about a brand or product before making a purchase. More than that,   three out of four people that find information in local searches are likely to visit a physical store in the few days following that search.

So, SEO is not only necessary for boosting your business’ online visibility, but it can also drive sales.

With that in mind, here’s how to attract new customers to your business using SEO:

Google My Business Setup

Studies show that about 64% of consumers use search engines to find local businesses. Plus,  20% of the 13.7 billion searches performed in the U.S. are related to location.

One of the best ways to take advantage of these opportunities and increase your customer base is to optimize your Google My Business listings for each location you operate in. In other words, if you have multiple brick and mortar stores, then you need to create a dedicated page for every location you target.

To get started, go to google.com/business, click on “Get on Google,” and select the Google account you want to use.

Search for your business and add its type and location. Then, use the code Google sends you to confirm you are authorized to manage the business and its website.

Next, you just need to edit your profile by adding photos and additional information about your business, such as address, phone number, email address, happy hours (if applicable,) directions, and so on.

If you set things up properly, your business can start to show up in local searches like this:

Website Development and Optimization

Your website should look professional and have a clean and fresh design – that’s a given. But, functionality actually carries more weight than aesthetics when it comes to SEO.

If your site is difficult to navigate, doesn’t help prospects solve their needs, or provide answers to their questions, then they won’t spend too much time exploring it.

Make sure to optimize your site for user experience, conversion, and engagement, but also get an expert to ensure the technical optimization of your site is up to scratch too.

Some things to be aware of from a technical SEO optimization perspective with your website are;

  • An XML sitemap
  • An easy-to-navigate content architecture
  • Appropriate page indexing, no-indexing and relevant redirects
  • A clean, fast loading code base
  • Keyword rich meta descriptions and page information

Keyword Research

Some marketers claim that search engines have become so clever that keyword research is a waste of time. However, while it’s true that Google is now better than ever before at understanding queries, it still relies on keywords to deliver the most relevant results.

With that being said, instead of over optimizing your content with keyword terms that you think your customers search for, focus on understanding user intent. Knowing the intent of a prospect when they type a question into a Google search can help you create quality content that will answer those questions. In the end this will drive more traffic, and ultimately generate more leads for your business.

Finding the most relevant keyword terms for your business can be a time consuming process. Our advice is to hire an expert to help you out, or alternatively you could buy a keyword research tool such as KWFinder  to give it a go yourself.

Below you can see the search phrase suggestions from KWFinder that are associated to the term “office supplies rochester”, as well as the estimated difficulty of whether or not you will be able to rank for these terms:

Using KWFinder to find Search Phrase Suggestion Results

Publish Quality Content

Quality content is a vital component of an effective SEO strategy. One thing that you must keep in mind is that whatever you create, be it articles, videos or podcasts, ensure that your content is interesting, helpful, and most importantly, relevant to your audience.

Tactic 2: Social Media

Why Social Media?

With over two billion active monthly users , it should come as no surprise that social media has become a crucial tool for brand awareness.

But, how do you take advantage of this channel to grow your business?

Here are some suggestions:

Set up Your Profiles on Relevant Social Profiles

Different social networks have different users, just like different businesses have different target audiences. The key is to have a deep understanding of your customers so that you can select only the social media platforms that are the best fit for your business.

For example, this graphic from Sprout Social  shows the typical demographics of LinkedIn users:

Linked In Usage Among Key Demographics

Create Brand Consistency

One mistake businesses make is that they create a different profile or persona for each channel. Sure, Instagram is different than LinkedIn and requires a different tone of voice, but your brand’s message should remain consistent across all channels. Try to stay consistent in your communication, branding, and content strategy – it will help you build a loyal customer following.

Social Media Guidelines, Voice, and Roles

Social media is constantly evolving, so you will need a well-defined strategy to navigate it.

Whatever strategy you end up employing, make sure you’re always up to date with the conversations happening in your niche. Try to identify the thought leaders your audience is listening to and the role they are playing. That way you can better understand what your prospects are looking for and deliver just that.

Create Content

You can’t just create your social media profiles and forget about them. You also need to post content regularly to keep your audience informed and engaged.

Keep in mind the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be entertaining and educational, and only 20% should be promotional.

Curate Content

Curated content is content that someone else has created, but it is relevant and interesting to your audience. Content curation is a difficult and time-consuming task, but the results are well worth it.

Sure, filtering through the seemingly endless amount of information published online can seem like a daunting task. However, it is a great way of generating discussions with your customers and offering them something interesting and relevant to read and share.

If you do curate the content of other publications or authorities in your industry, be sure to tag their social media accounts in your post so that you leverage their brand recognition and credibility, like this example :

Twitter Tagged Curated Content Example

Plan a Publishing Rhythm

Once you’ve established the right social media channels for your business, test different publishing rhythms to see what works for you and your audience. Every business is different, so build a strategy keeping your customers and marketing goals in mind.

Community Management

Remember that it’s important to join social media groups where your audience is active, or even create your own where you can encourage your prospects to discuss what’s bothering them. It’s a more personal, deeper way of getting to know your audience.

Tactic 3: Marketing Automation

Why Marketing Automation?

A lot of businesses are wary of automation. They fear that if you take the human component out of marketing, then communication will become robotic. And, that’s true, but only if you’re not strategic about the tasks you choose to automate.

Streamlining repetitive activities can help you save time, generate new revenue, and provide a good return on investment.

What Can You Automate?

Focus on the following key activities if you want to get the most out of marketing automation:

Social Media

There are so many social media channels out there that just keeping track of everything new is a job on its own. Marketing automation can help you streamline the distribution of content across different platforms.

Some tools to consider in this space are:

Email Marketing

You can use email marketing automation to create workflows that are triggered by certain events. For example, you can set up a workflow to send a welcome email to new subscribers. Or you can send automated reminders to prospects that have abandoned a cart without completing a purchase on your website.

Some tools to consider in this space are:

Lead Nurturing/Sales Processes

Not only can automating lead nurturing help you save time and reduce the sales cycle, but it also makes it easier to feed your audience with the right content at the right time. That way, you never miss a lead or an opportunity.

Some tools to consider in this space are:

Customer Service

In today’s overly crowded digital space, where hundreds of different businesses tend to the same needs, personalization can help you stand above the noise.

Automation can make it easier for your customer service reps to deliver amazing experiences, solve complaints faster, and improve customer relationships.

Some tools to consider in this space are:

Tactic 4: Advertising

Why Advertise?

Consumers have become quite good at dodging advertising messages. They have different tools that allow them to block any unwanted communication. So, you might be tempted to think that advertising is just a waste of time and resources.

That’s not necessarily true. But if you go about digital advertising in the wrong way, you can leak money very quickly.

Here’s how to attract new customers to your business with the right advertising tactics.

What Are the Options?

Should you promote your business on social media or focus on pay-per-click advertising? The short answer is that it depends on your business goals. Let’s take a closer look:

Google AdWords (Search and Display)

As mentioned before, about 89% of consumers use search engines to research information about brands and products, so it makes perfect sense to use PPC advertising to promote your business. The return is pretty attractive too. According to Google, for every dollar invested, businesses get a return of $2 .

An effective AdWords campaign combines smart keyword research to find long search phrases, combined with a strategy for retargeting website visitors on the Google Display Network.

Social Media Advertising (Facebook)

Not only is Facebook is the largest social media network, but users spend about 40 minutes per day on the platform . As such, Facebook is an excellent channel for growing your customer base.

Similarly to Google AdWords, Facebook allows you to retarget prospects with ads who have visited your website or engaged with your brand. This form of advertising usually proves to deliver the best ROI, compared to cold ads.

Video Advertising (YouTube)

Video content is becoming more and more popular. In fact, one-third of online activity is spent watching videos . Take advantage of the increasing popularity of video and the level of engagement it provides to drive more prospects to your business.

Conclusion

It’s now easier than ever before to move your business to the digital world. But, without the right strategy, you can’t achieve sustainable growth.

Hopefully, this guide will help you understand how to attract new customers to your business and set you up for success.

About Micaela Contente

Digital Marketing Analyst

RIT graduate who loves the world of Digital Marketing. In my spare time, you'll find me watching Netflix with a pint of Peanut Butter Halo Top.

Certified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords

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