You are a business owner and have a website and social media on which you promote your products or services. So far your online advertising strategies may not be working or at least you did not find a system that brings you consistent results yet. If you are looking for the best ways to promote your business online in 2021 you are at the right place. In this post I will give you the best online advertising strategies that you could put in place right now to see results and increase your ROI (Return On Investment). You will learn what are the best ways to promote your business online based on your type of activity.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is online advertising?
- 2 For small businesses and brick and mortars
- 3 For content creators
- 4 For e-commerce
- 5 For service-based businesses
- 6 Paid advertising versus free online promotion
- 7 Examples of free online promotion
- 8 Bonus: 2021 Business ideas
What is online advertising?
First let’s define what we are talking about here. Online advertising gathers all digital marketing strategies which aim at promoting your business on the internet. So basically, your goal is to reach potential customers, bring them to your online platforms and convert them into buyers. There are so many types of online advertising strategies so you might be tempted to try them all. But what may work for a certain business may not work for yours. More often than not it is not related to the strategy itself but to the adequation between the strategy you used and your particular situation. In the next part of the article, I will present you the best online advertising strategies in 2021 according to your business type.
For small businesses and brick and mortars
Google my Business
It is a free online business listing for any type of industry. It allows your customers to easily find you on Google Maps and have all the information they need regarding your business such as:
- Postal address
- Opening hours
- Website URL
- Phone number
- Products images and information
- Customers reviews
And so on.
It is a very easy and effective way to let customers find you. If your company is still not registered on Google My Business now is the time to do it and watch your online and offline traffic grow. For brick and mortars it is crucial to have an online presence so that customers nearby can easily find you on the internet and come directly to you.
Shopping Ads are a great way to showcase your products in an appealing way. Potential customers who are located around 45 kms from your shop can see your shopping ads on Google Search networks. They will be able to see images of your products, their price and click on a call to action button that will redirect them directly to the Product page. Then they can add it to their cart and that’s it. You get your online purchases to increase by simply showing the right sets of information to the customers before they even click on your ads.
Creation of valuable content
This is very key regardless of your industry. Giving valuable content to your audience will help convert your visitors into buyers. Indeed, potential customers will have the opportunity to learn more about your expertise, your values and then connect more effectively with your brand.
By offering them valuable content that they can read, download, watch or even listen to, you give them an insight of what they could get by buying your products.
Effective sales funnel
As in any business there are several steps that a potential customer has to follow in order to buy from you and become a loyal customer who will come back. So even online you need to think about how your customers will find you, show interest in your brand and then decide to buy it. This is called a sales funnel. It is important to have at least one effective sales funnel for your business. The different steps have to be simple and easy for customers to follow. If customers have any doubt or feel frustrated about the navigation on your website they are more likely to exit without even attempting to buy anything. That is why you should think about the user experience. Make it smooth and understandable. Hire a specialist to help you build a comprehensive sales funnel that will convert your visitors into buyers.
For content creators
As a content creator, having an online presence is a must. People need to find you and your work easily. So I would advice you to choose one or two platforms on which you will focus your effort. Select them according to your niche and audience. For example a Youtube channel and a blog can compliment each other by allowing you to display your content on videos as well as on images and blog posts. Find what you feel more comfortable using for your business and be creative!
Create a free version of your best offer
One of the best way to showcase your work as a content creator is to offer a free version of it to your audience. It is a way to build trust and interest at the same time. As opposed to what one may think, offering a free version of your work does not prevent you from making sales. People who liked your free gift will be more likely to buy the full version of your product. So do not hesitate to offer a valuable piece of your work to your potential customers.
Build an audience
This is not the number one thing to do in my opinion. But as a content creator your following will have an influence on how potential customers perceive you. You will not be able to generate an income proportionate to your number of followers from one day to another but it helps building trust. The thing though is to find and connect with your true fans, people who would promote and share your brand. There is no point of having a large number of followers who don’t engage. So focus on building a genuine and organic following.
Nurture your audience’s interest
This is key in order to be able to grow your business online. As a content creator you have to nurture your audience’s interest by staying on top of their mind. That way when they need an expert in your field, they will think of you. So talk to them, ask them what they want and need and deliver a solution.
Build a relationship with your audience
Once you have built trust and interest, the next step is to build a genuine relationship with your audience. They want to know who you are as a person and be able to relate to you and your story. Be careful to stay professional and not oversharing but you can show them that you are a “normal” person just like anybody else. You may be a source of inspiration for people who want to make a living with their passion. Therefore it is also your responsibility to be a “role model” in your field. You can for example share with your audience your creation process or some of the best tools to use as a content creator. Show up for them and they will show up for you.
Use paid advertising platforms like Google Ads. You can create campaigns based on the goal you want to reach: traffic, conversion, brand awareness etc. Then create ads that will bring customers directly to your products pages where they can learn more about the products and add them directly to their cart.
In a snapshot, here are a few more tips to help you build your online presence if you have an e-commerce.
- Create simple and easy steps to bring potential customers to your online boutique.
- Add links to your boutique on your social media.
- Focus on one social media and be very active: interact, bring value, present your products benefits.
- Build a strong brand with your core values.
- Target and niche down your audience. Your products are not for everyone.
For service-based businesses
The following digital marketing ideas are more suitable for coaches, consultants, teachers and any service-based company.
The specificity is that your audience is not necessarily geographically close to you. Since you have a service-based company you have the possibility to offer your services online potentially to people from all other the world. Here I think it is crucial to choose your prefered platform on which you want to build your personal brand. I personally think that having a website or an online portfolio really helps showcasing the kind of work you do and how you can help your clients.
A service-based business is not about the service itself it is more about the person behind it. People will choose to work with you because they trust you and your expertise. So your online advertising should be focusing on building both your expertise and your personal brand.
So what you can do to achieve this is to offer some insights of your work and expertise:
- On a Youtube channel, Facebook lives where you share your knowledge for free. Explain how people who want to know more can reach you privately.
- By creating a blog or podcast on your website.
- By inviting people to subscribe to your newsletter to receive tips from you. Be careful not to spam and always focus on bringing value.
- By offering a free sample of your work: free course, free guide, a complimentary call, a free audit depending on your area of work. That way you show people a glimpse of what you can offer. Plus, it is also the occasion for you to see if you can be a good match with your potential client. Once again, your services are not made for everyone. So it is important that you target the right customers for your business.
Besides these tips, don’t forget to display your values on each platform you are using. There should be consistency within all your channels so that people can easily identify who you are and what you do. It is easier if you are not afraid to show your face, like a picture of you on your social media or website for example. But it is not mandatory when you know how to convey your message so that people will trust the brand and business you’ve built. If you deliver the services and results you promise, your brand authority will build itself through word of mouth and referrals.
Paid advertising versus free online promotion
Now that we have covered the best ways to promote your business online according to your field, let’s compare the benefits of using paid advertising versus free online promotion. Free online promotion helps you bring organic traffic for free onto your website. It is every online business owner’s dream but it is unfortunately not that simple. Below you will find a table of comparison between paid advertising and free online promotion.
|Criterion||Free Online Promotion||Paid Advertising|
|Price||Free.||Very low depending on the advertising platform.|
|Reach||Low at the beginning might get medium to high with the right SEO strategy.||Large|
You define your targeted audience, location, keywords etc.
|Strategy type||Long-term: you want to appear on top of organic search networks on the long run and build your e-reputation and online presence.||Short-term to medium term: the goal of a paid ads strategy is to drive traffic and sales immediately by attracting brand new customers or retargeting people who may already be interested in your strategy.|
|Recurrence||One time by using the right keywords and checking from time to time your SEO scores.||Often: depending on your business seasonality you may want to adjust your campaigns and goals.|
|Time expectation for results||Weeks if you already have an online presence. Months if you are a brand new online player.||Immediate: as said with paid ads you expect to see results within the first days of launching your campaigns.|
To sum up, both paid and organic traffic strategies have advantages and they go hand in hand. Right now, it is your responsibility as a business owner to decide on which one you should focus your effort and budget. On one hand paid ads is something you have to do regularly because as soon as you stop your ads campaign, the traffic generated from those campaigns will also decrease. On the other hand, you have to be patient to see the results of your SEO and other free online promotion strategies. But either way, remember that consistency and having an efficient strategy in place will make the difference for your business.
Examples of free online promotion
Let’s dive a little bit more into the different types of free online promotion you can use for your business.
If your customers are on Facebook like 2.4 billion of monthly active users, then you might want to use the platform to drive free traffic onto your website. You can do that buy building your own Facebook group and business page and participate in Facebook groups related to your niche. Make sure to always follow the group rules and don’t DM or send unwanted friends requests or you might end up being banned. Instead, genuinely interact with the group members, share your knowledge and learn from others too. If there is a promo thread in place, use it to talk about your business. Also, you can ask people what they want in order to fine tune your audience and know exactly who you can serve.
It is THE search engine for bloggers and content creators in my opinion. People go on Pinterest to find DIY ideas, tips, read articles, get some outfits inspirations etc. So if you have a business where you can get creative and showcase your products on beautifully made pins then don’t hesitate to create a business Pinterest account for free.
This could range from being a guest to affiliate programs.
You can partner with a company or a person who has a significant online community and be a guest blogger or a guest on a youtube channel, a podcast etc. If your targeted customers are on these platforms, then you can easily build your brand authority and be more visible. People who liked what they’ve seen of you will reach to your own platforms to know more and eventually do business with you.
In the case of an affiliate program, someone represents your products and gets a commission once it is sold. It is also a very powerful way to expose your business and increase your reach. Partnering with another company or an influencer might be a win-win strategy when done correctly.
SEO and keywords ranking strategies
In any case, if you are online you want to be found. So at some point you will have to think about your SEO or search engine optimization. SEO helps you rank on search engine results and therefore increase your online visibility. My advice is to be patient and create content consistently. Quality comes before quantity here. So invest your time to create qualitative content or invest into the services of a copywriter and SEO strategist if needed.
Bonus: 2021 Business ideas
Sell your skill/expertise as a freelancer
Each and everyone of us has a gift, something we are very good at. Maybe when you were younger you used to organize events for your friends, you did small services for your neighbors or you are very good at helping people learn a new skill. Whatever it is, you are good at something where people lack experience or motivation to do it themselves. So think about how you can monetize this skill and start it as a side hustle.
What I love about digital is that most products and businesses still don’t exist. On the opposite of the mainstream thinking, the market for digital products and services is not saturated. Basically, almost any physical product has or will have his digital pendant: Think about CDs turned into MP3, videotapes that you can now watch online. You don’t need to have a TV to watch your favorite programs. Now you only need a tablet, phone or laptop. Even school and degrees can be taught online. So the only thing you have to do is choose your area of predilection and think of a way to make it available online.
I hope these tips will give you some ideas regarding your digital marketing strategy and help you drive your business to the next level. I am curious to know if you are already using some of these strategies and how effective they have been for your business so far. Do you use online advertising? Feel free to share in the comment section below.