10 Online Marketing Ideas to Propel your Business in 2020
Having cast-iron marketing ideas and a plan of action to get yourself in front of a potential customer is key to your success.
It’s especially true if you’re a small business and looking to grow next year.
Running a business, you’re always busy taking care of the day to day tasks. However, without strong marketing ideas and an action plan that things can stagnate, in the worst cases decline.
You not only need to focus your efforts on marketing activities that bring in the best ROI. Also, ones that you can easily do as part of your daily tasks.
How do you increase brand awareness?
Why is my website appearing poorly in Google?
How do you promote your products and services?
How can you stay ahead of the competition?
Which are the best ways to improve sales?
These are some of the questions that you should be asking yourself.
You may have very little online marketing knowledge and experience. It may even seem like a daunting task to even think about it.
This is precisely why we have put together our small business marketing ideas to help you succeed in 2020.
In this post, we’ll not only guide you through 10 basic, tried and tested marketing strategies but ones that you can easily implement to kick start the New Year and give you a head start.
It’s worth noting that each point in this guide is only a general overview of areas that you can focus your marketing efforts in. By no means is it a comprehensive guide on how to undertake each element with military precision. It’s meant as a prompt to get you started.
If you find a marketing idea that you think would work for your business, research further, fully understand the pros and cons and do your homework.
Before we dive in with marketing ideas, there are three staples that you’ll need.
1 A Website for your business
2 A blog
3 Social media accounts
Why do you need a website?
It goes without saying, a professional website for your business is an absolute must.
It’s shocking that 36% of businesses still don’t have a website. Without one it’s not going to do your business any favours and it’s going to be impossible to do any digital marketing without one.
Websites are used as a way to find a business, research products and services by customers, to build trust and to improve bottom lines. These are only a few benefits, but take it from us, without a website your business is going to struggle.
This may be one element that you are unsure about or don’t see the benefits of having a blog. If you do have a blog on your website, you’ll know it’s a free way of marketing your business without much effort (other than creating great posts).
Publishing new blog content on a regular basis will help you increase your website’s visibility, help customers understand more about you and also build trust.
Social media accounts
Again, this is an obvious thing, but with the mass adoption of social media and the impact it has on our daily lives, being set up correctly and using it is now commonplace for a business.
Social media is not only used to keep up to date with what friends are doing. It’s also a powerful business tool to improve search engine rankings and a great way to engage with potential customers.
Now without further delay, let’s look at 10 basic marketing ideas you can implement in 2020. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Understand who your customers are
- Keep your brand consistent
- Review your website at regular intervals
- Check your social posts for engagement
- Dive into video
- Ensure you understand your web traffic
- Boost your website ranking
- Use email marketing
- Consider paid online marketing
- Focus on online reviews and testimonials
1) Understanding who your customers are is one of the simplest marketing ideas you should grasp
You may have not heard of a buyer persona before but in simplistic terms, it means who your customers are, what they like, their habits, essentially what makes them tick.
By knowing who your customers are (buy persona) it will allow you to target information, marketing messages and sales promotions directly at them.
Without this knowledge, everything you do could from a marketing perspective be slightly off-target, it may not fully engage with potential customers and can lead to a disconnection between you and your customer.
Let’s use a simple example.
You own a wedding dress shop. You would probably think your buyer persona is any women that are getting married. That’s correct but delve a little deeper.
For instance, is your shop based in a low-income area? What are the typical ages of the brides to be that come into your shop? How near to their wedding date do they come into your shop to browse for wedding dresses?
These are only a few things that would make up a buyer persona or in other words your typical potential customer.
By knowing this you could do the following.
If you are in a low-income area, this would potentially affect the price tag on the dresses you stock. You could offer some kind of credit terms or payment plan. You could offer more regular sales, discounting dress costs. In essence, you know price is super important to your buyers so show them ways that you address this. If you’re in a more affluent area, cost may not be a central concern so look to target your buyer differently.
If your potential buyers are typically aged 20-35, they are probably more exposed to social media than someone in their mid to late 50’s. So you know how to better reach these with online marketing.
You may also know that brides come into your shop six months before their big day.
How can you use this knowledge?
So let’s say it’s December now, what marketing ideas can you implement from knowing more about your customers?
Launch a campaign in social media NOW with discounts on the latest summer collection you have in store and that you have a credit plan available.
It provides exactly what your customers want and needs, at the right time with the right marketing message.
Try and write down common traits that your customers have. Look for connections and similarities and ways to use these to your advantage as part of how you market your business.
2) Keep your brand consistent
Now you may think that this is a no brainer, however, solid and consistent branding is important. Potential customers have many ways to see your business’s brand identity online.
They can see it on your website, in your social media accounts and other places such as local online directories.
Consistent brand identity will help your business appear much more professional, build trust in your business and help potential customers become familiar with your company.
It’s not a specific marketing idea, however, when you do market yourself, make sure that it all follows suit. The last thing you want are your messages to get diluted and be confusing.
Check anywhere online that your business appears. Check that your logo, marketing message, colours, images and contact information are all the same.
Make a list of all these ‘places’ with links and ensure that when anything changes within your business that you update them.
3) Review your website at regular intervals
As time moves on so do your products and services, the way you work, things that you offer and what your buyers expect etc. Remember your buyer persona!
As such, make sure that your website reflects these changes.
Check the wording and images on your website. Ensure that you keep everything up to date and fresh.
If you do make changes to your business, once your website is updated, if it’s significant, push some posts out in social media and other marketing methods such as exhibitions you may attend, through flyers and printed promo materials.
If you owned a hair salon and you last updated your website 8 years ago. The chances are the images will be of hairstyles that have come and gone and no longer considered current and what a customer would want. Get them changed.
The same goes for wording on your website. We all know how important keywords are for SEO and the ranking of your website. For instance, using the above example, I can bet many people aren’t looking for ‘bubble perms’ like they did years ago when going to a hair salon. Get the picture?
It may not sound like a principal marketing tip, however, anything that is used to promote your business and services should be current. Your website is one of these.
Every couple of months, plan time to really look at your website and scrutinise the text and images.
If you are doing anything different or if anything has changed make sure you update these on your website and promote them.
Your website is probably one of the most crucial parts of any marketing strategy. Any promotions or marketing will normally point a potential customer to it, ensure it’s the best it can be.
4) Check your social posts for engagement
We’re not going to talk about the importance of using social media for your business, it’s more about understanding what is working for your business.
There are many tools that will help you manage your social media accounts. A lot of them do cost money, especially for pro versions, but they can be worth their weight in gold.
However, If you’re handling your social accounts through the platforms themselves then now is a good time to go through all the posts that you have done in the last twelve months.
This may sound like a laborious task if you constantly post.
The goal here is to look at the posts that got the most social engagements (likes, shares, retweets etc.) and to try and understand what made them successful.
Look at the content, images used, headlines, time/day of posting.
The idea is to understand what your audience has responded to. This will allow you to produce more of these types of posts in the future in the hope that your social engagement will improve and build over time. Again, this comes back to point one, it’s all about understanding your buyer persona!
Look at getting set up on a social media planner/calendar. It will allow you to produce social posts to be published at certain times in the future automatically. The beauty of this is you can plan time aside to do this in batch.
When you get busy, which every business owner does, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re publishing posts which you know your audience will like and it won’t get forgotten about.
5) Dive into video
Let’s start with a few simple stats about using video as part of your marketing.
- 54% of consumers want to see more video from a brand or businesses they support (Hubspot 2018)
- Videos are consumers’ favourite type of content to see from a brand on social media (Animoto 2018)
- Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year (Optinmoster 2019)
- The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video (Forbes 2018)
- YouTube is the second biggest search engine, with over 1.5 billion users per month and over 1 billion hours of video watched each day by its users (SEJ 2018)
So now we know the importance of video and how much of an impact they can have on your business and exposure.
Out of all the tips, for most, it’s possibly going to be one of the most difficult and awkward for you to do.
It’s probably out of your comfort zone, it does take time, however, it’s something that all businesses should consider.
You don’t have to be Speilberg here!
As long as they are professional, contain important and interesting information then you should be fine.
Practise really is key here, keep at it and save your videos. Only start publishing videos once you’re entirely happy with the results.
If you do have a budget for marketing then this is really something that you should try and get the professionals in to do. Although video is a great marketing tool, a bad video can also do you harm.
You don’t have to have the latest video camera, do it on your phone to start with.
Once you’re ready, create your own youtube channel and upload your videos. Embed them on your website and share through social media and online.
Like social media, check the likes and shares on a regular basis and produce more what your audience responds to.
6) Ensure you understand your web traffic
Whether you’re active at marketing or not, understanding the basics of where your website traffic is coming from is critical. This isn’t just one of those marketing ideas you should use only if you’re actively looking to promote yourself. It’s something you should always know.
Again, we’re not going into lots of details on this as analysing website traffic can be complex, however, it does provide you with lots of information that can help with all sorts of aspects of your website and business.
By being able to track and gather web traffic data it can help with the following:
- Understand how people are getting to your website
- See how people navigate your website
- Learn key stats such as visitor time, bounce rate, device viewing usage etc.
- Find out which pages are popular and ones that aren’t
- Returning visitors
These are only a few benefits of having the ability to gather web traffic information.
The benefits of understanding this data will be key in deciding where to make improvements with your marketing plan.
As an example, if you ran a sale on your new ecommerce store and decided to promote the sale through email, social media and PPC (pay per click) advertising for instance. Having web analytical data would allow you to understand which is working best, which need improvements and it would allow you to make decisions on how to move forward.
The beauty of this is that you’ll have this information realtime, no waiting a few days or longer, allowing you to quickly respond.
Ensure that you have a way to gather website traffic data, one of the leaders is Google Analytics which will need to be set up on your website.
Try and get an in-depth understanding of the benefits of how to interpret this data and how to use this for your business.
Many web design, marketing and expert freelancers can help you with this. They should be able to feedback vital information in easy to understand terms and provide you with a plan on how to improve things.
7) Boost your website ranking
Even if a complete novice to SEO and marketing, you’ll be aware that if your website isn’t being found high in SERPs (search engine ranking pages) for the products and services that you supply then you’ll be suffering.
We’re sorry to say there are no golden buttons to press to improve your website’s rank. It’s a case of continual improvement and effort.
All of these marketing ideas in the article will help with your website ranking if done right.
There are many factors that affect where your website ranks and we’re not talking one or two but literally hundreds, but here are just a few:
- Relevant keywords and where they are placed on your website
- Length of content on your web pages
- Website speed
- Technically built correctly
- User statistics (bounce rate, dwell time, average page clicks etc.)
- Social media signals
- Consistency of name, address and phone number used across the web
- Domain and page authority
These are a small number of elements that Google considers when ranking a website.
At the end of the day, Google tries to match the best piece of content or web page to what a person is searching for.
For example, if you are searching for ‘the best web design company in Mansfield’ it wouldn’t be very helpful for you to be offered a website design company that has terrible reviews or closed down five years ago.
It would be helpful however to find a company that had great reviews, is active on social media and has many people using their website and enjoying their content.
This is why Google takes many aspects into consideration when ranking a website, not just keywords on a page.
As mentioned earlier, it’s a complex subject but something that you should get to grips with.
Ranking your website well doesn’t stop when you get to the number one spot! You’ll have competitors nipping at your heels constantly.
If you follow the other marketing ideas in this guide then you will see an improvement over time of where your website’s ranking. It can be a slow process!
On a monthly basis check where your website ranks for certain keyword and aim for improvement month on month. It won’t happen overnight, you have to convince Google over a period of time that you ‘deserve a higher rank’
There are many online tools to help you asses where your website ranks, some will also make suggestions on how to make improvements, here are a few:
8) Use email marketing
Once you have great web pages, started to produce great blogs and content on your website, you’ll want to start sharing these updates.
The obvious choice is to firstly push them through social media and then via email campaigns.
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful way of informing your customers of anything you need them to know. It’s a great way to market your business.
If you are practising any of the marketing ideas in this guide then over time people will start to trust you and want to be kept up to date with more of your great content. As such, they are more likely to want to sign up to email alerts or your newsletter.
When you have a small but growing list of subscribers, send regular emails to them with offers, help, advice, guides and information that they will find useful. Don’t go overboard, only send email marketing sensibly and only when you have something worth saying.
Make sure that the emails contain link backs to relevant pages on your website.
They will not only allow you to easily build your email marketing campaigns with ease online (remember point two about consistent branding), they will also provide you with key statistics such as open and click-through rates.
Understanding your marketing email data is another way of figuring out what your ‘buyer persona’ is actually interested in and it will shape future emails and marketing in general.
For instance, if people are opening ‘money off coupon emails’ more than ‘a company update’ email then give them more of what they are interested in and what works for your business.
9) Consider paid online marketing
Now, this comes in many shapes and sizes from PPC (pay per click) such as Goggle Adwords, sponsored posts on social media, remarketing to affiliate marketing plus other avenues you could try.
Even with the most top-notch marketing efforts and online activity, you may still want to give things an extra push and consider paying to promote your business further.
If you have the budget available then before you start paying to market your business you’ll want to make sure your landing pages are as optimised as possible.
Should you not do this before starting a paid campaign, people who click through on to that page may not covert as easily, meaning its money down the drain.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to budget, it’s basically what you can afford. However, there is one simple principle, no matter what you spend it needs to have a higher ROI – that’s a given.
When you do start out we’d suggest that you start small, especially if you’re managing this yourself. You will make mistakes and it’s a bit learning curve.
As you get better and the results improve to a point where you can see real tangible benefits, spend a little more.
We’d also suggest that if you do want to start a paid-for online marketing campaign that you probably get in the experts.
This is one area, unlike many of the other marketing ideas that you will see the money disappearing from your bank account very fast if you get it wrong.
If you are in a rush to get greater exposure faster than other marketing ideas in this guide, then paid online marketing could be a great option for you.
Even if you do start with this, don’t think that you can bypass other marketing activities, it’s not a case of ‘I’m advertising now, the work is done’.
With the best paid online marketing campaign in the world, you still need to keep up with the basics mentioned in this article otherwise your campaigns just won’t be as successful.
10) Focus on online reviews and testimonials
We have covered in a previous post how important online reviews for your website and business are.
As part of your marketing plans, you should aim to build your online reviews both on social media sites and also standalone review websites.
The saying goes ‘people buy from people’ and the same goes about reviews of your business.
Positive customer reviews are more than just nice words. They not only help other potential customers feel more confident, but they also send signals to search engines that you’re a trusted company to work with.
This, in turn, will help strengthen your SERPs results, it is one of the factors that also can increase your website rank.
They also don’t need to be just text.
For instance, someone eating at your restaurant as an example takes a picture of your amazing food and posts it on Instagram. That is a glowing endorsement for your business. This could then be liked, shared and commented on.
Great marketing without lifting a finger, you’ll probably gain more exposure and more importantly a new table booking.
Encourage reviews from your happy customers as part of your daily tasks.
Make sure that when a review is left that you reply and comment back to encourage engagement and show that you care.
Reviews are one element that you simply can’t control. You could be lead to believe that a past customer has had an amazing experience. In reality, when you see the review, it’s a terrible reflection on your business.
Constantly monitor sites where you can be left reviews and set up alerts if possible. Even if a review is bad or untrue, take the ‘high road’ and respond in a positive and professional manner.
Bad reviews can be just as powerful (if not more) than positive ones.
The above ten marketing ideas are meant as a prompt to show you some basic things that you should be doing. They aren’t meant to be an in-depth step-by-step guide. We’d suggest that you do your research and delve deeper in how best to conduct any of these marketing ideas. The key to any marketing is consistency, review the results and improving as you move forward!