What's Your Online Marketing Strategy?

A survey of nearly 3,000 new business owners revealed that those who created a business plan were twice as likely to grow their business or secure capital, as recently reported on The Big Picture blog. Entrepreneurs, take a good look at your business plan. Have you adequately addressed your online marketing strategy?

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to the process of positioning your business so active customers, who are researching products and services, will find your business and choose to work with you as opposed to the dozens of other competitors out there.

Mastering inbound marketing means netting customers that are motivated to purchase, but you must work to present your product or brand as the best of the best, which means working to get your website at the top of the search page and to establish expertise and credibility.

Content Marketing

Create quality content — articles, blog posts, videos — about your product or service. You can easily outsource this work to a content marketing firm, but be sure the content still reflects the values and voice of your product or service.

Social Marketing

Be active on networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to increase your visibility and build an authentic community of customers who value your product or service. When an interested customer begins researching, they'll see that you have a visible, concrete track record of success. The Small Business Administration advises paying close attention to your online reputation by regularly reading and monitoring comments and/or reviews.

Outbound Marketing

Focusing on outbound marketing means catching those consumers who are ready to make a purchase. Using strategies like paid search or affiliate marketing can boost your visibility to customers who know what they want and are ready to buy. Using a product feed service can get your product in front of a customer's eye when they're ready to click and buy.

You can also use email as a means of outbound marketing by sending off blasts with specials and coupons to existing customers in the hopes of snagging a customer who is ready to make a purchase but just needs a little push.

Getting familiar with these different strategies can take time, but having an innovative plan that fits your business will pay off in the end. GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons has built a successful career on innovative, edgy approaches and is now the leader of one of the largest companies devoted to web hosting and e-commerce.

In his "16 rules for survival," Parsons tells Lifehack that it's important to simultaneously keep moving forward while keeping track of your current plan, so experiment with a few different approaches until you find the one that fits.

By following these suggestions I'm confident you will be able to increase your marketing and sales efforts.

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