Four Fun Ways to Grow Your Business Online

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Growing-BusinessDespite the undeniable importance of marketing, it’s often a really boring ordeal. Conversations about internet marketing can quickly go from being about the business to a conversation about the technical points of impressions, demographics, and AB testing. But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are a lot of ways that business owners can market their business online by supporting things they like or talking about subjects that are relevant to the business and their potential clients.

  1. Promote a Cause
    Promoting a cause through a business is a good way to increase awareness about an organization as well as improve public sentiment toward the organization. This is especially true in situations where the business would have a hard time getting people to notice them because they aren’t in a glamourous field. To illustrate, tile grout cleaning services are not going to be popular on social media by merit of what they do, but if they sponsored a local school, it would give everyone in the community a reason to take notice of them. In general, studies have shown that corporate sponsorship of causes increase brand awareness, boosts employee morale, and increases profits. The business benefit is especially good for online businesses. A 2010 study for a corporate social responsibility branding survey found that 75 percent of consumers who read about a company’s social agenda on its website were more likely to make a purchase from that company.

  2. Participate in Forums and Blogs
    Another fun way to promote a business online is to participate in online forums and blogs on topics where the company would be considered a subject matter expert. This may seem like a roundabout way to reach customers, but there are multiple benefits to doing this. First, by participating in forums and blogs, business owners will find some potential clients directly. People often look to forums when searching for answers or people who have the answers. For example, mechanics can find people in need or repairs by answering questions on automotive forums. Additionally, the business owner gains credibility by being able to consistently answer questions and getting positive reviews from other forum members.

    Another benefit is that many of the actions involved in blog and forum participation are great for the SEO of a website. People who are on a forum and then visit a businesses website (perhaps to check a posted link or learn more about the small business itself) generate highly relevant traffic which factors highly in search engine algorithms. Similarly, any links posted on blog comments or in forums generate back links to the organization’s website. Bear in mind that this is only the case with highly relevant topics and with real people writing. Using bots to post to every site imaginable, does more to hurt SEO efforts than help, as well as hurt the company’s reputation.

  3. Create a Video
    Videos are among the most popular things to view online so it makes sense that businesses should want to use them to promote their products and services. Marketers can promote a business by creating videos for YouTube, Instagram, or Vine. The content can be things like commercials for the organization, behind-the-scenes videos, or instructional videos that can showcase a company’s knowledge base.

    How powerful is internet video? Here are a few stats to consider:
    – According to ComScore, 89 million people in the U.S. watch 1.2 billion videos every day.
    – Only about 24 percent of national brands are utilizing internet video to reach customers.
    Online video accounts for 50 percent of all mobile internet traffic.
    According to Invodo, about 52 percent of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions.

  4. Create a Free Ebook
    An interesting side effect of the rise in tablets is that people are hungry for ebooks. Small business owners can tap into that demand by self publishing an ebook about their industry or topic of interest. For those who think that ebooks are solely the domain of Barnes and Noble and Amazon, consider this: In 2012, libraries across the U.S. checked out more than 70 million ebooks. So there is clearly a demand for free content on tablets. Publishing an ebook gives a business additional exposure and positions the author as an industry leader.

    Computers and the internet make it relatively easy to self-publish an ebook. While there is paid software that can be used, there are plenty of free options for turning a word document into an ebook format. Aside from freeware, there are sites like Smashwords and Booktango where authors can publish their books for free. Once the book is published, business owners can then submit their free ebook to sites like Addicted to ebooks, eLibrary, or Drew’s Ebooks. It’s important to remember that the ebook still has to be of acceptable quality. A book that is filled with poor grammar and misspellings do more harm than good.

For most people, if they only talked about things from work, they would lose all of their friends, but this trait can be a benefit for small business owners. Promoting a business online gives business owners a chance to talk to their hearts content about their industry or favorite cause and to make more money by doing so. The main point of marketing is to connect with audiences and the methods mentioned here are fun ways that marketers can connect with their audience that showcase the expertise of the organization.

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