Online marketing can be a great way to grow your business.
However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to burn a lot of money on it.
That’s why it’s so important to be strategic about it – you can’t afford a haphazard approach!
Here are the five best online marketing strategies for small businesses…
Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel First!
Online marketing is all about generating traffic.
But getting people to visit your website is not enough.
You then need to convert those site visitors into leads, leads into customers, and customers into repeat customers.
We believe that the best way to do all that is through the Value Ladder sales funnel.
It was created by our co-founder Russell Brunson who then used it to take ClickFunnels from zero to $10M+ in annual revenue in just one year (it’s at $100M+ now!).
This sales funnel has four stages:
- Bait. You offer the potential customer your lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
- Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product or service.
- Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and valuable product or service.
- Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product or service.
Ideally, you also offer a continuity program of some sort, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.
The reason why this sales funnel works so well is that it allows you to:
- Start the relationship with that person by offering free value.
- Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value via email.
- Build trust by providing progressively more paid value at each stage.
Here’s how Russell explains it:
We recommend setting up a Value Ladder sales funnel before you start promoting your business online. Why?
Because no matter which online marketing strategies you decide to use, generating traffic is going to be expensive – it will cost you time, energy, and money.
So you want to put a system in place that allows you to make the most out of it. After all, if you are going to invest your resources into something, it makes sense to maximize the ROI, right?
Strategy #1: Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is the most straightforward way to drive traffic to your sales funnel – paid traffic is instant, predictable, and scalable. That makes this strategy ideal for getting your business off the ground.
All major social media platforms allow you to run ads on them:
Pick the one that is favored by your dream customers, set up an ad campaign, and start running it with a small daily budget.
If you don’t know which platform to choose, then consider going with Facebook, as it’s the most universal one.
Your goal should be to figure out how to run ads profitably. Once you do that, you can begin gradually scaling your campaign.
Paid advertising is also great for optimizing your sales funnel – once you have enough data, you can look for ways to improve your conversion rates.
Conversion rate optimization can help you 2x, 5x, or even 10x your sales funnel profits!
Keep in mind that paid advertising is a skill, which means that you need to be prepared for a learning curve.
You likely won’t get it right immediately, especially if you have never run ads before.
But, just like with any other skill, if you don’t give up and continue learning, you will get better at it over time.
Strategy #2: Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is growing in popularity – the industry is set to reach $22 billion this year.
And, given that more than 75% of brand marketers have expressed an intention to dedicate a budget to it, it’s likely that your competitors are already using it.
While nowhere near as predictable as paid advertising, influencer marketing is another way to generate instant traffic, which makes it an appealing option to businesses that are just starting out.
Instagram is the most popular platform – it’s used by nearly 80% of brands that engage in influencer marketing.
Here are its most popular influencer marketing niches:
However, influencer marketing is by no means limited to Instagram – brands are collaborating with influencers on all major social media platforms.
Each platform has different demographics, so you should consider which one is the most popular among your dream customers.
Also, while last year there was a notable increase in brands paying influencers, it’s still completely acceptable to trade free products in exchange for shoutouts.
In fact, at the moment there seems to be an equal split between monetary compensation and free products.
This means that if you are selling something that you can afford to give away for free, then influencer marketing might be especially well-suited for your business.
Typically, the smaller the influencer, the more likely they are to accept free products as payment, so you can start by reaching out to micro-influencers (<10k followers).
Negotiate a single shoutout promoting your lead magnet in exchange for a free product, devise a way to track the results (e.g. a custom link, a coupon code), and then see what happens.
Once you identify influencers who can generate sales, start investing more in those partnerships.
It might make sense to start actually paying them. That can help you build long-term relationships with rising social media stars.
You can also build a social media following of your own.
While the best platform depends on who your target audience is, the same general principles of growing an audience apply everywhere:
- Create a content schedule. You can’t just post on social media whenever you feel like it and expect to see consistent growth. Decide on a content schedule that you can stick to in the long run and then commit to it. Social media scheduling tools such as Buffer and MeetEdgar might come in handy here.
- Keep up the content quality. It’s not just about consistency, it’s also about quality. You want to make sure that each and every post provides value to your dream customers.
- Interact with your followers. Engagement is the most important social media metric, so you should do everything you can to increase it. When you are just starting out, make sure to reply to every comment, as that incentivizes people to continue commenting. Of course, you won’t be able to keep that up forever, but you should do it for as long as possible.
Social media is a long game, so be prepared to invest at least 12-18 months of consistent work into building an audience.
Strategy #4: YouTube Marketing
YouTube is the most popular video hosting platform out there – it has over 2.2 billion users worldwide.
This means that no matter who your dream customers are, they are probably watching YouTube… And harnessing YouTube’s algorithm can help you reach them!
Here’s a quick summary of what you need to do in order to grow a YouTube channel:
- Create an upload schedule and stick to it. One video per week is a good place to start. Mention the schedule on your channel banner so that people would know that they can expect regular content from you (e.g. “New videos every Friday!”).
- Get a professional microphone. YouTube users can forgive low production value and poor video quality, but they won’t put up with bad audio. Your microphone is the most important piece of equipment that you need to invest in.
- Target popular keywords in your niche. You can find them by typing in a relevant generic term into the YouTube search, then looking at the search suggestions. These search suggestions are related keywords that people are searching for.
- Do competitive research. Once you have chosen a target keyword, watch the videos that are currently ranking for that keyword and read through the comments. How can you make sure that your video is better than all other videos on the same topic?
- Incentivize engagement. Encourage discussion in the comment section and reply to each and every comment that you get.
Something to keep in mind here is that the whole purpose of building a YouTube channel is to attract your dream customers so that you could then direct them to your sales funnel.
Don’t chase popularity for its own sake – subscriber count in and of itself is a useless vanity metric.
II’s better to have 10,000 subscribers that are your dream customers than 100,000 subscribers that are just random people who find your videos entertaining but will never buy anything from you. Quality over quantity!
Just like social media, YouTube is a long game, so be prepared to invest at least 12 – 18 months of consistent work into building an audience.
Strategy #5: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Finally, there’s search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO.
It’s the most difficult long-term traffic generation strategy because Google only has ten spots on its first page of search results.
So in practice, if you aren’t going for one of the top three spots, then it’s probably not even worth bothering. And the competition is brutal.
All that being said, it’s still possible to build a popular blog, you just have to be serious about it.
“While you can read about a ton of fancy “hacks” and shiny new tools, there are fundamental principles that have not changed when it comes to SEO and blogging.
- Content and links.
- Content and links.
- Content and links.
This has remained unchanged for the last 10+ years.”
It’s really that simple:
It’s probably safe to say that most people who attempt to build a blog struggle with the second step more.
You see, while writing great blog posts isn’t easy, it at least feels safe – unlike link building where you need to do cold outreach and deal with endless rejections.
So if you decide to use this online marketing strategy, make sure you that are super aggressive when it comes to link building.
Say, when Adam Enfroy launched his blog, he wrote over 80 guest posts in one year. This is the level of intensity required to get a blog off the ground. Are you willing to put in that much work?
Because if you aren’t, then it’s probably not worth doing it at all, as you’d be extremely unlikely to succeed in today’s insanely competitive environment.
Want Russell To Show You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?
Let’s keep it real:
Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.
That’s why we created our 5 Day Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.