Where Can I Market My Business Online?

            To begin to answer this question, it is best to begin with an explanation of the three different types of online traffic. These are traffic you own, traffic you control, and traffic you don’t control. The best traffic is the traffic that you own. Examples of this is your business’ website, email list, and blog. You don’t have to pay anyone or follow their rules, because you own your distribution center. The goal of your marketing is to attract traffic from the other traffic sources to create a successful and sustainable business. The second-best traffic is traffic you control. When you pay for ads on Google, Facebook, etc., you control the message to attract your ideal customer. However, it’s the third-party like Google and Facebook who actually owns the traffic, not you. The third traffic source is the traffic you don’t own nor control. This is the organic search results where your customers find you on their own, and you didn’t have to spend any money on them to get them to buy from you. By having your website and social media accounts set up, you can facilitate that type of traffic.

            You can market your business online on social media platforms, your business website, other people’s websites, forums, and more. Depending on your business’ goals, resources, and target customers, it will heavily influence your business’ online marketing strategy. The octopus strategy outlined in Which Social Media Platform Should I Use? will get you started. Once you are clear on your ideal customer, know which areas online your potential customers like to congregate, and have started to create posts that adapt specifically to those platforms, then you have to exercise patience. The first post will not likely generate viral content or even get a lot of views. However, if you take the feedback from each post and use the information to make better posts, you will sooner achieve your business goals.

            Social media platforms can be synonymous with online marketing, but there are also websites and forums to market your business online. You own your personal website and can optimize it to market and sell to your customers as you think best. If you want to market on another person’s website, then you can use the contact information on their website to propose your marketing idea. Make sure that you adequately communicate the benefit they will have in partnering with your business to successfully get their permission to market on their website. Niche-specific micro sites are another online place to market your business’ product or service if your it fits in that specific niche. There is less traffic on those websites than on the top seven social media platforms, but that traffic is more interested in your product/service and more likely to buy from you. Forums are another place to market online. It is where your ideal customers meet online to share tips and advice with their community. Since forums resist being marketed to directly, they are better for gathering valuable insights into your target customers’ passions, fears, and beliefs that will provide new insights to improve your marketing pitch in other areas of your online marketing strategy.

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