Boosting your online business without relying on hope marketing

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Are you relying on hope marketing? You’re so busy working in your small business rather than on it, that you’re hoping customers will find you.

Life as a small business owner means it can be tough to carve out time to develop marketing strategies, let alone keep up with an ever-changing online landscape. Below are some tips I learnt to help build your business via content marketing.

Don’t scream the loudest

With over one billion websites competing for attention, cutting through the noise to reach your target market is a challenge.

It’s tempting to think you simply need to scream the loudest to stand out. But online users are over being shouted at, and it’s unlikely your small business has the large-scale budget to cater to that.

Your best bet is focussing on a targeted audience likely to convert to customers—don’t try to be everywhere and spread yourself so thin that none of your efforts cut through.

Free ways to boost your web traffic

Getting eyes on your website is a tough gig, but building organic traffic is the gift that keeps on giving for long-term customer awareness and loyalty.

Here are four key elements to building organic traffic effectively:

  • Organic social media – even if reach is low, it complements paid strategies and builds a brand identity. Boost it by using emojis, pinning popular posts and tapping into trends your audience wants to hear about.
  • Email marketing – an overlooked strategy with huge potential. Make it easy to subscribe to your list, show social proof it’s a real community, and encourage forwarding of your emails.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) – search engines like Google are 300 per cent more successful than social media. Target longer, specific keywords with less traffic but a greater likelihood of converting to a sale.
  • Collaboration – partner with like-minded brands by offering a guest blog or sharing an offer with their subscriber list.

Boost growth with paid channels

In an ideal world, a mix of organic and paid marketing covers all the bases for driving immediate sales and building brand awareness. The top choices for paid online content and advertising are:

  • Google AdWords search campaigns – pay-per-click advertising (your website is highlighted in search results) and remarketing (banner or image ads appear for users who’ve clicked but didn’t convert) is estimated to earn businesses $2 for every dollar spent.
  • Facebook sponsored posts – a smart way to target messages based on location, profiles and demographics to reach the right people at the right time.
  • Influencer marketing – partnering with a third party to spruik your business can lead to an ROI 11 times greater than traditional advertising.

Measuring your success

Understand what success looks like for your business by working backwards from an end goal. If you want to double sales, how many leads would you need to convert? How much traffic do you need to your site to build those leads? What type of social, organic and paid online marketing is going to get the visitors there?

When you have your answers, you can break your activities down into daily, weekly and quarterly goals and activities – just like your finances. What do you need to do today, this week or this quarter to meet your annual target?

Your online sweet spot

It’s easy to feel like you’re working in a vacuum, where you’re not sure if anyone is listening. But playing the longer-term game beyond this week’s sales is where most small businesses find their online marketing sweet spot.

Digital marketing isn’t easy, and it’s not always an exact science. But it wins over hope marketing, time and time again.

Matt Alderton,, Founder, Alderton Enterprises and author of “Business for Life