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The average small business doesn’t have an expansive marketing budget. That means that using those resources effectively is the difference between success and failure. Every dollar available simply has to have a positive ROI, otherwise, the company simply falls too far behind.

But what does that mean?

  • Does that mean that you should invest heavily in SEO?
  • Does that mean that you should create a strong social media presence?
  • Does that mean you should buy Google Adwords?

What about participating in forums, video, or paying for clickbait advertising? Should you simply follow the latest trends? Stick to traditional online marketing methods?

How do you decide what to do?

Identify Your Business Needs

In order to pick the best online marketing channel(s) for your small business, you first have to determine your goals. You should only choose marketing channels that make sense for your specific industry and customer behavior. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Tech companies that are planning to offer a new or exciting product in the future often depend on hype to reach a wider audience. On-site SEO strategies make less sense because there is no product to buy and people won’t necessarily be searching for it right away. Same with purchasing ads. But Facebook/social media marketing means that lots of people can view, like, share, and promote the product in order to create a buzz about its release.
  • Local service companies, on the other hand, rely on customers seeking out their services – usually in search engines. Someone who already knows what they want, they perform a Google search and call the first company they see. In this instance, on-site content marketing may make the most sense. This lawn care company, for example, used location-targeted content that was optimized for search in order to be the first result of important key terms.
  • New and highly competitive small businesses may not be able to compete right away in the SEO world, especially if their competition has a head start and a bigger budget. Nor does it necessarily make sense to invest in a social media strategy. In this example, Adwords may make the most sense. It has a faster payoff, and instantly competes with current companies.

These are, of course, only some of the many possible ways to address marketing a small business online. But as the above examples indicate, there is not necessarily a single, one-size fits all approach to choosing the right online marketing channels.

In each situation, it is important to determine what you are looking to do, what will have the best payoff, and how you can craft a campaign that will meet those goals. Often there is no specific approach that meets each client’s needs. Rather, it is about correctly evaluating what will provide the best return, and allocating those resources appropriately.

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