Top Online Marketing Tactics for 21st Century Businesses

Alex Sobal
Posted by Alex Sobal on April 18, 2016


Have you ever sat down and thought about all the different marketing tactics businesses can use online these days? There’s a lot more to it than just having a website, being active on social media, and blogging. Even when you toss in banner ads, viral videos, and email marketing, that still just scratches the surface as far as all the things businesses can do to promote themselves online. Factor in the rate at which new technologies and advertising channels are being created these days, and the list only gets longer and longer each year. 

To help you better understand all the different marketing tactics your company can—and should—use online today, here’s an overview of every major online marketing strategy. Let me know if I missed any in the comments! 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

So you have a website. That’s step one of having a strong online presence. When it comes to making your website the marketing machine that it is, however, optimizing your website for search is the best thing you can do to bring in leads. More than 70% of B2B researchers start their buying research with a generic online search, so it’s crucial your website is near the top of the list when they’re looking for answers. That being said, websites don’t just magically rank highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs); it takes a lot of behind the scenes SEO work to earn your site a good ranking and reputation. Want to learn more about those things are? Check out these blogs:

What Google’s Really Looking at on Your Site — Part 1

What Google’s Really Looking at on Your Site — Part 2

4 Principles of Winning the SERPs for Your Industry & Location

Content Marketing
e.g., Blogs, eBooks, Infographics, etc.

In addition to optimizing your website for search, another key to attracting visitors to your site is creating high-quality content on a consistent basis. Blogs, for example, are a great way to keep visitors coming back regularly, and every article you publish adds another web page for Google to index and help visitors find your site. Creating original content also gives you something to share on social media to promote your company, rather than just sharing your homepage over and over. Content is the magnet that draws people to your site, and its effectiveness is evidenced by the fact that more than 90% of companies use content marketing as part of their strategy. 

Online Forms & Landing Pages

While it’s important to get visitors to your site, it’s even more important to convert those visitors into leads and customers. The best way to do that is by creating landing pages where visitors can download or buy something from you in exchange for a payment or their contact information. If you’re offering a free eBook, for example, you can collect their contact information and use it to send them nurturing emails offering similar content they might find useful. The more they download, the more they’ll advance down your sales funnel, with the ultimate goal of eventually turning them into a customer. You can also use lead scoring to determine the quality of your leads based on the information they provide in your contact forms and other site activity. For more tips about setting up a landing page that converts, make sure you read this article:

7 Basic Landing Page Guidelines That Make or Break Conversions

Email Marketing

Email marketing was among the first wave of online tactics that businesses really started using. It’s been a strategy since before social media was even invented, and it’s continued to be a key part of almost every company’s online marketing success. Whether it’s used as a way to promote new products or deals, nurture leads, or even just customer service, it’s an easy way to connect with today’s online consumers, as over 98% of consumers check their emails at least once a day. If you want to learn more about how your business can tap into the power of email, this article will help:

Maximize Your Email Marketing: Exploring Email’s Many Functions

Social Media 

When most people think of internet marketing, social media is one of the first tactics that come to mind. Today, just about every business with an online presence also has some kind of presence on the Big 3 three social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), and a lot of companies even have accounts on social networks like Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and more. Though not as popular as email, 65% of American adults use social networking sites, making it another great tactic and channel to connect with your online audience. Want to learn more about using social media for your business? Download our free eBook:

Master the top 4 social networks


Video Marketing

While you could technically include video under content marketing or social media, given the uniqueness of video content and how much extra effort goes into video production, it’s worthy of its own class. Today, there are three types of videos companies can use to promote their companies online:

  • Regular/viral videos (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, etc.)
  • Short-form videos (e.g., Vine and Instagram)
  • Live video and Webinars (e.g., GoToMeeting, Periscope, Facebook live broadcast, etc.)

Each video type has it’s own pros and cons for different companies and objectives, but most companies can benefit from at least some kind of video strategy that involves product demonstration videos, service explanation videos, or even just customer testimonies. Keep in mind that not every video you make will get hundreds of thousands of views, but they can help you convert visitors into customers if they’re done right—even if only 300 people see it. Short-form videos are useful for companies with a large social following, or for companies that benefit from sharing lots of visual content (e.g., custom manufacturers, designers, construction companies, etc.). Live video and webinars also require a specific audience and occasion, but can be extremely effective having viewers that are locked in and attentive. For more tips about effectively using video marketing for company, check out these articles:

Video Marketing for Dummies: The 6-Step Guide for Creating Killer YouTube Videos

6 Basic Pieces of Video Equipment Every Company Should Have

18 Outstanding Examples of Companies Using Instagram Video

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Like email, banner ads and PPC links were some of the first marketing strategies companies used online. These have a come long way over the past decade, however, with today’s paid ads being capable of targeting highly specific demographics. Companies can place an ad online or on different social networks, and have it appear only in certain zip codes/locations and to people who fit their specific gender, age, job, and other requirements. It’s a lot less spammy than it used be, and certainly worth the consideration of your company. Want to learn more about the effectiveness of today’s paid ads online? Check out this article covering the pros and cons of using paid ads on the Big 3 social networks:

Generate More Leads with Paid Social Media Advertising

Mobile Apps 

With 68% of adults in the U.S. now owning a smartphone, apps have become another popular way to stay connected with today’s online and mobile consumers. Apps can be developed to make your site run more smoothly on mobile devices, often times simplifying them to make your site or services more efficient. You can also create an app as an extension or extra support tool for your product(s) or service(s), like the examples here. Whatever purpose it serves, it’s important to keep in mind that apps are often expensive and difficult to develop. If they provide a lot of added value, however, they can certainly be worth the extra work, as consumers will love the ease-of-the-use and convenience. If you’re thinking about developing an app for your company, make sure you read this article:

6 Questions to Ask Before Developing a B2B App


Gamification is defined as the application of game-design elements and principles in non-game contexts. In other words, it’s when companies create virtual games or borrow game elements as a way to help market their products or services (e.g., refer the service to 10 friends, earn 10 “stars” to use towards a free reward). It’s a relatively new online marketing tactic, and is by no means easy to pull off, but it has proven to be effective for some companies and their audiences. Although it hasn’t been that popular of a method for B2B companies, all it takes is a little creative thinking and the right design and web development team to pull it off. Need some inspiration? Check out the examples in the link below:

Top 25 Examples of Gamification in Business

As you can see, businesses have plenty of online marketing tactics at their disposal. And while it might seem overwhelming, it’s not to say you should be using every one. The real key to success is finding out which tactics work best for your company, and optimizing each strategy to provide the best results for you.

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