According to a recent report, 88% of consumers research their buys online before making a purchase.
That means that if you don’t have a strong online presence, it’s likely that your ideal customers will start choosing your competitors that are more available online.
But even though the importance of online marketing is hard to deny, achieving success is more difficult than ever before – with so many companies competing for the same customers, standing out is becoming increasingly difficult.
Luckily, no matter how competitive it may get, there are still ways that you can stand out online and ensure that you never run out of leads for your business.
To get you started, here are four useful strategies that you can implement in 2019 that will help you get ahead of your competitors and dominate your market.
Start Using Video
According to a survey, 92% of mobile video viewers share video content with others. Video is one of the most engaging forms of content that you could create, so ignoring it will significantly hinder your potential to reach a larger part of your audience and grow online.
But despite the obvious benefits that video marketing can offer, many businesses are hesitant about implementing it because they are afraid of the potential production costs, the time it would take, or just don’t want to get in front of a camera.
In reality, however, those fears are mostly unfounded.
It’s now more affordable than ever to develop a video marketing strategy that can help your business gain a significant advantage over your competitors and start engaging segments of your audience that you simply couldn’t reach before.
You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars into production equipment – all you need is a mobile phone that has a decent camera, a small tripod, and you’re good to go.
And if you’re hesitant about getting in front of a camera, you can do a slideshow or instruction-type videos that don’t need a person in front of the camera to provide value.
But how can video marketing benefit your business?
Well, the most obvious benefit is being able to gain an advantage over most of your competitors – while most companies online produce articles and similar content, video isn’t made by nearly as many businesses, so you can instantly separate yourself in your marketplace and become more visible.
What’s more, marketing yourself on YouTube can provide a considerable boost to your SEO efforts as well – since Google owns YouTube, it has started to feature more videos in its SERPs, so producing a quality video on a subject can help you earn a spot on the top page, even for competitive keywords.
Finally, with video, you can engage the segment of your audience that isn’t as likely to read articles or other written content. Some people simply prefer to watch videos instead of reading, so the only way to engage them is to cater to their needs and produce high-quality videos.
Take a Mobile-First Approach
Mobile users made up the majority of all web traffic in 2018, and the gap between mobile and desktop users is poised to grow in the upcoming years as well.
That’s why your success in 2019 will largely depend on your ability to cater to the segment of your audience using mobile devices, and not just because you want to stay on the good side of a significant portion of the people that you want to reach.
Google and other search engines have taken notice of the rapid rise of mobile internet usage and have prioritized providing a seamless experience to mobile users, no matter the size of their device.
In essence, that means that any website that wants to rank at page one on SERPs must now be mobile-friendly – Google has already implemented mobile-first indexing and will start penalizing sites that aren’t catering to their mobile users.
The best way to ensure that your website is easy to use on mobile devices is to implement a responsive web design on your site – if you use WordPress, most of the newer themes will be responsive by default, but it’s good to double check to see that the theme is easy to use and navigate.
But if you want to provide the best possible experience for your mobile audience, you should consider creating an app that will allow you to offer more features and get a permanent spot on your prospect’s mobile device.
While app development may seem like a challenging project, there are plenty of tools that help to simplify the process and convert your site to an app quickly and affordably.
Once you create it, you can then promote your mobile app and gain yet another way to attract new leads for your business.
Realize Your Site’s SEO Potential
While paid advertising presents plenty of opportunities to get in front of your target audience quickly, SEO is still the most cost-effective way to gain an endless stream of new leads for your business each month.
However, even though the potential that SEO has for your business growth is tremendous, actually achieving the desired results and realizing your full potential in terms of SEO presence is a different story.
Most of your competitors likely have SEO goals as well, so you need to find a way to separate yourself from what others are doing if you’re going to stand a chance of reaching the top pages for the most relevant keywords in your niche.
The good news is, if you know the best practices to follow, you’re already way ahead of most others. Many online marketers still succumb to the temptation of trying to “cheat” the system and quickly skyrocket their rankings.
In reality, even if that approach does work for a while, Google is bound to catch up eventually and then penalize the site, often doing irreversible damage.
That’s why your best bet is to follow the advice offered by the Google Webmaster Guidelines – it’s basically an outline of the process that Google uses to determine which sites to rank.
While it won’t provide you with all the information that you need, it serves as a solid foundation that helps you see how SEO works from the perspective of search engines and make sure that your site matches their expectations.
But how to maximize your chances of success with SEO?
Well, there are a few tried and tested SEO strategies that have proven to be successful over the years and are likely to be just as effective in the future.
Instead of trying to scam the system by stuffing keywords, gaining hundreds of questionable-quality backlinks, or spamming the comments sections under articles and forum posts, you should do everything in your power to position your site as an authority in your field.
In the end, Google wants to rank sites that are the most useful to its users and provide the best answer to a particular request. So, instead of trying to outsmart Google, you should focus on actually becoming the best source of information for a subject.
That means producing content that is longer, more informative, more in-depth, and richer in media, which will not only increase the likelihood of people actually reading it but will also send signals to Google that it’s worth ranking higher.
The best part about producing high-quality content is that it helps to create backlinks more organically as well, the way that Google wants it to happen. People like to share valuable content, so you might get quite a few quality backlinks without needing to get them manually.
And if you do decide to pursue high-quality backlinks, you’ll have a much easier time getting your content accepted as a guest post or gaining traction on social media if your content provides plenty of value.
You should also try to use a platform that makes on-site optimization easy – you don’t need to be an expert to learn how to do SEO on WordPress and instead can focus on developing quality content and gaining powerful backlinks.
Nurture Your Prospects Using Email Marketing
While getting consistent traffic to your site is an integral part of achieving success online, it won’t do you much good if those visitors aren’t sticking around.
And the truth is, no matter how well-targeted your online marketing efforts, not all of your site’s visitors will be ready to buy from you on the first instance of visiting your site, which can hinder your efforts to sell online.
So, if you don’t have a reliable system for capturing those leads, you are likely to lose them forever because when they are ready to buy eventually, they might end up on your competitor’s site instead of yours.
That’s where email marketing can be a game changer for your online marketing efforts.
If you can get your site’s visitors to input their email address and agree to receive a newsletter, you can then nurture those leads and guide them towards making a decision to buy.
You can use email to talk about the common problems that are faced by your target audience, address the strongest objections that they might have, and also position yourself as an authority in your field by providing valuable and useful information.
Then, you can position your offer as the best solution to the problem that they are facing and significantly increase the chance of them trusting you enough to choose you over everyone else.
If you can accumulate a list of hyper-targeted prospects, it can become your most powerful tool for generating a massive influx of customers on demand – whenever you launch a new product or service, you can just drop an email to your list and potentially gain thousands of customers in a matter of hours.
Dave Schneider is the marketing manager at Albacross, the free B2B lead generation platform. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries.