Online marketing has become so sophisticated nowadays. At such a time when small business owners are beginning to understand the best way to leverage online tools to curve out a community or foster interactions on social networks, a great majority of online marketers have no clue on what they should be doing next.

Search engines are rolling out new updates and data refreshes. Social media is undergoing one of its many phases of evolution. And pay per click advertising platforms have a series of new features on the table that they are waiting to reveal.

Because of that, small businesses have a rough time keeping up with the industry news, changes, or the how-to guidelines, given that what’s relevant at the moment might be completely off-the-track the next couple of years if not months.

To maintain a safe sail, small businesses need to advance their online marketing strategies. The techniques they employ should go far beyond what’s normal. Having said that, here are the five advanced online marketing strategies that every small business owner should be utilizing as the year rolls on:

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Focus on Content Marketing

Content marketing—the use of valuable content to woo clients and customers or to gain trust and authority has never been this big. And that’s the way to go if you’re planning to take your small business to another higher level.

Using blog posts, videos, newsletters, and a bunch of other inbound marketing tools, you can easily establish a strong business relationship and trust with a far-reaching audience, thus increasing your overall sales. Apparently, budgets are now shifting from traditional marketing strategies including magazine ads and TV to inbound marketing.

As businesses continue to measure the Return on Investment (ROI) they get with content marketing, it’s important to note that this strategy is only effective if it is flawlessly tied to the overall wider goals of your business. There might be no trained content marketers to help you do the legwork. But, as Aaron Kahlow—the founder of Online Marketing Institute—puts it; the results you get from content marketing can be outrageously overwhelming if you take your time to learn about the cruxes of the strategy before giving it a dive.

Expand on Social Media Marketing

Over the recent past, the business has limited their social media marketing to the three biggies—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But as we speak, a number of new social media sites have stepped into the scene. And as it turns out, they’re just as important as the three aforementioned whoppers, particularly in marketing certain lines of products and services.

They include sites like Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram, all of which are currently popular and have a wide range of distinctively new options that makes it easier to build a wider audience. Businesses are branching out by taking advantage of more than one social network so they can reach the maximum number of potential consumers. Speaking of which, it’s now easier to use social media marketing to establish brand equity.

Mobile Optimization

More businesses are now optimizing for mobiles. And 2015 is the year when mobile strategies are moving from having a responsive mobile app and site to focusing on mobile-optimized content, which comes combined with social media marketing.

Not long ago Google came out and reported that mobile-friendly websites will be relevant for their Google search results. To add life to this emphasis, Google went ahead and launched Mobile Usability—a new feature in the Webmaster Tools that’s now considered a crucial search-ranking factor.

Judging from this, 2015 will see many businesses incorporating mobile strategies in different aspects of their digital marketing. That includes a responsive website, separate content that’s specifically created for mobile users, and, more importantly, mobile ads. As such, businesses have to start realizing the necessity of integrating mobile social media strategies that allow mobile users to interact with their social media posts. 

Increase the Use of Images 

Image centric content is turning out to be the central part of most online marketing plans. If you can afford to use attractive, well-placed images on your social media and blog posts, chances are your viewers will proliferate in droves. It goes without mentioning the Infographics and inbound links that can help you drive traffic.
This is particularly very important for businesses that are looking into reaching certain demographics. For instance, if your niche cuts across teens or women, you may consider expanding your presence visually on Instagram or Pinterest using images.

Supporting this strategy is a recent study, which clearly reported that 70 percent of marketers are planning to increase their use of images in online marketing as the year goes. This comes after Pinterest and Instagram were ranked among the most popular social websites late last year--2014.

Less is more

Businesses are now taking a cue from top brands like Google and Apple. Instead of focusing on the in-depth, constant barrage of information, businesses are now shifting to simple marketing messages. Pertinent to this strategy is the toning down of campaigning messages to avoid overwhelming consumers with hype.

A classic example is Pinterest, whose appeal is mainly its uncluttered, clean aesthetic—nothing more. Google has a minimal amount of words, and so are all the top brands you know. Video tutorials are replacing wordy content, all in a bid to prevent consumers from feeling burned out as they search for relevant information.
Not only is 2015 deemed to be the year that the most successful online marketing strategy is the one that employs simplicity, but one that promotes goods and services that simplifies consumers’ life and experience.

Add social shares to your blog content

A few years back, social signals didn’t carry the same weight as the inbound links. But as we speak, the two are perfectly intertwined. Social shares have a significant role to play in search engine rankings since they constitute the three pillars of SEO. Since search engines—particularly Google are there to provide the most relevant content to users, it makes more sense that they’d want to factor in the cumulative number of social shares in determining their search ranks. The more people share a given piece of content, the more Google and other search engines will rate it as high quality. As such, the content will rank high in the search engine result pages, while those with a few shares will be generally placed low.

Besides, social shares can be deemed as an approval stamp for viewers landing on your page. That’s to say if a viewer sees that a particular post has been shared a hundred or more times, chances of them flicking through the post to read it and afterward sharing it will be drastically increased.

That explains why many businesses are now installing social share plugins while encouraging consumers to share their posts whenever they read them.

No one can actually predict how algorithms will turn out in the future, but there’s a reasonable chance social shares may match—if not outweigh—the traditional inbound links. To learn about online marketing in depth, you can check out the Digital Marketing Certification Program in associaltion with Purdue University

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