A lot of small business people that I speak with are very curious about online marketing, but don’t understand how it can directly increase their business. Many of them are seeing less return from their advertisements in traditional media like The Yellow Pages, newspapers and direct mailing campaigns, and are looking to explore new ways of expanding their market share.

When the advantages of online marketing are laid out, it is easy to see how it is oftentimes a more cost-effective marketing solution for small businesses. There are free online marketing methods you can use to get your business noticed - all you need is time and a little creativity to put them in motion.

For most newly-started small companies, online marketing is a prime source of clients and customers. As such, entrepreneurs are constantly forced to put countless hours into creating marketing campaigns that drive traffic and increase revenue. This is easily one of the largest time-requiring aspects of owning a business, and one which is a burden on many new startups. It doesn’t have to be though, if you know the best practices to follow.

If you want to make the most out of your time and budget, here are five great ways to improve your online marketing efforts:

1. Know Where Your Customers Are

The shape of the online world is always changing. Sites that were hugely popular last year may be barren wastelands today. If you want to master online marketing for your business, you need to keep track of where your customers are congregating. Marketing in the wrong places will mean wasting your time (which is likely in short supply) and getting less-than-optimal returns.

2. Focus on Your Call-to-Action

When creating marketing copy, nothing is more important than your call-to-action. Even the most intriguing and attention-grabbing marketing efforts will garner poor returns if potential customers aren’t motivated to visit your website, hire your services or purchase your products. Although often overlooked, having a clear and direct call-to-action can greatly improve your online marketing’s conversion rates.

3. Create Viral Content

Social media is all the rage today, both by consumers and businesses. Savvy online marketers understand the far-reaching potential of social media, and the ways to best leverage those capabilities. Creating viral content that your readers want to share is one of the best tactics for small and medium-sized businesses to expand their brand recognition and market reach without breaking their marketing budget.

4. Track Everything

Without proper tracking in place, you have no way to measure your progress and find the areas in which you have the biggest opportunities for improvement. Implement tracking through Google Analytics or a similar service for all of your webpages, advertising efforts and email campaigns. Through accurate results, you can see which avenues of online marketing are generating the biggest returns, and which ones are consistently under-performing.

5. Never Stop A/B Testing

Even if you reach the goals you set for your campaigns, never stop working to improve them. A/B testing, the process of comparing two different versions of copy or design by splitting visitors between the two pages, is the best way to make small (or even major) changes to your sales copy and marketing ads. Doing so allows you to continuously improve your conversion rates and the efficacy of your marketing efforts.

Your online marketing strategies are hugely important to the success of your business. Wasting time and money on poorly performing ads can put your company at a significant disadvantage to your competition, and make it much more difficult to get off the ground. By following these five tips and working to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns, you can shed a huge load of stress off your back and free up your resources to be able to better grow your business.

Don't panic. The whole idea of online marketing can seem daunting and unfamiliar at first, but in fact it's really pretty simple. Look, you've already done the difficult part: leaping into the unknown by starting or acquiring a business. This stuff will be easy by comparison.

Author's Bio: 

Known for combining innovative, no-fluff strategies with endless compassion, Tracey's talks resonate deeply with her audiences. Whether speaking about business, life, or retirement, Tracey draws from her more than 17 years in financial industry operations, marketing, training, and Human Resources, as well as her experience as a personal and professional coach, to connect with listeners on many levels.Tracey Fieber helps business owners simplify, automate, and grow their businesses and their lives. She believes in the power of hiring the right people, and helps her clients cultivate highly effective teams that allow them to focus on the work about which they're passionate. By nurturing business owners' strengths and holding them accountable for their own success, Tracey's leadership, communication, and coaching techniques help her clients take massive leaps forward.

If you liked today's issue, you will love Tracey's products. You can learn more about Tracey and her products at her website. www.traceyfieber.com