Next time you’re driving or walking, count all the billboards or other print ads that you see. The number may shock you. These “old school” advertising strategies still have an important role to play in the marketplace. But slowly, they’re being overtaken by another, more sophisticated kind of marketing.

If you have ever browsed old magazines you have certainly been amused by how these ads may seem old-fashioned. The codes of advertising have changed so much in the last decades that ads of 30 or 40 years ago, would just not fit in any magazine today.

Forget about one message for all and forget too about expensive printing and distribution costs. When you use online marketing tools, you can target exactly the customers you want for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

Not all customers are created equal! Some of them aren’t worth your time; others are ideally suited to become huge fans of your product and remain loyal to your brand. How can you tell the difference? Say hello to the 80/20 rule.

It is an old business adage: About 20 percent of your customers produce 80 percent of your sales. Wouldn’t be nice if absolutely everyone knew how your product could change their lives just by looking at it? This, of course, will never be the case. Spreading the word about your product takes effort. So what’s the best strategy? The first step is to develop a selling point that’s unique.

Competition is the natural order in business, especially for ecommerce brands where it’s not just your local competitors that you need to worry about. Customers are overwhelmed with options, and they want to quickly understand what makes one product or brand different than another. Knowing the right way to position yourself and your products can mean the difference between standing out and blending in. That’s why it’s crucial for all entrepreneurs to understand how to identify a unique selling proposition (USP) to help guide your branding and marketing decisions.

Running your own business is no easy task, and your to-do-list is guaranteed to never end. This said, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to take short cuts when it comes to having online visibility. Beginning with your website, it’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business.

Search engines are often the vehicle your customer will use to stumble upon your site in the first place. You can use this to your advantage by making your website sear-engine friendly. Doing so is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on your website’s presence in search results on search engines like Google. When you understand how SEO works, you can use different tactics to increase your visibility (or how high you rank) in search results.

SEO isn’t the only strategy that’ll get your brand ahead online. Pay-per-click advertising is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Pay Per Click (or PPC advertising) is a form of paid digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. The term PPC can apply to paid ads on social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

You have probably heard how great content is a must for any successful business. But could you explain why this is the case?
It works like this. Google wants to rank the top content for any keyword, which means the search engine has to find where the content is located. Google achieves this by sending out spiders, or automated software programs, to crawl the web. By hosting on your site the content these spiders are looking for to match certain keywords, your site will rank higher in Google searches.

Content marketing is just what it sounds like. It’s the process of engaging and growing your customer base through high quality content. Content marketing is not social media, an intern’s job, or limited to a company blog. Like any other marketing practice, it requires commitment to systems and standards. It should be held accountable to measurable results.

In sum…

Doing great business is a matter of discovering your unique selling point and finding the 20 percent of customers that give you 80 percent of your profits. New online tools, from SEO to pay-per-click advertising to content curation and creation, make this easier than ever, by connecting your brand with your ideal customers.