You need to be promoting your business all the time, everywhere and to as many people as you possibly can. Here are my top 6 tips on how to create a simple, but effective, online marketing strategy.

Tip #1: Free Web Applications

I focus specifically on Google, because Google has spent billions of dollars developing a range of different apps, which are all geared around growing your business and shouting about what you do. Google takes about 90% of the search engine traffic across all of the search engines (in the UK). It makes sense that there is no coincidence that if you’re making use of Google’s other apps, that it might boost your organic search engine ranking.

Examples of these are Google Maps, Google Places, Google Search Console, Google Analytics Google for Business. Those tools all allow you to create a profile for your business, upload your logo, upload your contact details, opening hours, put a brief description about your business, and create a link back to your website.

You can use Google Analytics to analyse how much traffic is coming through your site and set up Goal Conversions. I’ve discovered that Google Analytics is a nice quick, easy way of getting new pages on your website listed within its organic search engine index. If you’ve got Google Analytics installed on your site, all you’ve got to do is browse to that page once it goes live, and Google, after a couple of days, will automatically pick up that page and add it into its index.

Another great web tool is Google Webmaster Tooll. If you’re using Analytics something called the ‘Not Provided’ keyword will appear the list of keywords visitors have searched for and landed on your website. ‘Not Provided’ means that it’s hidden behind a secure certificate, so when you put in a search into Google and you’re logged into Google Chrome it does all of that securely. When you search and end up on a website, that search keyword isn’t passed to that website because it goes through a secure layer. What Google Webmaster Tools does is it acts before you go through to a website, and it gives you a list of those keywords.

Using Analytics and Webmaster Tools together is a really great way of analysing what key words people are searching for to land on your website.

Tip #2: Social Media Tool to Complete Your Online Business Profile

The big four: We’ve got Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

These are tools which companies have spent billions of dollars on creating, and they’re all out there for you to use for free. The key thing is that you can put your business name on each profile and a link back to your website.

Even if you don’t post tweets on Twitter or status updates on Facebook regularly, just having those profiles is going to raise your profile and your page rank.

There are hundreds of different social media applications out there beyond the big four. Use as many as are applicable to your business. If your business is very image-led, if you’re a photographer for example, you could be making use of social media tools like Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr. If you’re design-led and creative you could look at Dribbble and Instagram. Make sure the social media profiles you’re setting up are appropriate for your business.

They are free tools and other people do use them, so if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile you’re missing out on a good opportunity to network with local business owners in your area.

It’s a good way for potential customers to find you. Do your best to make use of all of those different social media platforms, and make sure that you update them regularly. Even if you do not believe in it, you might see an opportunity that you didn’t realise before.

Tip #3: Create a Fantastic Online Portfolio for Your Business and Get Reviews

Google is starting to build an element of social review into its page rank. Make sure that you’re getting reviews on Facebook and Google Plus. You can use other review tools like Trustpilot which are dedicated review platforms and indexed independently by Google.

It showcases your capabilities and your best work on your website. It attracts leads back to your business so that, if your competitors aren’t doing this, it’s going to make you stand out above your competitors. The more reviews that you get on Google+, Facebook and TrustPilot, the higher up you’re likely to be on Google’s organic rankings.

What those organic rankings mean is more traffic to your site and whic will lead to more sales. It makes sense that you want to be getting reviews and testimonials and publishing them in as many places as possible. What this does is when potential customers lands on your website or sees those reviews, it builds trust with them.

Tip #4: Share Your Knowledge

A lot of people hold back from sharing their IP because they think that somebody will steal it. What exactly are you afraid of?

If you think that somebody’s going to steal your ideas and you’re afraid that they’re going to do it better than you, the likelihood is they probably can. By sharing your know-how, it presents yourself as an expert within your field, and what it will do is it will draw customers to you.

Your competitors aren’t likely to be giving away free information which makes you stand out from the crowd and builds trust. Don’t be afraid to give away free advice to people whether you meet them, if you’re doing blogging or if you want upload content onto YouTube. It demonstrates that you’re an honest person who just wants to help other people and your customers. It will encourage referrals back to you.

The likelihood is that if you’re very good at what you do and if you give away your know-how; your competitors aren’t going to be able to replicate your methodology or implement it as well as you could.

Tip #5: Paid Online Marketing

PPC is a good way of bolstering your organic advertising. If you’ve got quiet periods of sales throughout the year you could invest in a PPC Campaign to drive extra traffic to your website.

You could look at tools like Retargeting, which sits inside Google AdWords, as a way of re-engaging potential customers who have displayed an interest in your products through your website. They’ve left the site, but you put a pixel on their computer and you “virtually” follow them around. They see your ad and then they realise they’ve made a mistake, go back to your website, and that’s where they end up buying your products from. Retargeting is really important to re-engage customers.

Tip #6: Hire a Professional

Finally, you want to hire professionals for anything that you feel you can’t do well yourself.

We see a lot of people trying to manage a Google AdWords campaign and spending a small fortune on Google adverts and wondering why it’s all gone wrong and why they’ve wasted their money.

It’s because there are experts out there who do Google PPC advertising, Facebook advertising. Yes you have to pay for them, but it’s what you get back in return that’s important. They are experts in their field and will have a better idea about how to make the most of the niche you’re targeting.

They’ll save you money in the long run and a lot of them will have guarantees. If they haven’t generated the leads that they have said they are going to generate for you, within a certain specified amount of time, you don’t have to pay them. Find somebody who is on a commission-only basis in order to drive traffic back to your website.