These days operating a business means dividing resources between both the offline world and the online world.
Because the internet has become such an integrated part of our everyday lives. Any business that isn’t actively working to grow their business online as well as in-person, may be seriously undermining their long-term potential.
Growing your business online means taking advantage of the critical opportunity that digital marketing offers. Better yet, there are ways to grow your business organically online with strategies that can build your brand’s visibility and create long term results. Methods that can help your growth snow-ball in to something bigger.
By now the expense and difficulty-barriers of entering the online commerce world are lower than ever, 2018 data from Clutch shows that 64% of small businesses now have a website, and of course larger business will certainly have expanded their online business years ago. Mobile websites also matter, with nearly 2/5ths of online transactions now happening on mobile devices.
As desktop and mobile traffic continue to balance their influence, and as social web traffic continues to evolve, both channels will continue to become the new normal pathway for growing business online organically. Strategies designed to expand your business online will help take advantage of this critical segment of shoppers.
Think With Google has collected data showing that these days, 47% of global purchases are now made online, and in 2019 retail eCommerce alone brought in $3.5 trillion in the U.S. That’s not all, according to BrightEdge over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic.
Grasping a slice of this revenue potential means taking advantage of both broad and specific digital marketing strategies. The most common go-to strategies include search engine optimization, paid online advertising, social media, email outreach, and more. For growing business organically, there are a few methods that are best and a few that can have some of the greatest long-term returns.
But it’s also true that “paid” strategies, despite the necessary hands-on involvement, also offer good organic long-term side effects.
Let’s go over how.
Organic methods of business growth
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search optimization is still the best for reliable growth. Across the web world businesses generally agree that good SEO offers the best results long-term. Its big plus is that it is relatively low cost compared to paid marketing but if done right can continue to bring traffic for months or years to come.
Think With Google shows that 49% of shoppers use Google to discover new items or products.
This is key when talking about growing your business online organically because by its definition SEO is all about organic results. The focus in SEO is to design a site that is algorithm friendly and user friendly so that your business can grow in popularity naturally.
SEO is fairly complex though, many businesses opt to give it a shot themselves whereas others hire professionals to manage their search optimization. Search engine ranking factors like on-page meta data, keyword presence, content-quality, site-structure, mobile-friendliness, page-load-speed – and a litany of several hundred other ranking factors – mean that good SEO can take many months.
It can also take a while before results start to show.
But it’s still one of the most effective ways of growing your business online. In fact, for growing business organically, SEO is still the preferred method for most businesses and it easily delivers the highest ROI.
Research by Statista shows that 32% of marketers worldwide claim SEO offers the highest ROI. Over 1/3rd say it still offers them “medium ROI.”
Content Marketing to Expand Your Business Online
Content creation and optimization is significant enough that it warrants its own category of marketing.
But the truth is that content marketing and SEO are closely related. Content marketing focuses on curating and creating high-value, helpful content that best caters to what your target audience wants and needs when shopping online.
The idea behind “organic” traffic is that good content of a certain type can naturally bring visitors who are looking for exactly that. By creating content that matches what people are already interested in you are able to boost traffic to your site and grow organically in business success.
Creating high-value, authoritative content also helps search optimization by giving you an opportunity to target keywords and topics that are important for your brand. Search engine optimization allows you to incorporate target keywords into your site and to produce EAT content for Google search – all at once.
This means creating content that establishes your business as expert, authoritative, and trustworthy with well-researched, high-value content that meets the needs of your visitors.
When Google updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines in 2019, it was an indication that user experience and quality content were more important than ever before. It also indicated to marketers that quality on-site content was important for SEO performance, and indeed, important for growing business organically in general.
Here’s how you can build out a content marketing strategy to grow your business online:
- Create authoritative content that addresses your audience’s pain-points. Especially for your site’s primary pages and top-level pages. Because these are the pages that most represent your company online, you’ll want your content to focus on the visitor’s actual end goals. Think about what they are ultimately looking for and how your content can help guide them there.
- Bolster your site with blog content and accessory content! Blogs are a well-established way of garnering inbound traffic and gaining new traffic based on topics that people are already interested in. Understand what topics and what keywords your audience is already looking for and create content to fill their interest – this is another area were good SEO and search based keyword research can have huge effects on your performance long term.
- EAT content for Google (or Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy content) is another way how businesses can grow organically. In recent years Google has publicly hinted at the increasing importance of user-experience and user-needs with better websites. Not only does producing content with well demonstrated authority, expertise, and trustworthiness demonstrate your value to readers, but it can help your SEO as well!
With content that marries search keyword optimization, and focuses on searcher intent, you’re able to expand traffic to include searchers looking for products, services, and needs. Good content will meet these needs and good search optimization can expand your visibility online to help you grow organically in business.
Inbound marketing is an approach that broadly means combining the two strategies above: SEO and content creation. In simple terms inbound marketing is about creating content that naturally attracts customers based on their existing interest – typically in contrast to “disruptive” marketing that involves pushing content out there (with ads or otherwise) and hoping people like it.
If your content is valuable to your target audience, then they’ll come to you instead of the other way around!
But inbound marketing and SEO are still closely tied together. Without good search engine presence and without the ability to make your content visible, it just won’t work.
In 2018 only 45% of marketers felt that content marketing linked to all other parts of their business, but one year later that number had increased to 89%! For many, written content and SEO were the top two most important channels for their business. What this means is that good content that is naturally attractive is more likely to be shared – as your content gets shared it helps grow your domain’s link-neighborhood profile and can improve SEO over time.
Because elements like quality content and search engine optimization offer such reliable ROI they’ve become the two best ways to naturally and easily expand business online. To grow your business online and organically it’s important to see how these two strategies rely on each other.
How to grow your brick-and-mortar business
Establishing your business online is an important way of expanding local results as well. Many business owners find that their business feels divided between physical traffic in their stores and online traffic to their website.
But growing your business organically with proven strategies like search engine optimization, content optimization, and social media means that both sides of your business can grow together.
Businesses with a Google My Business account connect their physical business with searchers on Google search and on Google maps. This can help increase visibility by putting your business in front of local search queries as well as to encourage eCommerce-rooted results from people that prefer to buy in store.
Data from Google shows that 76% of people who perform a local search on their phone visit a physical place within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. In fact, that amount goes up even more over the course of a week, with 88% of people going on to visit a local brick-and-mortar location after starting their journey online.
The truth is that web searches are just how people find things now. Brands and owners looking for ways of growing business organically online can use good SEO and good content as a foundation for other areas of marketing.
How do paid ads help grow your business online?
One way to grow your business organically requires taking advantage of the extra growth that you can find in non-organic methods.
Whereas disruptive marketing like search engine pay-per-click (PPC) and social-media paid advertising aren’t as hands-off as other marketing strategies they still represent a valuable way of expanding your business online. In fact, paid search ads can have the side effect of helping your existing SEO!
Research shows that web users who see a search ad are more likely to click on the organic link. In truth, increasing your business’s visibility across a range of channels makes it more likely that searchers will choose you within either one.
You can also use a PPC campaign to help inform your SEO strategy by testing results and traffic across a range of ad keywords. Businesses can learn from their performance and search interest across paid campaigns and discover keywords where they perform better – because PPC results happen much faster than search campaigns, they can use this information to grow business organically in the long-term.
Both of these strategies together can lead to better brand recognition, remarketing opportunities, greater return visits, and increased customer loyalty over time. Plus this means that as time passes your domain is more likely to collect back-links, meaning that your SEO performance will continue to improve.
Social Media Marketing
Of course up until now we’ve glossed over perhaps the most important new channel in digital marketing. In recent years social media platforms have become critical for online growth and overall brand success. As businesses and brands realize the value of social platforms and social apps, new strategies for growing business organically online have followed suit.
Social media ties in with overall inbound strategy. Brands that can leverage their existing fans and existing customer base can also find new customers by curating social media content that naturally attracts new traffic.
Plus, social media presence can help encourage back-link growth helping you to organically expand your business online with better search authority. Microsoft’s Bing even uses social media as a ranking factor, meaning that social media strategies can help you grow your business online across multiple channels at once.
The same goes for paid social media advertising which can allow business to expand with some of the same benefits that search PPC offers. Statista now claims that social media impression numbers have improved year-over-year by 20% meaning that social media content and social media ads have continued to lower the barrier to growing business online.
User experience for conversion rate optimization (CRO)
To help grow your business online and to grow your business organically it’s good to think about how users find their way through your site. Think about how people navigate the shopping funnel and how your site can affect the user experience.
In truth reducing the barrier to conversion for your site visitors is an important element of online marketing that can make it easier for them to find what they need and to click-through to pages designed for conversions. Ultimately conversion rate optimization is about increasing the amount of site visitors that complete a goal on your site – filling out a form, buying a product, signing up for an email list, getting a quote, etc.
For example, the easier it is for someone to navigate your site, the easier it is for them to find what they want. The easier it is for someone to navigate the cart and check-out process, the more likely they are to do so. The more mobile friendly your site, the more likely mobile shoppers are to engage your business.
As a matter of fact, much of the above marketing strategies tie into user experience and conversion rate optimization as well. And this means they are critical to helping you grow your business online.
CRO involves reducing these barriers to encourage greater conversion value from your existing traffic. Afterall it’s one thing to gain traffic, it’s another thing to convince them to buy or hire from you!
Other key marketing strategies already play into this. For example: search-engine-optimization relies on making your site as optimized for search engine algorithms as possible, but truth be told Google and Bing rank sites in large part on their UX and user friendliness. Site structure, page-load speed, nav-bar design, header/footer design, intrusive ads, etc – these all play rolls as SEO ranking factors.
Additionally a good content marketing strategy inherently hinges on content that’s best designed to get your customers where they want to go.
What’s more, Google has recently announced changes to its algorithm that further emphasize user experience. They are now planning to incorporate three key user experience metrics (or “Core Web Vitals”) into their core ranking algorithm, which means that UX and CRO are closely related to good SEO strategy. Now pages will be ranked based on how long it takes for main content to load, how much delay there is before users can interact with the page, and how much the page shifts during loading.
Businesses that focus on SEO efforts to improve their traffic, and businesses that are able to monitor their SEO will be able to grow business organically with greater conversions.
Contact us to learn more about how to grow your business online. We offer expert insight on ways to grow organically in business with social media marketing, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising.