A marketing strategy is a long-term business promotion plan that designates measurable goals and specific techniques. It allows raising awareness about a brand or product in a market and providing a competitive advantage by showing its unique benefits.

If you’re looking to promote a new or existing business, you need the best-performing marketing strategies. In this article, we’ve gathered such strategies to help you take your business to new heights.

Best Marketing Strategies for an Online Business

Let us introduce the top marketing strategies in 2021.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing (SMM) has become an integral part of internet marketing. The number of marketers that have experience with fruitful social media advertising campaigns also rises. According to the State of Social 2019 report, 73% of marketers across the globe said that their employers benefited from SMM to a certain degree.

The benefits of SMM:

  • Users often trust information from social networks, as they do not perceive it as direct advertising
  • Large coverage of potential target audiences and worldwide reach
  • Relatively inexpensive advertising contact, as the cost is often lower than traditional advertising upon larger coverage
  • Possibility for precise targeting thanks to social media’s audience targeting features and analytics
  • Detailed feedback and short response time from potential customers, as you can quickly get a reaction to a blog post, video, or other social media post

Top SMM tactics

  • Active social media presence – it goes without saying that your business is most visible in social mediums when it constantly pops up in the spotlight. For this, you may plan out a regular posting schedule and set off automatic posting, for instance, via standard Facebook functionality. 
  • Setting essential metrics – properly measured KPIs help you analyze the efficiency of your social media posts and track the overall efficiency of your SMM campaigns. The major KPIs to monitor should include:
    • Engagement rate can be calculated in the process of an SMM campaign by adding all the gained likes to comments to shares, subdividing this by the number of your followers, and multiplying the result by 100. This metric ultimately demonstrates the activity of your followers during the campaign.
    • Amplification rate is calculated by subdividing the gained shares by the number of followers and multiplying the result by 100. This indicates the rates of your followers sharing your posted content with other users.
    • Virality rate is calculated by subdividing shares by impressions and multiplying the result by 100. This figure should point out the potential of a particular content piece to go viral.

There can be many more KPIs than that, but they should be outlined based on your specific SMM promotion goals and needs.

  • Using hashtags – this may seem like a small and, to somebody, obvious point, but hashtags do a lot of SEO magic, making your posts appear in search results by both directly related and even completely unrelated requests. A great tip here would be to not only employ your unique, authentic hashtags but also to monitor the most popular hashtags in your niche and use them actively to ultimately boost your brand awareness.
  • Responding to followers – direct contact with your followers is a must. As a client-focused, high-quality provider you are, you should always respond to both positive and negative comments of followers, demonstrating your humane perspective on dealing with existing and potential customers.
  • Making it vivid – make your posting not a routine, but a bright experience for both yourself and your followers. For this, don’t be afraid to experiment – use vivid visuals (animations, videos, colorful infographics, etc.), employ exclusive media formats, like Facebook’s 360 video posts, Instagram stories, IGTV videos, and such. 

Referral programs

Referral marketing is one of the most powerful marketing strategies because it is organic and more honest than other direct and commercial forms of marketing. People trust recommendations from their acquaintances much more than ads. Employing referral programs allows nurturing customer trust, increasing the offers’ quality, and collecting feedback.

Top referral programs tactics

  • Gamify the referral process to make it more interesting and engaging. The most basic way to diversify your referral process with game elements is to create a score system where people can gain points for referring other people and for particular target actions implemented by the referred people. Thus, the more people you refer and the more target actions they do, the more points you get, and the cooler is the reward on which you can exchange the collected points.
  • Offer two-way incentives (reward both the existing customer and the new referred customer). In terms of a referral program, you can stimulate the interest in your offer of both referred and referring users by providing incentives for both. Simply put, both you and your friend can get a referral bonus if one refers the other.
  • Employ cross-selling and upselling opportunities in referral programs. Feel free to demonstrate the range of your products in referral forms, thus not only describing your referral program but also stimulating a person’s desire to buy something that strikes their fancy. You can also offer immediate discounts on particular items as a referral bonus. 


Notifications of various kinds may play a major role in getting your hottest offers out there and stimulating the demand. These can include major updates, special offers, regular advertising, call to actions, reminders, etc. The core principle here, however, should be to make the message of your notifications striking, attention-grabbing, and, most importantly, relevant to the user who gets them. It is also important to not be intrusive and politely ask a user’s permission to enable notifications. 

Top notification formats

  • Email notifications – email communication and advertisement remains among the most efficient tools of getting to both existing and potential customers, especially when it comes to business interactions. Compose a newsletter that would bring some expertise or other use to the reader while injecting it with occasional commercial offers and ads, and let people subscribe to it via your website, app, etc.
  • Push notifications – we see dozens of push notifications on the screens of our smartphones daily. Once a user enables a push notification concerning your offers, they become long-term invested in what you have in store, almost involuntarily reacting to every other pop-up. They appear even on blocked screens so make sure to work on the message of your push notifications, making it exciting and intriguing where you can. 
  • SMS notifications – last but not least efficient type of notifications are SMS messages that are actually opened and read by people most of the time simply because this form of messaging is inherently urgent. Here, as well as in other formats of notifications, you can use the wide public’s fear of missing out to your ultimate advantage, stimulating the demand most efficiently.

Giveaways and gifts

The organization of giveaways is a proven strategy to increase an average order value, conversion rate, and customer loyalty. For example, you can give away a free product when a customer spends $100 or when a customer orders a specific item. You can set up a competition of some sort to ultimately engage people – it can be a referral contest, for instance, or a hashtag contest. Or make a giveaway where the prize (a product or a discount coupon) goes to a random social media follower who likes/comments/shares your post. 

Link building

Link building is the process of getting backlinks (links from other websites) to your website. Since backlinks are a ranking signal for Google, getting more of them can help increase your site’s search engine positions.

But that requires building links only from reputable and relevant websites. Strong link building partnerships are established upon three fundamental attributes: transparency, communication, and collaboration. But even if you get all that in line, link building is quite a complex process as a whole. In order to make it easier and more manageable, use the following tips.

Top link building tactics

  • Employ specialized tools – for instance, Semrush and AHRefs can help you acquire the most popular, actively clicked on links to focus on the significant traffic-expanding opportunities. Both services indicate the total number of backlinks on websites and allow you to explore keywords (which you can use in order to boost your own SEO efforts).
  • Try guest blogging – this is one of the most basic link building tactics where you submit useful, relevant content (an article, a review, or any other type of feature) to a blog in order to accumulate that blog’s traffic for your own resource. The main gist here is a mutual benefit – you must provide a quality of information that matches the profitable opportunities you gain from your guest post.
  • Use dead links – a broken link can appear on the website here and there and you can use this to your advantage. Thus, you can find dead links and include other links within them which would redirect everybody who comes across a “missing page” to a certain section of the resource.
  • Go for community link building – nowadays, you can find some valuable expertise on community forums like Reddit and Quora. These “knowledge hubs” are also very popular and quite densely filled with target audiences of all sorts. So building links on forums and message boards is more than important for the success of your link building efforts.
  • Don’t rush off to buy links – yes, you can simply buy links if you have the budget (and audacity). But don’t consider this an efficient shortcut right away – Google policies are strictly against such measures so you may hamper your link building success with such a “donation approach”.  


A webinar is a seminar or a meeting, held online. It can include real-time video, audio streams, and/or textual communication, be one- or two-way, real-time or pre-recorded. 

Here are some tips on conducting successful webinars:

  • Strive to generate leads. Share information about your product’s benefits and invite to check out your resources.
  • Share the knowledge. A perfect strategy is to conduct purely educational webinars on topics in which you are an expert.
  • Invite outside speakers. To engage the guest speaker fully, ask them to promote the webinar among their audiences.
  • Reserve some time to collect questions and opinions of listeners. This is often done with a Q&A session at the end of the webinar.

Explainer videos

Qualitative and helpful explainer videos must be aimed at the right audiences and promoted through viable channels. Even the best and easiest to understand educational video will not gain many views if it is published only on your website/social media page.

This is especially useful for businesses selling products that might require some knowledge to use them properly.

Chat marketing

A convenient tool for preliminary communication with customers are chatbots, special programs integrated into messengers and chat channels. They are designed to automate dialogues with clients. Today, there are a large number of constructors that allow creating a chatbot for almost any goal.

Most chatbots have predetermined button menus. But if your product or service is difficult to order, you should think about using bots that can recognize written text. 

Points to keep in mind when creating a chatbot:

  • Make the interaction menu maximally thought out. A user should be able to describe their case in as much detail as possible before the live operator would be connected upon need.
  • Provide exhaustive explanations. Set custom greetings for important menu options to increase the number of successful requests.
  • Employ the option for automated notifications. Most bot builders allow connecting the SMS- and/or push-notification functionality.

Event sponsorship

Sports exhibitions, festivals, food expositions, etc., the advantage of event sponsorship is that it allows displaying brand values in full. 

Helping to share more about your company, such events help people decide if they relate to your culture, vision, mission, or values. And all this before you ask them to buy anything. This way, when the time comes to make a choice, you will already have a foundation of trust.

Such events may also serve as great venues to distribute promotional samples of your products or corporate attributes, not to mention all the banners, visual ads, giveaways, contests, and other stuff you can organize during a themed event.


No matter what marketing strategies companies use, to stay ahead of the competition they have to progress continuously, innovate, introduce new developments, and keep a close watch on market changes. Whatever form of online shop you are running, you can still integrate proposed strategies and adapt them to your most specific needs and business processes.