By Thomas Petty from Thomas Petty Digital Marketing Solutions.

Do you feel like traffic to your website is down? Maybe your Facebook page isn’t getting the social love you once saw? Is your phone ringing as much as it once was?

If it seems like you’re hearing a lot more crickets lately, you’re not alone. The last decade has seen a lot of changes in the online marketing world, and what once worked well isn’t giving the traction that we all once enjoyed. For one thing, online competition is much more fierce because a lot of your competitors have figured the basics out.

But in order to be effective in 2020 and the new decade, you have to be far more strategic in getting your message out to your audience. It takes planning, work and tracking your data, which we’ll get to in a minute.

As a small business owner, you have so many choices to put your efforts into when you want to market your business to your ideal customers. You have Google and the other search engines, social media, blog posts, search ads, video, email, and a host of other choices.

A lot of small businesses immediately jump to search engine optimization (SEO) as their first-level effort to get found online when customers are looking for them. Unfortunately, SEO has lost a lot of its luster, and for most small businesses, it’s not an effective tool – especially for the short term goals. SEO is a long-term (think 12 months or longer) strategy, and competition is very stiff. It takes a lot of time and effort, and it’s very difficult to measure how well it’s working for you.

Top 5 Marketing Strategies for 2020

If you’re one of the 30 million small businesses in the USA (the SBA defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees or $7 million in annual revenue), these are my top five strategies that your organization needs to pay attention to in 2020 and the decade going forward.

Set Up Your Website to Generate Leads with Lead Magnets

I get people tell me all the time that they need more traffic to their website. Traffic is good, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Instead, it’s important to convert the existing anonymous traffic into leads. A lead is where someone gives you their name, email address and/or phone number. Just listing your phone number isn’t good enough, because people may not be willing to reach out by phone quite yet.

Create some sort of valuable information that people who need your services might want in exchange for their personal information. This could be a checklist, PDF, video, e-book or anything else that you think they would find valuable.

Once they provide you with their email address, then they get your valuable stuff. Now you can communicate with them directly with your email system.

Happy New Year!

Download my “10 Ways to Get Found Online in 2020” e-Book now!

Manage Your Online Reputation

We all have competitors. Lots of them! As a simple example, if you need an electrician, they all pretty much look alike when searching online. The only thing people can use to differentiate between all the electricians is their reputation.

This is true for all small businesses. Making sure your happy customers leave online reviews on sites like Yelp and Google Business can mean that you stand apart from your competition.

Furthermore, if you receive a bad review from someone, and you have no other reviews, it looks very bad. However, if you have 25 great 5-star reviews, and someone leaves a bad review, it really won’t affect you. We all look at the online reviews before we purchase something from, so it behooves you to make sure you have an amazing online reputation too.

Use an Editorial Calendar to Get Strategic

Most small business owners post things on social media, blogs, and other platforms in a haphazard way. This leads to ineffective marketing and little ability to generate consistent leads.

Take a look at the calendar and put together a schedule for the next three or six months (or the entire year!) of all events, posts and other types of marketing you want to produce. Maybe certain seasons are better for your business, so make sure you put them on the calendar.

Stick to the calendar and make sure you post everything on a regular schedule so your audience gets used to seeing things on a regular basis.

Measure Your Marketing in Google Analytics

By posting things on social media, your blog post, running ads (Facebook or Google for instance), creating YouTube videos and even posting a press release in an online syndication platform, you’re expanding your reach. But unless you track which tool is working best for you, some of these can be wasted efforts (or money).

Learn how to tag any links coming in from any other website by using Google’s UTM parameters. This way, you can track the effectiveness of any online marketing you’re doing by tracking who’s coming back to your website in Google Analytics.

Adjust Your Marketing Based On Your Data

Once you track which marketing medium is working best for you (or not working), you can adjust your marketing efforts to make sure it continues to generate leads for you on a consistent basis.

If you’re seeing that the Facebook videos you’re posting are generating traffic to your website and converting into leads, keep doing that or do more of it. If Google ads aren’t converting very well, and the dollars you’re putting into the ads aren’t generating sales, then it’s time to stop.

Data is important to keep track of on a regular basis. If you’re not good tracking data, ask someone to help you set up and analyze the data in Google Analytics.

In Conclusion

The hardest part of being a small business owner is the many hats you have to wear. If you’re a solopreneur, you wear all the hats, including Vice President of Marketing. You have to get strategic and organized in 2020 in order to succeed without going bonkers trying to run the business and fill the funnel at the same time.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you’re doing to market differently in 2020 to differentiate your business from the others!

This article originally appeared here, and is republished with permission.