As a small business columnist for USA Today, I hear from a lot of small business owners. They tell me what works and what doesn’t. They share their tricks and tips and strategies and in turn, I share those with my readers.

One thing that has become abundantly clear in the past few years is that because marketing has gone through so many big changes, and it’s a topic lots of small business owners struggle with.

I’ve seen these changes in my own business. Back in the day, I practiced law (but fear not, I came to my senses long ago!) Back then, getting clients was both an iffy and expensive process. Put an ad in the paper and hope people saw it. Record a radio spot and hope people heard it.

That was a lot of hoping. Way too much hoping.

These days, marketing is much different, and, though change is hard, I think modern marketing is much better. When small businesses embrace new marketing technology, marketing becomes less expensive, more effective, more targeted, and better performing.

If you’re ready to move away from traditional marketing methods and add modern marketing to the mix, here are 6 marketing strategies to consider:

  1. Content marketing: People love content. Look – you are reading some right now. Using content to drive traffic and sales is called “content marketing.” There are a lot of ways to do it, but here are my three, simple, handy dandy tips:
  • First, create some valuable content. It could be a blog, an article, a video, a podcast, whatever. There is no shortage of options today, that’s for sure. Say that you own a nail salon. A video entitled “3 Mani-Pedi scams you better to know!” might work.
  • Second, in your video (or article or blog), link back to your site.
  • Finally, share the article via your social networks, your e-newsletter, your blog, wherever. Get people to share it.

And that’s it. While certainly a simplified plan, the fact is, if your content is valuable, people will share it, and they will click the links and go to your site. Voila!

  1. Video: I mention video twice up front because it is that important. Did you watch a video online today? Most likely, the answer is yes. There are 900 million unique visitors to YouTube every month and 300 hours of video added to it every minute. While yes, that is a lot of competition, it is the broader point that is more important:

Video is hot.

Video, when done well, can be a great compliment to your website and Facebook page. Keep video content short and digestible (when was the last time you watched a 20-minute video on your mobile device?).  And, if you’re uncomfortable tackling video yourself, check out a service like Video Brewery to help.

  1. Search engine optimization (SEO): No, getting to the top of a Google ranking is not easy. SEO is not easy. But it’s not impossible either. What it takes is learning the basics of SEO and some time. Creating SEO-optimized pages on your website will help you get found, and when that happens, it is marketing gold because people will start clicking over to your site 24/7/365 with no additional effort on your part.

If you aren’t tech savvy and don’t like creating content, it may be wise to look into outsourcing your SEO to a marketing agency to help your business get found online.

  1. Pay-per-click (PPC): Even if you have a tough time getting that No. 1 Google ranking, you can still get found on a Page 1 search result by buying an ad for those keywords and phrases through a service like Google Adwords or Bing Ads. The beauty of PPC is that your ad gets served to a targeted audience searching for a solution just like yours. You don’t pay for that ad until someone sees it and clicks on it.
  1. Retargeting: Ever notice that after you do a search for a product on a website that you see that ad all over the Net for a while? That is retargeting, and it’s very effective at driving your audience back to your website, giving them every opportunity to convert into a customer.
  1. Email nurturing: What I love about email nurturing is that it’s kind of like permission-based advertising. That is, by opting-in to an email newsletter, or an email course (like the Lead Generation course on Hatchbuck’s resources page), people are giving you permission to contact them. That is amazing.

However, remember that with great power comes great responsibility. When it comes to email nurturing, send your audience something of value, and don’t push your product until you’ve built trust and rapport. Being too heavy with the sales pitch will lead you right to the spam folder.

In the next few months, I will be sharing additional ideas and insights here at the Hatchbuck blog. I hope and think you will find them useful (and a bit entertaining too!) If I do my job right, then yours just got a little easier.