If you are a business owner wondering whether you should concentrate more on digital marketing or more traditional marketing methods, you are not alone. Many businesses today are asking the same question.

You may be surprised to learn, however, that choosing one of these methods over another is almost never a good idea. Instead, the name of the game is marketing integration.

While digital marketing seems to be all the rage, most marketers agree that if they are looking for the highest quality leads they will find those leads using decidedly traditional marketing techniques. In other words, at tradeshows, networking events and industry conferences.

That doesn’t mean you won’t need digital forms of marketing. While you may find some outstanding leads working a tradeshow, the best way to nurture many leads is through social media or other digital marketing methods. If you are interested in marrying digital and traditional marketing but are unsure how to do it, here are five simple ideas that will get you started.

  1. Parlay a TV ad into online exposure. A consumer will only see a television ad for 30 seconds but adding a digital call-to-action will keep viewers engaged in the long-term. This can be accomplished by encouraging viewers to go to your website, for example, to learn more about your product or to access special offers.
  2. While online shopping continues to skyrocket in popularity, more and more people are comparison shopping online and then making their final purchase in a physical store. Providing coupons online that allow shoppers to save in-store combines the virtual and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. If you are trying to drive traffic to your website, make sure to have printed collaterals in your store that encourages shoppers to check you out online.
  3. Turn information collected online over to your sales team so that they can use this information to follow up leads with a phone call or personal note.
  4. If you are hosting an event at your place of business consider live video streams for those who can’t attend. You also can promote the event on your social media sites before they happen and post photos afterward.
  5. Make sure your print materials use keyword phrases that compliment your SEO strategy.

Whatever your marketing goals, it is important that you never view digital and traditional marketing as an either-or proposition. Instead use them together to engage customers in a more holistic manner.

Blogging can do wonders for a business. Driving traffic to its website and converting that traffic into leads are just two important benefits of blogging. Blogging also helps a business become seen as a thought leader in its industry which helps establish trust with current and prospective customers.

While it is easy to see why blogging is so important to a business, blogging itself can be much more difficult. Many times it isn’t the blogging itself that causes issues, rather the ability to come up with blog topics over and over. In order for blogging to successfully promote your business, it must be done on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, coming up with new and fresh ideas can be extremely challenging.

If you feel as if you have hit a wall in terms of blog post topics, rest easy. What follows is a list of ways to spark your creative juices and have you back at the keyboard in no time.

1. Ask questions. These questions don’t have to be profound. Next time you are talking with a client just ask that client what his or her biggest challenge is right now. And customers aren’t the only ones you can get ideas from, either.

2. Interview experts. People love to read interviews with leaders in their industry who have been successful. Interviews are great blogs because you don’t have to come up with the content, the interviewee does that for you.

3. Brainstorm. It seems simple but how many times have you asked your co-workers and sales team to sit with you for a few minutes and just throw out ideas. You might be surprised at how many topics you gain from such meetings. Bring donuts and the room will be packed!

4. Use personal experience. Think of a time when you learned an important lesson from a failure. Or when you stuck with an idea no one else believed in and it paid off. These types of blog posts make for great reading because they personalize the author.

5. Spy on your competitors. What are your biggest competitors writing about? If they are getting a lot of likes on their blog posts see if there is anything you could learn from their methods or topics.

6. Keep up on current events. This is a great way to write timely and creative blog posts. Sporting events are a good example. How about a post on how hiring employees is like preparing for the NBA draft.

7. Take a look back. What were your most popular blog posts? Consider updating those posts or expanding on them. Chances are they will be popular once again.

Blogging can be difficult but is essential to the success of your business. Hopefully the ideas listed above will make the task of blogging a little easier.

If you are looking for the best ways to market your small business, you need to know what the latest trends in marketing are right now. The problem is, it can be difficult to distinguish an important trend from a passing fad.

While you want to be on top of the latest trends, you also must be aware of what really works. Usually the answer is a combination of the hot new trends and the more tried-and-true methods. It also is important to remember that what is hot today may not be hot tomorrow.

So what is hot today? According to many marketing experts, in 2017 the following marketing techniques will gain small businesses the most traction with customers and prospects.

  1. Quality Blog Posts: Not only will a quality blog aid your SEO efforts, it will help you acquire new leads. While it is important that you update your blog on a regular basis, quality always trumps quantity so make your blog posts worth reading. In other words, every blog needs to connect, educate and inspire.
  2. Social Media Advertising: Targeted ads can do wonders when it comes to acquiring qualified leads. Facebook is one example of a social media site that allows businesses to specify what audience a specific ad will reach. These ads also allow a business to track the specific behaviors of its target audience and then tailor its efforts in light of this information.
  3. Mobile Marketing: Mobile marketing has been all the rage for some time and it shows no signs of slowing. No matter how aware you are of the importance of mobile marketing, you might be surprised to learn that 98 percent of text messages are opened. Add to that fact that 95 percent of Americans use a mobile device and it is easy to see that mobile marketing must remain a top priority for businesses.
  4. Live Streaming: While visuals have always been an important part of marketing, live streaming is becoming the go-to method of getting noticed online. With more than 100 million hours of video viewed every day online, live video is one of the hottest marketing techniques out there.
  5. Email Marketing: Many businesses are turning their attention from their email marketing efforts but this can be a costly mistake. Considering that more than 90 percent of consumers say they want to receive promotional emails and it’s no surprise that email marketing remains an outstanding marketing strategy.

What is hot this year may not be hot next year. But as a marketer you must keep up with what speaks to consumers at this very moment.

Lead generation is the lifeblood of any business. While there are many effective ways to attract qualified leads, often you a little something extra to jumpstart your efforts.

While we aren’t suggesting that you forgo the tried-and-true methods of lead generation, there’s no harm in augmenting those methods periodically. What follows are some ways to do just that.

1. Consider product videos. A majority of people are visual learners. Consider posting videos that illustrate how one of your products works.

2. Get rid of (the word) spam. Research shows that when a company proclaims that it will never spam a customer, just reading the word spam makes a person less likely to buy. Protect your privacy is a better phrase to use.

3. Make sure your call-to-action stands out. When you make your call-to-action LARGER it results in more leads. Speaking of calls-to-action, more is almost never better. Instead of sprinkling a variety of calls-to-action on your webpage or in an email, stick with just one. Research shows that when people have too many choices, they are less likely to make one.

4. Don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion. Promoted tweets and Facebook posts get you more customer exposure. While these type of posts often get a bad rap, the truth is that as long as your promoted content is original and offers something of value, these posts can payoff.

5. Update your blogs. We all know how important original content is but updating blogs (when appropriate) can work just as well. If you previously wrote about an industry trend and new numbers come out regarding that trend, simply update your original blog to garner attention without spending a lot of extra time.

6. Make the most of your signature line. Studies show that the simple act of linking the signature line in your emails back to your website or landing page can increase traffic back.

7. Administer a quiz. When you offer a quiz on a timely and relevant topic, you can also gain a number of new leads. Make sure the quiz is simple to use, however, or people won’t bother to take it.

Adding a little something extra to your lead generation efforts doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort. The payoff, however, makes it well worth it.

If you are a small business owner looking to improve your content marketing efforts, driving more backlinks to your website is essential to your success. This can be a difficult task, however, if you aren’t sure how to generate backlinks.

While everyone talks about content marketing and all that it can do for a business, it can be difficult to gain traction-especially in the beginning. What follows are some ways to generate the all-important backlinks necessary to get your content noticed.

  1. Guest Post. Writing an article for someone else’s website or blog is one of the simplest ways to drive traffic back to your site. Not only will it drive more traffic to your website, it gets your name out as a thought leader in your industry. Be prepared to return the favor when people ask to publish on your website, however. You also can find guest posting opportunities on Twitter by using Twitter Advanced Search for quality sites that need niche writers.
  2. Practice Link Reclamation. Seek out sites that mention you or your brand and make sure that there is a link back to your site.
  3. Get Listed. Directories are a great way to build backlinks. Write a unique description of your brand and get it listed in one (or more) of the many free web directories out there.
  4. Help a Reporter Out (HARO). When you sign up for HARO, journalists are able to find you if they need a quote for a story.
  5. Publish Infographics. Everyone loves visual content. Find out what is trending in your industry and create an infographic and promote it. The more it’s used, the more backlinks you will enjoy.
  6. Give Testimonials. We all want customers to give us testimonials but your testimonials are valuable as well when it comes to gaining backlinks. Gather a list of products or services you have used recently and visit their websites to see if they have a testimonials page. If they do, write one to be published.
  7. Entice Bloggers. Exchange goods for reviews. Do a search for bloggers in your industry and reach out to them by asking them to review a product or service you will provide at no charge. This is a win-win fo you and the blogger.

Building backlinks is easier than you might think. The key is to always be reaching out to others to gain important backlinks.