What Is Marketing and How to Market a Business (6 Proven Methods)

Want to know the secret to building a steady pipeline of ready-to-buy leads?


How about the proven steps to building a loyal audience around your brand?


And wouldn’t you like a way to drum up new business when sales slow down?


It’s an investment that fuels the growth of your business. If you’re not doing it right (or not doing it at all), then you’re missing huge opportunities and losing customers to your competitors.

We’re going to show you what marketing is, how to market a business using online and offline methods, and then show you how to get it all done without being overwhelmed.

Let’s dive in.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is tough to define.

According to Heidi Cohen, there are 72 definitions of marketing.

I think number 26, from Dr. Augustine Fou is my favorite:

“Marketing is the process of exposing target customers to a product through appropriate tactics and channels, gauging their reaction and feedback, and ultimately facilitating their path to purchase.”

First and foremost, you have to define your target customer. You can’t market a product if you don’t know who you’re marketing to.

Then you have to choose the right ways to promote and position your product or service so that your target market sees it and engages with it (which is what we’ll cover later in this post).

As you market, you’ll learn what your target customers like, what they don’t like, where they hang out, what they want to hear, and how to give them what they want.

If your marketing efforts are successful, your target customers will purchase what you offer.

If they’re not, you can conduct new marketing experiments until your customers finally buy your product.

A helpful model for thinking about marketing is the 4 Ps of marketing, also known as the marketing mix, developed by E. Jerome McCarthy.

Here’s a breakdown of the 4 Ps model:

  1. Product – a good or service that fulfills a need or want.
  2. Price – the cost of the product your customers will pay.
  3. Promotion – the ways in which you educate consumers about your product and differentiate it from your competitors.
  4. Place – where you ask for a sale.

This model may seem overly simplistic, but if you dig into it further, it will help you distill your marketing to its most essential elements – helping you clarify your own understanding of your products and customers while identifying the right marketing strategies to close the sale.

How to Market a Business Online (and Generate Inbound Leads)

Online marketing is the most important type of marketing your business can focus on.

Here’s why:

  • Google gets over 100 billion searches a month
  • 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
  • 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone.

Now real quick, let me explain the difference between “inbound” and “outbound” marketing.

Inbound marketing is about attracting customers by providing relevant and valuable content. As you continue being a helpful resource to your potential customers, they move closer and closer to buying what you’re selling.

Inbound marketing relies on search engines, social media, blog content, etc. to attract, engage, and convert leads into customers.

Outbound marketing is about reaching out directly to potential customers and engaging them without waiting for them to find you. As you continue contacting them and educating them about your product, you move them closer and closer to buying what you’re selling.

For our purposes, we’ll focus on inbound marketing when it comes to online marketing since that’s mainly what we recommend you focus on when running a digital marketing strategy.

Here are the top 5 inbound marketing methods you can use online:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is usually what business owners first think of when they consider marketing their business online.

It’s the process of making the content you produce show up high on the list (page 1) of search engines like Google and Bing.

The end result of SEO is increased traffic to your website, which you can convert into leads and sales.

There are many, many factors that produce high rankings in search engines through SEO. If you want to see them all, here you go.

Don’t let that list overwhelm you.

Starting out, you just need to get your “on-page SEO” right. That means, your website and the pages on your website should be optimized for search engines.

Here’s the best beginner’s guide on SEO you can read right now. If you read it completely, you’ll understand SEO far better than most of your competitors.

Once you’re ready to build an SEO foundation for your website, there’s no better place to start than with content marketing.

Content Marketing

The blog post you’re reading right now is an example of content marketing.

We developed this piece of content in order to provide you with valuable information that if you found helpful, would encourage you to check out our services.

That’s essentially all content marketing is.

Content marketing is the heart and soul of inbound marketing.

It’s a long-term strategy focused on building a relationship with you, the potential customer, by providing relevant, educational, and entertaining information on a consistent basis.

But in order to do content marketing right, you need to deeply understand your target customers and know what your customers are searching for, namely the keywords they type into search engines.

To find the keywords your potential customers are searching for, there’s no better guide than this one.

And if you want to get serious about content marketing, here’s a simple guide on starting your content marketing strategy.

One important part of content marketing is promoting your content. That’s where social media comes in.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is exactly as it sounds: the process of gaining traffic through social media sites.

Every social media site is different and requires its own strategy.

Once again, knowing your target customer inside and out will help you determine where you should be interacting with them.

What’s brilliant about social media is that it provides you with innumerable metrics on your target customers’ behaviors, choices, likes and dislikes, beliefs, and desires.

It also lets you build an audience faster than you otherwise would have strictly through SEO.

Plus, the more traffic that lands on your content from social media sites, the higher that content will rise in the ranks of search engines.

If you want to take advantage of social media marketing, then start here.

Of course, it takes a while for social media, SEO, and content marketing to start delivering results.

So while you’re waiting, you can pay to get your content seen by your target customers.

Search Engine Marketing (Paid Advertising)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a type of paid advertising that appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). These ads are commonly called pay-per-click ads (PPC).

It kind of rides the middle between inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Most often, marketers will put their ads on SERPs and when a user clicks on the ad, it will direct them to a landing page that offers valuable content in exchange for their email address.

Other times, the ad may lead to a page featuring a heavy discount on their products.

The type of ad you choose to use will depend on your product, your target customer, and where they are in the buyer’s journey.

SEM is a proven way to drive traffic and sales quickly before you’ve built a loyal audience.

Here’s a guide on how to get started with search engine marketing.

Of course, attracting or buying traffic to your content isn’t enough unless you’re converting that traffic into solid leads you can follow up on. Which is what makes email marketing so powerful.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the single most important form of marketing for closing sales.

Here’s why:

  • Consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers.
  • For every $1 spent on email marketing $44 is made in return, according to a study by Campaign Monitor.
  • 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.

Email marketing is simply the well-structured and strategic sending of informational, educational, and sales emails to prospects and customers.

It’s the most intimate form of communication next to calling them up on the phone.

It allows you to nurture a close relationship with potential customers, show off your personality, get to know your customers more deeply, and present a compelling offer at just the right time.

Also, you own your email list. Your Facebook account could be suspended or deleted but your email list will be yours forever.

If you want to build a loyal email list of diehard fans, then check out this guide to email marketing.

Now that you’ve learned about the top inbound marketing methods, let’s take a look at a tried-and-true outbound marketing method.

How to Generate Leads through Outbound Marketing Sales Calls

There are many forms of outbound marketing, but in this post, we’re concerned with just one:

Sales calls.

Getting a prospect on the phone and talking about their needs and desires, generating interest, and establishing a relationship is a powerful way to market your business while waiting for your inbound marketing efforts to deliver results.

And despite many salespeople claiming the art of the cold call is dead, there’s proof it’s still alive and well:

  • In 2007 it took 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts.
  • 78 percent of decision-makers say they’ve taken appointments or attended events that came from a cold call or email.
  • 80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting.

Of course, outbound sales calls isn’t just about cold calling. Some salespeople recommend sending an email before calling the prospect.

Regardless of how you conduct sales calls, the fact is it will help you immediately start filling up your pipeline with real leads.

At this point, you’re probably thinking …

How Do You Do It All Without Tearing out Your Hair?

It’s hard enough knowing you have to implement most, if not all of these marketing strategies to grow your business online and offline.

It’s worse knowing that you can’t do it all yourself. And you shouldn’t. You should be focused on growing your business and closing sales, not drumming up new leads.

Sure, you could hire someone in-house, but if you’re a small business, you probably don’t have the budget to pay a salary with benefits. And you know you’re not hiring just one marketer to do everything.

You could try to hire a bunch of freelancers, but then you have to keep track of them, manage them, and stay on top of multiple contracts from PayPal to Upwork invoices to your own payroll.

It becomes really messy really fast.

So why not hire one company to do it all for you?

That’s where Lead Engine comes in.

We’ll handle your inbound marketing campaign, your outbound sales calls, and track the progress of both to consistently close deals and increase your revenue.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you market your business.

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