Preparing your strategy for 2017 can seem challenging, but the good news is that growing your online business is certainly achievable.

There are more marketing strategies than ever before. Some may grow your online business. And some may be counterintuitive. Ineffective advertising, no ROI, and rushing in can be a few destructive elements, according to Quick Sprout.

Being bold is what entrepreneurism is all about. However, boldness comes with risk. You want your risk to be calculated, protecting your online business from ruin while keeping funding out of the red.

One of the most essential elements to growing your online business is keeping your goals at the core of all marketing strategies you launch. Focusing on your goals will allow you to make intelligent risks.

Entrepreneur and digital marketing expert Neil Patel recommends that you ask yourself one important question, "Is this going to fulfill our goals right now, or will this simply distract us?"

These powerful strategies may be just right for growing your online business, achieving your goals and staying within budget.

1. Safe Links Protect Against Real Time Google Penguin Penalties

With Real Time Updates, Google Penguin can strike at any moment if you have unnatural links. And getting a penalty can seriously tank your search rankings. This makes building safe links an essential strategy to grow your online business.

To avoid the Google Penguin penalty, run a link audit at least once a month at the minimum. If you have poor links, you can connect with webmasters to get those links removed.

Connecting with webmasters can be quite a journey, but it can decrease your risk of the dreaded Google Penguin penalty. If your efforts are ignored, you can utilize Google Disavow to get those links removed as well.

Once your inbound links are in order, you will want to shift your focus to outbound links. Linking to websites that may be questionable could trigger a penalty; so really dive into the quality of those outbound links.

Forbes recommends asking these vital link review questions, "Are you only building links that are relevant and valuable for their respective target audiences? Are you selectively targeting high-authority sites that will pass you valuable authority? Are you using appropriate anchor text and surrounding your links with valuable, well-written content?"

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2. Don’t Put All Your Online Business Eggs in One Basket

Your online business was developed on diligent planning, and the strategies you use to grow your business should follow the same pattern. It is crucial to plan a diverse approach to gain more customers.

If you are simply relying on Google traffic, you are putting all your eggs into one basket. This is very risky. Google Penguin penalties are a great example of the lack of control your online business has at times.

If Google decides to roll out a new algorithm unfriendly to your current strategy, it could ruin your online business. And being removed from search results is always a possibility.

Developing initiatives that include organic and paid traffic via Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and email marketing will diversify your marketing portfolio. "Diversifying your marketing strategy by joining groups may also help you grow your online business," suggests Sujan Patel, growth marketer and cofounder of Web Profits.

3.Your Customers are Excellent Brand Ambassadors

Building a bigger audience can be challenging. However, you already have very powerful allies: your existing customers. Make them brand ambassadors.

It is vital to not ignore your existing client base while launching new strategies to grow your online business. After all, they have been loyal and got you this far. Keep your customers engaged and invested in being your brand ambassadors.

"You can think of brand commitment as a continuum of engagement, where customers move across a spectrum from rational responses to deeply emotional ones," according to Forbes.

This strategy is often overlooked, but it can be invaluable to your online business growth and your bottom line. Do some email marketing to ask your customers for reviews, feedback, etc.

These faithful brand ambassadors are also a fantastic source of referrals. You can kindly ask them to spread the word, share you on their social media, and keep commenting and sharing your blog content. You can even develop a referral program as an incentive.

It is essential to not let your most loyal followers feel forgotten. Keep them excited about your business, and make them feel the sense of brand ownership that has led to many industry leaders’ success like Apple, Nike, Sony, etc.

4. Grow Your Online Business with Effective Buying Funnels

Developing effective buying funnels is an excellent way to grow your online business. There are different types of buying (conversion) funnels you can use, but keeping it simple is best practice.

The basic buying funnel involves three stages from top to bottom; awareness, evaluation, and conversion. New customers to your online business will begin at the awareness stage, and potential customers will decrease as they move through the stages.

For example, Amazon Prime customers convert at 74%, compared to the non-Prime customers at 13%, according to eCommerce intelligence platform Internet Retailer.

This means you can expect a 1.4%conversion rate with your buying funnels. And using SEO is an important part of getting your potential customers past the awareness stage.

Move your customers around like chess pieces. Redirect them from your Facebook page to your website. And then form your website to your emailing list and newsletter.

"The trick to designing a site that’s built to capture and convert visitors at all stages is a strategy that combines keyword-driven content with a technically-sound website," according to Kissmetrics. Simply move them toward a purchase and your online business will grow.

5. Launch Online Contests and Giveaways

Online contests and giveaways are great for growing your online business without being ruined. You can get existing customers excited while increasing new customer numbers at the same time.

Goals are important for giveaways, since you want everything to be seamless. Do you want to grow your email marketing list? Are you launching a new product or program? Asking these types of questions will allow you to make the most of your contest efforts.

Next step is to decide what you will be giving away. The prize certainly needs to generate buzz, otherwise your contest or giveaway efforts will simply fall short, according to Shopify.

Excellent contest and giveaway prizes include gift cards, travel, product collection, a limited edition product and products from influencers. Use social media to build the buzz and don’t forget to develop a conversion funnel too.

6. Grow Your Online Business with a Powerful Influencer Outreach Strategy

Influencer outreach is a powerful strategy when it comes to growing your online business. In fact, Maximize Social Media found that influencers could boost your conversions three to ten times what they are now.

Influencers can be industry experts, analysts, critics, etc. They have a large following, and their audiences listens to them. They can certainly accelerate business growth and offer more authoritative inbound links.

A Tomoson marketing study found that 59%of marketers would increase influencer outreach budget. And 51%of marketers believe they will reach better customers with an influencer.

Approaching and building relationships with influencers can be challenging, but if you get a few interested in your content and business, the rewards are certainly there.

You want to approach influencers with their best interest in mind before asking them anything. Follow their social media channels, share their content, retweet, pin, make them notice your interest and support first.

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Conclusion

There are a variety of strategies that will grow your online business. The key is to pick the ones that won’t ruin your business. Remembering to always ask, "Is this going to fulfill our goals right now, or will this simply distract us?" Questions like this can keep your goals at the forefront, becoming a savvy and successful business owner.