As Forbes contributor Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle correctly points out, the simple reason that all businesses need to use online marketing is because their customers are online. If you’re customers are online, then your business must be too!

However, just because a business has an online marketing presence doesn’t mean that they’re exploiting it to their full advantage. In fact, in our experience – and we’ve evaluated tens of thousands of websites in our travels across the web – most businesses aren’t firing on all cylinders when it comes to online marketing.

If you suspect (or know) that your business is among this group, then instead of seeing this as disheartening, you should be inspired: because it means that once you make some changes, blowing past your competition will be faster and more affordable than you think.

Even if you’re doing a solid job with your online marketing, just imagine how much happier you’ll be (and what your revenue and profit numbers will look like) when you up your game.

With this in mind, here are 5 key types of online marketing that your business should be using:

1. Content Marketing

Of all types of online marketing, content marketing is probably the most important because it’s the primary way to reach prospects, start a relationship, and usher them forward along the customer journey. By using content to reach consumers in their awareness, consideration and decision phases, you can cement your business as a thought leader, provide valuable information to potential buyers and increase traffic to your website.

Content can include blog posts, articles, ebooks, white papers, reports, checklists, infographics, videos, and the list goes on. By creating and promoting this content, you’ll be able to see value in boosting your search engine results, the amount of traffic your website receives and consequently the amount of leads your website receives.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing remains an important type of online marketing, although it’s changed significantly in the last few years. Because more consumers are becoming aware of email marketing automation, it’s important than ever to strategically craft both emails and email marketing campaigns. Without the right content and creative calls to action, open rates will be low and unsubscribe requests will be high.

While there are many different kinds of email marketing assets, newsletters are the most common, and when created and distributed properly, can be very effective, not to mention remarkably affordable. Plus there are many email marketing automation tools, like Hubspot, that can make creating and scheduling emails easy for your business.

3. SEO

You might have expected SEO to be #1 on a list covering the most important types of online marketing. If I had put this list together about 4 years ago, it would be. These days, while SEO is still very important, it’s not the lead horse: content is. As such, SEO needs to be integrated into great content in order to be successful.

Google tries to craft its algorithm to give searchers the best user experience so by tailoring your educational content with SEO best practices in mind, you can make Google happy and impress prospects. Further, Google is starting to pay more attention to the authority of your links than the keywords in your content. That’s why off-site SEO has more influence on search engine ranking than on-site SEO!

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing isn’t about just setting up a Facebook and Twitter page. Rather, it’s about creating social media accounts in places where prospects congregate – such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on. Then you can push out fresh, relevant content to your target audience on a regular basis. What’s more, social media marketing isn’t just a B2C strategy. It’s increasingly a B2B one, as executives, business owners and other decision makers connect with potential vendors & suppliers through social media channels.

5. Search Engine Advertising

Lastly, pay-per-click advertising can give your online marketing strategy an equal balance between long term strategy and short term strategy. While some of the tactics listed above, like SEO, can take months or years to deliver an ROI, search engine advertising can deliver an ROI almost immediately. Check out this article for more SEO vs PPC comparisons!

When using Google AdWords or Bing Ads, you can select the keywords you want your ads to appear for and select how much you want to bid on a click. Then searchers will be able to find your business when they’re searching for relevant terms.

Learn More

There are other types of online marketing that you may have heard about or might be using – such as network marketing, and so on. These may indeed be important parts of your profile. However, the 5 strategies noted above are the fundamentals, and it’s hard to imagine any business reaping the rewards of online marketing without all of them.

For more information about inbound marketing strategies and why Google AdWords should be part of yours, download our FREE eBook:

This article originally appeared on the Leap Clixx Blog and has been republished with permission.