Marketing by "word of mouth" can can mean a lot in the age of the Internet. Small businesses looking to grow their brand and reach a wider audience can rely on a never-ending list of social media sites and advertising platforms to obtain free or low-cost connections to practically everyone in the world. But with such a powerful tool comes the need to wield it with finesse. What should small businesses investing in online marketing strategies be aware of when establishing or developing their Web presence?

"Does the formatting in your emails translate to a mobile platform?"

Be conscious of what you send out
No small business wants its emails labeled as "spam" by the customer or the government. Business 2 Community suggests regularly testing how well email blasts are received, not just figuratively, but literally. Since more people access email from their mobile devices than ever before, it's important to understand just what they're seeing. Does the formatting in your emails translate to a mobile platform?

Additionally, abiding by federal anti-spam laws will not only keep your marketing on the up-and-up, but it may teach you a thing or two about how an email's layout might make it look like junk mail to the scrutinizing eye of the addressee.

Stay responsive to generated buzz
According to Drew Hendricks, CEO of Infographics.Space, marketing stopped being a proclamation years ago and has since become a dialogue growing larger by the minute.

"While the Internet is a great tool for engaging customers in content and conversation, it's also added noise," said Hendricks to Entrepreneur. "Instead of merely manning the phone lines and answering emails, organizations must respond to social media posts on dozens of different networks and outlets, seek out customer testimonials, and produce fresh content on a regular basis."

Can your marketing tactics compete with all the other Internet hubbub?Can your marketing tactics compete with all the other Internet hubbub?

For your small business to truly get the most from its marketing campaigns, employees will need to track, react and steer the digital conversation as it evolves across the Internet. Show the world that your company has a pulse and it's just as willing to address its critics as it is to create eye-catching promotional material.

Don't jump onto every social media bandwagon
All that being said, avoid going overboard with your social media. Not every site or app will be worth updating with new content, but owning an inactive account on any could detract from your business. Convince & Convert, LLC's recommendations for cutting down personal social media use can apply to the startups as well. Try writing a short list of things that matter most to your organization and matching them against offerings from individual social media platforms. For example, if your company provides services and not products, Instagram photos might not be as effective as you'd hoped they'd be.

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