HTTP Close UpOf course your small business is online. You wouldn't be relevant in the internet age if you weren't. But since everyone else is also online, the problem now has become how to stand out from the crowd. Read on to learn three important, but often overlooked, tips on how to make your online marketing matter to today's internet savvy customer.

1. Don't Annoy

Blinking ads, flyovers, loud music. These are online marketing strategies that might have drawn attention in, say, 1995 but today they just annoy. Nobody likes a Flash rollover or a drop-down, not even your most loyal customer. Depending on whom your audience is, this could have the exact opposite effect of what you were hoping for.

In other words, bye-bye potential customer.

Also, this type of marketing has been in place since the dawn of internet marketing. People are really good at just ignoring it. Is that really how you want to spend your marketing dollar?

2. Don't try so hard

Everyone wants to 'go viral.' That means spreading your product or brand like a virus across the internet and it's every marketer's dream. All it takes is something clever, something funny or shocking, and people send it to each other via social media sites, the media picks it up, and before you know it, you're getting more customers than ever.

old spice manThink Old Spice Guy.

The problem is that too many marketers get caught up in the idea of 'going viral' and lose sight of the marketing itself. This ultimately makes the campaign seem too produced and hokey. Many consumers can see right through this type of attempt.

The key to 'going viral' is to create marketing that is unique, interesting, and sometimes humorous. It's as simple as that. If the marketing is good enough and you get it out to the right outlets, it will take off on its own. The whole idea is to make something that is entertaining and memorable to the audience. Rather than being a commercial, your advertising is a funny video, for example, that is sent amongst friends, re-tweeted a million times and turns into a widely-known message about your product.

That's a really good way to win customers; if not their money at first, at the very least their attention.

3. Be your Brand

Seth Godin said it best. 'We are all marketers.' Meaning that everyone in your company, even yourself, markets your product or brand, all of the time.

This is something that is so incredibly powerful because it makes you question your business and your employees at their core. If you don't hire the right people, the people who care about your products, chances are no marketing campaign is going to do well. The better your employee involvement and drive, the better your marketing is going to be.

Think about Apple. Steve Jobs and company have a 'persona' of being technology artists that are highly concerned about the fit and finish of their products. No one can say that Apple employees don't care about their products and customers. This concept alone is the best marketing. Show your customers how much you care about them and your products will absolutely sell.

If you can create an online marketing message that you are a company that cares about your customers, that your products are best-in-show, and do it in a memorable way, you’ll gain major marketing points via word-of-mouth, interviews, blogging, and product reviews on large reputable sites.

Marketing a product online isn't that hard if you want to do an average job of it. But creating online marketing that really matters starts with creating a product and company that really matters.