As more businesses are going online every day and establishing their presence on the Internet, it’s becoming easier than ever to get lost in the mix. To stand out from the masses and build your brand online, you need to follow some basic marketing principles without resorting to spammy tactics that will ruin your reputation.  It’s important to have a strategy or better still a marketing action plan. These are three things you can do immediately to put your business out there where customers will take notice.

1. Consistently follow a sound online marketing strategy

The reason why many businesses fail to stand out from the crowd is that they simply are not consistent in executing their content marketing and social media strategies. To stand out and get noticed online, you need to keep putting yourself out there where you will be seen by your prospects. It’s not enough to go hard on Facebook for a few weeks and then disappear.

It’s not enough to put out weekly blog posts and then stop after a couple months. It seems like everyone is doing that. Sure, some of your competitors are doing that, but some of them are not. Those businesses who consistently follow a solid marketing strategy get noticed, and those who do not get forgotten.

2. Earn backlinks. Don’t build them

Many marketing agencies are still using backlinks from their own blogs and back-alley networks to temporarily boost clients’ website rankings. This is a horrible mistake, and despite what those marketers will tell you, backlinks are very spammy, they are not “Google-proof” and they will eventually get your website penalized.

There are better ways to rank on the search engines without resorting to outdated tactics. If you’re going to hire a marketing agency or search engine optimization specialist, choose one that only uses legitimate white hat SEO strategies that have stood the test of time and are not going to cause your site to be blacklisted by search engines.

Instead of artificially building links, do some real outreach and connect with other people and organizations in your industry in a genuine way. Earn real links from real people and real blogs by connecting with them in a genuine way and sharing your expertise for their benefit. That is what guest posting is supposed to be all about, and that kind of sincere networking can still payoff in significant ways.

3. Make the most of social media

Social media is definitely a great way to get noticed. Be sure that your business can easily be found on sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. That way you can connect with more people and really spread the word.

Just make sure to post on it often and make your posts real, relatable and sharable. Don’t focus on product or service promotion. Instead of selling, focus on educating your prospective customers. Customer education on social media is a great way to attract and retain customers.

Helping your company stand out can really be a hard task. However, if you are patient and try out a lot of different strategies eventually you will be able to find something that works great for you. Just be sure to build up your online presence. Also be sure to stay realistic and relatable. That way people can better connect with your business and spread the word.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.