‘Never put all your eggs in one basket’ is a simple piece of advice. So, why don’t some take this on board with their marketing strategy?
There are numerous definitions for what a marketing channel is but put simply, it is anywhere that you can spread information about your business.
This can be for different aims: raising awareness, educating people or showing off your products/services. Ultimately, they are there to increase your company’s revenue, either directly or indirectly.
It’s important to have multiple touch points with your clients as people often need reminding about your business. It’s important to raise awareness and keep in their minds using multiple channels that your customers will engage with. This isn’t a case of hounding them but providing enough touch points so that when they need your product or service you are first in their mind!
Every business needs to make sales in order to survive. It’s important to establish where to spend your time and money in order to deliver a good return on investment.
When starting out, this is more important than ever! We always advise people to focus on only the key channels for them until they have them working well. Then, move into some of the other channels instead of stretching too thin.
Which Popular Marketing Channels?
Google the term marketing channels, and you will get endless pages with lots of options which can be very confusion. We have listed the best places to start here:
Your Own Website
This should be the hub of all your marketing activities. It is your own place on the web that you have full control of so it’s important it serves as a useful resource for your potential customers.
Your website is not only a marketing channel in its own right but also where a lot of your other marketing channels should ultimately be sending people to.
As such make sure it’s easy to use and kept up to date.
We have written a number of blogs on this so feel free to have a look around for more information.
Love is or hate it, social media is a powerful force and is here to stay. There are seemingly endless new platforms coming and going so focus on the ones that are going to deliver the best ROI for you.
Some companies have their own in-house social media team or hire agencies like us to handle what can be a very time-consuming job. Focus on one or two channels and aim to be consistent with them. Only once those channels start to grow would we suggest adding anymore. Of course, give some of the new platforms a try but only if they fit with your potential customers.
Everyone loves good content, from your potential and existing customers through to search engines. Useful and interesting content should always be a part of any marketing strategy.
It can take time to build up any momentum to get traffic to your blog but it’s something that is worth building on for longer term success.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing
Business can often get great results with PPC as part of initial marketing strategies, product/service launch campaigns or as a longer-term plan. It is a relatively quick job to get ads set up and instantly buy your way into the search results using Google Ads, Facebook Ads and so on.
However, it can be quite costly depending on your niche so ensure you have the budget to really focus on the channel and that it can deliver a good ROI. It often works better for higher priced items and services which can afford to spend on ads for every acquisition.
This is often a nervous topic for a lot of companies following GDPR, but it is still an important marketing channel that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It is the perfect way to market to people who have shown an interest in your business in the past, from actual customers to those that never converted.
There are plenty of platforms to make email marketing easy for free or relatively low cost. Read ‘How to Create a Mailchimp Template.’
As long as you have legitimate consent to email your list, it is often an easy win especially for telling people about new products/services. For those with newer sites, always add a newsletter sign up option and start building up the list!
Work of Mouth/Networking
People buy from people and you will never get a hotter lead than someone who has come via word of mouth. They will have heard about your business in a positive light and are often the easiest to convert into clients.
As such it’s important to look at your connections and see how you can improve your referrals by educating people about what you do. Networking can be daunting! Choosing a group that aligns with your values and putting the time in to build the relationships can often bring great results.
We have covered some of our favourite marketing channels that prove time and time again to work for most businesses. It isn’t a one size fits all approach and it’s important to look at your options to make sure you maximise your results.
Here are some others that are worth noting:
- Print Marketing, such as local papers, magazines and ads
- Selling platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy
- Press Releases
- Industry specific magazines and events.
For a good list of ideas have a look at coschedule.com/marketing-strategy/marketing-channels/
How to Select the Right Channel
Now you have some idea of the kinds of channels available, the next job is deciding which to use and where to start. Start by developing your customer personas:
- Build up a picture of your typical client(s)
- List the type of information they like
- Where they spend their time such as social media
- What their buying behaviours are like
- What else they’re in to
- Other consumer traits
These characteristics will quickly give you a better idea of where to focus your efforts.
HubSpot have a great free tool for starting with persona’s here
Which Platform for What
Facebook is a prime channel to focus on highlighting/selling your product, especially with the introduction of Facebook Shops
For service-based businesses, and those looking to network, LinkedIn is ideal
As Instagram is a picture-based platform, use it if you have strong product or service imagery. You can also sell on Instagram using the Shops function
Twitter is a ‘microblogging’ platform and good for businesses to connect directly with their audiences.
Consistency is Key
When you start to use multiple channels it’s important that the message and branding is kept consistent for your different personas. You want people to recognise your business easily which is where branding comes in.
Keep the overall tone and messages consistent so people can quickly start to put together a picture of the kind of business you are and if you are worth working with.
Be consistent with the volume of the information you put out. Don’t post on social every day as it can be overkill and hard to keep up with longer term. Establish what time you have and build a plan of how to do this in advance.
Once you have your marketing channels up and running, monitor them and track their results. By tracking them, you will know which work well and which don’t. This can be tracking likes on your Facebook page, views on your website blog or sales made.
Take advantage of Google Analytics to track all of the sources of traffic to your website. Enable Conversion Tracking so you can quickly see which source brings you the best results.
You can set your own conversion goals. It can be based on anything from sales to the number of lead forms filled in or the number of people signing up to a newsletter.
By breaking down your goals this way, you can often see those channels which may not directly bring sales but contribute to the overall picture.
Data is king and making sure you are able to track the results of your channels and make changes where needed is essential to deliver the best results possible.
Don’t be scared to try something new! Taking the first steps on a new marketing channel is often a scary prospect. There are plenty of resources online to help you and we would always welcome a coffee to talk through things with you so you can make the best possible start.