Which marketing channels should your business invest in?
The answer depends on your business.
In general, you should never rely on a single marketing channel. Omnichannel marketing is critical if you want your business to flourish.
In this article, I’ll talk you through some of the most effective marketing channels for your business.
But it’s critical that you evaluate each channel that goes into your marketing strategy.
Let’s get started:
Email marketing is one of the most effective acquisition channels out there. According to some studies, email is 40x more effective than social media for customer acquisition.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate email marketing into your digital marketing strategy. Some offline businesses do a great job turning visitors to their retail stores into email subscribers.
This gives you a way of connecting with potential customers that could have just walked away – never to return to your business again.
The primary benefit to email marketing is that potential customers are giving you permission to market to them.
Should you just send them pitch after pitch? No you shouldn’t. But with a healthy mix of educational content that engages prospects, you can strategically incorporate CTA’s to purchase your products/services.
The added benefit is that with an audience building focus, you can keep your business top of mind for those prospects who aren’t ready to buy right away.
Just be sure to avoid purchased email lists. Build your own email lists of prospects who want to hear from you.
Text messaging – remember that? Despite the focus on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other platforms, SMS messaging is still popular.
For example, 60% of consumers check their texts within 1-5 minutes.
Then there’s the growing trend of celebrities giving out their phone numbers.
As a marketing channel, SMS is underrated and it’s easier than ever to leverage thanks to full-stack marketing tools such as Sendinblue.
But here’s the big question:
Does it make sense for your business? SMS messaging is one of those marketing channels that can be incredibly valuable to certain businesses but not useful at all for others.
Start with your goals and work to understand whether SMS marketing can help you hit your KPI’s.
While SMS marketing is the ‘Marmite’ of marketing channels, video is more like a mouth watering grilled cheese sandwich.
Video is engaging, accessible and continuing to grow in popularity. Video allows you to tap into the second largest search engine in the world – YouTube. It opens up additional monetization opportunities and makes it easy for you to siphon traffic out of Google Search with very little effort.
It’s difficult to argue against the importance of video marketing.
The only problem? The barrier to entry is far higher than other marketing channels. That can be both a blessing and a curse.
How will you incorporate video marketing into your business? That depends on the needs of your business and your marketing goals.
The good news is that creating video content is getting easier. If you want to get started to “test the waters” I’d recommend giving social media videos a try.
At a bare minimum, all you’ll need is a mobile phone with a good camera. Alternatively, some online graphic design software (e.g. Visme) will allow you to create animated graphics that can be used on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
Then, once you get more experienced at creating videos, you can upgrade your camera and invest in video editing software such as Final Cut Pro and lighting.
With all the focus on video and podcasting, it may appear that blogging isn’t as popular as it used to be.
Part of the reason for that perception is that the nature of the blogging space has evolved. It’s matured and strongly tied with content marketing.
And the latest blogging statistics support this too.
For example, Zazzle found that written content is still the most popular form of content in the marketing industry.
And, just on WordPress.com blogs alone, over 20 billion pages are read each month.
Then there’s the fact that written content (i.e. blog posts) is a requirement if you want to tap into the huge amount of traffic Google can send to your website.
So, what does this mean for your business? You need a blog strategy that not only drives conversions but drives engagement & allows you to build an audience of people who want to hear what you have to say.
If you are using videos and/or podcasts – you’ll need a more comprehensive content strategy that ties all content types together in a way that allows them to support each other.
And whenever you publish new content, make use of every content distribution platform available.
The same goes for paid advertising. Content creation of any kind is a large investment. You’re wasting that investment if you’re not supporting it with paid advertising. I’ll talk about advertising in more detail in a moment.
If you need help tracking your progress, see my article on using UTM campaign URLs for content promotion.
If Spotify’s big push into the realm of podcasting is anything to go by, podcasting is only going to become more popular.
Just on Spotify alone, podcast consumption has doubled in recent months.
This is great because podcasts are easier to produce than videos and allow you to tap into the built-in audience of platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
And, if you already have video content, you could repurpose those videos into podcasts to expand your reach further.
The best part of podcasting is that you can tap into an audience that you usually wouldn’t have access to via blog posts and videos.
Inbound marketing channels such as SEO and social media can take a long time to generate meaningful results, paid advertising such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising allows you to drive traffic to your offers immediately.
You get more control and targeting is easier. Then there’s the additional benefit of retargeting ads.
As a result, it’s no wonder that ad spend is expected to hit 500 billion dollars by 2023.
And there are plenty of platforms you can use. Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Gmail Ads, Media.net, etc.
Your ads can be as simple or as complex as they need to be. From text based ads with a simple image, static banner ads, animated banner ads, video ads, or audio ads (e.g. Spotify).
Then there’s sponsored content. This isn’t as controlled or as easy to measure in terms of conversions but it’s worth exploring as well.
SEO (search engine optimization)
Google is the world’s most popular search engine. 40,000 searches happen every second.
In the time it took me to find the above statistics, over 7.2 million more searches happened on Google.
SEO takes time and investment but once it gets going? There’s a potential for a huge amount of traffic and sales.
Want to learn what SEO is all about? Blogging Wizard has a detailed beginner’s guide to SEO worth reading.
Social media is one of the most hyped marketing channels there is. And for the most part, it’s well deserved.
The statistics support the importance of social media. For example, 70% of the USA uses social media on a regular basis.
However, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of social media. While it’s relevant to most businesses, it is not critical for all businesses.
Like other marketing channels, it’s about how you use it.
You can use social media to build an audience, support your customers more effectively and identify potential PR issues so you can take action.
For certain businesses, it can be ideal for lead generation. A good example is a passport agency I worked with. Their team had monitoring set up so they could find people talking about needing an express passport.
This worked especially well on Twitter – they were able to offer express passports and their conversion rates were extremely high.
This strategy fit their business model perfectly. It all comes down to understanding how to best leverage these platforms for your specific business model.
Influencer marketing is a hot topic in the marketing space and has been for a while now.
While brands would often sink millions into TV advertising campaigns, more and more brands are seeing the benefits of influencer marketing.
Instead, they can spend a fraction of their TV ad budget and still have a similar amount of reach. And it’s far easier to track performance than traditional TV advertising.
But, influencer marketing is easy to get wrong. Not just from the brand perspective, but from the influencer’s perspective as well.
This is mostly because brands are new to influencer marketing so they don’t have a strategy in place and most influencers don’t have professional business experience.
The key is to have a solid process in place where you vet the influencer’s reach and outline key deliverables. Those deliverables need to be constructed in a way that makes the arrangement profitable for both parties.
Specificity and clarity are critical. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
Operating your own affiliate program is one of the quickest ways to build brand visibility and drive sales.
It’s like having an army of marketers at your disposal without having to pay them until the traffic they send converts into sales.
A common practice is to use an affiliate network. Shareasale, CJ, Awin and Impact are great examples.
They provide the tech stack that enables traffic and sales to be tracked, they simplify the payout process and they allow you to tap into a large number of affiliates who are ready to promote your offer.
It is recommended that you vet all of your affiliates first and have policies in place to stop affiliates from bidding on your branded keywords, and avoid click fraud, etc.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of marketing channels. And you should never ignore a marketing channel just because I didn’t include it in this post.
Ultimately, the best marketing channels depend on the needs of your business. B2B companies may find different channels are more effective than those that work for B2C businesses. It’s important to dig deeper than B2B/B2C classifications and consider your business model and other industry level factors.
Regardless, your marketing mix needs to incorporate multiple channels that support each other. An ‘omnichannel’ approach to marketing is critical.
So, build your marketing strategy around a diverse set of marketing channels that drive your business goals. Bring together the best offline marketing channels and digital marketing channels.
It’s also important to consider that these channels do not (or should not) exist in isolation.
For example, your content marketing strategy should factor in other channels such as SEO.
Email marketing can grow your social media presence and drive traffic to all sorts of content – blog posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, etc. Social media can grow your presence and drive traffic to your content.
Your videos on YouTube can grow your email list and your podcast can do the same.
All of these channels, when used correctly, are far more effective than any marketing tactics, strategies or channels used in isolation.
Then there’s paid advertising. You’re likely investing in the creation of content. Blog posts, videos and podcasts can be costly to create. Why wouldn’t you invest some extra money to ensure more people see them?
It’s not necessarily about working harder. The key is to work smarter and make the most of every asset your business has available to it – both online and offline. Cross channel marketing will always beat single channel marketing.