Finding the best marketing channels for your business
The internet is an endless abyss of marketing techniques. Are you looking for marketing channels for your business? We know how easy it is to get lost in a sea of options. Most businesses try to master every marketing channel at once. The result? Lukewarm marketing that fails to rise above the competition.
That’s the duality of marketing.
A presence on every major marketing channel is beneficial. It allows you to create an omnipresence around your brand. You ensure you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. But where is the line? How do you create an effective omnipresence without being a jack of all trades master of none?
This is what you'll learn from this article:
- We'll discuss what a marketing channel is and why we define it.
- We'll dive into the key marketing channels that tend to be the most effective.
- We’ll discuss how to find the best marketing channels for your business.
What is a marketing channel?
A marketing channel is a set of people, organizations, and activities that make products and services available to consumers. Thus, facilitating the shift from production to consumption.
Marketing channels expose your target audience to your product.
Many businesses utilize multiple marketing channels instead of focusing on one. This practice is called multichannel marketing.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. So diversifying and monitoring your efforts is key to effective marketing.
The three digital marketing hubs (that every business needs)
We live in a digitalized era. There are only a few exceptions to the following fact. Every business needs a website, an email list, and a social media presence.
Let’s take a closer look.
There’s a high likelihood that the customer journey will lead to your website. This goes for all types of businesses, from brick-and-mortar, online, and service-based businesses. According to Google, 88% of consumers who look up a business online will contact or go to the business within 24 hours.
A potential customer visiting your website is a huge sign of intent. That is if your website serves them according to their needs.
First impressions matter. It's a matter of seconds for users to form an opinion on your website. That opinion can mean a customer for life or a quick exit.
Your website must be easy to navigate and optimized for your target audience. Most visitors won't buy on the first visit. What do you have to keep them and/or bring them back? Do you engage in content marketing? You could do some form of paid ads to retarget website visitors.
If you have customers, you likely have their emails. As an extension, you may have the emails of potential customers too.
How are you leveraging this marketing channel?
89% of marketers use email as the primary channel for lead generation. For good reason. You can consider email subscribers a captive audience.
You can use email as early as the second stage of the marketing funnel (interest). Offering free trials or relevant content to warm up your audience. Email is for more than just potential customers. You can use it to increase loyalty by asking customers for feedback. Or you can upsell existing customers, who are easier to sell to.
4.89 billion users worldwide make it a core-three marketing channel. The average person uses seven social media networks in a month. So how do you stand out in a swarm of competitors?
Driving traffic and leads involves engagement, quality visuals, and unique copy. Social media is where businesses go to market in real time. It can also be a crucial resource for building social proof. Social proof uses things like reviews to turn visitors into first-time buyers.
In-person marketing, is it still a thing?
Marketers and business owners want to know if in-person marketing is dead. Where do we go to check out a company? Online, duh. We go as far as verifying the information we learn in person with the internet.
All that said, human interaction is a basic need. In-person marketing is not going anywhere.
Does your business rely on face-to-face interactions? Know that, on average, it takes about eight touchpoints to get an initial meeting with a prospect.
In-person interactions help to display niche authority and leadership. Successful marketers blend offline and online. That keeps them with customers every step of the way.
The five best marketing channels in 2023
New marketing techniques sprout up every couple of years. However, the best marketing channels remain consistent. It’s difficult to stand out, so you must choose carefully.
Which marketing channel can you dominate? That’s the question you should ask.
We gathered the five best marketing channels in 2023. The list is not in any order of importance. Different businesses will benefit from different strategies. Two businesses can succeed using the same marketing channels. However, they'll do so for different reasons.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
According to 90% of marketers, SEO is a leading B2B and B2C marketing strategy. Where does the positive ROI of SEO come from? Consumers are trusting in search engines to learn about a product or service.
SEO is a blend of technical and creative website marketing techniques. The goal is to convince search engines to put your website in front of your target audience. Keyword rankings are important. However, a strategy that fixates on them does not guarantee success. Rankings happen by providing actionable and relevant content to your target audience.
The world of SEO is changing fast. Industry experts recommend investing in AI, voice, and image search to stay relevant in 2023 and beyond.
Simply adopting SEO won’t do the trick. For it to succeed, you need to do it right. Here’s how:
- Learn keyword research: Keyword research is the process of finding the search terms people use to find your solutions. Targeting the most common queries can help you provide your audience with the answers they are looking for. Be there first, and they could become your customer instead of competitors.
- Keep content fresh: Letting your prospect find you is only half the job. You also want to ensure your content is fresh, updated, and relevant. If users don’t find the answers they are searching for, they will look elsewhere.
- Optimize for user experience: User experience is the base of your strategy’s success. Regarding SEO, good UX gets customers from point A to point B the fastest.
When all else fails, analyze the top three results for a given keyword. Ask why Google decided to rank those articles. Then reverse engineer a better page.
Roughly ⅓ of marketers believe inbound marketing to be at the core of personalized targeting. After all, most Internet users are eager to read content that addresses their interests and doubts.
Content marketing - Creating written, visual, and audio content to stimulate interest in a product or service.
Content marketing meets potential customers where they are. Usually, this is at the bottom of the funnel. Here, they're not ready to buy but are in the "diagnosis" phase. Successful content marketing is usually found on blogs and social media accounts.
Examples of content marketing:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- YouTube videos
- Free courses
In 2023, short-form videos have proven to be the most successful content marketing strategy.
Content marketing tips
As with every marketing channel, you can’t just wing content marketing. There is a series of steps you can take to increase your chances of success:
- Consider the customer journey: In a view count-obsessed world, you need to take content marketing a step further to succeed. A better way of doing it is to understand your objective. Know your target audience profile. Then develop content that's in the way of where they are and where they want to go.
- Focus on problem-solving: Most searchers want a solution to their problems or a way to satisfy their needs. The first and best solution will get the lion's share of visitors and customers.
- Establish topical authority: Topical authority is a measure of authority you earn through quality content. Many brands take a shotgun approach to content marketing. Instead, decide the #1 problem you solve, then create content hyperfocused on that. Google favors websites that create content hyperfocused on their niche. And searchers will trust businesses with topical authority (to do with their problem) over ones that don’t have it.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing uses social media platforms to promote a business or service.
Social media provides an uncapped potential for engagement and customer loyalty. Users love to interact with their favorite brands. They also want fast responses. Do this right, and you can see more sales.
Yes, AI is coming for everything. Or at least that's what the "experts" say. Social media is bound to remain among the most effective channels.
Social media marketing tips
Standing out on social media requires a thought-out strategy.
- Audit your current platforms: Use analytics to monitor the number of followers and their engagement with your brand. Use that data to draft an action plan.
- Invest in video content: The rise of platforms like TikTok proves that users love video. Depending on your specific needs, the most effective videos will average 10 seconds to 3 minutes. All popular social media platforms are integrating short-form content into their algorithms.
- Consider serialized content: Wondering how to keep your prospect returning to your social media page for more content? Serialized content can address relevant topics related to your brand. This approach is usually most successful with short-form videos and stories. You can also implement it with written content or short podcast episodes.
49% of consumers complete their purchases online. A good chunk of those purchases come directly from paid advertising.
Advertisers bid in real-time auctions for their ads to appear on websites, social media, and search engines. Paid ads can appear as sponsored content on FB, IG, or browser results.
Paid advertising tips
A high-performing ad strategy requires some thought.
- Consider pay-per-click: Pay-per-click is a cost-effective model. Here, the advertiser pays a fee whenever a user clicks on their ad.
- Think globally: Paid ads offer better results when leveraged in the context of a marketing campaign. Meaning the best ads don't operate in a vacuum. Blend content marketing and social media campaigns with your paid advertising campaigns. An all-encompassing approach works better than a silo.
- Spend mindfully: It's tempting to “go big or go home." Instead, test and calibrate your spending based on the data. Build a scalable marketing strategy that grows with your product to guarantee ROI.
Other marketing channels
Depending on your needs, you can tap into several other marketing channels.
- Events: Despite the heightened digitalization, some sectors or their target audience will still benefit from in-person events. These can be conferences, casual business meet-ups, or even workshops. Along with helping people get to know your product or service, these events offer the opportunity to build community.
- Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is a model that outsources part of the sales process. It consists of having an established platform to promote your product in exchange for a small commission. This is a low-effort, cost-effective method with a well-contained risk level.
- Networking: Connecting with the community doesn’t require you to run community events personally. Simplifying signing up for conferences, industry brunches, and webinars can help your brand awareness and create new leads. It also allows you to tap into what’s new in your sector, potentially giving way to professional collaborations.
- Word of mouth: When consumers have a positive experience interacting with your brand, they are likely to report back to their peers. Besides offering good value for money, another way to increase your chances of word of mouth is by offering outstanding customer care.
- Referral marketing: Often confused with word of mouth, referral marketing incentivizes customers to have their friends try your product. To succeed, the process must involve a reward for both your existing client and the referee.
Choosing the right marketing channel
The best marketing channel for your brand will result from a series of factors.
Find where your customers hang out and communicate
“Know your audience” is the evergreen mantra of every marketing strategy. Knowing what they like, their spending habits, and their favorite platforms is vital to reaching your people.
Take steps to gain deeper insight into your service or product and ask yourself what it does for your audience and how. The data collected will help you create your marketing profile and segments.
Additionally, several tools are available, such as market research and native audience insight features on social media platforms.
Set clear marketing goals
It should know without saying, but knowing your desired outcome is essential to developing the right marketing strategy.
Your marketing goal will vary enormously depending on the stage your business is at. New start-ups will want to focus on brand visibility, lead generation, and customer acquisition. More established businesses might be more focused on loyalty and growth.
Regardless of the specific goal, leveraging metrics can pinpoint your performance and give you insight into your audience’s preferences. Collecting data on what is happening right now allows you to design an informed strategy for the mid to long-term future.
Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to getting closer to your objectives, and ensure you are taking consistent steps in that direction.
Consider your budget
To maximize your chances of a return on investment on your marketing channels, first, you must be smart about how much money to invest.
The first step to calibrating your initial marketing investment is analyzing your company’s average marketing expenses, estimating your average revenue over time, and calculating your gross profit margin. This can be achieved through a thought-out strategy of your own. Still, it might be worth checking in with a financial advisor to get better projections in the near and long term that also factor in other variables, such as seasonal spending.
Don’t be afraid to test and experiment
Innovation and business go hand in hand. Successful companies periodically test new ideas to study their audience’s response to a new or unusual marketing approach. The process stems from brainstorming sessions leading to a hypothesis that is consequently put into practice.
Several tools can assist you in the different stages of your experiment - from analytics shedding light on your target audience to A/B tools designed to determine which of your marketing channels is bringing the most results.
Look at your competition
Competitive analysis is a core marketing strategy. Collecting data on how consumers respond or interact with a given marketing channel gives you an idea of what channels to bet on.
Is your target audience tech-savvy and fond of brand interaction? Does it value efficient customer service and avoid face-to-face or phone-call at all costs?
Because of its 24/7 approach, competitive analysis is best performed through automation. There are several competitor monitoring tools available. Choose one that best aligns with your budget and desired results.