What marketing channels should you use to grow your business?
Investing your time and your money into marketing channels that don’t perform well is probably the most annoying scenario that marketers face. If you could know which channels will perform best, that would make a world of difference.
Of course, you can never be 100% sure about this, but there is a way to narrow down your options.
First, you need to figure out a few things about your business and customers:
- Do your customers actively seek products that your business sells online?
- Is your target customer specific?
- Do random people often visit your store to shop?
- How actively are people looking for a product such as the one you sell?
Answering these questions will be of great help when you start reading about the channels that we listed below.
In addition, make sure to analyse this simple graph that will further help you determine the most suitable marketing channels for your business.
How can this graph help?
First, find the section where your business fits in and try those channels first.
See which channels have the best potential according to their current size. For instance, Reddit is nowhere as big as YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. The biggest platforms obviously provide more potential to scale.
In addition, you will better understand which channels are good for your type of business (eCommerce, B2B, B2C, etc.).
Top left section
If your customers are actively seeking products like the ones you sell and random people buy your products, you should take a look at these channels.
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy used to improve the overall visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).
When it comes to Google and SEM, you need to pay for ads on the search engine results page. These ads are displayed at the very top of the page when a person searches for an item that matches the ones you sell.
Google is incredibly smart, since it can work for almost any audience and targeting as long as people are most likely to look for that or similar product category.
Microsoft Bing is a web search engine similar to Google. It is owned and operated by Microsoft and its previous versions were called MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search.
However, in terms of SEM, Bing is only 15% of Google’s volume. Keep this in mind if you decide to give it a chance.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility for relevant searches. When pages have high visibility, they are more likely to garner attention and attract prospective as well as existing customers to a business.
This improvement process is done organically and involves efforts that help a website appear on the search engine results pages of Google, Bing, and Yahoo without having to pay for ads. The process of content creation is vital for SEO along with keyword targeting.
Keep in mind, however, that there is less control over the keywords compared to SEM. Therefore, your SEO efforts will be a little less targeted as well.
Amazon’s ads function similarly to Google ads. When a user types in a keyword in the Amazon search box and results appear, some of the top results will be sponsored posts. These sponsored posts are Amazon ads and you can easily recognize them by the subtle sponsored or ad label they contain.
The best part about Amazon ads is that they are becoming more and more popular. They are among the fastest-growing advertising channels today and work well for most eCommerce products.
Pinterest is a network that relies on images, so it’s a great platform to target young people and women. If these two fall under your target audience, make sure to place ads on Pinterest.
Top right section
Are your customers actively seeking products like the ones you sell and are very specific? Then these channels are right for you.
An integrated partnership means making an agreement with a business that has an audience of in-app users to offer your product to. If customers of one brand often look for something you sell, it would be smart to appear on their list of vendors.
Trade shows gather very targeted audiences in one place. The people that pay to attend these events are actively looking for products similar to yours to use, so maybe you should consider getting a booth at a tradeshow.
This depends on the nature of your business, but being popular on review websites can lead to more visibility and traffic. Review websites such as GetApp, Capterra, Software advice, and so on, are great sources of leads in specific niches. However, you should do your best to get positive reviews.
As it was mentioned, Google can work for almost any audience and targeting, but the product category has to match the one people are looking for.
Bing can also work for many audiences, but it takes only a fragment of Google’s volume.
If you want to try to rank naturally instead of investing in paid ads, then search engine optimization is your best choice. This covers search engines such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
Bottom left section
If your customers are not active seekers of products similar to yours but it happens that random people actually buy the products that you sell, you should take a look at these channels.
Placing ads on Pinterest is a wise decision if you plan on targeting younger audiences and women.
Display networks (GDN, DSPs, etc.)
Take advantage of various display networks by placing banner ads on them. Display networks are used by thousands of websites that want to display ads to customers.
When you browse through Google Display Network (GDN), you can place banner ads on thousands of websites, but keep in mind that the targeting is far from great.
Content amplification (Taboola, Outbrain)
Placing ads on news websites where one can pay to show people their own content piece is content amplification. The targeting is not great at scale, but cheap clicks and the ads that are used can actually work quite well.
Facebook and Instagram
Investing in Facebook and Instagram ads can work for almost any audience – broad, or targeted. However, keep in mind that your market should count at least 200,000 people.
Affiliate marketing is a good old method where a business pays partners on a commission basis for driving clicks to their website. In theory, this method can be quite accurate when it comes to targeting. However, a lot of marketers claim that affiliates can only drive generic visits at scale.
YouTube is the largest video streaming platform in the world as well as the second strongest online channel that can be used for marketing aside from Facebook.
Advertising on TV or radio is the old way of doing marketing. Even though it may be a success for your business, it would be wise to test out this method thoroughly. TV and radio can drive new customers at acceptable prices, as the targeting is quite broad and the ROI is still sufficient when compared to other marketing channels.
Podcasts are becoming very popular, but make sure to provide great targeting by choosing podcasts that cater to different audiences.
Bottom right section
Finally, in case your customers are not actively looking for products similar to yours but they are quite specific, these are the channels for you.
Facebook and Instagram
Both Facebook and Instagram can work for a number of target audiences, regardless of whether the pool is broad or targeted.
LinkedIn is the biggest and most important network for business professionals today. Placing ads on LinkedIn may be good for some categories of B2B where the target customer uses LinkedIn to a high degree (e.g. recruiters). Otherwise, the scale is quite low.
Direct mail is one of the most precise marketing methods. However, you need to have a database of people that are good potential leads. Once you acquire these contacts, you should mail them and see what happens.
Outbound (calling and email)
This is another marketing method that is ‘old’ but precise. Again, a database is required and essential for it to work. Once your business acquires a list of prospects, you should proceed to call or email them.
Podcasts are growing fast, but you should target properly by choosing only the relevant podcasts.
There is a general belief that affiliate marketing drives generic visits at scale, but it all comes down to targeting. A commission is paid based on the clicks that were driven to your business’s website.
Marketing often comes down to experimenting with different channels and methods. And even though that can provide fantastic results, you don’t want to experiment all the time.
The marketing channels listed above are grouped in categories to help you choose the right strategy for your business. Some may work better than others, so try as many of them as you can according to the category your business falls under.