A Guide to Marketing Channels: Essential Tools, Strategies, and Tips
With an abundance of marketing channel options, finding the channels that best fit your brand and industry isn't simple - but it is essential to effectively advertise your products or services to the right people and ensure ROI for your time and money.
A marketing channel is any "place" where you market or promote your product or service. The options are virtually endless for any industry, including paid and organic promotion. Using various channels can help to expand your reach, attract more leads and make more sales.
Whilst outbound marketing channels, such as TV commercials or cold-calling, can suit some industries, inbound marketing channels are where businesses should focus their attention. As we spend more and more time online, inbound marketing channels such as content marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media are fast becoming the most effective ways to reach and attract qualified and engaged audiences. However, that doesn't mean you can start posting ads all over the internet and expect them to convert. Inbound marketing takes careful targeting and expert execution to bring new clients your way.
We've referenced some of the industry's best tools to help give you a leg up on your competitors and master these primary marketing channels.
Creating valuable and informative content is one of the best ways to bring new prospects to your website. Blogging on your website is a great way to share expert content which answers your ideal customer's most pressing questions. When they discover that you have a solution to their problem, they're already on your website and ready to purchase. That said, exceptional content marketing isn't just sales driven. Creating content for every customer type can foster deeper customer relationships over time; your content should be different for people just learning about your industry compared to existing customers looking for support. If your website offers authoritative content, you can become an industry leader and, over time, perhaps a household name.
Once you have great content, buying sponsored space on high-authority publication websites is a great way to direct new traffic to your website. You can also reach out to journalists with relevant stories to feature your product or service. Subscribing to the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) newsletter can present plenty of journalists looking for quotes from business owners like you!
Stuck at the first hurdle and not sure what to write? Tools like BuzzSumo and Answer the Public can help you find new topics that customers are interested in right now.
Content marketing is a cornerstone of an organic search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy. Writing or designing helpful content that answers people's Google search queries can inspire them to click on your website. However, content marketing goes beyond what happens on your website.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO can help you attract new customers through search engine results on Google, Bing, or other similar sites. Many factors go into SEO, including site speed, internal linking and mobile optimisation, to name a few.
Great SEO is not about content alone. While great content can help your website rank for specific keywords, you'll have a tough time ranking well if you aren't working on your website's overall user experience. Improving your website's functions can help your content perform better in search engine results and bring new customers to your website.
Targeting the right keywords is a central aspect of successful SEO. Tools like SEMrush can help you find the right keywords to target with the right balance of monthly traffic, competitiveness and relevance for your audience.
If you want to get to the top of search engine result pages faster, you can invest in pay-per-click (PPC). PPC advertising is creating ads to help your website appear against particular search terms. However, spending time testing your PPC ads' success can quickly add up, especially for more general search queries. Tools like WordStream can help you create effective PPC campaigns and save you money on testing.
While organic SEO may take a while to attract substantial visitors, PR can help your website rank faster and pull in traffic sooner. Sponsored content on a popular website or an influencer's blog will link back to your site. Credible links back to your website show Google that your site is an authority in your industry, leading to higher rankings.
One of the seamless ways to create credible links to your content is through social media channels.
Social media is one of the best ways to engage in your customers' conversations; it enables you to participate with your customers, and attract new ones, in real-time. Social listening, with tools like Brandwatch or Agorapulse, is a powerful strategy that can help you see what your audience is interested in and write content that speaks precisely to them. It also gives you a leg up on customer service, if managed well.
One of the benefits of social media is the seamless branding between paid social advertising and your organic account content. Social media allows you to hone in on a brand voice and presentation style that works for you and your customers. The better you understand your customers, the better you can target them in content and paid media ads. Optimise your advertising budget by presenting highly targeted ads on social platforms. Much like WordStream for PPC, a tool like Qwaya can help you save time testing your social ads and get the best bang for your buck.
Social media sites are also a great place to use influencer partnerships. Offering discounted merchandise to influencers, or paying them for posts, can help introduce your brand to new audiences. Just make sure the influencers you choose to work with have a demographic that matches your ideal audience! Tools like AspireIQ can help you discover influencers that fit your brand to expand your product or service's reach.
You will need to be mindful that each social media platform has different terms and conditions and there are legal rules on disclosing influencer marketing as paid advertisements. Navigate these risks by working with professional influencers, or create organic partnerships with others in similar industries, to gain the benefits of alliances and PR without getting your social accounts suspended.
How to choose marketing channels
Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy can be tricky if you're starting a new business. Finding the best channels for your business comes down to knowing your audience, creating detailed audience personas and learning where your audience spends their time. Attracting new customers precisely when they're thinking about your services is the key to inbound marketing - choosing the right marketing channels can help you do that. It can be tempting to try to jump into all of them at once. Instead, focus on choosing a few central channels and provide value to your clients through top-notch content. Adding in paid acquisition and partnerships can help you drive even more business with the work you're already doing on each respective channel.
With the right marketing channel tools, you can transform your marketing efforts, without taking hours out of your day, and engage more effectively with customers worldwide.
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