One of the hardest tasks you may face, as a business owner, is to drive sales to your company.
The longevity and future of your business relies on that one skill – knowing which strategies are worth your time and money.
It’s probably no surprise that this blog post was sparked by one of the most burning questions business owners ask me each week.
“What are the best marketing channels or strategies for my business?”
By understanding exactly what channels you should be using, you can get the best return on the time and money you invest.
Only by having a good understanding, of which channels you should be using, can you then be able to get the best return on the time and money you invest.
In this blog post, I want to share my thought process, and go through the 5 questions I use, to easily gauge which digital marketing channels I should be using.
No matter the industry you’re in or type of business you run, this is how to pick the best digital marketing channels for your business.
Your very first step is to clarify what your marketing goals are, right now, for your business.
Different channels are useful for different objectives. So your first step is to determine what you’re trying to achieve.
Personally, I think a lot of people overcomplicate this for themselves, which is why they don’t have a clear vision of what they’re trying to achieve.
Most businesses can simplify their marketing goals into either:
When we look at the range of marketing channels there are online, each one is typically better suited for some goals more than others. This is all based on how engaged people are with your business, when using different channels.
Let’s start with social media marketing. This is typically a great starting point for businesses looking to build their brand awareness or strengthen their customer relationships.
The reason why is because social media is a community driven form of marketing. Typically, people aren’t on social media to buy, but instead are looking for content or pages that provide entertainment or information.
This creates less friction, when trying to use social media to build brand awareness, but can cause problems when trying to convert them into sales.
That isn’t to say you can’t drive sales through social media, but rather that it is a less effective channel, than other digital marketing strategies you could action.
Now, let’s compare a different marketing channel, such as digital advertising.
Running online ads on places like Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram is typically an effective strategy for driving traffic to specific offers. It works better for converting more leads and sales, because you’re using the channel to reach people already engaged with your business.
Once again, this isn’t to say you can’t use digital advertising to build brand awareness, if you have the budget. In fact, we use brand awareness ads all the time, to spark initial interest with our client’s dream customers.
Instead, what I’m trying to explain is that understanding your specific marketing goals can help you pick which channels deserve more of your attention at this point in your business.
Match the marketing channels you focus on with your marketing goals.
The next most important thing to consider when picking your marketing channels is to think about where your target audience is online
You need to pick platforms and channels that actually match where your dream customers are hanging out, otherwise it just doesn’t make sense to be there.
It’s important to remember that different groups of people use different channels online, and some may even use the same channel in different ways. Not everyone uses the internet the same way.
For instance, an easy example would be looking at the types of people who use LinkedIn regularly compared to those who use TikTok regularly. Both are social media channels, but both have a different type of audience and subculture.
LinkedIn typically features a lot more professionals or business owners with most users ranging from late 20’s to early 50’s.
Now compare that with TikTok, which has a lot more casual content and a user base typically ranging from 15 to 30.
It’s also important that you consider the context of when or how people use each channel.
Let’s say your dream customers use both LinkedIn and TikTok. Although they may use both platforms, it’s likely they use them for different reasons, or would be in different frames of mind when using each.
For example, let’s say you sell fun, vibrant clothing.
It probably would make more sense for you to reach that audience when they’re in a more casual frame of mind. That means a platform such as TikTok may be better, rather than when they’re in a more professional frame of mind on LinkedIn.
If you’re unsure where to start, I recommend you do more market research.
Look into the breakdown of audiences across different platforms or channels.
There are numerous reports that come out each year with updated figures on the demographics and psychographics of users across different channels online.
Think about exactly who your target audience is. Ask yourself what channels or platforms they use frequently, and what frame of mind would make sense for you to reach them?
Next, you must consider what’s known as the customer journey or buyers cycle for your business.
This is the specific journey that each of your customers goes through, from a complete stranger to an eager, paying customer.
It’s an important step to consider, because before your customers become actual customers, they’re using the internet to research their problems and learn about your business
Your target audience is using different channels to move closer towards a buying decision, which means you want to try and situate yourself in those places along their customer journey.
For example, if you’re a local home builder, do your customers just call you up out of the blue to build their dream home? Of course not!
They likely head to Google, search for local home builders, read through reviews, look at each company’s website, and try to weigh up their options.
From there, they might head over to Facebook and ask their friends or family for recommendations. They may even ask on local Facebook Groups for opinions on local home builders to see what others say.
Finally they might even search through Instagram. They’ll search through different companies’ pages to see what types of houses they’ve built recently and if it matches their design style.
This is exactly how many of us learn, research and make decisions about who we buy from. That means the same exact thing is happening for your own customers.
By understanding the places your customers are visiting along their customer journey, you can work backwards. You can work backwards and try to pick channels that fit that journey.
So, think about their customer journey and each channel they might visit. Then, try to build those channels into your overall digital marketing strategy.
Often when you’re starting your business or on your pathway of growth, you may be wearing a range of different hats.
The service provider, product developer, marketer, accountant, customer service rep, IT specialist, and more.
You don’t always have the capacity to be online 24/7 marketing your business, which means you need to be effective with the channels you do decide to use.
The fourth step I want you to consider is what is your own capacity, and how much time or resources you can dedicate to digital marketing?
We can’t all write 3 blog posts, film 2 videos, host a podcast, post across 10 different social media platforms and send out an email newsletter every week.
Perhaps in time when you grow, but right now you also have other responsibilities.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post online or do any form of digital marketing. You may very well have the capacity to write a blog post, film a video and post to social media three times each week.
What I’m trying to say is, if that’s your capacity and all you can do right now, start there.
Firstly, I think we get caught up with how frequently we all consume content these days. Sometimes it just isn’t practical for you to run your business and put out a mass amount of content, and that’s okay.
Accept that your capacity or resources aren’t at a stage where you can dedicate a team member solely to marketing.
Instead, let’s focus on what you can achieve within your constraints and get the best results.
Pick channels and strategies that will give you the greatest impact for reaching your dream customers and achieving your marketing goals.
Also, look for ways that you can be more efficient with each minute you can dedicate to your digital marketing. Whether it’s cross-posting across different channels, planning and scheduling ahead of time, or repurposing different types of content.
Each tool or method you can use to get more out of your time with marketing, the more you can achieve for your business.
Finally, if you’re still feeling unsure about how to pick the best digital marketing channels for your business, here’s a final step.
Look to your competitors or other similar businesses in your industry, and try to identify potential channels they are getting results with.
Typically, these businesses are going after the same, or a similar, group of people that you are.
What this means for you is that any channels that they’re using and getting good results with, may also be worth using for your own business.
Now, I want to make sure you understand. This doesn’t mean blatantly copying every detail or thing your competition is doing.
It’s important you still have the unique feeling and identity of your own brand, rather than just trying to be your competition.
However, this step allows you to gauge whether there are other channels you may have overlooked, that your competition is already tapping into.
For example, if you have competitors who are already on Instagram and are getting a lot of engagement, that may be a great starting point for you to also pick up that channel.
Take a look at what results they’re getting for that channel. For social media, you can measure their engagement rates. Are they getting a lot of interactions from their followers?
You can even look into tools such as SEM Rush or SE Ranking to learn more about where your competitors website traffic is coming from.
Keep a close eye on what’s working for them and use it as a measuring stick to see any potential channels you’re missing or could start to include in your marketing mix.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when considering how to market your business online.
However, I hope these 5 questions help you weigh up your options, and find the best channels or strategies for your specific business.
My final piece of advice is to make it a regular habit to learn about what channels are leading to the most revenue or results for your business.
By constantly reviewing what’s actually helping your business grow, you can put more time, energy, and money into those channels.
If you’re still looking for help with marketing your business online, why not book a free 30-minutes strategy session with our team!