We’re finally on the next to last step of our 5 part branding strategy series! In today’s installment of our blog, we’re going over how to choose the right marketing channel. With all of the new forms of communication, it’s become more important than ever to choose the proper way to communicate your marketing message to your current (and potential) customers.
How to Choose the Right Marketing Channel
Magazines, TV, radio, social media, loyalty cards, email, standard mail, billboards… there are literally hundreds of ways to communicate with your customers. As a business, it’s important to have a good brand recognition by utilizing multiple channels, but it’s more important that you understand a few channels well. Trying to master them all is not only extremely hard to do, it is also a fast way to get stuck in a rut. You need to discover the channels that are relevant to your audience and focus on those.
Remember back to our first blog in this series, “Know Your Audience“. That blog is the first step in building a brand strategy because it ties into every single step of your marketing plan. Here, in choosing a channel, it’s equally important. Again, you may have to ask yourself some questions.
- Where does my audience spend the majority of their time? List the top places that you could connect with your audience. It could be on social media platforms, at community events, or at work. Imagine you are spending a day, or a week, in their shoes and you’ll start to identify places you can reach them with your message.
- How do they get their information? Not only do we care about where our audience gets their information, but also about who they trust and the formats they prefer. Some people like to listen to podcasts while they drive to work, some like to sit down with a newspaper over their morning coffee, and others like to consult with a trusted advisor or friend. Answering this question helps you identify the format – i.e. webinars, live events, testimonials – so your audience is more likely to be receptive to your message.
What are Your Capabilities
Take into consideration your capabilities and resources. Some channels are going to have a bit of a learning curve and may require additional investment. For example, ebooks take lots of time to create and are only effective when you have a larger content strategy backing them up. The whole process takes a lot of time, which ‘can’ cost you money. TV and radio are also expensive options. However, many channels are still free, and some options allow you to capture leads, then nurture them via email and by your sales team. Check out these cool data capturing ideas! You can do most of this for FREE.
If it’s not in your current skill set to use a specific channel or create the content for a channel, ask yourself if it should be. Maybe it’s worth investing in. If not, you can try a scaled-down version for a specific campaign. For example, does your landing page have a ‘data capture form’? Look at the example below.
Additionally, look for complimentary channels and don’t be afraid to repurpose the content you create. Say you’ve decided to create a video, highlighting your specific services. You can use that video on your website, or YouTube channel, but you can also use still shots from the video and post them to Instagram, or Facebook. You can use the content from the video and create an email, updating the clients of your businesses services. There is always more than one way to use the content you create, allowing you to capture a broad audience.
Keeping it In Your Budget
Billboards and direct mail may be effective options for your audience, but they can be expensive and hard to change on the fly. Advanced automated advertising and custom websites are stunning but can be pricey. How do you manage your marketing budget?
If you like billboards or direct mail, you could shave costs by targeting very specific neighborhoods and households with flyers and cold calls. It’s harder work, but effective, and at a fraction of the cost. If you know your audience is always online, you could spend your website budget on a few highly functional, visually appealing pages, instead of making a large site that’s harder to manage. When it comes to online advertising, quality means more than quantity.
Don’t forget that consistency and longevity are winners in the marketing world. We’ve found that spending hundreds of dollars on week-long social media campaigns, only gives you a temporary boost in traffic. A lot of this traffic may not even be your target audience. With this in mind, you can get long-term engagement and better leads by consistently posting good, relevant content.
When in doubt, try it out! If you’re still feeling timid about trying an unfamiliar channel, try a small test and track the results. Just remember; always start by looking at your current accounts. How are you ‘effectively communicating with your current customers? The answer to this question might point you in the right direction when choosing a channel to focus on.