The way a business decides to market their product or service directly correlates with the level of success they will see. Every marketing decision made has the potential to positively or negatively impact the health of a business. This is what makes understanding marketing channels so imperative. By the end of this blog post, our hope is that you will have a better understanding of what a marketing channel is. We also hope you know what types of channels are available to you, as well as how to determine the right marketing channels to use for your business.
What is a Marketing Channel?
A marketing channel, also called a channel of distribution, is basically the method (or methods) you will use to get your product or service from production to distribution. In other words, how will you reach your audience? The methods that will work for you will largely be determined by the type of business you are running and by the demographic which makes up your target market. Once you define this, you can work to better understand the platform(s) that will help you find and connect with them.
It’s also important, when trying to understand marketing channels, to have a working knowledge of the concept of content marketing. This is the process of creating strategic content that you present to your target audience in a way that encourages them to take a specific action. Crafting quality content is an important step to ensure you make the best use of the marketing channels available to you. It will also help you be seen and recognized by search engines, which have access to your potential customers.
Now that you have a basic idea of what these two important terms mean, let’s take a closer look at some of the more common marketing channels. You are likely to encounter the channels below, and will want to consider including them in your marketing mix.
Perhaps the most common marketing channel businesses will use to advertise their products and/or services are websites. Having a website today is more important than ever, particularly being that so much business is done online. A well-crafted website will help your business in myriad ways. For one thing, it offers a sense of professionalism to your prospective clients. Additionally, it offers you a platform to answer any commonly asked questions about your business. Particularly, questions that might help you to vet out your most ideal clientele. It also gives your audience a way to find you through search engines. It is a direct landing site where they can learn more about you and what you do.
Websites also do not have to cost a fortune. There are many reliable platforms out there that will allow you to build your site at minimal costs and, in some cases, for free. How much you spend will likely be determined by how interactive you need your site to be, but you can certainly build a site for a relatively low cost. Ongoing costs (hosting, domain expenses, etc.) can run under $100 per year!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Your website is, however, essentially invisible without the implementation of some good SEO tactics. SEO is what drives search engines, such as Google, to direct traffic to your site by, boosting it to the top of the search results page. Jumping up a spot in the Google search results can increase your traffic exponentially! There are many ways to do just that. For one thing, write high-quality content on all of your pages. Then, provide links within your site that direct visitors to other pages internally.
Make sure your meta titles and descriptions accurately describe what each page on your site is about and that they include the keywords your target audience is using when they do a Google search. This helps Google more clearly understand why it should direct traffic to you, rather than somebody else. Including Alt text for each image on your site is another way to help Google (and other search engines) find you. Finally, make sure your website has good readability, loads quickly and is as accessible on mobile devices.
In addition to the SEO work you are doing on your own website, you can also engage in off-site SEO. List your business in online directories, making sure the information you post (address, business name, etc.) is consistent across the board. Create a Google My Business profile and link to your social media profiles. Additionally, guest post on other people’s sites (but make sure they are high-quality), and include backlinks to your site.
Videos are another great way to market your idea, service, or product. In fact, YouTube, the most well-known video directory, is the second-largest search engine on the web, behind Google. Why? Because people respond to video! Utilizing video marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start your own YouTube Channel (although it isn’t a bad idea). You can also post videos on your social media accounts. Additionally, use them as companions to your written blog posts and incorporate some of the SEO tactics previously mentioned to expand your video’s reach. The best part is, once you’ve made a video, the content is always there. It can be put to use later down the line!
Are you enjoying this post? If so, be sure to subscribe for occasional email updates from our team!
Social Media Marketing
Creating social media accounts for your business involves another great marketing channel to utilize. Setting up these accounts is typically free and can give you exposure to a wide audience of potential customers. That being said, it’s imperative you understand which practices make your social media accounts work for you, rather than against you. If you set up a social media account for your business, it’s important to have a regular posting schedule. This is because an inactive account can actually hurt your online reputation. There are some great free resources (Later, Buffer, etc.) to help you manage this. You can also hire a social media marketer to handle these services for you.
Choose only to create accounts on the platforms that will most benefit your business, and then work to understand the posting guidelines for each social media platform you intend to use. On some platforms, posting multiple times a day can be considered a negative, whereas it’s perfectly fine on other platforms. A quick Google search will typically help you understand the best practices for whichever platform(s) you wish to use. Including hashtags, and tagging other social media accounts, is also a great way to promote your business. One thing to look out for when implementing social media marketing is to make sure you aren’t advertising too much. This way, you won’t be flagged as a spammer and potentially booted off the site.
A podcast refers to one or a series of audio files which users can download, either for free or at a cost. Some of the more well-known platforms that host podcasts are Spotify, Google Podcasts and iTunes. One of the best benefits of podcasts are that they keep your subscribers consistently engaged as new episodes become available. The downside of podcasting is that, in order to produce the most high-quality recording, a studio space is usually best for production quality.
Pay-per-click advertising is a cost-effective way to offer more exposure to your company. The three main types of PPC advertising are search, display, and social. Search advertising is a method where your business runs an ad that pops up when a consumer searches something involving your industry. Display advertising works by monitoring people’s previous search results and strategically placing your ad on other pages the searcher is visiting. Social advertising works directly through social media platforms, allowing you to directly target your specific audience. The beauty of PPC advertising is that you only pay for the ad when somebody actually clicks on the link and gets the redirect to your website. This helps ensure you are only paying for real potential leads. This is as opposed to running an ad that might be seen by many people who aren’t necessarily interested in what you are offering.
Finally, email marketing is another extremely effective marketing channel you may want to build into your marketing plan. The most productive email lists grow organically. This means subscribers have opted-in on their own accord to receive your email marketing updates. Because your audience has already shown interest in your product or service, they are much more likely to become your customers. If you do choose to send email campaigns to your subscribers, make sure they are concise and to the point. Most audiences don’t have a very large attention span. Additionally, make sure they give your audience clear direction on the next action steps you want them to take. Ideally, your email should also be mobile-friendly, have short and catchy subject lines (40 characters or less), and include an opt-out option.
- How to Create an Email Marketing Funnel
- Craft an Effective Email Marketing Campaign
- How Does the CAN-SPAM Act Impact Your Email Marketing Strategy?
Now That You Know About Marketing Channels…
What’s next? Now it’s time to do the necessary research and put together the marketing plan to utilize these channels. Do this in a way that will best serve the needs of your company and put you front and center with your audience. Marketing your business can be fun, easy, and effective if you have the proper strategy in place.