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Transforming The Customer Experience

How to Identify Top Marketing Channels for Your Business

Posted May 9, 2019 8:00:00 AM

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Small business owners are often inundated with advice and advertisements for various tools and solutions. There are so many options out there that it’s hard to sort which elements are essential for your brand and which ones you don’t really need.

This variety of options is especially common in the marketing world.

What does your business really need to succeed? With so many marketing channels out there, which ones should you choose?  

We are here to provide some clarity to the situation. Here is how you can sort through various marketing channels to find the ones that best work for you along with 14 options at your fingertips.  

How to Pick the Best Marketing Channels

The best way to identify top marketing channels for your brand is to evaluate your options and test different strategies. You don’t have to commit to a marketing strategy that will last for several years or invest thousands of dollars into a tactic right away. The best way to select a marketing channel is to run a small test and see if the results merit further exploration.

Use the following tips to identify the top marketing channels for your brand to try.

  1. See what others in your industry are doing. Look for companies with a similar size, demographics, products, and services and see how they use marketing channels.
  2. Read marketing blogs and attend industry conferences. Learn what people are excited about and what is the next frontier of marketing.
  3. Only test one new marketing channel at a time. This way you can see the direct impact of your marketing efforts without wondering where the success is coming from.
  4. Set aside a test budget with a designated test window. Limit your test to three to six months at first to see if the marketing efforts gain any traction. Create clear goals for how you would define success during this period.
  5. Try different types of content or promotions during this test period. The channel might work but your message might be off.  

If you try two or three new marketing channels over the course of a year, you might find one that really works for your brand and one that doesn’t help your business at all. However, you will only know which one is which if you try them both out.  

The Top 14 Marketing Channels To Try

There are dozens of marketing channels available to your brand. Below are our top 14 choices that small businesses use to promote their services. See which ones are new to you and which ones you want to try.  

  1. Social Media: Social media is a diverse marketing channel. You can promote your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and more. You can also choose between paid and organic social sharing, get involved in groups, and work with influencers. Social media is really an umbrella marketing channel for various smaller options.
  2. Paid Promotions: Pay-per-click ads are found on Google, Bing, and across the web. You can spend as little as $10 per day on these ads or grow your ad presence to the point where you are spending hundreds.  
  3. Email Marketing: Email marketing is incredibly effective if you have a list of customer contact information. However, this list often takes time to build. It may take you several months to gather a large enough list to reach an audience size that you want.  
  4. Text Marketing: Text marketing is similar to email marketing in that you need customer data to execute it. However, text marketing has high open rates and is popular with younger audiences who use their phones more.
  5. Photo and Video Marketing: You will likely invest in photo or video marketing if you use these other channels. High-quality visuals are appealing on social media and encourage customers to convert. Video marketing is incredibly popular on social media.
  6. Referral Marketing: Many businesses rely on referrals to grow. They offer incentives to customers who refer their friends to encourage them to promote their brand. This is particularly important for restaurants, spas, medical specialists, and other small business types.
  7. Company and Product Reviews: Customer reviews are a type of digital referral marketing. By updating pages on sites like Yelp and Google, people can find your brand easily and read or leave reviews.
  8. Influencer Marketing: This is the process of working with community leaders or local celebrities to promote your brand. This marketing tactic may take time as you find the right influencer for your brand.
  9. Public Relations: Public relations has been around for more than a century. Use relevant news hooks and interesting stories to garner media interest in your brand.
  10. TV and Radio Advertising: These marketing channels reach thousands of people and are ideal for targeting older, less tech-savvy audiences.   
  11. Print Media: Print media taps into both traditional paid advertising and public relations. Look for small local newspapers and niche magazines to work with if you have a smaller budget.
  12. Event Sponsorship: Helping local community groups, sports teams, and nonprofits is a great way to give back while promoting your brand. Sponsor these organizations and see if it pays off.  
  13. Branded Giveaways: Many companies create “swag” for their brands in the form of t-shirts, mugs, pens, or other useful gadgets. Consider printing these to grow your brand awareness.
  14. In-Store Marketing: Bringing people into your store is only the first part. What do you do when they get there? In-store marketing helps customers navigate the shopping experience until they buy.

There are plenty of marketing strategies and tactics on this list for you to try with your brand.

Remember, as tempting as it is to try multiple tactics at once, only debut one new strategy at a time so you can see what kind of impact it has on your business.

Outline a Content Plan for Your Top Marketing Channels

Once you identify the top marketing channels you want to use in your promotional strategies, lay out a plan. Download our free content calendar and start outlining plans for all of the marketing channels available to you.