The world of marketing is growing at an incredibly rapid pace. There used to be only a handful of digital marketing channels to choose from, but now there are more than a dozen, with new marketing channels being added seemingly daily.
How can you manage them all? It is easy to get overwhelmed by trying everything, which can result in you and your business getting stuck in a tactic-of-the-day rut.
The key to really being successful in channel marketing is not to allow yourself to get overloaded by trying each channel. Instead, focus on perfecting and leveraging one channel over the rest. Your goal should be to get very, very good at attracting clients from just a few of these channels.
You know how the saying goes: A jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. You want to become a master marketer.
First, Identify All Available Channels
Today, I see 16 main marketing channels available to the small business owner. Many of these have come about in just the last decade or so.
- Referral Marketing — This includes intentional word-of-mouth activities, viral tactics as well as intentional referral generation.
- Public Relations — This includes activities aimed at receiving coverage in traditional media outlets.
- Online Advertising — This includes the use of pay-per-click platforms, social networks, display ads and retargeting.
- Offline Advertising — This includes advertising in offline print and broadcast outlets such as magazine, TV and radio.
- Content Marketing — This includes publishing, optimizing and sharing educational content that draws search traffic, links and subscribers.
- Sales Playbooks – This includes the creation of specific actions aimed at mining, generating, nurturing and converting leads.
- Email Marketing — This includes the use of targeted and automated email campaigns based on conversion actions.
- Utility Marketing — This includes the creation of useful tools that stimulate traffic, sharing and brand awareness.
- Influencer Marketing — This includes the practice of building relationships with individuals and outlets that can influence pre-established communities.
- Search Engine Optimization — This includes on-page and off-page optimization activities aimed at generating organic search engine traffic.
- Partner Marketing — This includes co-marketing activities run in collaboration with strategic marketing partners.
- Social Media Marketing — This includes the act of building engagement on established platforms and networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as targeted industry platforms.
- Online Events — This includes events such as webinars, demonstrations and workshops conducted using online tools.
- Offline Events — This includes events such as workshops, demonstrations, seminars, trade shows, showcases and customer appreciation events.
- Speaking Engagements — This includes the appearance of company representatives in sponsored speaking engagements at events such as industry conferences.
- Community Building — This includes the intentional act of building and facilitating a community around a shared interest or topic related to the organization’s industry.
All 16 of these channels have their benefits and costs, and all of them can serve a particular audience or business very well if used correctly. You want to identify each tactic and recognize what it can (or in many cases, can’t) bring to your business.
Next, Eliminate the Pretenders
In my mind, the scattered and fractured nature of new and evolving channels is the cause of a great deal of stalled growth for many businesses. Trying to jump into every new channel just leads to frustration—particularly when many of these channels show little promise for the unique objectives of most businesses.
Begin by saying no. You can’t, and shouldn’t, spend your time and energy pursuing all of these channels. It is far more effective to find a primary channel and do whatever you can to amplify your efforts.
When you view a new channel as just another way to grow, you run the risk of muting the success you’ve already created.
Then, Add Channel Leverage
Instead of adding something new by exploring a new channel, use the new channel to build upon your previous success.
Say your business focuses mainly on sales (as do most small businesses.) As you gain traction, your sales will eventually plateau. You don’t want to change up the game at this point, but how can you use a new channel to boost up your sales team?
What if you looked at content marketing as a way to make your sales efforts more effective? What if you armed your sales team with customer videos and research data in the form of infographics?
Using the channels together can be exactly the boost your sales team needs.
Finally, Optimize Your Efforts
Because every channel you use is now working toward your main channel, you can tinker with each piece to optimize for profit.
Eventually, you’ll start to test and hypothesize inside of new channels in ways that are not just focused on growth, but on profit.
You’ll begin to obsess not over new shiny objects, but on things like conversion rate optimization and its very close cousin: profit.
Which channels have resulted in the greatest success rates for your business? Share in the comments section.