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Marketing Channels: Effective Ways to Drive Growth

By: Chad M. Crabtree — October 22, 2021

‌With more consumer touchpoints than ever before, your company can reach target customers in a variety of ways. When creating your marketing plan, you likely outlined different strategies for various marketing channels. Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy for each channel can help you maximize your budget and effectively attract potential customers. Read on to learn the following:

  • ‌Why you should be using different marketing channels
  • ‌15 different marketing channels and how to use each one
  • ‌How to reach your marketing goals‌‌

Why You Should Be Using Different Marketing Channels

In the past, your company could effectively reach its target customers using few channels. You could run a TV or radio ad, and most of the people in your service area would see it. In the current market, people constantly see ads on nearly every platform. Even professional sports uniforms are branded.

Using multiple platforms is often more effective than spending your whole marketing budget in one place. It improves your brand awareness and lets you connect with more potential buyers.

Advertising needs to resonate with your target audience, or they might ignore it. Different marketing channels let you customize messages to select target audiences, which helps you effectively promote your product or service. Some of your customers might find you on a podcast, while others could stumble onto your blog through a social media share.

15 Different Marketing Channels and How To Use Each One

There are many low-cost marketing channels available these days. You will likely see a higher return on investment (ROI) running multiple campaigns that appeal to more than one target audience. To help meet your objectives more effectively, you should use multiple digital marketing channels — such as the examples below. ‌

Google search results for running shoes

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO involves tailoring all of your digital copy to help search engines find your company on the internet. When someone performs an internet search, Google and other search engines use different criteria to determine which websites offer the most credible results. Optimizing your website and other marketing tools for SEO helps put you on the first page of search results.

SEO enhances the customer experience — because your clients don’t have to scroll through multiple pages to find you. It helps interested people connect with your company as it generates better quality leads for you.

Enhance your SEO by building keywords and phrases into your website copy, social media posts, and content. Don’t stuff your content with keywords, or you won’t appear in search results. Instead, use them strategically. ‌

2. Email Marketing

Another popular, low-cost marketing channel is email. If your company is not using email marketing, you are missing an opportunity to enhance your relationship with clients. Email can be used to build brand awareness, generate word-of-mouth, cultivate leads, and more.

You can improve your email marketing by developing distinct goals for each email campaign. Use your website and other tools to build your list. In your email signature, include a call to action encouraging people to sign up for emails. Add a prominent contact form to your website with similar actionable language from your email signature.

Email newsletters can inform your customers about new products, restocked inventory, sales, and more. High-quality content can improve the chances of your customers sharing your newsletter with their contacts, which results in new leads for your company.

3. Social Media

Social media platforms — including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and even Reddit — are popular marketing channels for businesses in multiple industries. Social media shows no signs of slowing down with an estimated 4.48 billion global users in 2021. That’s more than 50% of all people in the world who can find your brand through their favorite platform.

You can use social media to build brand awareness and to maintain customer relationships. Including keywords in your posts and descriptions also improves your SEO.

To reach users organically, post about topics that are relevant to your target market and promote them with hashtags. You can also create sponsored posts. These posts look like your others — but they are actually low-cost ads. Target these ads to specific users based on their interests, location, or other criteria.

4. Pay-per-Click (PPC) Ads

Google search results pay per click ads

One way to beat SEO rules and get your website on the front page of searches is to pay for it. This practice is known as search engine marketing (SEM). Search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing offer PPC ad options. The cost depends on how many people click on the ad, and you can set a maximum budget.

Use tools like Google Ads to create taglines that encourage internet users to click on your ad. In the example below, Hail Professionals ran an ad with the header “Paintless Hail and Dent Repairs.” Even though the link is listed as an ad, its prominent location and effective use of keywords make users likely to click through. ‌‌

When running PPC ads, write meta descriptions that clearly communicate your benefit to potential customers. A meta description is the text located under the headline. Both the meta description and the headline help drive traffic to your site.‌

5. Your Company Website

Your website is your key marketing tool. It should look good and naturally engage visitors.

For example, a poorly designed landing page with no useful information can drive people off your site. An excellent landing page should be:

  • Easy to navigate
  • Laid out for readability
  • Optimized for SEO
  • Responsive on mobile

Anyone who lands on your website should find your contact information and details about your products and services with no trouble.

6. Content Marketing

Traditional marketing channels like billboards, TV ads, and newspaper ads were primarily developed as a way to push people into your business. Today’s target audience responds better to relationship building. They prefer to stick with brands they can trust.

Content marketing lets you establish a two-way relationship with your clients. You can interact with them through social media posts, and inform them about your product or service with well-crafted blog posts and videos. Occasionally, you can post non-branded content such as a link to an industry article or a partner company. Build your trustworthy image while providing value to your followers.

7. Customer Reviews

Word-of-mouth is still an effective marketing channel. These days, people can generate word-of-mouth online through customer reviews and testimonials.

Make the most of your happy clients by asking them to rate and review your business through Google, Yelp, or any other relevant platforms. Manage your online reviews with a Google My Business account. Simply create an account and claim your business, after which you can list your name, address, phone number, website, and hours. ‌

Resist the urge to delete negative reviews. Instead, reach out to the person who left the review and do what you can to improve the situation. If you can resolve it, respond to the review with your resolution. You won’t be able to win over every dissatisfied customer. In some cases, just accept the bad review and don’t be defensive. Your best option is to stay calm and avoid reacting.

8. Customer Referrals

Create even more word-of-mouth promotion with a customer referral program. You might think that this is similar to a customer review — but your referral program should be based on actual conversions.‌

Offer a discount or another incentive to people who refer others to your business to improve participation, but make it contingent on sales. If you offer a 5% discount for every referral, don’t let customers redeem it until the person they referred contacts you or buys something. Your referral program serves as a lead generator, and it lets you reward your most loyal customers.

9. Over-the-Top (OTT) Advertising

YouTube over the top video ad

OTT advertising refers to the ads that play over YouTube videos, websites, and other streaming platforms. If you’ve ever logged onto your local news website and had an ad pop up and start playing, you have seen OTT ads. They are more affordable than television spots and reach a targeted audience.

‌These ads are typically short. Many of them are skippable after a few seconds, so put the most important information upfront. Pricing for OTT ads is usually based on the number of times people click on the linked video.

10. Conferences and Trade Shows

Conferences and trade shows offer a variety of opportunities to sell your product or service to others in your industry or interested buyers.

You can opt to sponsor the conference and get your logo placed in various locations throughout the event. Or you can serve as a guest speaker, expert, or panelist — which lets you share your knowledge with attendees. For example, if you create cosmetics, sponsor a booth at an event like The Makeup Show. Appearing at this event introduces your brand to makeup artists and retail buyers.

Simply attending an event is a way to build brand awareness. Conferences and trade shows usually offer networking events at which you can collect business cards to add to your email list.

11. Livestreams

Hosting a livestream gives you the option to interact with them directly and answer questions in real-time. You can use Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and other platforms to host livestreams.

Use this marketing channel for product demonstrations, live question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions, or other promotions. Before you host a livestream, be sure to promote it in advance and encourage your followers to tune in. ‌‌

12. Influencer Marketing

If you want to elevate your brand awareness, consider partnering with an influencer. Pay an influencer to feature your product or service on their social media feed or YouTube channel. They are required to disclose that the promo is an ad, but this channel potentially gives you access to millions in your target audience. ‌

If you are a small business owner without the budget to pay an influencer, consider partnering with a micro-influencer. These types of influencers have a following of between 1,000 and 100,000. These personalities are usually more receptive to partnering. Some people see smaller influencers as more credible than social media personalities with millions of followers.

13. Print Advertising

Modern marketing strategies are widely centered around digital channels, but there can still be benefits in using print ads and other print media.

If you’ve opened a small business that relies heavily on foot traffic, consider placing stickers around the area or sending postcards to area residents. Use posters and flyers to promote special events or sales and draw people into your business.

14. Public Relations

Being covered by various media outlets — including your local news station, radio station, or digital newspaper — can improve your brand awareness and credibility.

Create press releases for new product launches, noteworthy events, significant hires, and other stories that would be timely and relevant. Just be aware that editors and other media personnel receive multiple pitches, so save your press releases for important details and events. Save public relations for marketing what is truly newsworthy. ‌

15. Case Studies

Case studies might not seem like a marketing channel, but they can improve sales by building your credibility. When one of your customers uses your product or service with outstanding success, share their story with others in a compelling way.

Interview your client and create a long-form article or blog post that highlights tangible results the customer achieved with your product or service. You can publish them on your website and promote them on social media. As your business grows, you might eventually be able to publish multiple case studies on a sub-page on your website. ‌‌

How To Reach Your Marketing Goals

The abundance of marketing channels available to your business can be dizzying, and you might not know where to begin.

To determine which marketing channel is best, assess your business plan and list your top priorities. If your main goal is to improve brand awareness, focus on marketing channels like social media and SEO. If your primary goal is to build a relationship with existing customers, focus on creating valuable content and meaningful social media engagement.

Compose.ly can help you reach your marketing goals. Our network of writers can tailor content to various marketing channels. We understand SEO practices and know exactly how to match your brand voice and tone. Contact us today to see how we can help you.


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