10 Types of Marketing Channels Every Business Should Use
For many businesses, it’s important to grow awareness of your brand and reach potential customers as much as possible. The best way to do this? Investing in marketing channels that can reach the most people, whether you decide to choose traditional or online marketing options. Of course, there are dozens of different marketing channels out there, so it can be hard to know which ones are the most effective and have the biggest return on investment (ROI). Use this 10 types of marketing channels guide as your go-to reference any time you’re looking at investing in new forms of marketing.
1) Traditional Media
Radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. Traditional media plays a huge role in marketing, but it can also be extremely expensive. According to HubSpot , 69% of small businesses are using traditional media to promote their business. The main advantage of using traditional media is that your message will reach a large audience. The disadvantage is that you have little control over who sees your ad or how many times they see it. For example, if you place an ad on TV you don’t know whether people will watch it live or record it and watch later.
2) Direct mail advertising
Direct mail is an effective way to reach out to potential clients, especially those who are interested in your brand but don’t always have time to visit your store or website. It comes in different forms, such as flyers, postcards and newsletters. Although direct mail can be costly and time-consuming if you do it yourself, some companies offer mailing services that are relatively inexpensive. For example, Constant Contact offers basic e-mail marketing packages starting at $15 per month. MailChimp is another option for small businesses; its pricing starts at $20 per month for up to 2,000 subscribers.
3) Digital media
The rise of social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter has given consumers a new way to interact with companies in an informal setting. These platforms can be great for connecting with your existing customers, but they can also open up new opportunities for attracting potential clients. The digital realm is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, so don’t ignore it! If you have an online presence, make sure you have a plan to grow it. If you don’t yet have one, start by creating profiles on popular sites like LinkedIn or Pinterest and then use these channels to start building relationships with other professionals in your industry. You never know where these connections might lead!
4) Word of mouth
Everyone likes to talk about great experiences, both good and bad. This is a tried-and-true way to build your business through free word-of-mouth marketing. If you have an awesome product or service, people will tell their friends about it. And if you’re not doing something right—well, let’s just say that can get around too. When planning your marketing strategy, make sure you include ways for customers to share their positive experiences with others. Social media makes it easy for customers to recommend products and services on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social networks. You can also encourage them to review your products on third-party sites like Amazon or Yelp. In fact, many companies offer incentives for reviews—like gift cards or discounts—to help drive more traffic from these sites.
5) Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization helps you get found by potential customers searching on Google and other search engines. The goal is to rank as high as possible in unpaid results, so your business website appears at or near the top of search results when people search for relevant keywords. Using relevant key phrases in your site content and metadata will help both human users and search engines find your site. Search engine optimization is a long-term commitment—after all, you can’t change what you don’t measure!
6) Social media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all popular social media channels. These networks offer powerful ways to communicate with your customers in real time and provide you with a platform to showcase your brand’s personality and interact with your followers directly. It’s not just about posting on these platforms (although it is important), but also making sure you’re posting at strategic times so that they get in front of as many people as possible. This could mean posting during work hours when most of your audience is online or sharing content from one network on another. For example, if you have a lot of Pinterest followers, why not share some cool pins from your company’s Instagram account? Email marketing: Email marketing has been around for decades now, but there’s still no better way to reach your audience than through their inboxes—and it doesn’t hurt that email marketing comes with built-in analytics to help measure ROI.
7) Content generation
Once you have your marketing plan ready to go, it’s time to fill it up with material. Your social media, web and traditional advertising channels will all depend on timely content in order to be effective, so you’ll need a constant flow of creative ideas. If you can’t come up with them on your own, hire an in-house or freelance writer—someone who understands and loves your industry will always work better than someone you find cheaply online.
In an age when most people get their information through Internet searches and social media, infomercials might seem like a dated marketing channel. They may not be popular in your specific industry, but they still have something to offer—as long as you know what you’re doing. If you already have a large customer base in place, an infomercial is an effective way to reach more potential customers—but only if it’s well-done.
9) Live events
Whether it’s a conference or seminars, live events are an excellent way to build your brand and generate leads. An event allows you to interact with attendees in person and get immediate feedback. Live events are also a great way to stay top-of-mind with your customers—and they don’t require any money out of pocket other than the cost of producing them. If you haven’t already considered hosting one, give it some thought!
This is an obvious one, but I’d be remiss to exclude it. Podcasts are a fantastic way to educate yourself in your industry and meet potential customers who might need your product. If you aren’t sure where to start with podcasts, check out 10 Best Marketing Podcasts for Small Business Owners for some great recommendations that will help get you started.