Which marketing channels to use

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When looking into how to communicate with your audience, getting your message out there, the question is not really which marketing channels to use, but which mix of marketing channels will give you the best results for your money.

For many start ups and small businesses word of mouth and networking can be a great way to get started, but backing that up with the right messages, in the right places, is essential to gain real momentum.

Even if you’re cold calling, warming up your targets and making them aware of your brand and product in the backs of their minds before hitting them with your sales banter can leave your customers much more open to an approach and the subsequent sale.


Channel choosing

With so many to choose from knowing which marketing channels fit with your needs and with the needs of the target audience that you’ve carefully profiled can seem daunting, but splitting it down into bite sized chunks can help.

First you can split down by online channels and offline channels. And from here you can look at how targeted each medium is, compare this with the actual cost and see whether it gives value for money.


Online channels

The four main channels you’ll be looking at when choosing for your marketing strategy are:

  • SEO
  • Social
  • Email
  • Paid search / PPC

In addition to these channels it’s also important here to consider the devices on which your audience is likely to view your selected media – on their mobiles, tablets, desktop or laptop.


Offline media

There are many types of offline media, but these fall broadly into:

  • Advertising – print (papers and magazines), broadcast (radio and TV), outdoor (billboards and bus sides)
  • Direct mail
  • PR

Within each of these areas you can break down further – with advertising looking at newspapers and magazines – whether local, regional, national or trade – as well as other printed matter and PR including events, networking and more.

You can learn more about offline marketing here.


Getting the mix

Choosing your channels will have as much to do with your budget as your audience and so getting in touch with local representatives for each medium is essential. You can also use a marketing agency to do this for you – they should have a network of contacts already, as well as insight into which channel best suits your market.

You’ll need to look at:

  • Reach
  • Audience profile
  • Geography
  • Cost

You’ll be able to overlay these details with the work you’ve done on your own audience profiling to see whether it matches and, just as importantly, what the wastage is.  For instance, if you’re looking to advertise in Norwich and you’re looking at local TV for East Anglia what percentage of that channel’s footprint does not fit with your geographical area?  If it’s a large amount you may wish to consider more localised radio, which will be less expensive and could be more targeted.

Targeting can be much easier with online marketing channels but reinforcing your messaging with an integrated, or omnichannel, approach has a much better effect. In fact, unless you’re marketing to just one person, your strategy will need to include several channels just to make sure you reach the majority of your target audience.


Test and learn

Throughout your marketing strategy keeping it fluid and taking a test and learn approach will help to ensure your success. You can do this by splitting your approach – as long as you split fairly and equally between your segments – and testing channels or mixes of them against each other, you can also choose to test your messaging in this way as well. Make sure that you’re not skewing results by testing too many elements at any one time though.

Keeping your strategy fluid will also help you stay on top of changes in the marketplace as they happen. Events and seasonal changes may warrant a different approach, as could new competition joining the area.


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