Marketing

What Online Marketing Channel Should I Choose for My Business?

By October 14, 2018 No Comments

Opinions about which promotional method to choose for your business or which is the best promotional channel are like birthdays: everyone has one. But you probably noticed that what fits for a friend’s business might not work for your business. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to provide you with a simple, efficient and practical process to follow in order to discover the best promotion method for your business. We will also analyze some of the most popular channels and marketing methods at the moment and we will see WHEN, HOW and IF we can use them for our business.

What types of promotional channels do we have at our disposal

To be able to choose, we need to know the options first. So, now we’re going to review the main marketing channels and then we’ll see how we can prioritize them.

At a basic level, all methods and channels to promote a business can be classified into three main categories:

  • Paid channels;
  • Organic channels;
  • Virality (Recommendations);
Paid Channels Organic Channels Virality
Social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.) SEO Offline ads (TV, flyers, print, etc.)
Incorporated widgets Press Online ads (Facebook, Google Ads, YouTube)
Refferal programs Content marketing Affiliate marketing
Online videos App optimization in the App Store Promo campaigns with influencers
Participating actively in communities Free tools Radio
Contests Email marketing Retargeting
Other platform integration Building a community Ad networks
Crowdfunding Strategic partnerships Sponsors
Games, quizzes Guest posting Native ads

Once the more general categories and strategies are established, here we can come up with new tactics and more specific methods. For example, starting from building a community, we can find the following channels or promotional methods:

  • Creating a forum;
  • Create a Facebook group;
  • Creating a platform for questions and answers (such as Quora);
  • Create recurring, offline meetings

How to find the best promotional channel for your business

Finding the best promotional methods doesn’t have to be as difficult as you can imagine. At ClickWebDesign we realized that following the next simple process in 3 steps you will considerably increase your chances of finding promotional ideas suited to your business.

1) Defines the needs of the business model

You’re probably saying, “It’s simple: my business model needs sales.” Perfectly true, the end result is sales. But different business models will have different methods of attracting customers who match them. For example:

Let’s say your business is B2B (business-to-business) and trading industrial doors. It’s very likely that you need a sales team and a presence at various exhibitions in the field where agents can discuss face-to-face with potential customers. In this case, attracting traffic by investing in promotion on Facebook is not a solution with too much potential. On the other hand, an online shop with women’s accessories is an entirely different method of attracting customers.

The main need for this business model is to attract a larger amount of traffic, which is why optimizing for search engines and ads on Google Ads can have a higher net potential.

2) Priorities

As budgets do not allow us to invest in all promotional channels, we need a process of prioritizing them. Such an effective model starts from Brian Balfour, leader of the growth department at Hubspot, one of the largest content marketing platforms in the world.

It is based on 6 factors:

  • Cost — How much do you believe, you have to invest in each channel
  • Targeting — How easy do you think you can get to the target audience
  • Implementation time — How long does it take to test a specific marketing channel
  • Results measurement time — as long as you can tell whether a marketing channel is working or not.
  • The potential of the idea — if successful, what is the impact of the idea on business. Is it an idea that can bring us 1000 monthly clients or 10 customers?
  • Our confidence in the idea – what are the chances that this idea really works?

To each factor is assigned a note, from 1 to 10 – 1 being the least favorable score, and 10 being the most favorable score *.

* Attention. In some cases, such as the cost of the method, we will assign a large number if the costs are low. The number reflects how well that channel is in the perspective of the indicator. And when it comes to costs or difficulty in implementation, low costs and easy-to-implement ideas are the ones we like.

But to better understand how the whole process works, let’s take a practical example. Suppose you want to sell bio-laundry detergents for the kids. Our table would look like this.

Facebook

Cost – 6

How do we know what the cost is? Well, we’ve put the figure 6 from experience. But you will have to test and see exactly how much a click costs, prices ranging from niche to niche. You can start a campaign with a small budget of $25 – 50 to say, just to see what the cost is.

Targeting – 9

In this case, you can target very specific women or parents who have children aged between X and Y years, which is why we have given a very high note to this point.

Implementation Time – 9

If you have Facebook page and ad images created, you can start a mini-campaign within an hour or so.

Results Measurement Time – 9

Within hours of starting the campaign, clicks to the site may already come. So on the second – the third day you can see if it gives you sales or not.

The potential of the idea – 8

Because on Facebook, attention of people is big, the idea can have very high potential.

Our confidence in the idea – 7

Facebook is a channel that can generate a lot of exposure, but not necessarily sales. That’s because people are not on social networks to make decisions (such as buying detergents), but to avoid decisions, to relax and socialize.

Google Ads

Cost – 8

How do we know what the cost is? Well, that’s where I put the 6 from experience. However, as with Facebook, you will need to test and see exactly how much it costs you a click.

Again, you can start a campaign with a small budget, a maximum of $25 – 50 to say, just to see what the cost is.

Targeting – 10

Unlike Facebook, you can go more specifically here. In this case you can directly address people who are looking for bio detergents for children on Google.

Implementation Time – 10

You can start a Google Ad campaign even faster than one on Facebook. You only have to create an account and write a short text for an advertisement.

Results Measurement Time – 9

As with the Facebook campaign, within hours of starting the campaign, clicks can already come to the site.

The potential of the idea – 10

On Facebook, no matter how targeted you create your campaigns, people who see your ad may need your product, maybe not. Using Google Ads, you can be much sure that they’re already interested.

Our confidence in the idea – 10

The easiest way to sell anything is to find people who are already looking for your product or service. That’s why Google Ads is one of the first tools you should test if you know there’s a demand for that product.

SEO – Optimizing for search engines

Cost – 6

If you know how to optimize your own website, then put the figure 10 here. We have given 6, because Quality SEO optimization services are not even cheap. They start somewhere from 200 euros/month and depending on the competition it can take even 8-12 months to get to the first position.

So 6-8 months * approximately 200 euro/month = 1200-1600 euros.

Targeting – 10

As with Google Ads, your website will be found by interested people searching on Google bio detergents for children.

Implementation Time – 5

Search engine optimization is a process that lasts for months. And that’s usually continuous.

Results Measurement Time – 9

Earlier than 3 months, the chances that the site appears on Google on specific keywords are very weak. And for more competitive keywords, the results will appear after at least 5-6 months.

The potential of the idea – 10

If people are looking for your product (as it is in the case of baby detergents) and the site reaches its first positions in Google, the potential is enormous. Especially since you won’t pay for every click, like ads on Facebook or Google Ads.

Our confidence in the idea – 9

Search engine optimization is a continuous process that requires a lot of work and even creativity.

Creating a Community

Cost – 5

To create a community, you need content – whether it’s a forum, a Facebook group, or a discussion platform. And at first, until the community starts creating content, you’ll have to create it yourself. And that involves both financial and time costs.

Targeting – 9

In a community, there are usually people very interested in a particular subject. That’s why you can address yourself very specifically to the needs of those people.

Implementation Time – 5

Even a Facebook group takes a few months to grow to a few thousand members. That’s why Facebook or Google Ads – where the implementation time is up to one hour – here we have given a much smaller note.

Results Measurement Time – 5

A community is not just about gathering many people in one place, but building a relationship with them. And that’s done over time, and then the results will also be seen after quite a long time.

The potential of the idea – 10

The main reason people buy or do not buy a product is not money, but trust. And a community helps you gain people’s trust through a communication in both directions, a communication in which you can listen to people and receive feedback from them, unlike advertisements where communication is only one way.

Conclusion that we can draw after completing the table

Being at the beginning of the road, our business needs customers as quickly as possible. That’s why our priority list will be Google Ads and Facebook, and we’ll start investing in building a community in the near future.

List of the most popular channels and promotional methods and how you can use each

Google Ads Promotion

The Google Ads operation concept is very simple. You set a few keywords you want a Google ad to appear on, and when someone searches for those words, your ad will be displayed. This is why we use this promotional channel ONLY when there is demand for our product or service. You can use the Keyword Planner, a free tool from Google to estimate the number of search words that interest you.

Advantages:

Small implementation time

Measurement time of small results

Very precise targeting

Disadvantages:

Pretty big competition

You cannot use this channel if there is no demand for your product

Costs: Varies

Promoting on Facebook

Facebook lets you show a pretty specific advertisement based on people’s interests and behaviors. For example, you can show an advertisement for parents between 30 and 45 years old in London, who have children aged between 0 to 7 years old. However, as particularly as we can target a paid campaign, we cannot have the same certainty as Google Ads that people need our product or service. So the results may not necessarily be more favorable unless we use Google Ads.

With the effort to think of a viral campaign (which might work or may not), we can create a much more efficient paid campaign instead to gather emails, and then keep in touch with people for free.

Advantages:

Small implementation time

Measurement time of small results

Very precise targeting based on interests, demography and behaviors.

Disadvantages:

Pretty big competition

Quite high effort to implement the creative side well – text and images

Costs: Varies

SEO – Optimizing for search engines

A site optimized for search engines means that when someone searches for your product/service on Google (or other search engine), your website appears in the organic results. The difference is that investing in SEO is in the medium and long term. The results appear after months, not after a few hours, as with Google Ads. Instead, once your website reaches its first positions in Google, it’s one of the most cost-effective and efficient online promotional channels. If your business is at the beginning of the road and depends heavily on online sales, we do not recommend to invest from the beginning in SEO.

But once the business starts to have traction, SEO is among the first channels in which we recommend you channel your efforts and resources.

Advantages:

Precise targeting due to the clear intention of potential customers

Disadvantages:

High implementation time

High results measurement time

Quite high effort to implement the creative side well – text and images

Medium to large costs

Costs: from 150-200 euros per month

YouTube

YouTube is one of the top search engines that allows you to expose your business to more than 1 billion users logged-in monthly. The advantage of this channel is that users are inclined to spend much more time on this platform unlike Facebook, for example, where people want to immediately go to another post to find out “what’s new”. In principle, you can use this channel to sell anything (even a “boring” product), but you will need creativity, time and money. Maybe you’ve heard of the famous video from the Dollar Shave Club that has become viral, although it promotes a regular product. Well, although that video doesn’t seem very complicated, it cost a few thousand dollars to create it.

Advantages:

Precise targeting due to the clear intention of potential customers

Huge number of users on the platform

Disadvantages:

Medium-high implementation time

Great effort to create content

Costs: Varies

Referral marketing

Simply put, referral marketing is the classic “out of the question” promotion. The advantage being that each customer becomes the promoter of your business. The only difference to the offline environment is that in online we have more opportunities to encourage recommendations. Let’s say we have an accounting program like SMARTBILL. We can implement a system whereby if someone invites a friend, he has both him and his friend, X months of free use of the program. Of course, profit for the first year or the first 6 months may diminish, but we have attracted a new customer with almost $0.

online marketingAnother example that combines online with offline comes from Evernote, a program that helps you save and organize notes. They managed to transform most of the users into promoters, solving a problem of their own. As a Evernote user, you often get to be in a meeting, take notes on your phone or laptop, and your interlocutor feels uncomfortable because he thinks he’s not listening and that you’re actually sitting on Facebook or who knows what else you’re doing. Evernote has solved this problem in a very simple but ingenious way: a sticker that informs everyone that you are using a Notes program and do not sit and play.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t apply the same principle to an offline business. The simplest and least expensive method is to use a flyer that gives you an X% discount for both you and a friend.

Advantages:

Low cost (often even close to 0)

Increase credibility and default conversion rate

Disadvantages:

Costs: Varies

Google Display

Google Display promotion means that your ad (either a banner or just a simple text) will appear on other sites that have signed up on the Google Ads network based on different criteria you choose: keywords, industry, or you can choose directly the sites you want to promote. Here the main advantage would be the cost per click is much lower than Google Ads. This type of promotion is suitable for lead generation (i.e. for the collection of emails or other contact data), but it is seldom enough to complete a transaction. You will then have to return the visitor to the site several times through various means – email, re-targeting, advertisements etc.

Advantages:

Implementation time: Small

Results measurement time: Small

Low cost

Disadvantages:

Low conversion rate

Email Marketing

The email remains one of the most advantageous way to keep in touch with potential customers. First of all, it’s a cheap marketing channel, almost free. The only costs are those to attract visitors to the site that leave you the email address and the costs of a trading platform (MailChimp, Aweber etc). Secondly, it’s a channel over which you have much more control, unlike Google, where a search engine update can send your site to page 10.

Advantages:

Implementation time: Medium

Results measurement time: Small

Low cost

Disadvantages:

Increasingly congested inboxes leading to an increasingly smaller email opening rate

Costs: Reduced

Content marketing

Online, content marketing is the equivalent of the cute and smiling lady who sells clothes in a physical store. We all know her: a smiling, very friendly lady who wants to help us. It explains what material is the blouse we want to buy, gives us a brief comparison between that material and another material of a weaker quality, sometimes it advises us “what would it be like” that blouse. The principle is the same, the only difference is that in online world, the investment of effort and time to create quality content is quite large. However, the advantages are net superior to advertisements. Instead of attracting people with advertisements, you gain their trust by giving them free solutions to problems, and when they need a service or product you offer, they will choose you at the expense of competition.

Advantages:

Increase brand credibility

Significant conversion growth

Disadvantages:

Implementation time: High

Results measurement time: High

Costs: Large

Influencers

This method of promoting the site implies that a person who already has a significant audience will promote your product/service/website. The influence helps you fill that void of consumer uncertainty and your product or brand.  That’s why I can’t think of any firm that doesn’t fit this kind of promotion. But if your business is at the beginning of the road and you don’t even have a marketing budget of tens of thousands of euros, you probably think you don’t have enough resources to collaborate with a influencer and partially you’re right. You probably don’t have the resources to collaborate with Kim Kardashian.

But surely there are people in your niche who have already built a rather large audience, and although they may still not be at the level of “influencer”, I can offer your business exposure, but also more important than this, legitimacy and trust. Usually these little influences are in the same situation as you: they are at the beginning of the road, they have a decent audience, but not large enough to be able to collaborate with international brands. Therefore, such collaboration is ideal for them: they can increase their audience by offering your products free of charge, strengthen their relationship with their fans and benefit from your products/services free of charge.

Advantages:

Increase brand credibility

Significant increase in brand awareness

Disadvantages

Direct sales measurement is more difficult

Costs: Varies

Paid advertisements on other blogs/sites

Here the principle is the same as the promotion through Google Display, only in this case you negotiate directly with the owner of a blog/site to display your banner. For example, you can talk to a well-known blogger in your niche to display your banner for a specific monthly fee.

Advantages:

Low cost

Pretty specific targeting

Disadvantages:

The conversion rate is generally quite low

Costs: Reduced

Let’s recap

The first step to finding the marketing channel or the right way to promote yourself is to clearly define the needs of your business model. Then prioritize channels according to:

  • Cost
  • Targeting
  • Implementation time
  • Measurement time of results
  • The potential of the idea
  • Our confidence in the idea

Depending on the resources, start with 1, maximum 2 channels at a time.

P.S. If you liked this article, probably your friends will like it too.

Gabriel

Author Gabriel

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