Once upon a time, a marketer had a fairly select number of promotional channels to choose from. You could purchase a billboard, set up a booth at a convention, purchase television or radio ad space, or trust that old-faithful tactic, word-of-mouth marketing.
Two decades into the twenty-first century, though, things have dramatically changed. Suddenly the traditional marketing channels have been flooded by a slew of new options, like social media, PPC ads, and search engine optimization. If you’re suffering from a case of analysis paralysis, you’re in the majority at this point.
So, what’s a marketing team to do amidst all this multi-channel clutter? The short answer is to identify your best marketing channels and then chase them down.
The long answer? Well, that’s why you’re here, right? Let’s break it down.
The Era of Omnichannel Marketing
When sorting through the various marketing channels currently available, it’s important to begin by stepping back and taking in a 10,000-foot view look around. This can help you have a solid marketing philosophy and vision in place before you begin mapping out a specific strategy. Here are a few initial considerations you should have in mind before selecting your actual marketing channels.
Aim to Build an Omnichannel Experience
While you can adopt multiple marketing channels — i.e. multichannel marketing — that focus on your products from different angles, you also want to choose channels that can be woven into a complete customer experience — something known as omnichannel marketing.
This means you want each marketing channel to contribute to a customer journey that reaches the consumer on social media, television, at the store, basically wherever they are likely to be. It also means the customer can jump into the buying process virtually at any point in your omnichannel strategy.
Begin With Your Customers
The ability to focus on your customers involves personalizing your brand, voice, and marketing efforts for your particular customers’ wants and needs. Make sure to take time beforehand to study your particular target demographic in order to better identify which marketing channels will speak to them most effectively.
Lay the Data Groundwork
In addition to personalizing the customer experience, make sure to also set up data analytics in order to track the outcome of your efforts with each channel. Identify the key performance indicators that you want to analyze, such as cost per conversion or dwell time on a page, and then use that information to either tailor or even shift your approach entirely.
Of course, the question that still remains is how you pick what’s right for your own particular business. While it’s difficult to give a formulaic answer that will apply to every situation, the popular channels below are a great starting point to help you begin building an over-arching multichannel marketing strategy.
Pay Per Click
If you have a decent budget for your marketing efforts, utilizing Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing can be a great way to funnel traffic towards your site. Choose your keywords, create your ads, and then pay each time someone clicks on them using a search engine like Google or a social media platform like Facebook.
Social media is one of the hot marketing platforms that should be watched going into 2020. However, social media should be very carefully and thoughtfully adopted into your marketing strategy. For instance, you’re going to want to choose the right platforms:
- Facebook is for conversation.
- Twitter is for short, text-driven breaking news and current events.
- Pinterest and Instagram are for image-heavy content.
- LinkedIn focuses on professional and B2B connections.
Make sure you identify which platforms will help you reach your target demographic the most effectively.
In addition, social platforms should be used for more than just pushing products, promotions, and sales. They can also help you create engaging and visual content like videos, infographics, and memes. They can also help you provide quality customer service that can lead to repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Another hot marketing channel is the use of influencers. An influencer is a social personality with a large following. By collaborating with influencers you can have your products and services promoted to their followers — who will be much more interested in hearing about them from a trusted internet personality rather than from a salesperson or ad.
While influencer marketing can get pricey, if you’re a small to midsize business you can still effectively utilize micro-influencers (those with smaller audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 followers) at much lower rates.
Engagement is a huge focus in modern marketing. Whether you’re encouraging a consumer to view, comment, like, or interact in any other way, creating sources of engagement is nearly always a net positive for a marketing strategy.
Gamification is an excellent form of marketing engagement. By integrating game mechanics into a website or app you can instantly turn a humdrum experience into one that will be easily remembered by the customer.
Another 2020 marketing trend that is quickly developing is augmented reality. Incorporating augmented reality into your marketing is a great way to encourage customer engagement.
For instance, a couple of years ago Home Depot launched an AR app that allowed customers to see how things would look in their homes before they purchased them, thus meeting the customer’s need and encouraging them to make a purchase.
Blogs have been around practically since the beginning of the internet age. However, they’ve never been more critical to a company’s online footprint. Creating quality blog content can be an excellent marketing option that establishes a voice for an organization and can set up your company as an authority within your niche.
Audio is probably the only option not covered on this list yet. However, rather than going to old-school radio ads, many companies are opting to create podcasts. This affordable option can have a similar effect to blog content by establishing a healthy buzz around your business as an authority in your particular field.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has steadily changed along with the search engine algorithms, and its importance has only grown over time. Ensuring that your online content is optimized for search engines is a vital way to remain visible on search engine results pages (SERPs).
While SEO can feel overwhelming, there are several core concepts that can be easily followed, such as using keywords, including quality hyperlinks, and creating consistent and unique content that provides genuine value to the reader.
Creating a Marketing Strategy
While there are numerous options, these elite marketing channels are the cream of the crop heading into the third decade of the twenty-first century.
If you can cobble together a cohesive, omnichannel marketing strategy that utilizes the best options on this list (best for your particular scenario, that is) you’ll be able to equip yourself with a marketing strategy that allows you to reach your customers through all of the clutter and white noise.