Selecting the Best Marketing Channel

Selecting the Best Marketing Channel

Mark Twain once wrote, “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” The problem is, many advertisers are not completely certain of where to put their dollars. The marketing options for small businesses have never been greater, which makes the choices that much more difficult.

It’s important to first ask yourself a few simple questions:

Where is Your Audience?

Take a look at who’s usually in your store or giving your business phone calls. Create a few profiles from your customer base.  It can be a helpful exercise to give these profiles human names and specific descriptors to personify them. Include demographic information (age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, household income, living arrangement) interests, purchase behavior, challenges, life priorities, etc. All this will help keep your focus on your specific audience.

Now take this a step further and consider where your profile customers get their news, how they socialize, what message is most impactful to them, how necessary online reviews are, etc.  Once you understand who you are trying to reach, it’s much easier to determine where they are and how to build a relationship with them.

What Are Your Goals?

It’s important to realize that goals might change year-to-year or even quarter-to-quarter. Many times advertisers just wish to get their name out there or have it stay top-of-mind. These are considered brand campaigns. Other times, you want actions – make more sales, get more foot traffic, generate better leads, reduce the cost of a sale, gain market share. Considering what your end goal is will help you get a better idea of how to measure the success of your marketing campaign.

What Does Your Buying Cycle Look Like?

One key marketing component to consider is the gravity of the buying decision. Consider a car or a home purchase. Much time and energy is placed in the research and buying decision and these consumers will consult a myriad of resources before making a move.

On the other hand, the vast majority of a consumer’s buying decisions require much less work on the buyer’s part. I buy Tide because my mom always bought Tide. I drink 2% milk because it’s a good balance. I buy black hair ties because that’s what’s normal. These purchasing decisions go off of rules that are somewhat unconscious in our psyche, and consumers seldom question them.

Most purchases fall somewhere in between real estate and laundry detergent, but by mapping out the purchase cycle for each of your profiles, you can begin to understand where the marketing opportunity lies.

What are the Channels to Consider?

Online Display Advertising – Display advertising or banner ads are really strong for brand campaigns or when promoting an event, sale or product launch. This metric has the lowest engagement rate, but is also the lowest price. Many times if you back into the numbers though, you’ll find that it might have the lowest cost per conversion or cost per click.

Video Marketing – This channel is the most impactful as it shares your message with sound, image and motion. Video marketing is the best way to explain highly emotional, sophisticated or complex products or services. Think real estate for a premier gated community, a luxury sports car or the Apple watch.

Print Advertising – Print advertising was one of the first traditional media channels to see changes from the digital age. While the subscription numbers wean, the audience is affluent, loyal and consistent. If your industry is trying to reach this audience (and who’s not!) this is a great solution. Print advertising has also become more affordable than ever and, logically, more targeted.

Search Marketing – This is one of the most effective mediums for gaining users with intent. You’re meeting prospective customers when they’re looking for you and your competitors. They came to Google with a problem or question. Be their solution.

Television – Many long-time TV advertisers will tell you this medium gives you exactly what you pay for. To really make it work, you need to pay top dollar for premium spots. Become familiar with viewership numbers and ratings.

Radio – Local advertisers continue to see strong results from radio advertising, particularly when their good or service is one that requires endorsement. This is why medical services, aesthetics and service industries use radio advertising.

Outdoor Advertising – Billboards and directional can be advantageous when you’re trying to catch the attention of a hyper-local audience. They’re particularly useful when spreading the news on something like an event or new business.

About the Author: After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Marketing, Lindsay MacDonnell started working in search, specializing in ecommerce SEO. She joined Statesman Media in 2013 as a Digital Media Specialist and manages the paid search and B2B marketing. Connect with Lindsay!