How to choose online marketing channels

By July 19, 2011 No Comments

Choosing the channels to use in your online marketing strategy can be a struggle. You can’t only have one. You need the right mix which is appropriate for your business, your industry and your budget. You also need to know what ROI you can expect from each channel. So I’m going to give you some information that will hopefully help you make the right decision.

Online marketing channels

Let’s start by looking at all the channels and what they consist of.

– Search engine optimisation (SEO) or natural search: improve the ranking of your website in search engines by optimising keyword usage, link building and creating fresh and relevant content.

– Pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search: pay to have your ad displayed by search engines. It requires a thorough keyword analysis and careful budget planning but can be very efficient.

– Display advertising: pay to have your ad displayed on third-parties’ websites, usually banners, videos or animated ads to attract users attention.

– E-mail marketing: attract new visitors and encourage repeat visits through opt-in email advertising (not spam!). Emails are particularly good to increase engagement with existing customers.

– Affiliate marketing: offer an incentive to other sites to push your product or drive traffic to your site in exchange for a commission.

– Social media: social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs…) are powerful to increase visibility and traffic.

– Online public relations: a good press release sent to the right online magazines and blogs will bring visibility and traffic to your site.

5 tips to choose the right mix of channels

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to know which channel you need to use and in what proportion. It depends on too many factors which are specific to your business. But I can give you some tips to guide you.

1. Find the balance between resources, time and ROI – Carefully consider the balance between financial resources, the time spent on a particular channel and the expected return on investment. If you have the resources to invest heavily in one or two channels, it’s great, but make sure that it’s going to be profitable for your business.

2. Start slow – There is no need to invest heavily in one particular channel if you don’t really know what impact it’s going to have. Start slow and adjust later when you have a better understanding of this channel can do for your business.

3. Always keep in mind your business objectives – It sounds silly and you’re going to say that, of course, you always keep in mind your business objectives. What I’m saying is that you won’t necessarily need the same channels depending on your objectives. For example, social media are great for brand awareness, but less so for sales. On the contrary, e-mail marketing is better for sales than for brand awareness. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use both.

4. Don’t use them all – You probably don’t need to use all these channels. It’s too much money and effort. Some won’t bring anything to your business, so discard them. But…

5. Three vital channels – There are 3 channels that you have to use, according to me: SEO, social media and email marketing.
In order to be visible, you need to have a good ranking in search engines, and that’s what search engine optimisation does for you.
In order to be visible, you also need to use social media. Not only do they have an impact on search engine rankings, but they are the trendy channel at the moment, so don’t be left out. As to emails, they are one of the most if not the most effective channel for many different industries and businesses. They also play a big role in developing customer loyalty.

I hope these explanations and tips on online marketing channels are useful. You might disagree with some things I’ve just said. Marketing is no exact science so please don’t hesitate to add your comments and thoughts on the subject!