How To Choose Digital Marketing Channels: Finding the right marketing channels can produce big results for your business, resulting in a surge of leads and revenue. And if you’re an early adopter of an effective channel, it can give you a serious head start on your competition.
Initial users of Google Adwords and Facebook advertising were able to generate big results at a relatively low cost before those channels became saturated.
But how do you find these highly productive marketing channels?
With so many options available, it can feel like an overwhelming task. Should you focus on SEO or PPC? Podcasting or videos? Social media or blogging? How can you know where to invest your time and money?
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the process of finding, testing, and growing your marketing channels.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Test and Experiment
The first step in finding effective marketing channels is testing and experimenting. You simply won’t know if a marketing channel will work for your business unless you test it. You have to constantly experiment, testing a variety of channels until you find the ones that really drive significant results.
How can you find these different marketing channels? Several ways:
- Analyze your competition – Digital marketing tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush can give you a sense of what your competitors are doing with SEO, content marketing, and PPC. The Facebook Ad Library can give you insight into the types of social media ads they’re running. Look at the most successful businesses in your space and determine what marketing channels they’re using. Can you make those same channels work for you?
- Analyze your audience – In many ways, your audience will dictate which marketing channels you choose. You want to focus on the channels your audience uses. If your audience is young, you may want to consider a platform like Instagram, since it tends to be favored by Millennials and younger. If your audience is older, you may have more success using Facebook or even direct mail. If you target business professionals, your best choice may be LinkedIn or email marketing.
- Analyze your own business – Some marketing channels may be a better fit for your business than others. If you run a service-based business, you may want to focus on local SEO so that you connect with customers in your area. If you’re a SaaS company, you may get the most benefit from social media advertising.
- Analyze current trends – Websites like Hubspot, TechCrunch, and AdAge can help you be aware of current marketing trends and potentially untapped marketing channels.
The bottom line is that you won’t know if a channel works until you actually test it. Identify the channels that you think will be the most profitable and then begin testing and experimenting.
Give Sufficient Time and Effort
When testing a channel, only evaluate the results after you’ve given enough time and resources to it. This will look different depending on the channel. SEO requires a fair amount of time and effort before you will start seeing significant results. With PPC, on the other hand, you can generate results much more quickly.
Be realistic as you contemplate which channels to use. Don’t start using a channel unless you’re willing to use it for a sufficient length of time and invest the appropriate amount of effort.
Also, don’t give up on or dive into a marketing channel until you’ve done a sufficient number of experiments. If you’re doing PPC, create numerous variations of and target audiences for your ads. If you’re doing email marketing, A/B test various subject lines, calls-to-action, and formats. If you’re focusing on video, test different lengths, titles, meta descriptions, etc.
If you don’t thoroughly experiment with a channel, you may end up abandoning it prematurely.
Focus Your Efforts
You may be tempted to jump into five different marketing channels at once, but don’t do it. Several reasons for this.
First, you’ll end up getting spread far too thin. You’ll end up only being able to spend a small amount of time on each channel, limiting the value each channel provides. As a result, your marketing campaigns will be mediocre at best.
Imagine trying to simultaneously create PPC ads, emails, blog posts, podcasts, and webinars. Unless you have a large team at your disposal, the quality will be very low or you simply won’t get everything done. You also won’t be able to effectively engage with your audience, which is especially important with most forms of digital marketing.
On the other hand, when you focus on a single channel, you can master it. You learn the ins and outs of it, and you discover which strategies are most effective. The more you master a channel, the higher your ROI and the lower the cost of using that channel becomes.
Second, trying to manage a bunch of new channels at once is chaotic. You’ll feel overwhelmed as you try to create content, analyze the results, and optimize your efforts. You’ll miss key details and will probably fall behind on things. You’ll get burned out and will be tempted to throw in the towel.
Focusing on a single channel allows you to give it all your attention. You can ensure that everything is working as it should be and that nothing is slipping through the cracks.
Finally, focusing on one channel at a time is much more cost effective. If you pour money into a bunch of channels at once, your ROI will be significantly lower and you’ll blow through your budget much faster. When you focus your efforts, you can get the maximum results from your budget.
Double Down On What Works
Your results will probably vary wildly depending on the marketing channel you choose. Some of your experiments will be spectacular successes. Others will be abject failures. Still others will produce only mediocre results. That’s why they’re called “experiments”.
In order to know which channels are most effective, you need to closely track your results. If you can’t determine the ROI of a particular marketing channel, you have no way of knowing whether it’s really working for you. You need to know how much it costs you to acquire a new lead and then convert that lead into a paying customer. You need to have a clear understanding of how leads flow into your marketing funnel and translate into revenue.
Additionally, you need to know your Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). Knowing your LTV allows you to determine exactly how much you want to spend on customer acquisition. For example, say you sell a product for $10. If you only focus on the initial sale, you won’t want to spend more than $10 to acquire a new customer. However, if you know that your LTV is $100, you can afford to spend much more on customer acquisition.
Obviously, if a channel is a spectacular success, you should double down on it. Invest more time and money into the channel while still closely tracking your results.
If it’s a spectacular failure, then you probably shouldn’t keep investing in it. Focus on other, more profitable channels.
If the channel produces mediocre results, then you have a decision to make. You can try to continue to optimize the channel in hopes of getting better results or you can focus your efforts elsewhere.
Optimize Your Campaigns
Once you’ve identified an effective marketing channel, you need to optimize your marketing campaigns. In other words, you need to keep testing and tweaking your efforts so that you continue getting maximum value from the channel.
If you don’t keep optimizing, your campaigns will grow stagnant over time. People will stop responding to your marketing efforts. Keywords will become unprofitable. Specific headlines and images will stop being interesting to customers. Competitors will move in, saturating the channel and making it harder to stand out.
The bottom line is that you can’t put your marketing on autopilot. You have to continually be looking for strategic ways to improve your marketing and separate yourself from your competitors. You need to think outside the box and not simply do what everyone else is doing. Just because something has worked well in the past doesn’t mean that it will continue to work well in the future.
Do The Work
Identifying effective marketing channels takes a significant amount of time and effort. Running multiple experiments isn’t necessarily easy. Constantly tracking and analyzing your results requires commitment. Consistently optimizing your campaigns so they don’t stagnate is no small task.
But the work is worth it. When you find the right marketing channels and create highly effective campaigns within those channels, you get outsized results. You can drive growth in your company like never before. If you look at the most successful companies, they all have a commitment to finding highly effective marketing channels and then leveraging those channels for all they’re worth.
So do the work. Run the experiments. Double down on what works and cut out what doesn’t. Optimize until you’re getting max value from a channel. And repeat.
You won’t regret it.