No matter what type of business you own, marketing is key to building your brand’s reputation. However, the right marketing channels help your advertisements and promotions to reach the right people.
A great message is wasted if it’s never heard. When marketing your brand, you need to target where your target audience actually listens. Otherwise, your return-on-investment (ROI) will take the hit.
To determine the best marketing channels for your brand, you need to learn each channel’s particular benefits. This article will introduce you to a variety of popular channels and what makes them effective so you can build a marketing strategy that really works.
What are marketing channels?
Marketing channels are the platforms and mediums you use to communicate messages about your brand, services, and products to your target consumers.
Marketing channels shouldn’t be confused with distribution channels. While a marketing channel helps deliver content from a company to an audience, a distribution channel is the way your product or service reaches its end user.
Distribution channels mostly matter when a sale is the expected final outcome. On the other hand, strategic marketing channels also promote your company by increasing brand awareness and credibility.
So how do effective marketing channels help your brand? With a solid channel marketing plan, your message travels more directly to your target market. This can help you reach a more responsive audience, which reduces ad spend waste and increases lead generation and sales.
4 digital marketing channel examples
Online marketing channels can benefit almost any brand these days. As 90% of U.S. adults use the internet, digital channels reach a wide range of demographics. No matter who your target customers are, they’ll likely encounter ads online.
But while many marketing channels fall under the digital category, some are more well-suited to your audience than others. We’ll explain how and why four popular digital marketing channels work so you can maximize your channel marketing success.
1. Facebook marketing
With nearly 2.3 billion active users—including the majority of U.S. adults under 65—Facebook is easily one of the best marketing channels to give your messages a broad reach.
Just like any other social media platform, Facebook enables you to deliver your message directly to your consumers through both paid ads and organic content. In that sense, this marketing channel is an ideal way to want to build relationships with your leads and encourage customer loyalty among your existing buyers.
Using paid ads on this social media marketing channel can be a particularly effective way to target an audience. Facebook allows you to get highly specific with who you want to reach, which increases your ROI.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Great website content—which may include your blog posts, landing pages, webinars, and more—can naturally demonstrate your industry credibility. When you use search engine optimization (SEO) to deliver the content, you’ll see more traffic from consumers who were already searching for companies like yours.
Unlike social media, this marketing channel is always indirect. Instead of using SEO to promote content, you subtly insert traffic-increasing keywords, internal links, and more. When people Google certain search terms related to your brand, proper SEO causes you to rank more highly in their search results. That means your content reaches consumers when they’re already interested, making SEO one of the best channels for gaining high-quality leads.
As online research continues to precede most purchases, search engine-optimized content marketing can secure your growth.
3. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
PPC advertising is another marketing channel that helps your message reach online searchers. However, instead of continuously drawing consumers over time, it brings a relatively high volume of leads to your site during a marketing campaign. This is because it artificially promotes your website or landing page for highly specific audiences—as long as you pay for the service.
Note that PPC ads require a greater financial investment. As the name suggests, you’ll pay per each click you receive. Luckily, when you’re strategic about what keywords you target, how much you spend, and where you drive customers, this channel can increase your ROI. That’s because it can connect you to a higher percentage of high-quality leads than SEO.
4. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing uses middlemen such as bloggers and influencers to communicate your message to consumers. This channel helps you partner with influential people in your industry who share your brand in a positive light—usually through their blogs or social media channels.
This marketing channel works because the majority of consumers trust influencers much more than brands. By partnering with affiliates, you gain real people attesting to your company’s value.
In most cases, you’ll pay your affiliates a commission every time you make a sale, so you may not have a big upfront cost.
2 local marketing channel examples
If you own a brick-and-mortar store, or if your message is specific to a target market in a certain place, local marketing channels can lead to the best results. Local channels are unique because they allow you to hyper-target consumers in a specific region.
Many digital marketing channels can double as local marketing channels. For example, Facebook ads and PPC ads allow you to specify target regions as you build your campaign. Facebook users (along with Instagram and Snapchat users) also respond well to geo-filters.
This section will highlight two marketing channels that uniquely cater to brands with location-dependent messages.
1. Event marketing
Local events can be great opportunities for your target market to come face-to-face with your company’s team. When you promote your business at a booth or by otherwise speaking to potential buyers in the community, this marketing channel shows customers the humans behind your brand. When you throw your own event, you’ll give locals a taste of the customer experience they can have with you.
Event marketing is a highly effective way to build brand recognition and customer loyalty because in-person interactions encourage attendees to connect with your company. Plus, it shows your commitment to your target community while helping you reach local leads.
2. Storefront displays
Local marketing channels don’t have to be complex. You can get your message across through something as simple as a sandwich board or window display—both of which capture the attention of passersby and visitors.
Storefront displays are most effective at showcasing what you do and how you do it differently. For example, clothing stores use their windowfronts to display their most attractive outfits, which highlights the brand’s style and encourages customers to buy their products.
2 print marketing channel examples
Just because digital marketing channels are effective doesn’t mean print marketing channels are dead. Traditional print channels like flyers and brochures all have their place and time. Here are a couple of messaging mediums that still work:
1. Direct mail
Direct mail may be a decades-old technique, but it’s far from outdated. This marketing channel allows you to place physical content into your target customer’s hands. This allows you to capture their attention, often for more time than the internet offers. The result is a potential 1,300% ROI and a far higher response rate than digital channels like social media platforms and email marketing.
However, if you aren’t careful, direct mail can become junk mail in your audience’s eyes. Direct mail requires you to offer value (like coupons) or be creative. As an example of successful and creative direct mail marketing, online pet supply retailer Chewy has tremendous customer loyalty because they send millions of handwritten holiday, birthday, and sympathy cards each year.
2. Print ads
Print ads may seem like a questionable marketing channel, as print media declines by the year. However, promoting your brand through a newspaper or magazine with the right target audience can still be effective. Whereas online ads are frequently scrolled past, print ads tend to capture more attention by feeding your message to readers through a tangible medium.
Print ads are also the most trusted advertising channel, which means they give your message heightened credibility.
Amplify your marketing message
Whether you run an e-commerce site, a physical retail store, or something in between, the most effective marketing channels can give you a more powerful reach. As you build and implement the right omnichannel marketing strategy for your goals, you’ll be better equipped to send your message in places where your target audience is listening.