Today’s businesses know that they need a strong online presence to be competitive in an already noisy landscape. While digital marketing is crucial for this effort, marketers need to be careful about where they choose to promote their brand online.
After all, what works for a B2B business may not accomplish the same goals as a digital marketing strategy for a B2C business. Therefore, marketers need to consider the types of digital marketing channels they’re using to promote their brand – and how to optimize the interactions they generate.
Why are Digital Marketing Channels Important?
When it comes to marketing and branding, the world moves fast. It only follows, then, that in order to stand out, companies seeking to connect with prospective customers need to move quickly.
That’s why today’s digital marketing strategies draw from a variety of strategic, technologically-backed approaches. From marketing automation to producing personalized digital content, today’s marketers are most effective when they are combining traditional marketing approaches with data science and technological innovations.
Before marketers can start taking advantage of innovations in martech, however, they need to understand the tools with which they are working.
It all starts with digital marketing channels.
What are the Best Digital Marketing Channels?
Before you can determine which digital marketing channels are best for your business, you first need to familiarize yourself with the channels available to you. What do we mean by that? In short, digital marketing channels are platforms marketers use to reach their target audience and promote their product, service, or brand. Let’s take a look at some of the most useful ones:
1. Email Marketing – Promote content, discounts and events, and direct people toward your website through email marketing. Common emails sent during a campaign include customer welcome messages, holiday promotions, and blog subscription newsletters.
2. Content Marketing – When you create and promote content assets in order to generate brand awareness, traffic growth, lead generation, and customers, that’s content marketing. Blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers, and infographics all make up a part of a content marketing strategy.
3. Search Engine Optimization – Commonly referred to as “SEO,” this is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages, which increases the amount of organic search (or free) traffic your website or blog receives.
4. Social Media – With this practice, you can promote both your brand and content on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Through social media marketing, you’ll increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your business.
5. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising – PPC allows you to drive traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time you receive clicks on your ad. One of the most common types of PPC is Google Ads, which enables you to pay for top slots on Google’s search engine results pages at a price “per click” of the links you place (also known as paid search). Other channels include Twitter ad campaigns, paid ads on Facebook, and sponsored messages on LinkedIn.
6. Affiliate Marketing – Through this type of performance-based advertising, you receive commission for promoting someone else’s products or services on your website. Affiliate marketing channels include posting affiliate links from your social media accounts and hosting video ads through the Youtube Partner Program.
7. Display Advertising – This channel includes display ads like banners, boxes, interactive ads, videos, and other similar ads that are placed on a third-party site, then linked to a landing page or website. It creates greater brand awareness white attracting highly-targeted traffic that is more likely to convert. Payment for these ads is typically based on Cost-Per-Impression (CPM).
8. Online PR – Secure earned online coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. Maximize PR efforts by reaching out to reporters via social media, responding to comments left on your personal website or blog, and engaging online reviews of your company.
How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Channel for Your Needs
To build an optimal marketing strategy, you need to consider the types of channels that will suit your marketing goals best. For instance, if your audience doesn’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, it probably isn’t a great tactic to limit your marketing efforts to that platform.
When you’re in the planning stage, follow these steps:
1. Define your marketing goals – What is your business hoping to accomplish with its marketing efforts? To choose the digital marketing channel that will benefit your marketing strategy the most, consider the following objectives:
- Brand awareness – Simply put, brand awareness refers to how familiar consumers (and your target audience) are with your brand. This goal is an important one – studies show that when consumers have choices, they are more likely to purchase a product from a brand with which they are familiar. Therefore, if your business is a startup or releasing a new product or solution, brand awareness is a hugely important goal to consider. Some tactics for brand awareness include:
- SEO, which allows you to get your product or service in front of consumers.
- Content marketing which deploys valuable content that can answer questions about common pain points your audience is facing and define industry challenges, among other topics. By focusing on informative content instead of selling content, you get the chance to build the credibility of your brand while attracting new prospects.
- And finally, social media allows you to advertise on the platforms where your audience is spending the bulk of their time.
- Lead generation – With this strategy, you can generate leads and connect with potential customers. By using digital marketing channels, you can build dedicated landing pages with forms that collect leads’ information. You can then optimize your sales process by handing off people who want to buy from you to the people who can help them best – your sales department. The following channels are all optimal places to promote landing pages and forms that are part of your marketing campaigns:
- Display advertising
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Sales generation – According to a 2017 study conducted by Statista, an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide purchase goods online. Clearly, mobile marketing is crucial for generating sales, with more social media platforms offering easy-to-use interfaces that can target potential customers with the products they might be looking for. We recommend you start with the following platforms:
- Google Display Network
- Facebook/Instagram Shops
- Study your target audience – Where do your target audience members spend the most time online? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s time to do some research. To find the channels your target audience prefers, find out the types of content and subjects they prefer reading about and how they like to consume content (i.e., if they prefer to watch videos over read a blog post). You should also pinpoint you your audience members follow on social media. This tactic will give you an idea of what is working for your competitors, which you can then apply to your own strategy.
- Define your budget – Once you know which digital channels you should use, you then need to define how much money you have to spend. After all, some digital marketing channels are more cost-effective than others. For instance, posting organically on Facebook is free, but investing in Google Ads can run you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a week. When defining your strategy, think about the potential for ROI (return-on-investment). Then, consider the needs of your content marketing strategy. Other fees to consider include payment for content creation services, digital marketing managers, and other staff fees.
- Define your resources and talent – How big is your marketing team? Is it just you or do you have other creatives and analysts at your disposal? Remember to be realistic with your marketing plan by being honest with yourself about what your team can reasonably accomplish. It’s always better to have one well thought out campaign than several that your team doesn’t have the resources for. When hiring a marketing team, consider these personnel needs:
- Creatives, which typically include the writers and graphic designers who will build your marketing assets.
- Developers who design your website and take care of other development needs.
- Social media experts who can advise you on the best way to engage potential customers through social media.
- Analysts who can gather data about your campaigns and other projects and provide objective analysis about what’s working and what is not.
Boost Your Digital Marketing Efforts with Stefanini
In an increasingly connected world, your approach to marketing must be just as integrated. Stefanini provides solutions that focus on strategy, data science, media, and advertising while also leveraging data intelligence to boost business, connect people, and create experiences. Connect with us to get started!