We continue our Small Businesses Marketing Guide with marketing channels and how to choose them. Choosing the right marketing channels for your small business is a critical step in developing an effective marketing strategy. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which channels to focus on. In this section, we’ll discuss the key factors to consider when choosing the right marketing channels.
Know Your Target Audience
The first step in choosing the right marketing channels is to identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What are their interests and preferences? Understanding your audience’s demographics, behavior, and preferences will help you choose the most effective channels for reaching them. The channels for busy mothers are completely different than programmers, for instance. It probably wouldn’t make sense to market your SAAS (software as a service) solution to developers on Instagram, for example, unless your service was a machine-learning solution that could help skateboarding coders lessen the time it takes to learn new skateboard tricks (skateboarders like to post their videos and developers like technical stuff; i.e. Instagram might be a good channel in this edge case).
If you missed them, here are some additional insights regarding target markets in our “Market Research Primer: A Guide for Small Businesses” and “Create Effective Buyer Personas for Your Small Business” posts in this series.
Consider Your Budget
The next factor to consider is your budget. Some marketing channels can be expensive, while others are more affordable. Consider how much you’re willing to spend on marketing, and choose channels that fit within your budget. In an ideal world, you could launch a website with all the right search engine optimization (SEO), and the customers will immediately find that brand-new website and spend lots of money. Realistically, that’s not going to happen. And, while a solid website is important, you need to budget for continued outreach to get in front of your target audience.
Assess Channel Effectiveness
Different marketing channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, social media is great for building brand awareness and engaging with customers, while email marketing is more effective for driving conversions. Assess the effectiveness of each channel based on your goals and audience, and choose the channels that will have the greatest impact. You don’t have to do them all. It’s okay to not advertise on Facebook if you don’t want to and don’t see a positive return on investment from it.
Test and Experiment
Finally, it’s important to test and experiment with different marketing channels to see what works best for your business. Don’t be afraid to try new channels and tactics, and be willing to pivot if something isn’t working. Testing and experimentation are key to finding the most effective marketing channels for your business. You can use yourself for market research, too. In the beginning, subscribe to a few email campaigns from competitors or brands you like, follow them on social media, and take note of what they do that you like and don’t like. Maybe Red Bull’s Air Race social feed is the most amazing thing to you, and you have a knitting store you want to market — make and post a couple of extreme knitting videos and see what the engagement numbers look like.
Based on these factors, here are some of the most popular marketing channels for small businesses:
- Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great for building brand awareness and engaging with customers. They’re also relatively affordable and easy to use.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is a powerful tool for driving conversions and building customer relationships. It’s also highly customizable and cost-effective.
- Content Marketing: Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable content that attracts and engages your target audience. It can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more.
- Paid Advertising: Paid advertising involves paying for ad placement on various platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn Ads. It can be expensive, but it can also be highly effective for driving conversions and reaching new audiences.
When choosing the right marketing channels for your small business, remember to consider your target audience, budget, channel effectiveness, and willingness to experiment. By carefully selecting the channels that align with your goals and audience, you can create an effective marketing strategy that drives growth and success for your business.