When you are thinking about which channels to use for your business, it’s essential to have a full array of the possible channels you could use. Below is a simple overview of the most used marketing channels.
Business Cards / Stationery Papers (several kinds)
Your business cards, stationery papers and other papers with your branding and name on it are a simple way of marketing yourself. These work less and less as we get more digital but can still be great for brand recognition. Most of the time though, these media are not meant for lead generation as you will give a business card to someone you’ve already met, and stationery papers are most often used for either proposals/quotes or bills.
You can make brochures that you can send out, put in racks (depending on your industry) or have on a counter. Brochures are a more in-depth way of people getting to know you and your products as you can explain more. A lot of times folders will also have prices and therefore can lead someone from not knowing/ hardly knowing you, to buying, depending on the product.
Newspapers / magazines
By showing your product or service in newspapers and magazines, you can attract new customers that fit your ideal client profile. You can have an add, or your product or service can be part of an article.
Radio & Television
Getting your brand on the radio or the television is a big deal for most brands (and for most brands also outside of their paid options). You reach a vast audience in which your target audience might be hiding somewhere. If you have a very niche audience, it might be hard to reach the right people unless you pick a radio or television channel that targets mostly that group.
Sending out flyers door-to-door to fish for new customers. That is what direct mail is. A lot of these flyers end up in the trash (or hopefully the wastepaper basket), but if you reach the right customer at the right time, they might go from not knowing about you to buying or at least getting a quote from you.
Posters, billboards, logos on buildings, there are multiple ways to advertise outdoor. These ads get seen by a lot of different people. If you are in a ‘general’ business, there is a good chance people that might need you will see these ads. If you are in a niche, it’s a lot harder to find your perfect customers.
Your website shows what do you and whom you want to help. It should be about how you can benefit your visitor, not too much about you. Offer a solution to a specific problem your customer has. Make sure you offer ways to contact you and give new information regularly.
Email is your best friend. Social media might be cool, but an email list is yours in a way social media will never be. Be careful with an email address you have. Please treat it with respect. Send out emails they’ve asked for, and that goes with what you do.
A blog is a place where you post articles (blog posts) about a specific topic. This can be professional or personal, or even a combination. Blogs can be integrated into a website, making them a fantastic way to post content to your site. All that new content also means you get higher ranked by Google.
Instagram is a photo app. The images you post can be seen by the people that follow you. Instagram is known for its square photos and special filters. But Instagram offers ‘normal’ sized images too and the ability to post videos. You can also share ‘stories’ which are photos or videos that can only be seen for 24 hours. Instagram is used by teens and young adults more than Facebook. But older generations are also embracing Instagram.
YouTube is the biggest video platform there is. There all kinds of videos on there; personal ones, funny ones, commercials, even complete series can be found on YouTube. If people need to learn something and it has a visual element, they are guaranteed to check YouTube. Even my 95-year-old grandmother uses YouTube.
Facebook is one of the most populated social media channels. People can become friends with other people and ‘like’ brands. They will get messages of them in their ‘feed’, a stream of posts written by friends, family and brands they liked. They don’t see all posts though, only those that are deemed interesting or essential by Facebook.
There are three forms on Facebook: a personal profile, a page or a group. A profile is for a person. You can post to a specific list, to your friends or to the whole world. You can message friends. Do not use profiles for your business (too much). Facebooks rules are quite clear and strict about it. Pages are for brands. All kinds of businesses, interests and non-profit organisations can use a page. As a page, you can post to all your fans or a specific part of them, and you can reply to messages sent to you by fans. Fans can review you. In a group, people can come to talk together to talk about a particular topic. Groups can be open, closed or secret.
All generations use Facebook but especially those above 35. Facebook is not only useful if you target customers, but can be right if your audience are businesses too, because, in the end, people are running those as well.
On Twitter, you have a (small) amount of characters to tell your story. You can add images or links. People can follow you without you needing to follow them back (and the other way around). They can send you Private Messages if they want to.
LinkedIn is a professional network, meant to connect professionals. You can make your resume online on LinkedIn, link with (former) colleagues and clients and let them know what is going on in your life. You can have a personal profile, but you can also make a business page.
Pinterest is another image-based service, but this time it is less about the people and more about the images. You can ‘pin’ images, meaning you save them, from a website onto ‘boards’ to save and check later. If you click a pin, it leads back to the site it came from. You can also see other people’s pins. You will see images of topics and people you like in your feed. Pinterest is used a lot by women in particular.
TikTok started as a new social media app just for teens but is rapidly growing as a new way for businesses to connect. You make short (music) videos that can be shared with ease. A lot of the videos have a bit of humour to them.
Online advertising can be done on Google, or Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, just to name a few. Each channel has its own way of displaying ads and its own algorithm in who sees it. Some sites also offer the option to advertise to their audience. Sometimes in the form of an actual ad, sometimes in the form of an advertorial, a sponsored article.
Want to use all of this knowledge in your marketing strategy? Check out “Your Marketing Strategy in 3 steps“