Do you know where to find your potential customers? Where they hang out physically, what groups do belong to, what restaurants they frequent? And where are they digitally? What online groups, news channels or websites do they frequent?
These are key questions you need to answer in order to create effective marketing campaigns.
In the previous two blogs in this series, we showed you how to identify your target market and then craft a great message to attract them. The final piece of the puzzle is to identify the best place(s) to broadcast your message. Knowing your target market well, creating a compelling message and delivering it to the right people will greatly increase the odds of them seeing it and responding.
In their formative book, Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth, authors Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, identify 19 types of ‘traction channels’ available to businesses. While their list will no doubt expand or contract over time, as new channels become available and others become obsolete, today – these are the only 19 ways a business can reach an audience.
We know you’re busy, so we’ve chosen to take a deeper dive into the three most universally effective channels.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You’ve likely heard the term SEO, but like many business owners, you’d like to better understand how to optimize your web site and other online activities to be more effective at attracting search engines. To put it succinctly, SEO is when you make it easier for customers using search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) to find your business online.
Essentially, the most important thing to know about search engines is that their objective is to deliver the most correct answer to the questions people ask. For example, when someone searches for “Accountants near me,” Google wants to make sure that the top three websites delivered for that query are the most correct answers. What you want is to make sure you’re always in the top three when a potential customer is searching for something related to your business.
SEO is essentially the steps you take to bridge the gap between your needs and the needs of search engines.
Here are a few tips from bloggers to make search engines love you:
- Make sure your website is mobile-optimized.
- Register with Google My Business.
- Blog at least once per week.
- Link your blogs on social media.
Advertising (Display Ads and Search Engine Marketing)
The words marketing and advertising are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different. Marketing is the overall strategy a company uses to craft and deploy brand messages, while advertising is a marketing tactic. Advertising is not a substitute for a comprehensive marketing strategy, and it’s completely possible to have clever, effective marketing without spending a dollar on advertising.
However, advertising does have its merits, and within the digital world, there are really only two types of advertising: search engine marketing (SEM), and digital/social ads. The main difference between the two is the platform on which the advertising is displayed. SEM is displayed on search engines, while digital/social ads are displayed on social media platforms or websites. Choosing which one is right for you is largely a matter of what sort of result you’re looking for.
People using search engines are likely to be actively looking for answers to a specific need they have. If you can provide them the correct solution to their need, then SEM is probably a good bet for your company. Display ads, whether on social media, blogs, or news websites, are good for getting people’s attention and getting them to browse what you offer.
Think of it as the difference between window displays (SEM) and in-store end cap displays (digital/social ads). Display ads are great for getting people in the store, and SEM is great for getting those in the store to move toward buying. For example, someone could be looking at pictures of new cars on Facebook for a host of reasons, but usually, someone searching for ‘new cars’ is looking to buy in the near future.
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing original content in order to attract new customers. ‘Content’ could include blogging, infographics, posting videos on YouTube, even creating Spotify song playlists for your audience. The theory behind content marketing is that since potential customers like receiving something of value before they buy, providing things of value both communicates your value proposition as well as starts the sales process much earlier than your competition.
For example, would you be more likely to work with an accountant who gives you a free ebook on how to lower your tax liability or one that requires you to come to their office before they will offer you any advice?
Content marketing is a natural partner of SEO and Social Media. Blogging regularly and/or posting videos gives your site an SEO boost, and social media is the perfect place to showcase your original content.
The combination of these three traction channels is how savvy online companies are building large audiences on tight advertising budgets.
For a wider discussion of the other traction channels, and help to identify the right channels for you, check out our free download ‘Right Target, Right Message, Right Medium’ below.