How to choose the right digital marketing channels for your message and audience

How to choose the right digital marketing channels for your message and audience

Digital marketing is a necessity in modern business, and more companies are advertising in search, social, and display marketing channels in order to compete for consumer’s attention and keep abreast of their demands. The company’s overall message should be consistent across all channels, just tailored appropriately to suit the channel and the audience. However, many companies make the mistake of broadcasting the same marketing message across all channels, resulting in poor performance and missed opportunities.

Each marketing channel is unique, and it is vital that you select marketing channels that match your message and desired audience. While there are no definitive rules that define which marketing channels do or do not work for specific messages, you can use this post as a rough guide.

First Things First

Before you can decide which channels to use, you need to:

  • Consider your marketing objectives:

Do you want to build awareness? or maintain top of mind awareness?

Are you aiming to generate sales leads? if so, what is your target per week/month/year? or are you aiming to increase the quality of the sales leads?

Are you working towards increasing conversion rates? or are you aiming to increase the amount each customer spends in each conversion?  

  • Perform an in-depth analysis of your audience:

What types of content do they respond to?

Where do they go to obtain this content?

What expectations do they have from companies in your industry?

  • Decide on the message you want to send out:

Does it align with your company’s branding?

Will it be engaging and strong enough to differentiate yourselves from the competition and achieve your marketing objectives?

 

Social Media Marketing

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Marketing on social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is a relatively new form of marketing for most companies. When considering social marketing, it is important to differentiate between paid, owned and earned (free) marketing.

With owned social marketing, you’re communicating with an audience who have already engaged with your brand or business. They have seen the social media icons bearing your names and tags in your shop or on your flyer, visited your website and followed you from there, or they may already be a repeat customer.

This is not to be confused with earned marketing, where you have garnered recognition or attention from outside resources that drive traffic to your owned channels. Earned social media marketing includes word of mouth from satisfied clients and industry influencers talking about your product with their own followers.

Paid social media allows you to introduce your company, products and services to a wider audience, who may be interested in your offerings (but are not yet aware of your brand) through paid or sponsored advertisements.

The key distinguisher is that although earned social media marketing is free, you have no control over what is being said and how your brand is being promoted. We’ll focus on the types that you have control over: owned and paid social media marketing.

With owned social media marketing, it’s rarely a good idea to ‘sell’, as many followers are already customers or otherwise connected with your company. Instead, this audience is more receptive to content that shows you are engaging, interacting, or responding to their needs. Some good examples of owned social media marketing content include:

  • asking for feedback or opinions
  • making exclusive offers, such as a ‘members-only’ discount
  • sharing user-generated content from customers and followers
  • posting news and updates to products and services
  • responding to questions and feedback in a positive way
  • sharing or reposting topical content that followers can share

With paid social media marketing, you are communicating with people who also don’t want a sales pitch, and unlike owned and earned social channels, are not as engaged with your brand, services or products. The key to successful paid social media marketing is to ensure that customers don’t feel like their being ‘sold to’ when exposing them to your brand’s ads. Some examples of effective use of paid social marketing:

  • brand awareness
  • building a following for owned marketing channels
  • announcing new products or services
  • advertising products or services that are currently trending
  • competitions, giveaways, and sales
  • public relations (PR)

Within social media marketing, it’s also very important to choose the social network that best matches your audience and message. For example, Linkedin is focused on professional relationships while Facebook is primarily for personal relationships. Sending links to business blog posts is poorly received on Facebook but works well on Linkedin. Linkedin and Twitter are effective for B2B companies, but Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all work well for B2C brands. Some channels can go nicely for both B2B and B2C such as Twitter – where both businesses and consumers can keep up with the latest trending topics.

Search Engine Marketing

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Everyone uses search engines to answer questions and solve problems. Since almost every product or service imaginable solves some sort of problem, it’s clear why search engine marketing suits direct sales so well.

However people use search engines for a lot more than just buying goods and services, and search engine marketing is able to cater to most marketing needs as long as your targeting options are configured correctly. Here are some marketing messages that suit search engine marketing:

  • direct sales and leads
  • brand awareness
  • reputation management and PR
  • news and announcements

The key to making use of search engine marketing for such a broad variety of purposes is targeting. By targeting specific types of search phrases, demographics, geographic locations, devices and more, you are able to tap into specific audiences that would be most receptive to your message.

Display marketing

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This marketing channel displays your marketing message on networks of publisher websites. You can target audiences primarily by topics of interest, demographics, or by selecting specific publisher websites.

Many companies discount display marketing due to its relatively poor ability to deliver direct sales. However, this marketing channel can be extremely effective at other marketing objectives, and with new remarketing features, can deliver conversions at significantly lower costs than many other channels. When delivered in a timely and relevant manner, display marketing can be very  powerful for:

  • brand awareness
  • product and service releases
  • event promotion
  • competitions, giveaways, and sales
  • direct sales and leads

Historically, display marketing has been extremely poor at delivering sales and leads; however remarketing  features have made it a viable channel for direct conversions.

When planning your next advertising campaign, identify your marketing objectives and target audiences before selecting your marketing channels. When you have done that, select your channels based on how effective they are at reaching your desired audience.

Most importantly, craft your marketing message to suit each channel you advertise on. There is so much content available to users across all marketing channels, give your content the best chance at engaging your audience.

If you need help optimizing your marketing message across search, social and display marketing channels, talk to us today. We have experienced marketers, backed up by intelligent technology to ensure that you get the right message to the right audience at the right time. Try our Free AdWords Audit.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @nathan5ri 

Images from pixabay

Image licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr

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