Smart marketing makes the customer feel smart

56 marketing channels – if you don’t know where to promote your business

56 marketing channels – if you don’t know where to promote your business

By on Aug 23, 2017

Now you know WHERE to advertise, but there is the next question: How to get LEADS?

Download the free Lead Magnet Guide: The offer to new leads that ensures that they hang on your every word

Facebook ads, Google Adwords – we all know if we want to advertise, we go to those marketing channels.

But what about other methods you can build your brand and sell your product?

Wikipedia says: “Marketing channels are the people, organizations, and activities necessary to transfer the ownership of goods from the point of production to the point of consumption. It’s a useful tool for management, and is crucial to creating an effective and well-planned marketing strategy.”

56 marketing channels you can choose from:

Buzz marketing

This is actually the “word-of-mouth” method of marketing used online.

This focuses on getting consumers to create and spread conversation about a product. This grows company awareness. Influencers create the ‘buzz’. They are the ones spreading the word about a specific product/service. This is usually done by tools that are attention-grabbing like videos and humor.

Buzz marketing is really why we try to stimulate conversations using platforms like Twitter and Facebook; we know that once people are hooked into the online discussion, they’re likely to stay.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when online businesses pay commissions to other sites to promote them, and sell them to their audience, growing both of their revenue.

Use affiliate marketing to promote products from different merchants within your niche. This way, if you have a problem with receiving payment from a merchant, or their products do not convert well, the effects on your business will be minimal. It can also help bring customers looking for products that complement your own, and wanting to buy through a single point of contact.

You can become better at it over time. Just keep working, and learn something new about affiliate marketing daily.

Influencer marketing

One of the biggest misconceptions about influencers is that they are someone with a large social media following. Huge followings mean that they are popular, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are great influencers. Influencers do what they stand for: change how people think or change their behavior. An influencer is someone who has the power to get people to do something different.

Good influencer marketing starts with building personal relationships with influencers and sharing useful, unique, and valuable. A marketer with an interesting, useful product should have no problem providing information and knowledge of value to influencers.

Print advertising

You don’t always click on an ad or a lead magnet offer as soon as you see it. But sometimes when you try to go back to the same website, you can’t find it anymore.

Or maybe there is an interesting ad in your Facebook feed, and you scroll through, but when you go back, it’s gone. Another ad has taken its place.

You are not alone.

However, when you receive a printed marketing piece, and you want to take a look at it later, you will most likely find it where you left it. You might put it in a folder on your desk, or hang it on the refrigerator so you don’t forget.

You can keep it as long as you want, and visit the advertiser as many times as you want.

Publications

Print publications such as magazines and newspapers offer advertising opportunities at all geographic levels.

There are those short little mini-magazines that I sometimes find in my mailbox and will read if the topic is interesting. Why? Because it’s short, interesting, and easy to consume.

Why can’t you do the same? Create your own mini-magazine for your customers with a couple articles, tips, or stories in it, and send it out instead of a flyer.

It can work as a lead magnet. You collect street addresses along with other information from your prospect in order to receive the free magazine.

If it gets really popular, you can turn it to a paid subscription. Why not?

Web banners

A banner ad, or a web banner, is an advertisement displayed on a web page.

The static banner ad can be a simple image or a visual that is acting just like an ad and you can click on it and get to the website or landing page of the advertisment.

The main purpose of banner ads is to generate traffic to a website by linking to it. Also, web banners can function much like regular print advertisements: inform, notify about a new product, increase brand awareness, and so on.

  • Keep the copy short – no more than five to 10 words
  • Treat them like a billboard
  • Make it look like an ad
  • Keep the branding consistent
Picture credit: https://studio.envato.com

Street banners

Regulations are typically dictated by who has authority over the street, typically a city or regional government.

Compared with radio/tv advertising spots, they are inexpensive to produce.  According to a survey by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, outdoor advertising is 80 percent less expensive than TV, 60 percent less expensive than newspapers and 50 percent less expensive than radio.

If your target market is in a certain location, a banner could raise your brand awareness, and lead to some sales. Outdoor advertising near a shopping center or downtown can catch a potential customer’s attention when they’re in a shopping frame of mind. Targeting a certain market almost guarantees you’ll reach potential customers – people who find your product relevant.

Content marketing

If your content is well written, and your call-to-action is on point, it can encourage conversions, resulting in more revenue per visitor.

With an effective content marketing strategy, you can build and strengthen relationships with your target audience and eventually lead them to take the desired action – whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, calling a number, or downloading an ebook.

With helpful and up-to-date content, people will find you more easily, and remember you. And with more content, you build a relationship and strengthen trust. And with more content, you boost sales to your followers.

Content can impact everything, because good content is relevant for everything.

However, because different platforms focus on different style of communication (text, photo, video, etc.) and often speaks to different audience types, content is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Create different content for different platforms.

Case studies

92% of customers prefer that media messages sound like a story. Nobody wants to be sold to, but telling a story helps consumers understand a particular problem and see how other people overcome it, and pushes them closer to buying.

Any company can make bold claims about its products or services. Consumers have been conditioned to ignore shiny written claims and superb videos. They want to see evidence. They want to see real people just like them.

Testimonials

Much like case studies, testimonials work because they aren’t sales pitches. They build trust, and because people see that your product worked for others, therefore, they are more likely to make a purchase. You’re using real people to show success with your product or service.

Simple statements like “great product” or “love it” don’t count as a testimonial. Instead, your testimonials should describe what is so great about your product or service and what they love about it.

Along with the testimonial itself, include a name, date, and photo of the customer who provided it. If possible, include a link to the customer’s website. This information all serves to help legitimize the testimonial.

If you can, create a video testimonial that will generate instant trust.

SEO

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy to understand for both users and search engine robots. It results in increased organic traffic.

SEO will increase your sales without increasing your marketing costs. Most on-line marketing tools result in increased costs as traffic gets busier. Not SEO. You can grow traffic and profits without spending money on it.

With SEO, you push your content in front of people who are actually searching for it – the people that need the information the most.

The better your SEO is, and the more pages you can index to your website, the easier it will be to keep the momentum going. If you have a great ranking, you are likely to keep the good results for several months or even years.

It doesn’t mean that once you write content to boost your SEO, you don’t have to take care of it. The more you update and keep your site and content fresh, the better chances it will stay in a good position in search engine rankings.

Think about where your audience is hanging out, and give away your flyers. They are cost-effective, and have a high return-on-investment.

Social media

Social media is one of the most popular of today’s marketing channels. One of the reasons this is important is because social media ads allow targeting and retargeting. For example, you can target users by location, education level, industry, and even by purchase history and the pages they’ve visited.

Your social media plan should be a part of your overall marketing strategy.

It’s not all about how many likes your post received, or how many re-tweets you get. You can’t measure social media success this way.

Focus on metrics like how many and how qualified leads it generated, how much traffic it generated to your website, and how well they converted. You have to focus on metrics like how many people your post converted, how many clicked on your link, and purchased your product.

A simple way to start your social media marketing strategy is to write down two primary goals and two secondary goals to focus on. Be sure to ask yourself what the goal will look like when completed, and how you will track it.

  1. Identify social media goals
  2. Define the ideal customer
  3. Research your competitors
  4. Choose your channels
  5. Create a content strategy
  6. Interact with your customers
  7. Measure

Discussion boards

Just like many students feel nervous in a real classroom, especially those who are shy or quiet, people in general are often reluctant to ask questions in front of a live “audience”. Online discussion boards are great for these individuals, as they can actively participate in the conversation without feeling the overwhelming anxiety.

Find these boards with questions that fall in your area of expertise and answer them: be helpful. Then these people will get to know you, trust your knowledge, and check out what can you offer.

You can also create your own group or forum where people can discuss their problems, ask questions, and get helpful answers.

Flyers

Think about where your audience is hanging out, and give away your flyers there. They are cost-effective and have a high return-on-investment.

Flyers can be one of the most important tools if you have a local business. Marketers and businesses have used flyers since, well, pretty much forever, and they were once one of the most popular advertising tools. Now that online marketing has started to grow bigger than traditional methods, you may find that there’s a significant communication gap in your area that is wide open to sending out your latest offers using “old school” methods.

A flyer is basically your “ad”. It has to contain:

  • Exciting headline
  • Compelling offer
  • Call-to-action

Direct mail

Direct mailings are highly targeted. Each direct mail campaign can be tailored for a specific audience, from new to existing customers.

How do I get my client to actually read my direct mail piece?

  • Instead of sending just a flyer, put it in an envelope. Not just a regular plain white envelope, but a bigger, padded envelope. Everybody likes to open something like this.
  • Instead of printing a label, address it by hand.
  • Put a real stamp on it, not one of those mass-mailing postage meter stamps. It may cost a few cents more, but it will receive a greater open-rate, because it seems more personal and friendlier than salesy.
  • Put something thick and intriguing in the envelope. Some small gift for your readers. Everybody opens an envelope for a free gift.

Pay-per-click-ads

It’s a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks on their ad.

AdWords (Google’s successful pay-per-click [PPC] advertising system) can work for almost any type of business.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business.

Once you’ve created your new campaigns, you’ll need to test them, and measure them regularly to make sure they continue to be effective. You should be continuously analyzing the performance of your account and making the following adjustments to optimize your campaigns:

  • Expand the reach of your PPC campaigns by adding keywords that are relevant to your business.
  • Add non-converting terms as negative keywords to improve campaign relevancy and reduce wasted spend.
  • Improve click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score by splitting up your ad groups into smaller, more relevant ad groups, to help you create more targeted ads.
  • Review expensive, under-performing keywords and shut them off if necessary.
  • Modify the content and calls-to-action of your landing pages in order to boost conversion rates. Don’t send all your traffic to the same page.

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Messenger

We often think of social media as just the major social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But that thinking misses a big part of social media. And that’s messaging apps.

Messaging apps can be the quickest, easiest, and most convenient way to reach someone. The most popular and widely used is arguably Facebook Messenger.

7 ways to use Facebook Messenger and similar apps for your marketing:

  • Deliver your content
  • Help your followers find the most relevant content
  • Engage participants during events
  • Generate high-quality sales leads
  • Re-engage potential customers
  • Reach your target audience one-to-one
  • Provide speedy customer support

Website

The most fundamental of on-line marketing channels.

Why do you need a website?

  • Your customers expect it
  • Your competitors all have company websites
  • You don’t need extensive coding or technical skills
  • You’ll show up in Google search results
  • It saves money in the long term
  • You can keep your customers informed
  • Target a wider audience

A good website can bring you several benefits:

  • Get to know more about your audience
  • Measure your marketing success
  • Provide valuable customer service
  • Automatically sell
  • Inform the visitor

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs quickly write a landing page, write a couple blog posts, and hit publish. Then they wonder why they don’t see any results from it.

You have to build your website as a sales funnel. Every single document, article, blog post, even signup forms should be a step along a pathway that guides the customer to buy your product.

Before you start to build a website, you have to answer to the following questions:

  • What is the business purpose of your website?
  • Who is the target audience of your website?
  • What does the website offer to visitors? What content do you have that could be interesting?
  • What is the main message you want to put in peoples’ minds once they have reviewed your website?

A book

  • It builds your ego and self-confidence
  • It helps you be recognized as a trustworthy expert
  • It gives extra value to your customers
  • It can even make money

Ebooks are popular and convenient, and I know a lot of people who love reading from their Kindle or iPad where they can store hundreds of books in a small device, with no need for bookshelves. But for many people, it always feels like something is missing.

There is a certain satisfaction in turning the pages. Smell the book, touch it, open it, close it. Go back a few pages, re-read parts. These are the small things that make a huge difference.

And people tend to give more value to physical books than ebooks.

Videos

Videos and live videos could be your best marketing channels. Adding a product video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%.

Even though video production is not yet the easiest task, it pays off big time. And even your smartphone can make pretty decent videos. No need for huge investments.

The whole concept of content marketing is based on trust and creating long-term relationships. Provide your audience with interesting and useful information, instead of repeated sales pitches.

Videos also allow you to increase the time spent by visitors on your site.

Since Google now owns YouTube, there has been a significant increase in how much videos affect your search engine rank.

Video marketers must remember that people share emotions, not facts. 76% of users say they would share a branded video with their friends if it was entertaining.

So create fun and entertaining videos to encourage people to share your content.

Referral program

It’s effective. For example, Dropbox went from 100,000 users to 4 million in 15 months with a referral program.

Referral marketing relies on your clients to spread information about your services. While referrals are not a strategic or planned marketing activity, they can be a great help for a business to build a loyal customer base. It also costs close to nothing for the business and doesn’t need to a lot maintenance or measurement. However, a business shouldn’t rely solely on referral marketing; it should combine this with the other types of marketing to reach a wider target market.

Offer something to your customers if they refer a new person to visit your store or take advantage of an offer. To make this approach more effective, offer some sort of promotion or benefit (such as a lead magnet offer, a free product, discount, or other bonus) to the existing customer who made the referral, and also some sort of bonus to the new customer.

Live presentations

They inform, entertain, engage audiences, and create an opportunity to get new visitors.

A live video strategy engages viewers in immediate and authentic ways that other social media formats cannot.

Customers expect live video at every step of the consideration process. For lead generation, product demonstration, and getting helpful information. To meet this growing demand, savvy brands are finding new ways to use tools like Livestream and Facebook Live in their marketing stack.

Facebook, Instagram or YouTube Live is available on your phone, laptop or PC. As long as you have a camera in your device and working internet, you can get online.

Helpful tips before you go live:

  1. Test out live video using the “Only me” privacy setting
  2. Space out live videos with other Facebook posts on your timeline
  3. Keep reintroducing yourself
  4. Make the video visually engaging
  5. Make it spontaneous
  6. Don’t worry about mistakes or stutters
  7. Encourage viewers to Like and share the video
  8. Engage with commenters, and mention them by name
  9. Have someone else watching and responding to comments from a desktop computer
  10. Ask viewers to subscribe to Facebook Live notifications
  11. Broadcast for at least 10 minutes
  12. Say goodbye before ending your video
  13. Add a link to the description later

Blog posts

Blog posts bring a wide range of benefits. If your business is online, they are one of your most important marketing channels. By offering great and interesting content on your site, blog posts:

Drive traffic to your website

Rank you higher in search results

Convert traffic into leads

Help establish you as an authority

Yield long-term results

Anyone can start a blog for free. There are a lot of blogging platforms that offer ready-to-start blogs.

And if you want to take it a step further, you can self-host your blog, which is very affordable for almost anyone, gives you more freedom in design, and opens up new features that can make your blog unique and stand out.

You can buy your own domain, hosting, and even Word Press maintenance for less than $100.

And with proper settings and blogging techniques, it can generate free traffic, which can lead to sales – so it makes money with no further investments.

Blogging enables you to reach thousands or even millions of people. It works as a method for attracting an audience because it provides something of value to them with free, valuable content.

When your blog is ready, Google starts crawling your pages and will list your page on their search results.

It means you will start receiving free visitors from the search engines. These visitors likely find value in your blog, because they searched for it and they are interested in the specific topic.

If you keep providing valuable, detailed information about your topic, you can easily become an expert in your field.

Newsletters

You can’t completely eliminate fluctuation (lose some and gain some) in customers, but a thoughtful newsletter campaign keeps your customers in the sales funnel. By regularly providing useful information and visual content to them, customers will feel like you’re consistently improving your services and stay engaged with your brand.

Best practices on your email newsletter:

Teach your customers to open your newsletter with interesting headlines, questions, and half sentences. If they find value or are entertained, the next time you send them an offer or promotion, they are more likely to read it.

Balance your newsletter content to be 10% promotional, 90% educational subjects. Your subscribers don’t want to hear about your products and services all the time.

In your educational newsletters, get rid of the self-promotion and focus on sending your readers helpful, relevant, and timely information. It’s OK to send offers, but unless you actually run an existing campaign, leave out the promotional parts. Send them tips that demonstrate your expertise, company news, Questions & Answers, industry news and trends, testimonials, or case studies.

Always rotate the topic, don’t send the same type of message over and over again. It could get boring if you were to write about your offer in every email. Or just give helpful tips, over and over. You have to find that fine line that allows you to provide valuable content with diverse and interesting topics to keep your customers and prospects engaged.

Email marketing

Recent studies state that email marketing has a 4000% ROI, which means that after for $1 spent on email marketing, it generates $40 in sales.

So even though it seems like we get increasingly inundated with emails, it’s still a good idea to do email marketing.

In order to send out emails, you need a list of subscribers who are interested in what you are saying and selling.

To grow your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer—in other words, a lead magnet, which is a free incentive that a customer finds valuable – in exchange for their email address.

Balloons

Do you want to be different? Here is a tip: An advertising balloon can be seen from far away and even if some people don’t notice the name of the advertiser, some will surely be curious enough to see what is flying in the air.

It attracts instant attention: using attention-grabbing promotional methods is the easiest way to reach targeted audiences within the shortest time.

It creates lasting impressions: attracting attention is good, but it is useless if promotional techniques don’t create long-lasting impressions in the minds of the potential customers. With advertising balloons, deep impressions or long-lasting impressions can be created with ease.

It’s cost-effective: cold air inflatables are an affordable way to deliver your message for years to come.

Almost every type of business can use advertising balloons to reach almost every audience. Large and small businesses use advertising inflatables. Small companies with tight budgets find that the balloons work perfectly for them because they can use the inflatables over and over.

Window display

As a retail store, your window displays are a marketing tool you can use to great effect. They will encourage someone who just walks by to enter your store and increase chances that they become a buyer.

A creative window display will stop anyone on their way. As a mix of art, fashion, design, and marketing, they not only have to quickly grab attention, they must entice people to enter the store.

Create something spectacular that awakens curiosity and draws your customers into the store to enjoy in its entirety.

Webinars

Most marketing webinars are lead generation tools that provide free, valuable information in the hope that participants will see the need to upgrade to paid products or services offered by that company.

One of the first things you need to do to start a webinar marketing campaign is come up with a suitable topic.

Once you’ve come up with relevant content topics for your webinar, it’s your job as marketers to get that webinar in front of as many eyes as possible.

If you set a maximum number of attendees, then people will be more inclined to sign up because they don’t want to miss out on something cool.

Contests

The primary purpose of a contest is to attract interest to your company or brand and create a buzz in the marketplace. A business can give away major concert tickets or a large prize to give customers a feel-good moment and to contribute to word-of-mouth advertising as people tell others about the opportunity.

Contests also offer advantages from a research standpoint. When people sign up or agree to participate, you can collect names, contact information, or get answers to other research questions.

Relative to other marketing tools, contests can offer a relatively low-cost way of gathering leads, information and boosting awareness, depending on the setup and prize.

Email signature

This is a great but often overlooked method of promoting your product or lead magnet. If you send a significant number of emails (also in autoresponders), put your signature to use!

Limit your signature to three or four lines of text. If you can, include an image, such as your logo.

You can write different offers in your email signature, not just a bio and information about yourself or the company. You could include

  • Social media platforms where you are active
  • Your website
  • Your blog
  • Title of a book you wrote
  • Conferences & events
  • New marketing offers and promotions
  • Case studies
  • Promotional videos

TV ads

The average American watches more than five hours of live television every day. It’s a great opportunity to catch their attention and introduce your product.

Traditional broadcast media like television can be very effective for advertising to a large audience, but it is also not the cheapest marketing channel. In fact, it is much more expensive than digital advertising. You also have to run a long campaign and buy several spots to get it to a reasonable price per customer.

Another downside is that you can’t target your audience with as much focus as you can with a digital advertising campaign, meaning you will reach a large number of people who are not interested in your product or offer.

Larger companies typically have a larger marketing budget, and may use television much more than a smaller business. Unless you have a broad target for your product, it better to stay away from TV spots.

Charity

People admire those who help others and participate in charities. Animal shelters can be a good choice as you can sell almost anything by associating it with puppies or kittens.

Choosing a charity is sometimes confusing. Find charities that you believe in and to which you have some affinity. Not only will it be more fun, but also you’ll be happier donating your time and money.

From a business standpoint, look for charities that will give you meaningful exposure to a large number of influential people. You’ll also want to volunteer your time in a position that will show your talents and skills.

If you are sponsoring a charitable event, try to choose one in which your target market would participate. For instance, if you run a senior living community, consider getting involved with charities for retired veterans or finding cures for Alzheimer’s. For example, if you manage a sporting goods store, consider sponsoring a little league baseball team or youth soccer league.

Cross marketing

Cross-promotion is easy, it’s free, and it often has long-term benefits for your brand.

In the first step, you have to determine which company or companies you wish to partner with. Find local companies who are not your direct competitors, but serve a target audience similar to your own. Ideally, these should be companies with products or services that are complementary to your own, for example, if you own a gym, perhaps a supplement shop or tanning salon. If you own a café, you might look at a bakery, or a local bookstore or newsstand.

Print out your own flyers, and give them to your partners.

Nobody likes to give away their own customers, so you have to come up with a strategy that would make them want to help you instead of simply sending you away. The strategy has to be a win-win for both parties; otherwise it won’t work.

Determine how you will promote your partners in your business. For example, offer to share their flyers or brochures with your customers, possibly include a display of their product in your store, provide them a selling space in your business (if you have a café, selling cookies and pastries from a partner bakery would be a perfect tie-in), or show their logo somewhere in your business.

Provide some sort of incentive or bonus to new customers if they reference or show that flyer, or use a special coupon code found on the flyer. It may be a discounted price, a free product or service, a gift of some sort, or an entry in a drawing to win a special prize—potentially even a prize from one of your cross-marketing partners.

Free consultations

Offering free consultations help you pull a lead into the sales funnel and sell them more easily.

You already have success stories from happy customers. Ask if you can interview them for a short case study that presents their problems or challenges and shows how your business provided solutions to their problem.

Don’t make it difficult:

  • Put a time limit on the assessment. “Give us 10 minutes, and we’ll evaluate your savings potential.”
  • Keep it short. “Call us for 3 ways to improve your marketing ROI.”
  • Frame it as a self-assessment tool. “Take our 10-minute self-assessment test to learn if we can help lower your IT costs.”
  • Market an event. “Join us for a two-hour seminar to learn more about how search engine optimization can help your business.”

Free demonstrations

Back in the old days, vacuum cleaner salesmen would go door to door and show how their products saved time and picked up dust. It was the best way to make sales – and it’s a method that still works. In fact, sometimes it’s the only way to get customers to understand what your product can do for them.

You kill two birds with one stone. You educate your customers on how to use your product and create interest, pushing them closer to the purchasing decision.

You don’t necessarily have to hit the streets to make it work. Give potential customers small samples they can take home and try out themselves.

How to build your free demo?

  • Keep it short. Most people don’t want to take the time for long, complicated explanations. They want to quickly understand how your product will help them.
  • Focus on the key features that matter most to the customer, highlighting those so they can try them themselves later.
  • Identify the benefitsthey will get from the product.

Free seminars

It’s not easy to create awareness and fill your seminars with attendees, but they have several benefits like building face-to-face relationships with your customers, and present a great way to sell your product at the end.

But you can use seminars for different purposes, not just solely for selling. A free seminar can be part of your sales funnel. Your seminar can be used to build new relationships. It can be used to add value to existing relationships (your customers only, or for your leads). Or, if it fits in your business profile, you can present a product as a seminar.

The best thing in seminars that they are interactive. Attendees can ask questions and you can answer them right away. However, if you plan for questions, they can actually assist you in delivering a stronger presentation.

Magazine ads

Magazine consumers are more likely to read magazine ads that carry compelling images.

When it comes to magazine advertising, most people think of the large, glossy, national publications full of big brand advertisers.

Small businesses often think that they don’t belong alongside these big companies, especially if they have a local or niche audience.

But that’s just not the case.

Many national magazines have local sections aimed at smaller businesses. Of course, these local sections are a bit larger than a more detailed audience you can create in the digital world, such as the “Northeast” or the “Southwest” parts of the United States. So while you’ll be reaching people way outside your neighborhood, you’ll also attract local business.

Some magazines may have a very specific niche market, which makes them a great way to reach customers in that market. In addition, some magazines have a more regional audience, or do regional editions that target a specific area. These can be a great way to connect with your potential customers, rather than a general audience outside your market area.

Radio spots

More than 243 million American adults listen to the radio each month. It’s a huge audience, and can be segmented by region and audience demographics.

It is possible to improve the odds of reaching your target by picking certain time slots, for example early morning, or afternoon when people tend to be in their cars driving from or to work.  However, these prime time slots also command prime fees. So if you have a tighter marketing budget, it may not bring the ROI you are looking for.

Billboards

Americans spend more time today than ever in their vehicles. Outdoor billboards are in the face of the customer while they drive.

Billboard advertising can be relatively inexpensive, depending on the size and location.

Design your billboard with a great visual that grabs attention and tells a lot about your message. Use just a small amount of text – as people don’t have that much time to absorb your ad, only a few seconds.

Don’t forget: a billboard is a secondary advertising medium, which means that it’s ideal for brand-building and supporting a campaign, but it just cannot do the heavy lifting.

There are regular billboards, and there are 3D billboards that really go above and beyond to attract the attention of the viewer. And now, with increasing frequency, there are even digital billboards that allow you to add brief animations and video elements.

Expositions

Exhibiting at an industrial exposition (expo) can be a great way to advertise to your target market, create brand awareness, and engage directly with existing and potential customers.

  • What is the expo objective? Collect leads, meet existing customers, make direct sales, or network with other businesses?
  • Choose an exhibition that will attract your targetaudience.
  • Compare expected benefits with the costs of exhibiting.
  • Bookearly to ensure that you are included in the organizers’ publicity material.
  • Start planning well in advance: create and organize marketing materials, dsiplays, logos, product samples and any promotional gifts.
  • Before the exhibition,promote your attendance to current and potential customers.
  • During the exhibition, let visitors browse briefly before approaching them to identifywho they are and what their interest is.
  • Arrange to follow up: record the name, job title, contact details, and area of interest of each potential customer.

Trade shows

Trade shows are much like an exposition, but typically more on business-to-business level. If your audience is other companies, such as retailers or manufacturers, trade shows can bring hundreds or even thousands of customers into one location. Being involved in a trade show, you can build real relationships with your customers, and generate leads from the visitors to your display booth.

When starting out, it’s important to set up all of your goals and objectives clearly. This is what will guide every decision that you make throughout the event marketing process. You need to give trade show goers a reason to interact with your brand. If you don’t stand out, you won’t reach the full potential of your network.

Understanding your target audience is the first step of developing your trade show marketing plan. Conduct in-depth research into the key demographics, personalities, characteristics, business needs, and lifestyles of your target market. How can you build event marketing materials that speak to this audience as you move forward?

Special event

Events offer a unique opportunity for people to interact with your brand and to know more about the company’s personality. They can ask questions, and they can really engage with your business.

Events must be memorable to make an impact. When done well, events have the power to create a lasting and powerful impression of all that your company can deliver. The desired impact depends on your goals. By allowing people to experience and interact with your company, product, or service while participating in an event, you are connecting with potential buyers.

Articles

Write a good article that solves a problem or provides value.

People go online to find a solution to a problem, or an answer to a question, and if you can deliver it to them, they’ll find out more about your business. Focus on bringing value to your readers.

Write articles in a conversational style. Instead of using industry jargon and academic words in never-ending, difficult sentences, keep it simple and natural. Be friendly, engaging, and approachable.

Write to your readers, and write about your readers. Everybody likes to read about themselves.

Brochures

You can share them with potential customers, existing customers, or mail them as part of a direct mail campaign.

While there are some very elegant and fancy brochures out there, they don’t have to be. They can be simple to create, fast to produce, and cost-effective. Lots of big and small companies use brochures in their marketing strategy.

One of the most popular places where business owners hand out brochures is trade shows. That’s because it works!

One of the most popular styles of brochure is a tri-fold, a piece of paper folded in thirds, so there is a lot of room to develop an eye-catching design with informative copy and photos or illustrations. Similar simple formats using a larger piece of paper can provide additional space to talk about your products or services. Brochures can hold much more information than a postcard or a simple flyer.

Post cards

Your card can serve as a coupon, asking the reader to bring the card into your store for a special discount. Or it can reveal a special promo code they can use on your website. And your competitor won’t know about it.

Don’t forget to always place a strong call-to-action on the postcard. What the call-to-action is depends on your goals: what steps you want your prospects to take?

It could be promotional, or it could be used to deliver something as simple as a brief message or holiday greetings.

If you choose to use postcards for a promotion, start with a catchy headline, then paint a picture of the problem your offer will solve, describe the offer, and give the call-to-action.

Coupons

Coupons are still one of the most used marketing tools that companies – online or traditional – use.

For example, if you offer a coupon at the checkout after the customer completes a purchase, let’s say $15 off every $100 spent, chances are big that you will see the customer again in your store or webstore.

Set the starting date of the coupon the next day after the purchase and give it a short expiration date (it really depends on the type of your product, and how often customers buy).

When the customer comes back with the coupon, their additional spend is often more than the savings from the coupon, so you don’t only get a repeat customer, you also gain extra profit within a short time frame.

Marketing materials

Sometimes your marketing materials are the first impression with a potential customer, so you need them to be good. You can say anything about your company’s high-quality products and world-famous customer service, but if your marketing materials don’t reflect this professionalism, people won’t trust in your words, and will get a negative first impression and experience with your company.

There are literally thousands of options and ideas out there, from utilitarian to decorative to fun, and to fit all kinds of budgets.

You can use them to create brand awareness, for new leads, or customers.

You can offer these materials as a bonus. For example, with an offer that for a limited time, if they buy a specific product, they will get a cool item as a bonus.

Telephone marketing

Telephone marketing can offer several benefits. Unlike in text or email, you can talk to the customer directly: ask questions, find out what they want, what motivates them to solve their problem, and eliminate their fears.

You should be prepared to talk through any issues or concerns they have. Create a “frequently asked questions” cheat sheet with the questions most people ask you during these conversations.

Be prepared to be told “No”.

Don’t let it upset you.

Let it go, thank the person for taking the time and try again another day. Telemarketing requires a lot of persistence to produce good results.

Community bulletin boards

You can find public bulletin boards throughout communities. Look in:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Libraries
  • Gyms / Recreational Facilities
  • Churches
  • Laundromats
  • Coffee Shops
  • Waiting Rooms / Lunch Rooms
  • Factories
  • Community Centers
  • Union Halls
  • Beauty Salons
  • Bookstores
  • Restaurants / Bars
  • Convenience Stores
  • Smaller Shopping Centers

If you see a bulletin board, put up some cards.  Distributing business cards on community bulletin boards is one Guerrilla marketing tactic that, when added to other initiatives, can increase visibility and ultimately income and sales.

Word-of-mouth

About 62% of consumers search online for reviews and information before purchasing a product.

And word-of-mouth doesn’t stop after just one interaction. One person will share it with another, and that person will tell someone else. Then that person will continue the chain and spread the word further.

Statistics show that word-of-mouth works, because people trust their friends and family more than they trust advertisements.

The more passionate your ‘fans’ are about you, the more likely they will share your brand. The passing of information through word-of-mouth is powerful in generating new customers without additional marketing cost. It has a way of reaching people that you might not have been able to connect with otherwise.

Gift certificates/Gift cards

People want the option to shop and buy whenever they want, whether it’s online or in person. Gift cards can allow them to do just that.

Because someone buys it for someone else, someone who may have never heard of you, you reach far more people than you would through your advertising channels. These new customers are highly targeted and the recipient is certainly motivated to use the gift card, making it an even more efficient of connecting with a potential customer.

You can run gift card campaigns through the holidays when people tend to buy presents and gifts for their loved ones.

Viral marketing

Something going viral relies purely on how much it gets shared with others.

Closely related to “buzz marketing” and “word-of-mouth marketing” is viral marketing. Something going viral means that a product or service is being advertised by people to their own contacts in such a way that awareness grows exponentially. Viral marketing spreads like wildfire – for example, funny YouTube videos or Facebook memes.

Whether it’s a video, sales letter, or audio, in order to go viral, it first must bring out an emotion in the viewer.

Directory listing

Because local listings are limited to businesses located within a small geographic area, it is much easier to be included, especially if you have a physical location there.

Getting listed in a range of high-authority business directories is important for two significant reasons:

  • Increased visibility in search
  • Greater credibility for the business

Getting listed on relevant local or niche directories also allows search engines to learn more about your business and gives more visibility to searchers. The more specific the directory’s focus, the more it helps the business target the right audience.

Yellow Pages

Nearly 60 million consumers search on yellowpages.com per month, or use printed Yellow Pages books (yes, they still exist).

The primary audience is a smaller niche: elderly people in rural areas. Those in rural areas are less likely to have reliable internet access, and older people are more comfortable with using the Yellow Pages directory to find a local service. If this sounds like your target audience, it may be worth putting out a few print ads.

Yelp

The major benefit of Yelp is the engaged yelpers. The site works like word-of-mouth advertising for the digital world, with more than 148 million reviews.

Yelp is becoming more and more competitive as a playground for local and international businesses. The service is featured on both Google’s and Yahoo’s search engines any time you are looking for local businesses.

To get the best review out of your customers, you should use quality photos of your store, products and services you offer, in order to promote your business successfully on Yelp.

Yelp is also known for tracking important stats with an internal onsite algorithm. You can refer to this metric anytime you want to know more about how your business is doing compared to others in your field.

Referral programs

Referral marketing relies on your clients to spread information about your services. While referrals are not a strategic or planned marketing activity, they can be a great help for a business to build a loyal customer base. It also costs close to nothing for the business and doesn’t need to a lot maintenance or measurement. However, a business shouldn’t rely solely on referral marketing; it should combine this with the other types of marketing to reach a wider target market.

Offer something to your customers if they refer a new person to visit your store or take advantage of an offer. To make this approach more effective, offer some sort of promotion or benefit (such as a lead magnet offer, a free product, discount, or other bonus) to the existing customer who made the referral, and also some sort of bonus to the new customer. 

Conclusion

This is my initial list of marketing channels. Please review the list and let me know if something is missing.

What is the best of your marketing channels? Share it with us in the comment!

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