In an era when more and more people are using their smartphones to shop, digital marketing has exploded, so it makes sense to “go where your people are” via newer growth marketing channels.
Growth marketing is an increasingly important goal shared by small businesses and large corporations alike. However, tapping into some growth marketing channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO) or email marketing, can produce more growth than others.
All fine and well, but the question remains; how do you allocate a finite marketing budget?
Allocate Your Marketing Budget for Maximum Impact
Traditional marketing practices, such as outdoor advertising, still have their place. However, many of your potential customers miss these messages entirely. They walk right past your place of business, staring down at their smartphone. As they ride shotgun with a friend, their handheld device commands their attention…so they could easily miss that expensive billboard.
Spending on growth marketing channels makes it tempting to go with an either/or decision. However, businesses need to do a little bit of both to remain successful. As your marketing efforts increasingly shift into the digital realm, it might be helpful to have a roadmap. Which channels will be the most effective in your niche? If you plan to break out of your comfort zone, it would be great to be confident you are heading in the right direction.
Nowadays, most marketing experts agree that the following eight channels bring the most ROI for businesses. The channels you select will depend on your niche, but you can adapt most of these top eight growth marketing channels to suit your needs. As you devise your growth plans, ensure they will be worthwhile. For example, if video marketing isn’t the best choice for your industry, you’d probably like to know before investing in equipment.
1. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine results pages (SERPs) represent the critical metric for the success of all your assorted growth marketing channels.
If your growth marketing efforts are not moving the needle on SERPs, you’ll want to recalibrate until that changes. Dive into what keywords you should be ranking for, and what type of content you’ll need to create to move the needle. Once you are on the board, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your rankings and tweak strategies as necessary. Success on this channel can lead to relatively inexpensive yet consistent traffic for your site.
2. Content Marketing
The quality and usefulness of your online content are the primary means by which your company demonstrates that it knows its stuff. Content represents the main channel by which your domain authority (DA) will rise or fall. A rising DA signals search engines that your digital footprint should be ranking for those key search terms.
Search engines will crawl your site and verify that your company has the knowledge and content to support its claims. That content is also vital for moving a prospective customer through every stage of the sales funnel. It should answer questions and address common pain points at every stage of the visitor’s journey. Because of that, if you aren’t paying enough attention to this channel, now’s the time!
3. Digital PR
If a meaningful discussion is occurring online relevant to your industry, you want your company to garner a mention by others.
Third-party validation of your products and services is another key to building your online credibility. As unpaid third parties begin linking to your materials, citing you as an expert on the topic, your DA should rise correspondingly. This can help lead to better search rankings and can help your brand build credibility, all of which will help with growth.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is an integral part of promoting growth. As prospective customers move through the sales funnel, provide opportunities to learn more via email. Your online presence should nurture leads by providing in-depth materials that won’t perform well on smartphones.
For example, a website overview on a relevant topic could offer the opportunity to download an in-depth white paper in exchange for an email address. This way, your company will educate and respond to real-world needs as you grow your list of leads.
5. Paid Advertising
Don’t forget to allocate a portion of your online marketing budget to the growth channel of paid advertisements. Paid insertions on search engines and social media platforms that are popular with your target audience should provide measurable results.
As your company grows, you can reliably compare the cost of these ads to the number of referrals you receive. They play an essential role in ensuring that your company pops up in front of potential customers in the right place and at the right time.
A robust, win-win referral program will pay enormous dividends as you seek recognition as an authoritative voice. When your products work well and your services generate positive buzz, you should leverage what others say to a great advantage.
As non-competing businesses begin to look to you for reliable answers, many others will feel the influence to follow along. Customers become unpaid cheerleaders. Satisfied customers begin to chat you up. Business owners start to notice when your company solves real-world problems for others. As a result, your DA climbs.
7. Influencer Marketing
For many industries, influencer marketing is more critical today than ever before.
Having another well-respected voice in your corner reassures potential customers that you are who you say you are. When someone with a respected reputation validates you with a recommendation, they are putting their reputation on the line.
Don’t jump in recklessly, though. It’s vital to sift potential influencers. Are they flashy? Is their reputation appropriate for your target client base? Try to steer toward respected industry voices. Avoid controversy at all costs.
8. Affiliate Marketing
Of all the growth marketing channels you need to address, affiliate marketing can represent “low-hanging fruit” for companies looking to see remarkable growth.
Once again, the enduring quality of your partnerships will strongly influence the quality of the audience. When any well-respected voice cites your company as authoritative, they carry all of their influence on others in their wake.
That’s a wrap.
So there you have it! You now know which eight marketing channels will appear on nearly every Top 15 list worldwide. Now it’s up to you to pick the growth marketing channels that make the most sense in your context.
Go in expecting at least some trial and error, but be quick to base all future decision-making upon empirical data should it appear that you need to change course.
Of course, many SMB owners are far too busy delivering quality products and customer service to have the time to devote to developing growth marketing channels. In these cases, it might make more sense to use a growth marketing agency to get you up and running. As you consider this option, look for an agency with the heart of a teacher. You’ll want to partner with someone who gives you a boost but “teaches you to fish for yourself” as its ultimate goal.
As you branch out into various growth marketing channels, try to remind yourself and your staff to have some fun and freedom to experiment. No one can predict with any 100% certainty how the swells in our shared digital ocean will move, so some adjustment will always be required. Just play to your known strengths, and remember…keep it real.