Whether you have a $100 monthly advertising budget or a $100,000 monthly budget, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. Just as importantly, you want to get the most out of the time that you’re investing into your marketing campaigns. Maximized ROI is always the goal for any campaign, after all.
Choosing the right marketing channels will help you get that ROI. But how do you know which marketing channels are the right ones to get you the most for your ad spend and your time? There are so many changes happening in marketing and it’s difficult to know which platforms will work best for you.
If you aren’t sure where to get started, we can help. We’re going to go over the 6 best marketing channels you should be focusing on in 2019 and some best practices for how to get the most out of them.
1. Your Website
Some businesses don’t think of their website as a marketing channel, but in reality, it may be the most important one. This is where users will come when they’re interested in learning more about your business, and if they can’t find answers to their questions quickly, they won’t stick around long enough to find out.
Your site should offer a good first impression and it should clearly represent your business, brand, products and services in the way you want.
There are several things you should do to increase it’s effectiveness right away:
- Conduct a site audit. Use tools like SEMrush to audit your site’s SEO performance. They’ll flag errors that can be fixed, including crawlability issues.
- Test out your interface. For this one, manual is best. Ask a few people you trust to check out your site and see if they’re able to find key information and pages (About Me and Contact included) quickly and easily. If not, it’s time for an upgrade.
- Use your analytics. Are you noticing drop-offs somewhere in your on-site funnel? Look at where the drop-offs are happening in Google Analytics to assess why the funnel isn’t working and how you can improve it.
2. Social Media
Social media is a big player in the marketing world right now. Customers are actively seeking out brands they like or are interested in and increasing numbers of users are taking to social media to research or make buying decisions.
Social media also offers valuable community-building opportunities that you really won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re just sharing behind-the-scenes content on your personal page or creating a group involving your business, you should be leveraging social media for all it’s worth.
There’s a lot to cover when it comes to seeing an ROI from social media, but here are the most important things to keep in mind:
- Focus on relationships, not sales. If people wanted to be sold to, they’d head to your site. Instead, this is where customers come to get to know you. Interact with your followers enthusiastically and don’t treat them like they’re nothing more than an open wallet.
- Think about transparency. You still want to be professional, but you can be professional without falling into a cookie-cutter mold at the same time. Show those behind-the-scenes content and tackle negative comments with grace. People will notice that and they’ll trust you more.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is the best method of direct response marketing there is. Users have opted into hearing from you, so they’re more willing to open those messages to learn about the latest products, sales and how to benefit from them.
Email marketing can be complex, so we’ve covered it in-depth here.
Email marketing best practices include:
- Make it as personalized as possible. Use a combination of triggered autoresponders and segmentation practices in order to make the emails as immediately relevant to the receivers as possible. This will not only increase the chance of immediate conversion but also long-term open rates, too.
- Keep it short. Short is your best friend for any type of copywriting, and that goes for email marketing, too. The email should be easy to read and easy to scan, with a big CTA at the bottom
- Don’t neglect the subject line. You need to give users a reason to click. Again, keep it short here, but try to offer value, incite urgency, or both in order to increase clicks.
4. Content Marketing and SEO
Content marketing is kind of like a savings account. As time goes on, you get compounding interest, making it even more valuable. Your evergreen posts can offer SEO benefits for a very long time to come as people continue to search them out, and all of your content can provide valuable relationship building and lead generation capabilities.
Content marketing demonstrates authority and expertise, all while helping you reach customers at different stages of the funnel and hitting as many keywords as you can. It’s been one of our best marketing channels at Disruptive Advertising in recent years.
Content marketing must be high quality in order to get these results. Here’s how you can get the most out of it:
- Offer value. Make sure that your content is actionable, which makes it valuable. If you’re writing about fixing an AC unit, for example, you don’t want to just say “open it up and look for anything out of the ordinary” (if you want an example of what this would look like, check out the blog post below). You’d give a visual and text tutorial for how to open the unit, specific problems to look for, and what they indicate. List how to fix the problems with other step-by-step instructions, and let people know when it’s time to call a technician.
- Be strategic. Use your content to actually accomplish something, instead of just writing posts that you feel like writing. Use keyword research and audience knowledge to shape the topics you write about. Include in-text CTAs to get in touch, try your product or learn more about your services.
- Look for multiple distribution channels. You need to do more than just write and publish the post, you need to actively distribute it across multiple channels. Use social media, add sharing buttons to your post and do what you can to get links back to your content through guest posting on other sites. If you don’t start to get the word out there about your posts, no one else will either.
As far as marketing channels go, pay-per-click advertising is still an unbeatable juggernaut, especially with the diverse options now available to brands. There is a learning curve for each platform, so if you can afford to hire an agency to handle your campaigns for you, we obviously recommend that.
There are two dominating forces in the PPC world: Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram Ads. Google search ads will help you connect with users who are searching for products or services like yours.
Meanwhile, their display ads and Facebook’s ads will allow you to create demand and introduce your services to customers who may not be looking or even know you exist.
You can learn more about how to get the most out of Google Ads here and Facebook Ads here.
6. Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing has always been one of the most effective marketing channels, and that will continue on an on-going basis. You’ll brush it off if a salesperson tells you that you need that watch, but when your friend points out how much they love wearing it every day because of all the smart features, you’ll take more notice.
There are two primary methods to encourage word of mouth marketing. Referral programs and motivating online reviews for different platforms online, including Google, LinkedIn, and Yelp.
Here’s some of the best ways to encourage word of mouth marketing:
- Run referral or affiliate programs. Offer customers an incentive like a discount or purchase credit every time one of their referrals hires you or purchases from you. Make that incentive valuable.
- Ask customers directly for them. After a purchase or service has been rendered, reach out to users and ask what they thought and if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review. If you have a personal relationship with the customer, ask them directly.
- Showcase the reviews you have. Use tools to feature your reviews on your site, either on product pages or a general testimonial page. This will build trust quickly and throw in a little #FOMO, too.
What About Everything Else?
Just because a marketing channel didn’t make our list doesn’t mean that it’s not effective. Plenty of brands have had huge campaigns when utilizing influencer marketing or cold calling or billboards or TV commercials, but all of those methods (and the others that didn’t make our list) often work best for big brands with big budgets.
For anyone who isn’t an enormous corporation—and sometimes even if you are—the money is often better spent when allocated to the other marketing channels we’re focusing on.
There are more online marketing platforms than ever before. As stressful as that can be, your overall online presence is also more connected than ever before.
Omnichannel selling is becoming more prominent and all your platforms are connected by threads like a big spider web instead of standing in complete isolation. There are plugins to add social sharing bars to your site and PPC and email marketing can be targeted to show messages to users who have recently visited a page on your site or app. Everything is hyper-connected, so consistency is more important than ever before as you implement your brand across all the channels you choose to engage on.
In the meantime, the above channels are the best ones to focus on in 2018 for the majority of businesses. Test them out, and see what works best for you in order to determine your personal ideal marketing mix. It’s an investment that will definitely pay off.
What do you think? Which marketing channels do you focus on? Are there any we didn’t include that have gotten you incredible results? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
Ana Gotter is a freelance writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at anagotter.com.