As a small business owner, it can be hard to choose from the different types of marketing channels and know which ones are most effective for your business.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss different types of marketing channels and some tips to help you get started so that you can choose the right one for your business.
What is a Marketing Channel?
A marketing channel is a pathway a company’s products and services take from the point of production to the end user.
It is the medium that you use to reach your target market.
Marketing channels are often classified according to the type of product or service being sold…
…but they can also be arranged by the type of customer relationship: direct or indirect, business-to-business or business-to-consumer.
In general, the four main types of marketing channels are paid, free, digital, and traditional.
The most popular marketing channels today are websites, emails, targeted digital advertising, and different social media channels.
Traditionally, people have used direct distribution channels or indirect marketing channels.
When selecting the marketing channels for your small business, choose the ones based on where your customers spend most of their time.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that enables retailers and brands to offer a consistent customer experience across all channels.
This includes mobile and desktop web, paid media, social media, email, in-store, and even physical locations.
Brands use omnichannel marketing to combine their online and offline efforts into one cohesive strategy.
Omnichannel marketing allows brands to operate in an omnichannel world…
…where customers are increasingly shopping on multiple devices at once, including their laptops and smartphones.
In contrast, multichannel marketing refers to using two or more channels and focusing on a particular product or service.
Let’s now take a closer look at the types of marketing channels that you can utilize for an effective marketing mix.
20 Types of Marketing Channels
1. Direct Mail
Direct selling is a type of marketing channel in which physical products or services are sold to the end customer by a sales team without an intermediary.
The direct-selling approach can be through direct mail which is a marketing channel that has been around for many years.
But it has fallen out of favor in recent years. Why? Because the Internet has made it easier to reach customers and prospects on their own terms.
But direct mailers can still be an effective way to reach your audience if you use them correctly.
Social media has become a powerful channel and tool for businesses to reach their target audiences, specifically younger audiences.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other platform…
…social networks are a great way to generate brand awareness and increase customer engagement and create long-term relationships.
Social media marketing tactics leverage the opportunity to interact with customers directly—allowing you to address customer concerns and issues quickly and efficiently.
To get the most out of social media, you need a solid strategy. Here are quick tips to maximize the potential of this marketing channel:
- Don’t do it all yourself.
- Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
- Analyze and learn from your mistakes.
- Set realistic goals and expectations.
- Create high-quality content
- Use marketing automation where possible
Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to reach and engage with customers.
It has a higher conversion rate than social media and search engine marketing…
…and it costs less per click than Facebook or Google ads. Email also has a higher ROI than other channels.
And research shows that email subscribers are more likely to purchase from you or recommend your brand to others.
When creating your email campaigns, give away something valuable for free with every new email address you collect.
This could be a coupon code or access to exclusive content not available anywhere else online.
In an email sales funnel, prospective customers are nurtured into real customers.
The website is an indirect channel that provides information about your company in a way that allows prospects to choose when to engage with you…
…when they’re ready to buy or learn more about your products or services.
A website can be used as a lead-generation tool.
You can achieve this by creating content that attracts the attention of potential customers who may not be ready to buy yet but would like to know more about your business.
You can also use it as a customer retention tool by using it as a place where existing customers can return for updates on new products or services offered by your business.
Or a channel to boost your internet sales!
There are many aspects of your website that could be hindering your ability to convert visitors into customers.
Here are some of the areas where you should focus on improving conversions:
In your content marketing strategy, you need to create compelling and relevant content aligned with your brand identity that will compel visitors to take action.
Your homepage should include a value proposition and offer something of value, such as a free report or ebook, at the top of the page.
The rest of your site should be filled with valuable content that…
…publishes company news, answers customer questions, helps them solve problems, and keeps them coming back for more information.
This is also an excellent way to provide valuable information to customers while displaying your expertise on a special type of subject.
Blogs can help build trust with prospects and end consumers by showing them how they can benefit from working with you or your company.
These buttons are meant to take visitors from browsing through your site to actually taking action.
Whether it’s directing to your product pages, signing up for an email newsletter subscription, providing their phone number, or purchasing products from your online store.
5. Facebook ads
Facebook ads are a powerful marketing channel that can help you reach your target market and grow your business.
But they’re not right for every business. Use this guide to learn how they work and when you should use them.
Facebook ads are the most effective way to reach people on Facebook. They appear in people’s News Feeds, so they’re well-targeted and relevant.
And because of their high level of engagement, you get more value out of every dollar spent.
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They’re also relatively cheap compared to other digital channels like Google Ads, which makes them a good option for startups and small businesses.
If you want to learn more about Facebook ads best practices, check out this post next.
Influencer marketing is a useful tool that has been around for decades, but marketers are just now beginning to realize its power.
Influencers can help brands connect with consumers on a personal level and influence buying decisions in ways that other forms of marketing cannot.
In fact, in a recent study by Tomoson, 51 percent of marketers said influencer marketing helps them get better customers.
The appeal of influencer marketing lies in its ability to create authentic brand experiences that resonate with consumers.
When used correctly, it can also drive sales and lead generation.
But as influencer marketing becomes more popular among marketers, it’s important to approach it strategically…
…so your campaign achieves its goals while aligning with your overall marketing strategy and goals.
Affiliates are a marketing channel that can be leveraged to drive sales and revenue for your business.
So, what is an affiliate? An affiliate is a person or company that promotes your product or service in exchange for a commission.
This commission can come from the sale of your product, the sale of another product, or even through pay-per-click advertising.
Affiliate marketing is used by many companies because they have shown to be incredibly effective at increasing sales revenue. It’s no surprise why they’re so popular!
Affiliates can be used to target new audiences. If you’re looking to expand your customer base or reach new people, affiliates can help you do that.
For example, if you’re selling shoes online and want to target women aged 18-30 who live in New York City…
…an affiliate could help you reach those customers by placing links on their website that take visitors directly to yours.
In the digital age, video marketing is the new gold standard.
It’s an opportunity to create a connection with your audience and deliver information in an engaging and memorable way.
And it’s not just for big companies!
You can use videos and publish them on your social media accounts or as display advertising to help promote your business and capture your audience’s attention.
Here are some ideas on how you can use videos as a marketing channel:
Create product or service videos
If you have a product or service, create a video that shows off its features and benefits.
For example, if you’re selling fashion accessories, take photos of them in various settings so people can see how they look in action.
Use video testimonials
Video testimonials are great for showing off customer satisfaction with your products or services, which can give you an advantage against competing brands.
You can also show them how to use your products or services so customers know what they’re getting into before they make their purchase.
Create instructional videos
If you sell e-learning courses or online tutorials, create an instructional video series to help teach people how to use your products effectively.
People want quick results and easy solutions.
And having someone explain how to use something in detail helps them get what they want more quickly than reading through instructions.
SEO or search engine optimization is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing today.
It’s a channel that has been around for years and continues to grow in popularity.
SEO is the process of optimizing your website through target keywords to increase website traffic and attract potential customers through search engines.
It’s essentially getting your site ranked higher in search engine results pages (SERPs)…
…or simply getting higher search rankings when people look for things related to your business.
If you want to be on top search rankings, SEO advertising is the way to go!
Local SEO is a strategy with a geographical component that helps your business be more visible in local search results on Google.
Organic SEO is the use of optimizing organic content to drive organic traffic to your website.
You can monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s ranking in Google Search results with Google Search Console, a free service offered by Google.
The main reason why SEO is so effective as a marketing channel is that it’s free!
You don’t have to spend money on ads or pay for exposure.
All you have to do is invest time into making sure your site can be found by users who search for keywords related to your business.
Word-of-mouth marketing has been shown to be more effective than paid advertising.
The best word-of-mouth campaigns can spread like wildfire…
…and if your product or service offers value to your customers, they will be more than happy to talk about it with their friends and family.
Word of mouth can be one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching new customers and building brand loyalty.
It’s also an effective way of getting feedback on what you’re doing right — or wrong — with your business.
If you want people to talk about your brand, you need to create engaging content that’s worthy of discussion.
Your goal should be to create something so good that it’s impossible not to share it with others.
The next one on our list of types of marketing channels is one that’s often overlooked, but it has many benefits.
SMS marketing can be used in a number of ways:
- SMS reminders: Text messages about future events, loyalty programs, and promotions are an effective way to promote your business.
- Contests and prize draws: Customers love the opportunity to win prizes and being kept in the loop with special offers or contests can help build loyalty.
- Customer feedback: SMS has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to gather customer feedback, both before and after purchase.
- Service alerts: Using SMS for service alerts can help reduce the likelihood of service failures by alerting customers directly when something goes wrong with their order.
Referral is a powerful marketing channel because it has the ability to create a loop of trust, loyalty, and goodwill.
A satisfied customer has already taken the time to get to know you and your brand, which makes them more likely to recommend you and less likely to be swayed by price.
If you take care of their needs, they will take care of yours.
Add this up over time and it can be a huge win for both parties involved. Here are some tips on how to leverage referrals:
- Start with a referral program that works for you.
- Create an incentive structure that rewards referrers and referees.
- Track the success of each campaign so you know what works best for your business model.
Networking is a powerful marketing channel for B2B companies.
The most successful businesses have built relationships with other companies and individuals in their industry and beyond it.
Networking is often a misunderstood activity, but it’s not hard to do if you understand the basic principles.
If you do it well, you can get leads, customers, and business partners mainly through networking events without spending any money on advertising or other marketing tactics.
14. Traditional media
Traditional media is one of those types of marketing channels that have been around for many years.
It’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s best to know how to use it effectively.
When you think of traditional media, what comes to mind?
Newspapers and magazines? Print ads? Radio? Television? How about billboards or radio ads on the highway?
These are all examples of traditional media, which encompasses anything that was created before the Internet existed.
15. Google ads
With Google Ads, you can create and manage text ads, images, videos, and site links that appear in Google search results on desktop and mobile devices.
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You can also choose to show your ads on Display Network sites, which include millions of sites across the web.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that helps you measure your website’s performance by providing information about your visitors’ behavior on your site.
16. User-generated content
UGC is content created by customers that are shared online.
It can be comments, positive reviews, or photos, but it’s usually not paid for by a brand.
Instead, it comes from your customers who love your products so much they want to share them with the world.
For example, if you own a bakery, your customers may take a photo of their delicious cookies and post it on Instagram with the tag “#mycakestory”.
Or maybe, post about how much they loved your desserts on Facebook.
This type of content creation is becoming increasingly popular in industries…
…such as travel and hospitality due to its ability to leverage the customer journey to build trust between the end consumers and brands.
Audio can help build awareness of a brand and its products or services in many ways. Marketing messages can be delivered using sound, music, and voiceover.
This is especially effective when paired with visual content, such as a video or animation.
Audiobooks are a great way to target people who are on the go and looking to learn something new.
Podcasts should cover specific topics and can be downloaded and listened to at any time.
This makes them a high-value option for businesses looking to enhance their customers’ online experiences.
Audio can reinforce brand values and create emotional connections between consumers and brands.
18. Twitter ads
Twitter ads are a unique kind of advertising that can be used to reach a highly targeted audience.
With Twitter’s unique targeting and real-time data, you can create ads that are relevant to your audience and drive results. You can use Twitter ads to promote:
- Your website (to drive traffic)
- A specific Tweet or link within a Tweet
- Your account or business page (to grow followers)
19. Landing Pages
A landing page is a web page that is designed to convert a visitor into a customer.
It’s a place where you can send your visitors and customers to read more about what you have to offer or to purchase one of your products or services.
Landing pages are one of the most popular marketing channels today…
…because they give you an opportunity to create customized experiences for each of your leads, which in turn will help you close more sales.
When done right, landing pages are an effective way to convert visitors into customers because they:
- Increase conversion rates
- Help you build trust with potential buyers by providing detailed information about your business and industry knowledge
- Improve customer retention rates
The last on our list of types of marketing channels are events. Events are a great way to build your brand and engage with potential customers.
But the way small businesses approach events is changing, and how you leverage those events to drive revenue is evolving, too.
Here are five marketing tactics that will help you best leverage events for your business:
- Set goals
- Make a list of attendees who will benefit from attending the event
- Build an agenda based on what attendees want to learn
- Establish a budget and stick to it
- Measure and track the success
There are many different types of marketing channels available for small businesses today—and choosing the right one that aligns with your business goals can be daunting!
But if done correctly, each channel has its own unique advantages that can help:
- establish two-way communication,
- boost brand awareness,
- drive traffic to your website or storefront,
- increase engagement with your customers in the online world and offline channels, and
- grow customer loyalty over time
…ultimately resulting in more retail sales!
Regardless of whether you’re an eCommerce store or a SaaS company, it’s important that whatever channel you decide on fits into your overall strategy and budget…
…so that it’s both effective and sustainable for your business in the long run.