There are dozens of different channels to choose from. And online channels are fragmenting each year, creating endless ways for you to reach your customers.
Here’s a few of your options:
- Paid Search
- Dispaly Ads
- Organic Search (SEO)
- iTunes Podcasts
- Stumble Upon
- White Papers
Every year, this list gets longer. It’s kind of ridiculous.
Out of all these options, are you marketing in the right one?
Many online marketers will tell you “Hey man, you need to be on the BLEEDING edge of social media!! It’s a gold rush! Jump on XYZ site before you DIE!”
Tell these guys to stuff it. Not everyone needs to be on the latest and greatest social media network. In fact, you can safely ignore the majority of channels. You just need to pick the right ones.
How to Pick the Right Marketing Channel
It’s simple: use the channel that your customers use. It’s that simple. Different customers use different channels which makes them a great way to target your ideal buyer.
Now figuring out which customers use which channels is the tricky part.
Let’s run through this with a real example. Take my Grandpa. He’s 80 years old and hates computers. Other then sending email through AOL, he can’t do anything else. When I was 9 years old, I called him “roadkill on the information highway.” This is still true.
How do we reach him with our marketing? Well, we can immediately cross off every social media platform from our list. And every other online channel while we’re at it.
That limits us to options like these:
- Direct mail (catalogs or sales letters)
- Television Ads
He watches a little television, subscribes to Business Week, and doesn’t get the newspaper. But you know what he pays a great deal of attention to?
Yup, his catalogs. It doesn’t event matter if he’s familiar with the brand, he flips through each and every one. To see what’s new and exciting, he opens the most recent catalog. No blogs, no Today Show, no tweets, just a catalog.
He even circles products and folds the corners so he can quickly remember what grabbed his attention the first time he looked through it.
And he’s not unique. If you’re looking to get in front of a rural, elderly market, catalogs are by far the most efficient way to do so.
But would catalogs work on someone younger? Probably not. They certainly wouldn’t work well enough to turn a profit. If you went after a mid-twenties market with catalogs, you should just light all of your cash on fire. You’ll have a lot more fun than you will mailing catalogs.
SoLoMo is the horrid abbreviation people are using for marketing that combines social, mobile, and local experiences. Think Groupon and younger markets.
To dominate this space, you need a social media team that can react instantly 24/7, a great app that encourages user engagement, and a plan to personalize everything depending on the user’s location. This is the new world of marketing that we all hear so much about.
Narrow You Options Over Lunch
Instead of committing a great deal of cash in either direation and merely hoping for the best, follow these steps:
- Put together a list of the channels that you think your target market uses
- Find people in that market and take them out to lunch
- Confirm your assumptions and update your list
Now you’ll know what kind of channels your target market uses. Every market is different and will skew towards different channels. Guessing usually doesn’t work so make sure you confirm your assumptions.
For the cost of a few lunches, you’ll have better market data than an overpriced MBA will be able to give you. And you can accomplish this within a week.
Once you know your market and where to find them, pick the channels that make the most sense. Don’t go anywhere near the one’s that don’t.
You can reach your target market simply by choosing the right channel. Different groups of people consume media in different ways and you’ll waste a great deal of money if you don’t plan accordingly.
So if a social media pundit demands that you create a social media account, make sure your target market is USING social media before you do so. If you’re targeting rural baby boomers, stay away from Facebook and Twitter.