The Most Effective Marketing Channels for Your Business in 2021

How to best win new customers, keep them engaged, and see a healthy ROI – that’s the ongoing quest in any marketing strategy.

Staying in touch is fundamental. Your business keeps in touch by dropping in on ”your people” through marketing and advertising channels. These actions include buying an ad, creating content, sending emails, luring them back with a new offer, etc.

You keep the conversation flowing by meeting them where they are – both with digital marketing channels and those offline (like direct mail).

If you’re not intentional about your marketing, precious time and money can be wasted on the wrong channels. The reality is that there are an overwhelming amount of options when it comes to marketing opportunities. Identifying which marketing channels to invest in starts by asking the right questions. 

Who is your customer audience? What apps do they use? How do they commute? What media do they consume? Knowing the habits of your user is a very important piece of the puzzle.

Another important part is evaluating the KPIs for each channel. How well does the channel work? Is it working as promised? Are you seeing results? These questions uncover issues that either need tool recalibration or replacing it with a new one.

This guide is here to help you determine what are the best marketing channels for your business so that you may best reach your ideal prospects.

Types of Marketing Channels

Audiences are everywhere. Marketing channels allow businesses to communicate with consumers every day. 

Finding your target audience means understanding the channels they are more likely to come into regular contact with. Below are examples of the communication opportunities available within this massive ecosystem.

  1. Content Marketing
  2. SEO
  3. Display advertising/Facebook ads
  4. Events (giving out brochures & swag)
  5. Parties
  6. Billboards (particularly those that are dimensional or with motion graphics)
  7. In-store displays/brand ambassadors
  8. Direct mail
  9. Magazines/newspapers/community publications
  10. Receipts (paid space on the back as well as return promotions on the front)
  11. Social media (varies by target audience)
  12. Automated Facebook messages
  13. Video content (such as live streams)
  14. Podcasts and radio ads
  15. Sponsorships
  16. YouTube ads
  17. Word of mouth/consumer reviews
  18. Wearables (anything branded a person would be wearing or using)
  19. Email
  20. Retargeting
  21. Chatbot
  22. Free Wifi (capture emails, conduct surveys, share current promotions on the access page)
  23. Affiliate marketing
  24. Apps
  25. Free samples
  26. Free trials
  27. Webinars
  28. Free consultations
  29. Follow up calls
  30. Loyalty clubs

The marketing and advertising world continues to uncover new ways to engage and retain audiences. A list of marketing channels (like the above) will continue to grow with innovation and new discoveries.

Top 5 Marketing Channels to Focus On

When choosing the right marketing platform, various important factors are taken into consideration (time allowance to be active and consistent, meaningful interactions, what is appropriate for your specific industry, etc.). 

The following channels are regarded as the most effective platforms to reach a target audience and reach conversion goals.

1. PPC

PPC (pay per click)is a shortcut to getting discovered in search. On Google, paid ads are above the fold and highly visible on a search results page. The top 3 ads generate 40% of clicks.

A well-written PPC ad can surgically target a specific audience. Those who engage with PPC ads are 50% more likely to be ready to buy vs. organic visitors.

PPC is commonly used for local businesses. Having a well-performing PPC ad gives local businesses a competitive advantage where search intent is likely connected with a readiness to buy (Example: Someone with a plumbing emergency needs help now. Which PPC ad will they choose?)

Google estimates that for every PPC dollar spent, a business could generate $2 of revenue. 

And while Google is most popular, it’s not the only platform that offers PPC. Target audiences are all over the digital space, especially social media. 

Facebook continues to dominate the social media world and with its huge community of users, it can leverage user data to set up customized audiences. Facebook PPC is an indispensable tool for those who know that their target audience can be found on this popular app.  

2. Website Blog

Content drives traffic. Websites with a well-performing blog can expect 67% more leads than those who do not. Your website blog is your content library. It allows you to educate your audience about all things relevant to your industry, products, and services.

Creating quality content achieves four things: increases your chances of your business being discovered by web search (organic traffic), makes a great impression on your visitors (builds your brand), boosts your reputation of being an expert (authority), and improves your chances of other sites linking back to yours (backlinks).

Blogging is also influential. 60% of people are more likely to search for a product after reading about it.

Chances are your website already has a built-in blog function, so use this effective marketing tool to your advantage.

3. Search Engine Optimization

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization is about increasing the chances of your website being found with search queries. (ideally on the first page). This method of driving traffic is considered to be organic and 53% of site traffic comes from organic search

Billions of searches are made each day. Working on your SEO health helps you cast a bigger net. SEO involves keeping your website in good shape so Google can easily index it along with robust keyword research. 

Awareness of what people are searching for (and how they phrase it) along with search intent helps you figure out what you need to say on your website to drive traffic to it.

4. Word of Mouth

A Neilsen survey finds that 92% of consumers trust endorsements from people they know over advertisers. 

Having an exceptional product or service is rewarding when your customers end up doing the marketing for you, and these recommendations carry more weight than paid ads.

Personal experience with a product or service comes from an intrinsic motivation vs. an advertiser with a vested interest. For this reason, reviews and referrals carry more clout to boost consumer confidence and reduce resistance. 

5. Podcasts

Podcasting is considered by many in the marketing industry to be “the new blogging.” Podcasts are engaging and are a huge part of the streaming content revolution. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC project that the podcasting industry will exceed $1 billion by 2021.

Podcasts have a loyal fanbase. Matching a particular podcast audience with your ideal customer generates golden advertising opportunities. The podcast platform allows you to speak directly to a niche audience.

45% of podcast audiences have an income of $75,000 or more and 54% are more likely to buy a product advertised on a program.

Companies who desire an intimate engagement with a specific audience should consider collaborating with podcast programs.

So which of the above online marketing channels resonates with your brand?

Determining the Right Channels for Your Company

Carefully evaluating your position is how you avoid wasting time and money. It’s tempting to follow the hot new fad or try to copy your competition, but it’s important to stay focused on what’s best for your unique business. 

Making appropriate assessments allows you to make sound decisions when choosing the right marketing channels to invest in. 

Here’s an outline to help you get started.

Step 1: Take a Holistic Overview of Your Data

Gather all performance data for all your current channels (digital and analog). The focus should be on actionable insights versus vanity metrics.

Identify which channels and assets are performing best and worst. Once you’ve organized your data, look into why each is performing well or not.

Explore how the performance strengths of your current marketing can be effective in other channels. This step helps you take a hard look at what efforts are worth continuing with, what can be improved upon, and what should be abandoned altogether. 

Step 2: Research Industry Market and Current Clients

Take into account current trends and changes within your industry to fine-tune your compass. 

What parts of your industry are being underserved? How have changes in your industry impacted behavior?

It’s also important to keep a pulse on your industry and consumer/client behavior. Are they using the same channels or migrating elsewhere?

What’s an appropriate marketing channel for a B2C business may not be appropriate for a B2B business. For example, a clothing retailer finds themselves right at home with Instagram ads and content whereas a lead generation company would fare better on LinkedIn.

Step 3: Determine Marketing Resources and Hiring Capabilities

Finding the ideal marketing channels for your business is the first hurdle, and securing the resources is the next. 

Determine how much you can afford to invest in your marketing operations. With the calculated costs of services, tools, and staffing needs, can you realistically afford these channels?

Be intentional about which ones you choose. Quality over quantity. Focusing on the channels you are most confident about is better than dipping into all available opportunities.

This plan is just the scaffolding, it is not one size fits all. However, the above steps are core considerations when assessing your needs and capabilities.

Commit to Growing Your Audience Through Marketing Channels

Having a wide variety of different marketing channels at your disposal allows you to create a truly customized marketing plan. Your ideal prospects may be accessible by just a few or several channels. 

It all starts with in-depth research. Factor the strengths and weaknesses of your business as a whole, your current marketing operation performance, and what avenues are the best investments. 

Insights about your audience are also an important component: the media they gravitate toward and the habits they have. You can leverage this intimate knowledge to both initiate and sustain audience engagement. 

The better your understanding is of effective marketing communication, the more empowered you will be to identify the best marketing channels. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on content marketing strategy.


Author’s Bio:

Luke Heinecke is the founder of Linear, a Utah-based PPC agency with an intense focus on helping clients increase conversion rates, grow their business, and greatly improve their ROI.
Rylie Holt