Choosing which digital marketing channels to pursue can be instrumental to a company’s success. You want to make sure that the type of marketing you’re doing fits your brand, and to place it where your target demographics will be most likely to see it. Every so often, a new platform or digital media channel arises, which offers marketers a new way to access consumers. Some may be fads, and some may last. How do brands choose the channels that will bear the most fruit in the long run?
Before getting specific, let’s take a look at a few of the overarching channels that have become staples of digital marketing.
In 2018, 2.65 billion people worldwide used social media, and its use is projected to continue increasing. Even as the popularity of particular platforms ebb and flow, or as new ones pop up, it’s a safe bet to say that social media is a marketing channel that brands can rely on. It provides a way for brands to engage with people in a more natural and dynamic way, as opposed to creating straightforward and promotional messages.
Social media has also continued to expand the ways that businesses can advertise to customers — for example, social media stories allow for brands to produce brief digital videos that highlight new products or services, show behind-the-scenes content and more that can make a brand more relatable and drive engagement. Social media stories are becoming just as popular, if not more so, than actual posts on social media platforms, giving marketers more options to take advantage of with this channel.
Google has remained overwhelmingly relevant through its existence, and for good reason. The search engine goes through as many as 5.6 billion searches each day. Alongside Google, search engine optimization (SEO) also came to prominence, and it has become one of the most valuable marketing channels for companies to harness. If a brand can manage to make their business show up at the top of Google’s results for relevant searches, then they’ll naturally have the best chance to gain customers.
If your brand actively manages social media accounts, produces content or manages a variety of sites, for instance, then there is plenty of opportunity for optimizing those properties so that they rank high on search engines. And above any other channel, it provides the most lasting power — so long as marketers are continually addressing optimization.
Email marketing is another channel that has persisted through digital media’s evolution, and while it’s rarely ever a main marketing or acquisition channel (a company like Groupon is one example where it is), it serves to solidify and extend the effectiveness of other marketing channels. In fact, email marketing can be fundamental to retention and for building customer relationships. It’s how you can keep them updated on new products or services and directly offer them deals (even personalized ones based on their previous purchases) that will help keep them interested in your brand and what you have to offer. There are approximately 3.9 billion email users worldwide, and most users check their email every few hours. This demonstrates that email marketing is highly visible to people, and can be highly effective if utilized properly.
Catching on to new marketing channels
Going beyond the general strategies, we should take a brief look at the specific marketing channels that are relevant today. To stay ahead in any field, naturally one must be adaptable and catch wind of the emerging trends that might change the game. For instance, following the success of Facebook and Twitter for marketing, other platforms and mobile-oriented apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Whatsapp have quickly become other valuable avenues for marketers and brands to pursue. As another example, audio and voice search has the potential to fundamentally change the way SEO marketing works.
New technologies and advancements like AI and chatbots or data analysis and personalization will certainly have an impact on a wide breadth of marketing channels, and adapting to that is a given. But when it comes to choosing which marketing channels are the best for your brand, that depends solely upon understanding your potential customers — knowing where they exist online and how to effectively deliver your brand’s message to them. Before marketers worry about which channels are the most popular, they should first worry about which channels are right for them specifically.