Marketing Channels for Your Small Business

Choosing the best channels for your marketing dollars.

Our Thrive marketing team attended Social Media Week in New York City (yay us!). We attended insightful, fun sessions about social media, marketing channels and much much more. We came back with tons of best practices (and even fit in a little sightseeing along the way).

One session, in particular, was a team favorite since it represents a topic that we talk to our Clarksville and Middle Tennessee small business owners on the daily. The session was called “How to Find the Right Channel for Your Business”. Here are some key takeaways for us.

What channels do I have to choose from?

In the ever-changing world of media and communication, it can be overwhelming (& confusing) when trying to plan for the best marketing channels for your company, especially since there are always “new shiny” platforms that are constantly being introduced in local markets. We have compiled a quick list of channels that small business owners typically own themselves and channels that you must pay to advertise there:

Channels you typically own:

  1. Website
  2. Printed materials [brochures, rack cards]
  3. Social media platforms [Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest]
  4. Google My Business listing [organic searches & reviews]
  5. Video [if using your mobile device]
  6. Email newsletter

Channels you typically must pay to play:

  1. Google AdWords
  2. Social media paid campaigns
  3. Billboard
  4. Subway Ads
  5. Newspaper
  6. Magazines
  7. Radio
  8. TV / Broadcast / Cable
  9. Online targeted display [this is a biggie as it includes, Google display network, geofencing, etc]
  10. Direct Mail
  11. Video [professionally produced]

The list goes on & on….

What marketing channels are more valuable?

Some markets differ on your list of channels available, but more importantly, the effectiveness of those channels. So how does a small business owner find the right channels for their business?

Ask yourself 2 simple questions about each channel you are considering:

  1. Does this channel meet my business needs? Does it align with your KPI business metrics? If you have not assigned any KPI’s for your business, here are some best practices on how to develop them.
  2. Does this channel meet my customer’s needs? Before taking any marketing channel seriously, you have to ask yourself – are my customers here?

 Let us elaborate on this with an example…

  • Yes channel: some markets have a successful, local newspaper [yes, these still do exist] because they bring value to their audience by publishing lots of sports photos, free community events, and yes, even the obituaries. There is a constant buzz in your community and people often say “Did you see in the paper, blah blah blah.” There is higher readership in these publications, therefore higher value in advertising. YOUR CUSTOMERS MAY BE HERE!
  • No channel: But other local markets may have a 4-page, hometown newspaper with nothing but filler ads showcasing the phone number to call to advertise [which clearly no one dials]. There is no readership value for advertising in this publication. YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE LIKELY NOT HERE!

Now that you have asked yourself these 2 questions for each channel, identify which channels make the best sense, designate a budget and go for it!

Here is a simple budget formula – you’re welcome!

In this session in NYC, there was a formula suggested that we really liked, and so we’ll pass along to you. Once you have developed your marketing budget, and you know how much you’ll spend, try lumping your channels in the following allocations:

  • 70% BUDGET – spend this amount on the channels you KNOW will work. They’ve been proven in your campaign history or word of mouth.
  • 20% BUDGET – spend this amount on the channels that you know will PROBABLY work. These may be campaigns you were pretty pleased with in the past or maybe they are new proposals you’ve received by a sales rep that did a great job at nailing down your industry, your target audience and had some good testimonials to back it up.
  • 10% BUDGET – spend this amount on EXPERIMENTAL channels. These would be the new, shiny objects in your market that just sound super impressive, but you just aren’t sure if it’ll work. Take the plunge – it’s only 10%!

If marketing channels have got you stressed and you just don’t know what to do, Thrive Creative Group is here. Our marketing team geeks out on learning and developing the right goals for your business, researching your market and industry, and providing clear recommendations that will make your small business successful. Contact us today 931-221-4991 or click here to get started.

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