One of the first things you’ll need to learn in digital marketing is how and when to leverage different digital marketing channels. Each different channel has its benefits and drawbacks, and the most effective approach will depend on what sort of message you need to convey, to whom, and for what sort of brand.
In our post today, we’ll explore some of those particular strengths for each of the following five digital marketing channels, to give you a better idea of how they can be put to use for your business.
Then, we’ll tie the channels that aren’t actually digital marketing channels into a bow with two channels your marketing can’t live without. Confused? You won’t be if you read this post!
Digital Marketing Channels
It All Starts With Search
This category includes a few different sorts of tools. In simplest terms, it encompases the ways your site or your brand can present itself in the search results (SERPs — Search Engine Results Pages) when someone searches a relevant term. Those terms might be branded, like your business’s name, or relevant keywords relating to your operations or to the content you post.
Each page of content, including your homepage, landing pages, product pages, and so on, will be given metadata including titles and descriptions. Images will have metadata, too, so take care to write something that aligns with your brand’s messaging. Meta descriptions are like compressed blog posts in fewer than 150 characters. They should be written with the same tone and purpose as the content they describe.
The Search channel includes featured snippets, too. These are excerpts from your content that a search engine may lift and present in full, usually to answer a question or to provide a recipe or a list or some other bit of quick information. You can’t always control these, but following the HTML markup templates from Schema.org can usually give your pages a boost.
Get Social to Get Known
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest of your social media presence give your brand the opportunity to directly engage with your audience in an interactive and engaging way. These social media platforms host an ongoing dialogue, that helps to grow your audience through comments, tags, shares, and so on. A strong social presence lends your brand credibility, and frequent posting helps your brand messaging to evolve.
Advertise for a Quick Fix
One more way to take direct control of how your pages show up in search results is to take out paid ads, through Google Ads or a similar ad platform. This won’t be the right move for every business or in every context, but it’s often a helpful way to give your content a push. Some audiences react better to paid ads than others, and some keywords aren’t going to be cost-effective to target. On the other hand, especially in competitive markets, paid ads can delivery serious return on investment. A good place to start is 20% of your marketing budget go towards paid media. If you have no reach at all, then you can start with 80% paid media and gradually switch the mix because organic marketing has a better conversion rate.
Email Marketing: Under Loved
When you send a message to a potential customer or client, that’s direct communication. Emails, texts, social media comments, Tweets, and so on are all great ways to directly engage with your audience. The tone you strike here needs to be a little more conversational, for obvious reasons, but it should still align with your brand in general. An email from a fashion blog will probably look very different from an email from a machine shop or restaurant.
Remember, too, that communication is just as much about visual presentation and graphic design as it is about the words themselves. Emails are one potent example, but Tweets are a very interesting case. Even with the same restrictions on length, font, and presentation, different brands use Tweets in very different ways. Something in undercase, with hearts and smiles, and full of hashtags conveys a different impression from something with proper capitalisation and punctuation. Slang, emoticons, abbreviations, and spacing can all dramatically change the tone of a message, even if both share the same raw content.
Content Marketing for Success
This is really the bread-and-butter of digital marketing channels. Web content is likely going to be the channel you use most frequently, and it has the broadest appeal. It includes the text and imagery on your website, articles and blog posts, video content (whether you host them, or whether you post them on some other hosting site), photos and so on.
Web content also pairs up with your social media presence. “Content” can take many forms, but it’s important to keep in mind that the things you create, your content output, are interrelated. If you strike a particular tone on your website (maybe casual, but practical, advertising your outdoorsman business) and your social media presence doesn’t match (fluffy, or breezy, full of clickbait gossip) the dissonance will damage your brand overall.
Curate your content as you would an art exhibit. All the different pieces should harmoniously support your brand’s theme and messaging. Content marketing includes everything you need content for, but here we are thinking blogs and video.
Bonus Channels That Aren’t Really Channels
Apps give your brand the opportunity to curate every aspect of a customer’s experience. Apps allow you to create a virtual environment for your users that’s designed from the ground up to look like something that fits your identity perfectly. Picture some big names like Amazon or Netflix. They look completely different, even though they offer similar functionality. Amazon’s video streaming service delivers seasons and episodes in a much more tactile sort of way, like products, while Netflix is more exploratory and fluid.
Apps are an investment, but a fantastic way to make your brand interactive, and as a digital channel, they give your customers a very convenient way to access and engage with your services and content.
Webinars and Events
Hosting live events, streams, webinars, and others is becoming more and more popular for a number of different brands. These live broadcasts come through Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or any number of other platforms, usually depending on the production costs, and the preferences of your particular subscriber base.
Events like these might be unidirectional, where your audience can tune in to watch your presentation, but more often they are interactive with a live chat, polls, and feedback from the presenter on the audience’s interactions. If you want to get your foot in the door, but the prospect seems daunting, you can split the difference. Ask your audience to submit questions they would like you to answer in your webinar, and respond to the user submissions with prepared replies. If it goes well, open your brand up to some interactivity during your streams. This channel is especially good for demonstrations or courses, but it can really help with a sense of collaboration or cooperation with your audience.
As digital channels go, this one is probably the simplest one on our list. Media streaming is just what it sounds like: music, video, podcasts, audiobooks, and other media content streamed to your audience. It includes ads as well, so if you’re taking out video ads on YouTube, that’s part of media streaming, too.
Still, despite the simplicity, this digital channel has a lot of potential. Especially with the options provided by multimedia advertising, these avenues give you the change to put your product or your brand in front of a massive audience. Your new video game can get a tremendous amount of exposure from an interested audience just by running ads on YouTube channels reviewing games in similar genres, right? Just remember to keep things relevant and unobtrusive, when running ads, to avoid oversaturation or frustration in the audience you are trying to entice.
Games, VR, and AR
This digital channel is still in its relative infancy, but it’s emerging very quickly. New virtual reality tech is being developed and adopted every year. We’ve talked about augmented reality advertising before. Already, companies are developing apps or overlays that use nothing more complicated than a cell-phone camera to add an AR overlay to the world around you. Run the app, and use the phone’s screen like a window. Services like these tie in to the phone’s location and orientation hardware to offer fully-immersive product simulations. A car manufacturer can add a virtual car in your driveway, letting you change the model or colour, and walk around it in three dimensions, to save you the trouble of visiting a showroom. Zoos can put a menagerie of animals on your lawn.
Imagine an app that leverages machine learning to dynamically remove the trash from beaches or the litter from forests, in augmented reality, to encourage environmental activism. The possibilities are almost limitless, and as the tech improves it will only get more exciting.
Your website is the calm at the eye of your digital marketing storm. Everything else swirls around it, while your website provides excellent user experience, thoughtful lead capture, and just right visual stimulation.
And, it’s where all the traffic you spend time cultivating through the above five digital marketing channels is sent. In order to turn those visitors into paying clients, provide a quality experience that:
- Makes it easy for people to find key information
- Is accessible for people of all abilities
- Provides an attractive visual experience
- Tells your brand story
- Allows people to contact you easily
- Builds your authority
- Solidifies your influence
- Allows you to capture leads and generate more revenue!
We love beautiful, functional websites. They are all part of making the world wide web a better place for everyone. Beautiful, functional websites aren’t so much a channel as a destination. Need help making yours a destination worth visiting? Reach out to Colibri Digital Marketing.
Digital Marketing Analytics
Analytics tools give you a way to measure the results of your digital marketing efforts, to find out what’s working and how to improve what might need help. They help you explore your data in different ways. Your web traffic, for example, can be broken down by different devices, or mapped out over the course of the week to find out when your high-traffic times are. If most of your traffic comes from mobile devices, and during a window between 3 and 5pm, your site would probably do well to drop new content in the early afternoon, rather than the evening.
You can use analytics tools to plug leaks in your site. If one of your landing pages has a high bounce rate (a percentage of visitors who leave abruptly without seeing more of your site), that’s the one that needs a rewrite. Most data collection tools, including Google’s native analytics tools, also collect user data from your visitors, so you can learn valuable insights about your audience, too.
Colibri Digital Marketing
We’re San Francisco’s only full service B Corp-certifed digital marketing agency. We’ve put each of these digital channels and techniques to work for our clients, and we can help your business to do the same. Find out how we can improve your brand’s digital presence across each of these marketing channels. Contact us today, or click below to book a free digital strategy session!