What are digital marketing channels, you ask? They're ways to get your business in front of a vast digital audience. When evaluating these channels, it’s easy to get lost in all the options plus your small business might feel constrained by limited resources—be it time, budget, or staffing. On top of that, digital marketing is dynamic and the trends change constantly.
Here are six digital marketing channels you should be utilizing to grow your business.
With the majority of consumers expecting a brand to be using social media, how are you managing time when you have to listen and reaching your target customers on a daily basis?
There’s no getting around this one: social media is a must. At least 66 percent of online adults use at least one social media site so take advantage of both organic and paid marketing channels.
However, through paid social media, you’ll be able to take advantage of the platform’s demographic data and specifically target your desired audience. Staying relevant and posting on multiple sites can get time-consuming, but there are a plethora of tools out there to help you manage your social media marketing. For example, HootSuite allows you to schedule content in advance across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., while also providing analytics regarding reach and engagement.
How many times a day do you use a search engine? Probably a lot. Through a paid search digital media channel, you can get in front of potential customers at the very moment they are looking for what you have to offer.
Two of the major players are [Google AdWords](https://ads.google.com/home/) and [Microsoft Bing](https://bingads.microsoft.com/), with Google dominating in paid search market share. That being said, there are certain verticals that are very competitive and paying more than $20 per click is not uncommon. AdWords and Bing both have help centers with best practices and guidelines to get you going, as it can be very easy to get bogged down with keyword data and research. You may want to consider hiring a dedicated marketing staffer who's well-versed on search trends, keyword traffic and fluctuation in PPC costs. With the right amount of attention, these campaigns can drive quite a bit of success.
Of course, we can’t leave out the importance of email marketing (after all, we built our business around it). If you stick to your own email lists, you’ll definitely see more success since these are people who have opted in to receive your emails. When compared to other paid marketing channels, email still has a reputation for lower costs and higher returns. And if you throw Infusionsoft by Keap's industry-leading automation into the mix, the amount of time it can save you is priceless.
Your email contacts need to be nurtured with relevant messaging based on where they are in your sales funnel. Once you’ve completed the initial setup, the automation process literally does all of the work in reaching out to the right contact at the right time. Email automation also saves you expensive overhead costs of postal mailing, staffing, and a lot of time.
Through display advertising, advertisers can reach the right customers on the web and in apps using rich media creative formats like animated banners and video. Intuitive targeting techniques allow you to reach the right customers, encouraging them to notice your brand and take action. Google AdWords will even help you measure how well your ads are performing so you can make adjustments accordingly.
While you can get your content out there through blogging and various social sites, content syndication is a great way to boost your brand and awareness. In addition to promoting your owned content, you can also put earned content (i.e., third-party reviews) to work for you. There are non-paid options such as creating an RSS feed; however, there are plenty of vendors that specialize in syndication and will get your content in front of the desired audience. Companies like [Taboola](https://www.taboola.com/) have direct relationships with publishers and cost an average of 45¢ per click.
It’s not really its own digital marketing channel since mobile can be incorporated into all of the above, but [mobile marketing](https://www.marketo.com/mobile-marketing/) is still important. The technology behind it keeps improving as demand increases. Whichever channels you choose, make sure mobile is part of the mix since at least 80 percent of internet users own a smartphone. It’s still a fairly affordable option, but the cost will increase as more players enter the game. Remember, there is a lot less real estate on a mobile screen than on a desktop.
In summary: up your digital ad game
In the end, you know your company best and what your marketing needs are. Don’t jump into everything at once. Social media is a great place to start because it offers a number of platforms, as well as flexibility with organic and paid search options. From there, consider both your budget and where you can most easily access and influence your target market.
Finally, think about your product and messaging, as you want to make sure it strategically fits into the mix. Whatever you decide, remember that advertising on any digital marketing channel is a constant work in progress. As your business grows, there is always room to revise, test, and expand.
In addition to over seven years of digital advertising experience, Tanya has a special appreciation for small business as she worked for a small photography studio in Chicago for seven years. When at home, she is most likely pampering her cherished cat Teddy el Gato and watching "Murder She Wrote." Tanya also enjoys eating breakfast for dinner, planning her next Disney vacation, and visiting her beloved Chicago.