Guest Post

Written by Taran Soodan

January 28, 2021

Every digital marketer wants to make the most of their marketing budget, no matter how big or small it is. However, maximizing return on investment (ROI) can’t be achieved if you do not choose the right channel(s).

With a diverse range of options available, advertisers are left to figure out which channel is the right  channel for their business. And when working with multiple channels, as is often the case, marketers are faced with the arduous task of efficiently distributing their budget across the available channels.

If you’re a marketer or business owner, and aren’t sure which channel best suits your needs, we’re here to help. This article highlights the top eight most exciting internet marketing channels and how each of them can help you achieve your marketing goals.

The eight best digital marketing channels in 2021

There are dozens of marketing channels available for marketers. Here are the eight channels we recommend leveraging in 2021.

Email

Many marketers can attest to the power of email for lead nurturing and conversions. The channel is one of the most effective means of delivering personalized messages to leads and customers alike, and allows you to reach a large number of customers at very little cost.

Admittedly, spamming has made email marketing much less lucrative than it used to be, with 80% of all marketing emails going directly into the spam folder. Still, it remains one of the most powerful channels available to marketers. As long as you carefully curate an email list made up of people who need your products or services, you’re guaranteed a healthy conversion rate and wholesome returns on your investment.

Why you should use email in 2021

Email remains a largely decentralized platform. There’s much less censorship, especially compared to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms that boast a similarly broad reach. Email’s decentralization is even more advantageous after big tech companies have shown that they have almost absolute control over all the accounts on their platforms.

Moreover, there aren’t too many channels that can match email’s conversion figures. For example, the average click-through rate for email campaigns is roughly 3%, whereas  Twitter’s click-through rate hovers around 0.5%; which means you’re 6x more likely to get website visitors from email campaigns than Twitter ads.

Furthermore, email is still one of the most cost-effective channels for advertisers. As the cost of running advertising campaigns on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and just about everywhere else continues to go up, email marketing is the exception. When you consider you’re likely to enjoy a healthier return on your investment, prioritizing email in your marketing strategy is a no-brainer.

Social media

Social media marketing encompasses advertising through channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, etc. With almost half of the world’s population  on one social media platform or another, you can’t afford to neglect this gold mine if you wish to make the most of your advertising budget.

There are two broad approaches to social media marketing: gaining organic followership and leveraging paid ads. While gaining organic followership may appear cheaper, the task is far from an easy one. On the other hand, your advertisements aren’t as effective if you don’t regularly post content dedicated to drive brand engagement. Thus, marketers typically combine both strategies to get the best results.

Why you should use social media in 2021

Humans are creatures of habit. One habit we can all admit to adopting is spending time on social media. Knowing that there is already a large audience on these platforms, there’s practically no better way to display your brand’s human side than through social media marketing. Prospective customers can view your brand story and engage with you on a platform that feels like home, resulting in a surge in brand awareness, website traffic, and, ultimately, conversions.

Another significant advantage of social media is the diversity of the audience on these platforms. The variety is such that most businesses will benefit from having a strong social media presence or marketing strategy. All you have to figure out as a marketer is the best platform to engage your target audience.

SMS marketing

It feels like many brands are still sleeping on the gold mine that is SMS marketing. If you’re one of these sleepy brands, it’s high time you wake up and incorporate sending promotional and transactional text messages into your overall marketing strategy.

A typical text marketing strategy involves curating a subscribers list used to send sales alerts, exclusive discounts, and other promotional offers to your audience. You can also use the platform for transactional messages such as order confirmations, appointment reminders, delivery notifications, and customer support services.

Why you should use SMS marketing in 2021

Since about 90% of all text messages are read within three minutes of receipt, it’s safe to assume that most of your prospective customers have a phone and eagerly open their messaging app when they receive a text..

While SMS marketing is an invaluable tool to have in your tool box, brands must have explicit consent from their customers or prospects before sending marketing messages. Luckily, 75% of customers say they’d like to receive marketing messages after opting in to a business’s subscribers list.

When you combine SMS’s high open rate with an engaged audience who opted in to receive your communications, it’s no stretch of the imagination to see why text message marketing has a higher open rate, response rate, and conversion rate than any other marketing channel currently available. Plus, text marketing is not resource intensive. With the right strategy, you’re guaranteed mouthwatering returns on your investment.

SEO & content marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been the buzzword in internet marketing for many years. But we only recently discovered that there can be no SEO without content marketing and vice versa. If you want people to visit your website via search engine results pages (SERPs), you must provide high-quality content optimized to appear on the first page.

When executed correctly, SEO and content marketing are a great driver for organic traffic resulting in a surge in leads to your website. Once you’ve acquired these leads you can then employ tactics from your lead nurturing playbook to convert prospects into paying customers.

Why you should use SEO in 2021

Google and other search engines process billions of searches every day. No matter your industry, someone somewhere is searching for something related to what you’re selling. If you can boost your site’s ranking in relevant search results, you’ll undoubtedly have a healthy number of organic leads.

SEO and content marketing remains the most effective means of driving organic traffic to your website. If you can provide value through high-quality content and optimize itto rank high on search engine queries, your website’s visibility is guaranteed to soar.

An Aberdeen study also revealed that marketers who adopt content marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy record a 6x higher conversion rate than non-adopters. So, content marketing not only gives you more leads, it guarantees more sales too.

Paid search & display ads

If you operate in an uber-competitive market place, getting organic traffic through SEO alone can be extremely difficult. This is where paid search and display advertising (aka search engine marketing or SEM) comes in. Also known as pay per click (PPC) advertising, it’s the practice of promoting your business through paid ads that appear on the result pages of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.

When users search for a keyword you bid for, they’ll see your result alongside organic search results, and you’ll pay a fee per click. SEM is a great tool for increasing your website visibility, especially if you do not have the domain authority to compete with other websites in your niche. With in-depth keyword research, you’ll discover the most frequently used keywords in your niche and bid for them.

Why you should use paid search in 2021

Search engine marketing is an effective means of putting your ads in the face of customers who want to make an immediate purchase decision. So it comes as no surprise that SEM boasts a higher conversion rate than many other marketing channels. For example, the average conversion rate for Google Ads is 4.40%, while social media ads have an average conversion rate of 0.71%.

Aside from the higher conversion rate, SEM is also a useful tool for increasing brand awareness and visibility. If your name keeps popping up for the right keywords, it will easily register in the minds of people interested in your products or services.

Influencer marketing

Social media has birthed a new kind of celebrity — the influencer. Influencer marketing leverages the large following of such persons on social media to promote a brand’s products or services. Unlike regular celebrity marketing, influencer marketing doesn’t simply attach any popular figure to a brand.

The ideal influencer is typically a trusted figure in your industry niche and only works with brands they’ve tested before and trust, or have a relationship with. For example, a popular Instagram fitness and weight loss coach may be approached by a sportswear company. The influencer stays in charge of their content and incorporates your brand’s advertising specifications into their posts.

Why you should use influencer marketing in 2021

Influencer marketing allows you to pinpoint your target audience and advertise directly to them through a personality they’re familiar with. Think of it as an advanced targeting solution that almost no other algorithm can match.

Another unique advantage of influencer marketing is that most of the leads from the channel already have a level of trust in your brand. In an age where people have become skeptical of commercial ads and even reviews, the trust influencer marketing affords is critical to advertising success.

Referral & affiliate marketing

Referral marketing is a marketing tactic that relies on word of mouth and recommendations to promote a business. Marketers employ certain strategies that revolve around rewarding existing customers to promote the business.

The major difference between referral marketing and affiliate marketing is the referee or affiliate’s relationship with the person being introduced to the business. While referees refer people they know personally or are in their social circle, affiliates typically target total strangers. Both tactics can prove useful for expanding your customer base and generating more revenue for your business.

Why you should use referral and affiliate marketing in 2021

As mentioned earlier, consumers find it difficult to trust marketing messages coming directly from brands. Sending your brand communication through a referee or an affiliate can be a great way to bridge that trust gap.

Studies have shown that word-of-mouth impressions can drive 5x more sales than paid impressions. Furthermore, referred leads convert 30% better than leads acquired via other channels. If you can get people to spread the word about your business, your bottom line is guaranteed to soar.

Reviews

Reviews have become a critical tool for understanding what customers want and improving customer service. Marketers should leverage reviews to bump up business credibility and social proof.

When done correctly, review marketing creates a cycle that puts your brand ahead of the competition. Because you need good customer reviews to promote your business, you’re more likely to pay extra attention to your products or service and overall customer experience. And when the reviews come, proudly flaunt them on your site and social media channels to gain even more customers.

Why you should use reviews marketing in 2021

Reviews are a good marketing tool because people are more likely to buy from you if they read largely positive experiences about your business. If you want to run an effective digital marketing campaign, you must actively seek your customers’ feedback and put the reviews where prospective customers can easily see them.

What to consider when choosing digital marketing channels

One of the major challenges modern digital marketers face is how to choose the right channels for their business. Here, we highlight a few things to consider before deciding where to channel your digital marketing efforts.

Company goals

What are the specific goals you hope to achieve from your marketing efforts? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, increase customer engagement, or hit a revenue target? While your company goals most likely  encompass all the above mentioned metrics, the most important metric should play a major part in determining the best marketing channel for you.

Available budget

Some platforms and strategies are more expensive than others. Thus, your advertising budget is a major determinant for the type of marketing channel you choose. For example, if you’re working with a smaller budget, you probably shouldn’t choose a capital-intensive channel such as PPC advertising and influencer marketing.

Target audience

When selecting online marketing channels, you can’t afford to adopt a “build it and they’ll come” approach. Frankly, no one is coming to meet your business. It’s your responsibility to meet your customers on the channel they’re most comfortable with, and why you should carefully consider your target audience before choosing any channel. For example, if your business is targeting millennials, social media marketing should take up a chunk of your budget.

Competitors

Analyzing your competitors also gives you a fair idea of where you should be spending your marketing budget. However, this can be a bit dicey. 

On the one hand, if your competitors dominate a certain platform, it probably means a good percentage of your target audience is on the platform too. On the other hand, it can also indicate that the platform is saturated, and you need to explore other channels to promote your business. It takes a savvy marketer to identify which is which.

Leverage omnichannel marketing to improve your marketing strategy

Omnichannel marketing is an approach that aims to give customers an integrated shopping experience regardless of the channel they’re using; plus, an omnichannel approach recognizes that customers assess products or services across multiple channels.

For example, they could look up a product on their desktop and purchase it at the physical store, or see the product at the brick-and-mortar before making a purchase onstortheir mobile device. Omnichannel marketing ensures a brand’s marketing efforts are consistent across all available channels so that their customers know what to expect, no matter which channel they use.

Personalized communication

Adopting a standardized approach to communication is one of the drivers of omnichannel marketing, and personalization is the easiest change to adopt. Businesses usually start with communication channels such as email and SMS before personalizing in-store and contact center experiences.

Better conversion rates

Omnichannel marketing ensures customers patronize your business through the channel that’s most convenient for them. For example, they might assess your products through your mobile app before making a purchase through a Messenger bot on your business Facebook page. If you deliver a seamless experience across all channels, you’re guaranteed a higher conversion rate.

Optimize and improve your campaigns

Omnichannel marketing optimizes and improves your digital marketing campaigns. By nature an omnichannel approach provides real-time analytics and data from multiple sources, which allows for greater insight into what is or isn’t working in your digital campaigns. Moreover, studying customer behavior across different channels paints a clearer picture of your ideal buyer persona. Ultimately, you’ll be better able to tailor your campaigns to suit your target audience.

Conclusion

The marketing channels highlighted in this article, while effective, all work a little differently and garner varying results. Furthermore, tactics that best suit one brand may not work well for another — even if they’re in the same industry. Marketers should be flexible and test several different channels before settling on the ones that work best for their budget and type of business.

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The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.