What are the best digital marketing channels for your business?

Not all digital marketing channels are right for every business. And not all content is universally suitable.

It is ok to be selective.

Quality over quantity is likely to boost your engagement rates.

In order to develop a robust digital marketing strategy, it is vital that you fully understand each of the digital marketing channels that are available to you. By doing so you will learn which channels you are more likely to reach your target audience with as well as which types of content you should be using to pique their interest.

We have come across many companies that are wasting vital resources by trying to deliver the same marketing content across every single one of the digital marketing channels they can, without first understanding which are suitable for the goals of their campaign.

It’s an understandable misconception when it comes to digital marketing. You can be forgiven if you have spent the last year of your life doing overtime trying to keep on top of every single channel you’ve found, in an attempt to grow your company or client’s reach.

However, now is the time to stop.

We have designed this post to help you build a clear understanding of each of the most widely used digital marketing channels, as well as some new and emerging platforms that you may want to consider within your strategy. This will help you to make informed decisions that will allow you to focus your time and energy into the digital marketing channels that are right for your business and your campaign.

This will have a positive impact on your results and deliver ROI (return on investment).

Ok, let’s get started.

What are the most effective organic (free) digital marketing channels available?

We will start by taking a look at the most widely used digital marketing channels available today, these are:

1. Website

Core site content

Content (blogs, articles, web-pages)

Customer login areas

Document downloads

2. Email

Email newsletter

Automated emails

Manual emails

3. Social Media

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Instagram

4. Content Marketing

Website (Optimised web pages for search traffic)

One of the best digital marketing channels available to you is your website.

There are many different ways to utilise your website as a marketing platform, other than just being an introduction to your business.

Let’s look deeper into your options when it comes to marketing your business through your website.

Core site content

Your core site content is the content which will usually remain unaltered for long periods of time, this is usually your company information, service pages and so on.

It is vital that this content is fully optimised for search engines, well-written and gives your audience the information that they came for.

Core site content is great. And it’s incredibly important. But if that’s all your site is providing your audience then it is not achieving its potential.

Adding regular content to your website

Adding regular content to your site is a great way of incorporating more niche service keywords to your website and attracting audiences that are looking for a particular thing.

All businesses should have some form of content feed on their website.

Whether it’s a blog, FAQ area, company updates page or even sub-pages that detail aspects of your overall services. New content is great for SEO and SEO is great for your business.

If you have an integrated CMS (content management system), such as Wordpress, then you will find it very easy to add, edit and remove pages on your website in line with the messages you are trying to promote to your audience. If you don’t – then you should be looking to either upgrade your site to incorporate one or be willing to work with your site developer to agree a system whereby you have an increased level of control over your sites content.

Strangely, so many businesses are guilty of building a website and simply letting it sit dormant, hoping that somehow their site will generate traffic from the ether.

Well, it won’t.

Perhaps you were told by your website designer that your site has been optimised for search engines. So, all you need to do now is wait for the traffic to come to you, right?

Wrong.

In order for your site to benefit from increased levels of traffic from search engines, you should be adding new content as well as testing and tweaking your existing to strengthen your position on search engines.

Customer login areas

An often-overlooked aspect of a website (that is great for marketing to your existing audience) are customer login areas.

If you have a large client base which you offer multiple services to, a login area is a great way of keeping them coming back for more.

Why not give them a history of their previous orders? Show them other products and services they may benefit from? Offer access to exclusive content, or let them know they can find discounted rates through your website’s client portal! An added bonus for your customers.

Besides, tracking who is logged in and what they have looked at will also help your sales funnel in terms of making suggestions for more services and increasing business. An added bonus for you.

Brochures, PDF's, white-papers and other downloads

It’s an age-old marketing tool and it’s one that works.

Offer your audience the opportunity to download ‘further reading’ on your products and services using a range of downloadable brochures, white-papers, technical spec sheets and so on. Not only does this make your information more accessible by offering more choice to your audience but it can be a valuable tool for harvesting lead data.

If you have produced a detailed guide or ‘how-to’ document that you think your audience would find real long-term value in, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t place it behind a lead-capture form.

You are giving the user something for nothing. The least they can do is register to allow you to send them further information in the future, right? Remember – people can always unsubscribe.

Hubspot have published a really useful guide to what information you should and shouldn’t ask for on landing pages.

email-digital-marketing-channel

Email - as a digital marketing channel 

If you’re reading this it’s likely you have heard from someone, somewhere, at some point in the not to distant past say that “email is dead”.

It’s not and it’s doesn’t even suffer from a minor heart murmur.

The truth is email marketing has changed. For the better.

The recent GDPR laws have resulted in a total rethink for B2C email marketing and highlighted the necessity for information to be valid and valuable to the audience. That, paired with higher security and spam filtering being implemented by more of the larger scale email providers has led people to make the assumption that email is no longer a viable platform.

The thing is, the tightening of the laws has separated the wheat from the chaff, leaving high quality, honest and valuable information-based emails in a stronger position than ever before.

If you’re not utilising emails to reach your customers or you’re not actively implementing a strategy to capture email addresses then it’s definitely something to think about.

Best types of content to use in email marketing

There are three main types of email content that do well when it comes to engagement rates and customer retention, they are:

Email newsletter

Summarising your business activities in a monthly or quarterly newsletter is a great way of keeping in touch with your customers, suppliers and partners whilst driving traffic to your website and marketing your latest campaign.

If you are a local or small business this works particularly well in keeping your brand top-of-mind within a smaller geographical area. You should consider adding any news that relates to your local community engagement and shout about it. Remember people don’t always want to be sold to. If you’re offering a newsletter, make sure it carries news!

Automated emails

If you run an ecommerce site or online store, you should seriously consider using an automated email system. These can be setup to trigger on pre-programmed events, such as when a user leaves your site without checking-out the products being held in their basket. It is an invaluable tool when it comes to guiding your prospective customers through your sales funnel.

Not only that, but following up after an order to let your customers know it has been received, keeping them in the loop once the item has been dispatched and asking for feedback once the order is complete are all key ways to build relationships between your customer and your brand.

Good old fashioned ‘manual’ emails

We live in the era of ‘automate-everything’.

That’s great, and it can be a real help when we are particularly busy. But don’t forget good old-fashioned manual emails when it comes to keeping in touch and maintaining working relationships.

It might not be ‘marketing’ in the traditional sense of the word, but building strong relations will all add to your overall success.

Plus, a ‘human’ email can be a refreshing welcome amongst a sea of “WOW! Open this email to see our amazing offer…” subject lines.

social-media-digital-marketing-channel

Social Media - as a digital marketing channel 

Ah. Social media.

Deep breath; and plasters at the ready for my fingertips.

It’s important to start by saying this: you do not need to be posting to every social channel out there.

You should always consider which social platforms you are posting to and if both the platform itself and the types of content you can post to them, are relevant to your business.

Equally, don’t be hasty and think “my painting and decorating business won’t get followers on platform X because no one wants to see pictures of paint drying”.

Some of the most successful Instagram accounts (for example) are run by people posting about mundane subject matter (think Mrs Hinch…).

What I’m saying is, in order to have your social channels work for you (by that I mean you continually gain relevant followers, have good engagement rates, healthy website traffic via social media and ultimately you are generating revenue from it) you should not dilute your efforts.

Work out which are getting you the most results and focus on those.

Let’s take a look at each platform and how it can be used to help push your marketing messages out to the world.

Facebook-digital-marketing-channel

Facebook

Still the most dominant social media platform out there (based on the stats), is Facebook.

The Goliath of social media.

Favoured for the sheer volume of users, many businesses utilise Facebook as a social media platform that they can deliver highly targeted ads to their prospective customers on.

Is Facebook the right platform for your business?

It is vital that you don’t let your own personal social preferences cloud your judgement when you are thinking about using social platforms as digital marketing channels for your business.

There are a range of resources out there that can help to inform your decision as to whether Facebook is the right platform for your business. It goes without saying, if you haven’t got a Facebook business page you should create one even if it is to test effectiveness.

Facebook audiences are huge. And they are very well categorised. That means it is very likely that you could be reaching the types of people you’re are looking for, if you plan and target your posts properly.

We have access to specific Facebook audience information that we can share with you. Here is a snippet of the kind of information that is publicly available through Facebook for Business:

If you need some help understanding Facebook and you want to know if it would work for you, you can schedule a free initial consultation with us and our team will help to answer your questions.

What should I be posting to Facebook?

You can post all sorts of content to Facebook. From polls to videos and live-streams.

We have put together a list of the highest performing content for Facebook:

1. Videos and live videos

Video has been pushed heavily on the Facebook platform and it works.

If you are considering using video to reach your audience you should think about creating educational videos such as how-to guides, blog post summaries and vlogs which add value to your sites content.

2. Blog posts and curated content

After you’ve published a blog on your site you should let your Facebook following know about it. Statistically, Facebook users will engage very well with links to posts that come from accounts that they are following. It’s a great way to spread your messages to the world.

Twitter-digital-marketing-channel

Twitter

Twitter is a platform that has continued to provide results for a wide range of businesses. It has evolved a lot in the last three years, adding intricate analytical information that is invaluable if you’re a marketer, and, well, if you’re not.

Unlike other social platforms that can make data quite hard to access. Twitter has a ‘one rule for all’ policy on its data and analytics. That means even as a personal user you can see who is engaging with your tweets.

If you’re not using Twitter, you should definitely trial how it can work for your business. With the analytics dashboard you will easily be able to see how well things are going.

What should I be posting to Twitter?

The three best performing post types on Twitter are:

1. News

Whether it’s news about your company, your industry or wider issues, people turn to Twitter to catch up on news as and when it happens.

You should consider posting news to your social channels to drive engagement if you are not doing so already. Don’t worry if you haven’t got time to write news articles yourself, you can curate content from across the web and deliver it to your audience.

That’s leads us on nicely…

2. Blog posts & curated content

Again, Twitter works well to spread your company blogs and articles and drives traffic to your site. Also, curated content related to your products, services and wider industry will have higher engagement rates that other content types.

3. GIFs and visual tweets

You’ve seen them:

GIF

They work.

GIF’s are a great way of grabbing your audience’s attention.

Be playful on Twitter, business doesn’t always have to be serious.

LinkedIn-digital-marketing-channel

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has established itself as a key player in the world of social media over the last few years, particularly since Microsoft acquired it in 2016. It has come a long way from its original ‘digital CV’ format from its early days.

Now, you can directly message prospects and speak to them about your services, post content to your feed and build your business profile with links to your staff and wider news.

What should I be posting to LinkedIn?

The top three things to be posting to LinkedIn are:

1. Jobs and career information

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. That means people are using it to make new business connections, expand their own team or forge new opportunities to further their own careers.

There is no surprise then, that content related to jobs and career information are among the best in terms of engagement.

If your business regularly posts job articles to jobsites (for example) consider changing your tact and making the most of what LinkedIn can do for your reach. Kill two birds with one stone.

2. Company news

Again, company news is great for LinkedIn. People will often check in on a company’s LinkedIn page to check out their services and reputation before working with them.

So, use the opportunity to give them the information they came to find. Information about your business.

Post regular news articles, links to your company news pages and general information about your business to LinkedIn and you will find more people will engage with your brand.

3. Professional content

Show off your business’ expertise through your staff. Whether you are the director of your business or you are part of a front of house team, posting articles that details what you do, what your business does and wider industry information, shows off your knowledge.

Instagram-digital-marketing-channel

Instagram

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform currently available.

Whether this is due to background changes by Facebook who acquired Instagram in 2012 or general social change that has moved people toward the image-based platform, it’s a platform you should be thinking about for your business if you haven’t already.

What should I be posting to Instagram?

The three main types of content you should consider posting to your Instagram account, are:

1. High-res photos

Good quality imagery is what Instagram was made for. The numerous filters and effects that can be added to images is what a lot of people use the platform for.

So, consider creating an account that focuses on high-quality imagery that is related to your business. It doesn’t have to be direct imagery either. What I mean by that is, if you feel your business doesn’t lend itself well to imagery then focus on something that it relates to.

For example, we are a digital marketing agency in Sussex; therefore, we create imagery related to areas of Sussex using our #YouEverywhere hashtag to relate the content to our business. This allows us to build our following locally.

2. Quotes

People turn to Instagram for inspiration.

Use inspiration quotes to deliver your messages to your audience on Instagram.

If you don’t have access to high-res quote imagery then you can always use software like Adobe Spark to help you create highly engaging graphics.

3. Stories

Stories are a great way of giving ‘real-time’ updates of what’s happening in your business.

As social platforms have evolved, the way we digest information has become more focused on short, sharp intakes of media, so this lends itself perfectly to that.

Other social channels

Of course, there are a lot more social channels that are available to use. For the sake of this article we have just focused on the most popular, but it is definitely worth doing your research into other niche platforms that could work for your business. Here is a helpful list.

content-marketing

Content Marketing - as a digital marketing channel

Ah. Content marketing. So often mistaken for content.

Let’s be clear. Content marketing and content are not the same thing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is where you deliver an experience for your audience that you will then use to improve your company’s brand awareness and drive your own marketing goals.

An example of content marketing is Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.

The campaign offered customers the chance to buy bottles of Coke with names printed on the bottle. This experience driven approach resulted in people flocking to stores around the world to buy the product.

What is content?

Content is simply the culmination of assets that make up your marketing campaigns. It could be a blog, a social post, an image or a video.

How could content marketing work for your business?

Content marketing is a great way of reaching your audience on a personal level and taking away the corporate element of your communications.

People respond better to emotional or educational content.

Consider offering something that doesn’t directly drive sales. I know, it’s a big ask, but your audience will thank you for it. Your reputation will improve and your brands positive message will increase. From there, your audience will be so much more responsive to your messages.

Conclusion

Wow. That’s a lot to take in.

We hope this article has been useful to you and your business.

When it comes to choosing the right marketing platforms for your business, whether its digital or traditional, it can be tough. We hope this page can help act as a reference or guide for you to refer to when you are thinking about which platforms and marketing channels to use when delivering your campaigns.

We will check back regularly and make updates.

How Youbiquity can help

At Youbiquity, we specialise in creating strategic digital marketing campaigns that are delivered with your business and your goals in mind. If you are interested in discussing a project with us or you any questions related to anything in this article, get in touch today. We would be delighted to help.