Strengths & Weaknesses of Key Marketing Channels

Strengths & weaknesses of key marketing channels

Before the internet became imperative to running a business successfully, marketing seemed a lot more simple. With so much to choose from, how are you meant to know which key marketing channels are for you?

New business owners have to keep those methods of offline marketing in mind, while being inundated with new online marketing channels. Trying to use them all will spread you too thin, waste your precious time and money, and won't give you the results that you’re looking for.

Sounds exhausting, right? Just thinking about it makes you want to do this:

Choosing key marketing channels is exhausting

It's okay little baby.. We understand.

So, with so many key marketing channels to choose from, which channels do you decide to spend your time on? Is it best to put your energy into online marking? Or, maybe just offline? How about both?

In this blog, we’re going to be examining the strengths and weaknesses of key marketing channels.

As with many things in life, there is no right or wrong choice, just preference. (Unless you don’t like Beyoncé. Then you’re wrong.)

Hopefully, by the end of this blog, you will have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of various different key offline and online marketing channels. And, feel more confident than ever before about which channels are best for you and your business.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, there are some terms that you need to be comfortable with before we continue.

Offline marketing channel = Marketing that happens away from the internet. (Think: Newspapers, flyers, television commercials, billboards and radio ads)

Online marketing channel = Marketing that happens through digital channels. (Social media, emails, online ads, blogs, videos etc.)

Let’s start at the beginning...

Before digital marketing was created, business owners had to find other ways of reaching clientele, promoting their products and increasing their revenue.

And so, we have offline marketing:

Different types of marketing are used for different businesses. Some may find that newspapers, flyers, commercials and billboards work exceptionally well for them. Another, may hit a wall with those methods but thrive with mail, event speaking and cold calling.

Your marketing can be as innovative as you want it to be! Remember, it’s what works for you, your business and your customers. But, with that in mind let's dissect some of the most popular offline marketing channels that nearly all businesses would have used before digital marketing came into play.

Offline Marketing

Newspaper Adverts

Pros:

Newspaper advertising is one of the oldest marketing techniques in the book that still holds a lot of weight. And for good reason - Your business is 70% more likely to be remembered for being in print as opposed to being seen online.

61% of consumers tend to view newspaper advertisements as more trustworthy than their digital counterparts, coming in at 42%

Due to the longstanding history of print advertising, many are more inclined to trust a newspaper than an ad they may have seen on TV or any social media channel.

Newspaper advertising also increases your reach almost immediately. Advertising to people that you know will take an interest is great, but what about the unsuspecting consumer? Newspaper ads have you covered. Interestingly, in terms of popularity, internet ads come in at 25%, while popularity for print advertising comes in on top at 63%!

Cons:

Dissimilar to online ads, print marketing tends to have a pretty short shelf life. Newspapers are all about what is ground breaking, new and current. For some, this means a new issue everyday. Unfortunately, this means your ad could very easily be missed.

Readership has decreased heavily throughout the years, with more people going online for information than ever before. 79% of adults in the UK would choose to go straight to google for their information sources, compared to the 32% that would pick up a newspaper first.

A good marketing channel will give you the best bang for your buck (there isn’t a saying for pound sterling that sounds nearly as cool) and more often than not, you won’t receive that from print marketing.

An ad isn’t just a space in print, you’ve paid to reach a particular audience, and how many of them are you sure you’re going to reach? Because of the low readership, the proportionate expense equates to a far higher risk for your company than other forms of advertising.

Speaking at Events, Expos, etc...

Pros:

Attending a marketing conference, or speaking at an event can be an absolutely brilliant way to expand your reach or plant your idea in the heads of people who never would have come across your product otherwise.

It is a really fun way to network, give out some leads and maybe even find some new insight.

You’ll also be able to teach consumers about your product and what it can do for them in a focused manner that just wouldn’t have been available to you before. Not only for the people asking you questions, but for you, too.

This is the best chance to get to know the people who are interested in your business first hand and hear their thoughts. An invaluable resource!

Not every gathering is about meeting new people. Educational and social events allow you to deliver valuable information to your existing clientele while also providing an opportunity for face-to-face interaction.

Cons:

More often than not, you will have to pay to have your own stand at an event or to book out some time to speak on stage. And unfortunately, it can leave a hole in your wallet.

Some key marketing channels can leave a hole in your wallet

If John Travolta came out of my empty wallet, maybe it wouldn't be so bad..

The average cost is usually well into the hundreds, sometimes peaking into the thousand pound mark. If you have to travel there and stay in the area as most expo’s go on for a couple of days, there is another bill to add to the list!

While it may not only be a cash loss, it could also be a loss of your very valuable productivity and time. As I mentioned before, these events are usually neither short nor cheap, so you'll definitely want to get your money's worth.

Snail Mail

Pros:

Snail mail is great in terms of your reach.

Not only can you access people who interact with you and your business regularly, you can also put yourself on the radar of a whole other realm of prospective customers that you never would have been able to before.

Businesses must use an opt-in method before sending marketing emails to ensure that people receive the information they want. This is dependent on the individual, who may or may not choose to keep in touch.

Direct mailing, on the other hand, does not require the receiver to sign up. If you've done your marketing homework, the people you reach through your mailings are likely to be interested in the items and services you have to offer.

Your recipients will understand what you do and why they need what you offer if you use good language and design. There's no need to persuade them with just six lines and an emoji in the subject line! Allow a good mailing's physical quality and unified design to speak for you.

Cons:

It's called snail mail for a reason. The speed with which carried mail is received can feel glacial when compared to E-mail.

It’s expensive. Anything that you send through a postal service, you have to pay for. Postal charges are generally the most expensive part of overhead for enterprises that rely on carried mail for distribution.

Online Marketing

Online marketing has a lot of buzz around it, and for good reason. Only 10 years ago, it would have been unimaginable to be able to market in so many innovative ways, in such a short space of time. There are now a plethora of different online marketing channels, many with their own niche and differences to make sure there is something for every business/customer.

Let's take a look at some, shall we?

Content Marketing

Pros:

It keeps your expenditure low. There are no media placement fees, and the majority of the work may be completed in-house. As a result, your expenses will be kept to a minimum.

Content marketing can increase website traffic and conversions by creating high-quality content that attracts visitors to your site. You can encourage them to register or make a purchase once they've arrived at your site.

It’s a really easy way to develop brand recognition, trust, and loyalty - people who consume your content will develop an impression of the business. Your company will be perceived as authoritative and trustworthy if you publish informative, well-researched content.

Cons:

The benefits aren't instant; content marketing takes time. Before you see results, you usually have to go through a period of trial and error to figure out what works best.

Starting from scratch can be tough if you're not used to creating content. Finding content ideas, coming up with new themes and forms to write about might be difficult. As you progress, you will be able to assess the impact of prior content.

Trying to decipher the impact of your content marketing on web traffic and online conversions is pretty simple. Determining the impact of your content on brand reputation, awareness, and loyalty can be difficult.

Infographic created by HubSpot.

Social Media

Pros:

All of the major social media networks are free to join. It's also free to start communicating with potential clients on a basic level.

If you want to get a better return on your marketing investment, you can hire an expert. This will result in higher returns for your company at a fraction of the cost of attaining the same results through traditional marketing.

With social media marketing, you are able to reach a bigger audience than ever before. You have the opportunity to reach millions of individuals through social media sites. While traditional marketing targets a certain, predetermined population, social media marketing has no such restrictions. It overcomes all demographic boundaries, including age, gender, and socioeconomic class.

If you're looking for a rapid way to reach out to your audience with new products or news, social media marketing is the way to go.

For quick results, you can count on social media marketing. When you post something on a social media network, it is immediately visible to your whole audience all over the world.

Cons:

To make your social media marketing effective, time is going to need to be on your side.

*insert business owner laughter here*  Time and owning a business? Does that exist?

To uphold successful social media channels, you need to be active. Spending the time creating refreshing and engaging content for your potential clientele is time consuming. If you don’t have a social media background already, you’re going to have to spend some time researching how to create that content, too.

Every marketing campaign has a purpose; for some, it's about increasing their customer base. For others, it's about increasing traffic to increase relevance. It could also be about increasing sales. It can take a long time for social media marketing to show a return on investment.

When there is more than one person handling social media engagement, it can occasionally result in a mix of voices. This may cause some confusion among your audience, and some may lose faith in your brand.

Email Marketing

Pros:

Email marketing can be far more cost-effective than many other forms of marketing. There are no expenditures for advertising, printing, or media space. A phone and your Wi-Fi connection will provide you with all of the tools that you need!

Personalization and segmentation - You can personalize communications with email marketing. You may also categorize your marketing list so that your clients only receive messages from you that are relevant to them. Doing so, will increase their interaction with you.

Email marketing is measurable. - Web analytics software can be used to assess the success of a campaign. You can quickly test different copy, subject lines, and designs to determine what works best. This gives you the ability to improve future campaigns.

Cons:

You must have the correct copy, design, and marketing list for a successful email campaign. It's important to note that this form of marketing will incur extra cost due to employing an expert if these skills are not under your belt.

Most of us have looked at the number increasing on your inbox and started violently tapping the unsubscribe button on every email. If your communications are not targeted to the proper people, you run the risk of the recipient discarding or unsubscribing to them

It is necessary for files to be small enough to download rapidly. Emails with a lot of graphics may take a long time to load, which will frustrate your viewers and make them lose interest.

Which key marketing channel will you choose?

The examples given above are only a few of the key marketing channels that you could choose to employ. There are still a wide range of offline and online strategies not mentioned here that could really be worth your while.

The choices you make for your key marketing channels can be the make or break for your business. But, as there is not a template or rule book for you to follow, the choice is yours.

Do your research, think about how your consumers engage with you already and use the channels that will give you the most sting for your sterling. (I told you there wasn’t anything as cool as bang for your buck!)

Look at how other successful businesses that are similar to yours market themselves. Imitation is the highest form of flattery after all!

If you’re still feeling a little bit lost in regards to marketing, this blog about inbound vs outbound marketing, combined with the knowledge you’ve acquired today should be more than enough to get you on your way.

And, if all else fails, maybe there is a really really great marketing automation company that could lend a helping hand 😉

Still unsure about implementing key marketing channels?

Get your marketing into shape with the help of our Ninja expertise, and join a community of go getters in the Marketing Automation Academy!

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
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