Consider one of your competitors and ask yourself where you see your business from a marketing perspective, how many channels your competitors use, and whether or not they rely heavily on one or two of those channels. Obviously, businesses and brands have a goal to sell products and services in the most efficient and effective way, but what online channel to use is a critical component and many organizations utilize only a few channels for marketing and publicity goals. We all want our online content to get results, but the question is how do we get the results that we want? Let’s take a further look at the impact of channel choice from a marketing and PR perspective.
Who the target audience is and where they spend most of their time online is an important part of determining which marketing channels a business should utilize. Demographics such as age, gender, etc. play a role when it comes to where users spend the most time online as different users prefer different platforms. For example, if a company’s target audience is perhaps a younger crowd who are attracted to visuals and spend most of their time on Instagram, then setting up a LinkedIn account may not be the best option. Once your target audience has been determined along with what channels they are using, it can also be helpful to know what other businesses your target audience is following, what type of content they interact with the most, and what type of language they respond to in order for your company to provide them with engaging content.
Although the choice of platform or channel tends to be driven by the target audience (for example, professionals on LinkedIn), or even the nature of the product or service (nice photos or appealing artwork through Instagram), a less considered element of this choice is what the business wants the online user to do and what actions need to be taken by the target audience. It’s one thing to have marketing goals such as ‘raise awareness’ or ‘generate more leads and sales’, but it’s important for a business to ask themselves what they want the online user to do as a next step in order to ‘raise awareness’ or ‘sell more products’. For instance, if a product is posted on Instagram, but that particular product needs to be purchased on the website, then the goal would be to drive more online users to the website in order to sell more products. How? By creating an attractive campaign through, let’s say Instagram, that will then grab the attention of users then lead them to the website through product links in posts.
Aligning Campaign Goals & Target Audience With Platform Choice
Here in the Cayman Islands, we heavily rely on Facebook and have a surprisingly low reliance on company websites. However, if a business’s goal is to entice users to purchase a product, then purchasing is better achieved through websites, whereas the awareness that there is a product to be purchased is better achieved through Facebook or Instagram. This invites the question of whether the campaign goals are aligned with the target audience, then also the platform choice. If the campaign goals, target audience, and platform are all aligned, imagine the improvement in marketing effectiveness that can be achieved for your business.
Analyzing the Competition
Another way to decide which marketing channels for your business to use is also by analyzing the competition and their online activity. This analysis can provide valuable information, including how competitors are performing on various platforms, what type of content they are posting, which platforms they are receiving the most engagement on, and if they have the same target audience as your own business.
Furthermore, availability of resources is yet another factor that comes into play when determining which platforms to use. A business may need to ask themselves if they have the expertise to consistently create and share high quality and valuable content to the correct platforms before making this decision. Sharing the right type of content to the correct platform is an essential part of attracting the online target audience and getting them to take the next step, whether that is to ‘bring more customers to the website to purchase more products’ or to ‘create brand awareness.’
The Best Channel(s)
Once your business has a clear view of who your target audience is, which platforms your target audience uses, what actions you want online users to take, how your competition is performing on different platforms, and if your company has the right expertise/resources, this will then provide sufficient guidance in determining the best channels and digital platforms for your business to use.