According to McKinsey & Company, globally, organisations spend $1 trillion on marketing and marketing strategy.
In the saturated world of marketing and advertising, where companies clamour for the attention of customers at every turn, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. The profits, competitive advantage, market share, brand awareness, return-on-investment and business opportunities on offer to businesses who manage it are game-changing – meaning that making the best-possible use of available marketing channels is critical. And, in 2022, that means formulating a marketing plan that makes effective use of online marketing channels and digital marketing tools.
In essence, marketing channels are the various platforms and tools via which a business can be discovered by, and interact with, its target audience. Different audiences exist in different digital spaces – and some will be more responsive to specific marketing strategies than others – so it’s important for marketing professionals to adopt the right approach. Using the correct channel, or channels, for a certain audience ensures that customers will more likely engage with the marketing and the brand. In this way, new customers can be “won” by a brand, and existing customers will remain positive and engaged.
Other benefits include:
- lead generation
- an ability to influence purchase decisions
- improved customer experience
- greater online presence
- access to a larger pool of potential customers from different demographics.
Online marketing channels are those we engage with via the internet and devices, and each serves a distinct purpose. They commonly include:
- email marketing – a form of direct marketing where customers and subscribers on an email list receive business communications containing promotional and other information
- social media marketing – on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube
- influencer marketing – where influencers that target audiences will resonate with, and who often have large followings of their own, are paid for product placement and endorsement content
- pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and paid search – where the advertiser pays per click on a website ad or a paid ad, such as a Google Ad, is featured on a search engine page
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – a series of techniques that helps users find content through organic search results
- content marketing – including podcasts, blogs, customer testimonials, images and video content
- websites and apps – such as ecommerce platforms and company websites.
With so many available, which marketing channel is the right one for a brand to choose? The answer to this will vary considerably, and will need to take into account factors such as who the target audience are and what they require, budgetary constraints, existing digital channels and infrastructure and what has and has not worked well in the past, the type of content that needs promoting, and what the overall aims or key performance indicators (KPIs) are. Chances are, businesses will require a multi-channel approach in order to achieve the best results.
BrightEdge reports that upwards of 53% of all website traffic is a result of organic SEO.
Without a strategic approach to content marketing, underpinned by SEO, audiences will not find an organisation’s content. The importance of these two elements cannot be overlooked by marketing teams.
SEO is the process and series of techniques that enables web content to be found via online search results. The better the SEO, the more likely that content will perform well – i.e. surfaced higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) such as Google and Bing. It offers improved user experience, which also helps to build relationships and brand reputation, and can be a cost-effective way to boost marketing efforts.
While they are hundreds of factors – and not all the metrics that Google uses, for example, are public knowledge – that can affect SEO, there are plenty of tried-and-tested tips to help content perform better:
- Create high-quality, engaging and relevant content that audiences want
- Conduct keyword research to understand what search terms audiences are using and weave them into web copy
- Vary the content on a page, incorporating video content, infographics and other content users will find engaging
- Optimise sites for mobile devices
- Format webpages correctly
- Ensure page load speeds are quick
- Include backlinks to reputable websites and sources
- Share on social media platforms.
Great SEO practice works to drive traffic to website landing pages, so content marketers must ensure they are accessible, user-friendly and engaging spaces. Companies can also invest in specialist SEO software – such as SEMRush or Ahrefs – to support and guide their search engine marketing and optimisation efforts.
Affiliate marketing is gaining traction and popularity in the marketing sphere. Similarly to influencer marketing, this type of marketing involves using celebrities, influencers and brand partnerships to promote products and services. The main differences are that affiliate marketing does not seek partnerships and collaborations – instead, influencers sign up via affiliate platforms and programmes – and affiliates only receive payment after a purchase has been made, rather than in anticipation of referrals or lead generation.
Video marketing is another area that shows no signs of slowing. On the contrary, many brands are investing more and more each year to produce quality video content for platforms including TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – as well as their own company websites. There are a wide range of video types to choose from, including livestreams and live videos, how-to and explainer videos, testimonial videos, and more. Remember: highly polished, professional-grade video matters far less than video content that is engaging, shareable and authentic.
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