As a business consultant, I work with tons of clients in the eCommerce world who come to me wanting to improve and expand their marketing efforts.
The truth is, there’s no single solution that will work for every eCommerce business owner when it comes to really effective, far-reaching marketing.
This means testing different marketing methods and channels to see which form of communication is most effective, and then zeroing in on those specific channels to improve your strategy.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be walking you through 10 different marketing channels that I believe are worth exploring for eCommerce business owners. Some will be a better fit for your business model and target audience than others, so be sure to do your own research and due diligence in addition to taking my recommendations into account.
What’s a marketing channel?
A marketing channel is a place where you are able to attract new customers to your business. There are paid and free marketing channels. Paid marketing channels are places where you advertise to get your brand in front of your target audience. Free, or organic, marketing channels are places where you create and share content without paying to show it to your audience (like social media or email).
How to choose the right marketing channels for your business
Selecting the marketing channels that your business will rely on is a delicate balance. You want to have a diversified marketing strategy so that your eggs aren’t all in one basket, but you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin or exert precious time, energy, and financial resources into marketing channels that won’t reach your ideal client in the right way. So, what’s a CEO to do when it comes to selecting effective marketing channels?
Well, it really comes down to where your customers are hanging out and what your marketing goals are.
For example, if you’re wanting to sell makeup to a Gen Z customer base, TikTok (and other social media marketing) would be a good bet because it already has an established audience demographic of mostly Gen Z viewers, and the visual component of video marketing gives you creativity and flexibility in the way you show off the product you’re selling. Selling makeup to Gen Z likely wouldn’t translate as well via a marketing channel like email marketing.
You also want to consider your overall goals — are you wanting to gain brand visibility? Build credibility? Nurture your audience? Drive sales? These are all entirely different outcomes that require nuance in the way you approach selecting your marketing channels. Not every channel is the right fit for every goal.
With all of that being said, if you still aren’t sure how to decide on the channels that make sense for your audience, goals, and business model, booking a call with a business consultant for strategic guidance will help you get clear on where to exert your energy.
Now, let’s dive into the list!
Marketing Channel #1: Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the longest-running and most popular digital marketing channels, and it refers to when you use email to reach your target audience.
Before you can incorporate email marketing into your greater marketing strategy, you need to focus on building an email list. A great way to do this is to offer an incentive to new customers in exchange for their email address — like a discount code, free shipping, or special gift with purchase.
Once you have an email community, you can use email marketing to send one-off emails to alert your audience to promotions or sales, or run a full-fledged email campaign with an intended goal. Whatever your prerogative is, email is an affordable and fast way to reach a large number of individuals in a short period of time.
Marketing Channel #2: Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing encompasses the act of posting content to social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and so on. The truth? Social media marketing is an insanely powerful and effective form of organic marketing, and I firmly believe it is NOT optional for any modern CEO!
A huge reason social media marketing is a must is because it is invaluable when it comes to building relationships with your audience and forming a community of loyal customers. You also get the added benefit of influencer and affiliate marketing through social media.
Marketing Channel #3: SMS Marketing
SMS marketing is a way of reaching your audience via text message. This highly intimate form of marketing is one of the most personalized ways you can get in touch with your target customer — which also means you need to navigate it with sensitivity and strategy. The key to nailing SMS marketing is to reach out to your audience sparingly and only when you have something important to say. This way, you don’t overwhelm or annoy them but you’re still able to take advantage of the immediacy of the method.
For more information about how to implement SMS marketing into your business, click here to read an in-depth blog post on the topic.
Marketing Channel #4: Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, refers to the process of getting web pages to rank higher (and therefore show up sooner) in the Google algorithm. What makes SEO a must is the fact that it helps drive traffic from individuals who are already in the ‘consideration phase’ of the buyer’s journey — meaning they are actively taking the time to research where they can find whatever it is you have to offer, making it more likely that their search actually leads to a purchase. For this reason, SEO is an extremely powerful visibility tool that is worth investing time and even financial resources into.
Marketing Channel #5: Public Relations
Public relations, also known colloquially as ‘PR’, is a marketing strategy that involves reaching out to established media networks so that they can cover your product/service in the news or online. Good PR can be a huge source of visibility and credibility for newer businesses who are looking to build trust and gain authority. PR tactics may include press features, public speaking opportunities, interviews, and so on.
Marketing Channel #6: Influencer Marketing
One of my favorite marketing channels that has grown in popularity over the last few years is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a way for your brand to promote your products through endorsements and recommendations from influencers and content creators on the internet. Many times, influencer marketing is a part of brand awareness campaigns, but it can also result in plenty of sales. The key to nailing influencer marketing is working with the right influencers who will appeal to your target audience enough to drive conversions — click here to read my blog post on how exactly you can do this.
Marketing Channel #7: Content Marketing
Content marketing refers to the act of creating organic (non-paid) content for your own channels. This strategy spans across multiple marketing channels (for example, both a blog post and an Instagram caption are forms of content marketing, even though they don’t exist on the same platform), but remains a tried-and-true way of reaching your audience, building trust, and delivering value. The blog post you’re currently reading is a prime example of content marketing, as is the OJC blog as a whole.
Other examples of content marketing include emails, podcasts, video content, newsletters, etc.
Marketing Channel #8: Paid Ads
Paid ads can be a great marketing channel to utilise when you’re looking for a ‘boost’ in visibility or sales, especially if your company is new to the market. However, investing too heavily into paid ads during start up can be a significant drain on precious financial resources. A good rule of thumb is to utilise a paid advertisement strategy on a smaller scale while focusing your main marketing efforts on organic strategies and channels.
Marketing Channel #9: Referral Marketing
Referral marketing (also known as ‘word of mouth’ marketing) is ultra-powerful based on the simple fact that it’s easier to trust a recommendation from a friend, family member, or acquaintance than one from a marketing channel. While you can’t necessarily control how word of mouth about your company spreads, there are two ways you can incentivise your audience to advocate for your product to the people in their life.
The first way is simple: by having a great product and customer experience. If you’re providing your customers with a high-quality product that solves a problem for them and backing it up with excellent customer service and experience as a whole, they’ll have no reason not to love and recommend your product to everyone they know.
The second way is by offering your customers a special reward in exchange for referring a friend. This could be a discount code, free gift, or something along those lines. This way, both your brand and your customer are scoring a great deal.
Marketing Channel #10: Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is where people earn money through commission when they advertise a product or a service on their website. An example would be a skincare blogger listing all of the products they use in their nightly routine in a blog post. If a reader clicks through and purchases an item, the blogger gets paid a commission.
Affiliate marketing works similarly to influencer marketing in the sense that it involves a popular figure promoting products to an audience that is already interested in said products, making it easier and faster for them to go through the buyer journey and ultimately convert.
As a business consultant with a focus on eCommerce, marketing is my specialty. I’ve helped dozens of brands leave iconic footprints on the marketing channels of their choice, resulting in massive momentum and sales. If you want this to be a reality in your business as well, learn more about booking a strategy call with me to discuss your marketing channel gameplan!