What are the best marketing channels for your business? Where do you get the most bang for your buck?
During a recent Reality Blog interview, Heather Robson revealed a simple tactic, an elegant solution. And it’s easy to implement… a far better plan than the scattergun approach many of us take, including myself!
What we need is a foolproof plan, a way to figure out what works best for our business. This way, you might avoid the pitfalls of taking the usual approach…
What’s the Usual Approach, You Ask?
Let’s have a look at the mess I got into with marketing channels in the early days. This is a great example of how not to tackle marketing for your business!
You’ll likely be nodding your head, with a similar story from when you started…
When I started our Money-Making Website Top Wire Traveller, we needed a way to get the word out. Social media was the obvious way.
Over time, I tried many different marketing channels. Some were successful, others not so much. This is what I tried:
- Facebook because “everyone’s on Facebook. You need to be on Facebook.” And unfortunately, it’s actually true.
- Twitter because I read somewhere it’s a great way to build a community. In all honesty, Twitter’s been a fail for us since day one.
- YouTube because we needed somewhere to park our videos.
- Pinterest because it looked like a good place to post (pin) our zillions of amazing outback images.
- Google+ because it was an excellent way to get new posts indexed quickly in Google searches.
- StumbleUpon because it seemed like a way to drive traffic back to our website.
- Mix because it replaced StumbleUpon.
- Medium because it looked like a worthy replacement for the mysterious and completely ineffective Mix.
- Email marketing because it seems to hold its head high regardless of the would-be new heirs to the throne.
Clearly my approach wasn’t exactly scientific!
It was more a case of, “Let’s give it a go and see what happens!” There was no plan or strategy. It’s like playing darts with a blindfold on… throw the dart and hope it hits something.
The result? Way too many marketing channels… most of them ineffective.
Heather Robson has a better plan.
A Targeted Approach
Number one priority is to figure out why you’re marketing. What’s the goal… What do you what to achieve? More sign-ups, more sales, brand awareness, more traffic? Decide this first.
Now, what is Heather’s plan?
To paraphrase, Heather recommends the Test and Compare approach to discover which marketing channels work best.
Here’s how it works.
Say you have three marketing channels in place right now. They could be Facebook, Pinterest, and email marketing.
I would actually add another step before this. If you have more than three marketing channels in place, check the analytics of each, then cull all except the top three. Be ruthless… no room for favorites here!
Then introduce a fourth. Let’s say you try Instagram.
Allow a three-month trial. In that time, learn all you can about Instagram. Spend time reading up on what works best and do some trials. At the end of the trial, compare each channel.
Which one worked best? Which one had the most referrals, sales, or whatever analytics are relevant to your business?
And which one performed the worst? Take the worst performer and cut it. Be ruthless.
This has been my problem with Twitter. I know it has never been effective for Top Wire Traveller. But it has been a good way to keep up-to-date with industry news. Not so much now though. Most of the groups and businesses we follow are also on Facebook and/or Instagram.
So I’ve given Twitter the chop. At last!
Let’s go back to Heather’s method. At the end of the three-month trial, you compare Facebook, Pinterest, email marketing, and Instagram. Let’s say Instagram is the loser here.
Before you ruthlessly cut it and move on, have a close look at the analytics.
Remember, you’ve likely had the other three channels running for a few years now. Therefore, they have a distinct advantage.
Is your Instagram audience growing rapidly? Are lots of people commenting and engaging with your posts… way more than Facebook, for example? Are they visiting your website?
Listen to your inner voice. The analytics might say Instagram’s a loser. But if you can see a steep change in engagement or whatever analytic you’re chasing, then maybe one of the established channels should be cut instead.
You’ll know if Instagram’s working if it’s creating a buzz.
Then you need to make a decision. Which of the three established marketing channels will you cut?
This is an easier decision. Because they’re established, they’ll simply live or die by the numbers. In my case, Twitter was obvious. I knew it was a waste of time… and the numbers confirmed this.
Having settled on your new top three, select another marketing channel to trial and repeat the process.
What a Relief!
Using Heather’s method is actually a relief.
It’s easy to say, “Yep, Twitter’s dead. I’m closing my accounts now.” But when you actually go to do it, I can almost guarantee the cute blue Twitter bird will look at you sadly with its big eyes, a tear rolling down its cheek… imploring you to give it one more chance.
Now though, you can make decisions based on fact. You can cull the dead wood and move on to bigger and better things.
The best part is, you’re not juggling multiple marketing channels. And you’re no longer at the mercy of several insatiable social media marketing channels… all demanding you feed them.
That’s a good feeling.
P.S. How do you choose which marketing channels you cut and which to keep? Let us know in the Comments below.