Posted: Thu 27th Apr 2023
Initially, I was going to title this blog "How to choose the perfect marketing channel mix", but I found it a little misleading and I'll explain why.
My issue is with the 'perfect' part. It could imply that you choose once the marketing channels, that's all you work on, marketing-wise. But the 'perfect mix' isn't permanent, and it's a big mistake to assume otherwise.
How marketing has changed
In a 2022 HubSpot survey of over 1,200 marketers, more than 80% said that marketing has changed more in the last three years than in the last 50 years.
What worked for your launch campaign or the first year of your business won't necessarily continue working. Change is constant, and it's something that will influence your business strategy as well as your marketing mix.
Algorithms can change
New social media channels pop up
As a result, a chunk of your audience might be moving elsewhere. Here's a dilemma: Do you follow them and start a new channel or work towards growing the existing channel further?
The interests of the audience you know start to alter
For example, your regular Saturday brunchers who never missed your live-stream event are now settled dog owners, shop on Vinted and never miss a Sunday farmers' market.
Or, Elon Musk buys the social media channel you relied on for advertising, and now you're reevaluating your options.
Three key factors that should guide your choice of channel mix
As a start-up, you don't want to be pointing in the dark. Nor do you want to be wasting time, resources or money on doing something that doesn't bring value or impact. You want to know which channels to pursue.
To determine that, we're going to go through a little exercise. Look at these three crucial factors:
1. Your skills and existing habits
Ask yourself the following:
What do I already do well? This will help you uncover hidden talents that might be practical for marketing.
What do I already do on a regular basis? This will help you repurpose existing habits into something meaningful.
What do I enjoy doing? This will reveal activities you'll likely stick to doing for longer and even transform into a superpower that will help you stand out from the competition.
Skills like good writing or being great face-to-face with people can be incredibly valuable for your business.
If you already spend a good two hours each day on social media, you can repurpose this time by getting to know your audience, engaging with them or even recruiting the right ambassadors to work with your brand.
The objective here is to identify as many useful skills and habits that you can turn into your business superpowers.
Swim with the stream, not against it
The learning curve for entrepreneurs is already very steep. So look at the potential of your existing skills and the opportunities they present for your business.
In some cases, hiring existing expertise – whether part-time or just for a single project – is a much more practical way of getting things done fast. Quite often, these people can help get you started, set a strong foundation of best practices, and build up momentum so you can carry on maintaining it after that.
2. The essence of what your business is about
Take a closer look at the product or solution you're providing for your customers, as this will guide your marketing strategy and channel choices. Two basic examples:
A baking business that makes the most perfect party cupcakes: That's a very visual offering, so marketing activities and channels you'll consider would also be very visual and most likely involve good photography, animations and some creative partnerships.
Executive business coach: Most likely, you're full of real-life advice and have a great network. So consider channels such as:
You know your business best, so really drilling into the what and the why of your product offering will help in this exercise.
3. Your knowledge of your customers
This leads to the most important factor of this exercise: Who are your customers? Where do they hang out (online and offline)? What do they read, and how do they consume news or general content? Who do they follow on social media? What do they like?
Knowing your customer is the most important thing that will dictate the rest of your marketing plan.
If you're just starting out, an educated guess based on your business plan is a good place to start. The important stage here is to prove yourself right or wrong – going ahead and starting marketing activities, seeing what's working or not, then reassessing and deciding further actions.
Don't be shy when getting to know your customers. Talk to them if you can, chat with them online, and ask important questions such as how they found your business and why they chose your brand or product. Open your mind and listen for the cues.
Brands to learn from
I've compiled a list of various brands that are worth learning from.
As a website visitor, you can already understand what they're about and establish brand trust in the first 10 seconds of your visit.
DiversifyTech newsletters are a great example of maximising every email to your community by sending the most valuable and useful content.
If you'd like to see a good example of an automated lead nurturing email sequence, sign up to Thinkific.
The GoodShip Illustration does a fantastic range of interesting, entertaining and engaging content via its social media – its weekly draw alongside live events.
Live conferences and events still have strong potential for brand partnerships, especially when you're new to the market. You have a chance to engage and attract a completely new audience that's aligned with your brand values.
This is what I witnessed at the StartUp Show with Monzo Business back in January. It's an event for entrepreneurs and new businesses, and with its valuable and relevant tools and advice, Monzo Business was the ideal partner for event, providing exactly what the audience was looking for.
Public relations (PR)
The charity Pregnant then Screwed does an excellent job of regularly sharing survey results that newspapers and magazines can quote from when writing about the reality of parenthood in the UK.
#KitriGirls is the brand hashtag that lets the influencer partnerships show up on the social media of their choice and add to their reach.
Word of mouth
It's hard to top what Monzo has achieved by turning its customers into brand champions.
Work with your strengths in mind, and you can turn them into superpowers that will help you stand out.
Stay tuned with your marketing results – if something isn't working like it used to, it's time to review and change things.