We have listed 17 channels with a short description, so that you can have an easy list to use – when planning your Marketing Strategy.
Topics: SEO & SEM, Content & Email & Viral Mktg, PR, Social, Offline & Display Ads, Blogs, Trade Shows & more.
In Traction (the book), we have a chapter on each of the 19 Customer Acquisition channels you can use in Growing a Business, along with 5 key introductory chapters explaining “How to Find” – the few best channels that will lead to tremendous growth for your business.
1. Search Engine Optimization. Almost all Internet users turn to Search Engines for answers. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your ranking in search engines in order to get more people to your site.
2. Content Marketing. Think back to the last few Web sites you’ve used and take a look at their Blogs too. In all likelihood, they’re infrequently updated and have few comments, or worse, are frequently updated and an avalanche of boring. Compare that experience to reading a well-known company Blogs like those of Moz, Unbounce, or OkCupid (or almost unknown Wiz4biz – LoL). They write posts that receive hundreds of comments, lead to major publicity, & result in thousands of shares. This massive engagement leads to massive growth.
3. Email Marketing is one of the best ways to convert prospects while retaining & monetizing existing customers. Email marketing is a personal channel. Messages from your company sit next to Email updates from friends & family. As such, Email Marketing works best when it is personalized. Email can be tailored to individual customer actions so that every email communication is relevant.
4. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to placing advertisments on search engines like Google & DuckDuckGo, where online marketers spend more than $100 million each day.
5. Viral Marketing consists of growing your customer base by encouraging your customers to refer other customers. In the context of startups, literally “going viral” means that every user you acquire brings in at least one other user. That new user then invites at least one other user, and so on. This creates true exponential growth. Though difficult to sustain, it’s been the driving force behind the explosive growth of consumer startups like Facebook, Twitter, & WhatsApp.
6. Publicity [PR] is the art of getting your name out there via traditional Media outlets like news outlets, newspapers, magazines, & TV.
7. Un-conventional PR. There are two different types: 1) the Publicity Stunt. It’s anything that is engineered to get media coverage & 2) Customer Appreciation: smaller, more scalable actions (like holding contests or sending handwritten notes to customers) that both increase goodwill as well as generate press coverage.
8. Social & Display Ads are the Banner ads that you see on Web sites. Social ads are the ads on social sites, like those in our near your Facebook & Twitter timelines.
9. Off-Line Ads. Even today, advertisers spend more on Off-line ads than they do on Online. There are many kinds of Offline ads — TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, yellow pages, billboards, & direct mail. All of these can be utilized at almost any scale, from local campaigns to national ones. Few startups use this channel, which means there’s less competition for many of these audiences.
10. Business Development (BD) is the process of creating Strategic Relationships that benefit both your own startup & your Partner. It’s like sales with one key distinction: With business development, you’re partnering to reach customers in a way that benefits both parties.
11.Sales is focused primarily on creating personal opportunities for the Customer to buy thru more direct contact. Sometimes hand-holding prospects can be necessary to turn them into real customers. This involves creating a refined sales “funnel” that continually generates leads, qualifies them, & converts them into paying customers.
12. Affiliate Program is an arrangement where you pay people or companies for performing certain actions like making a sale or getting a qualified lead. Companies like Amazon, Zappos, eBay, Orbitz, & Netflix use Affiliate programs to drive significant portions of their revenue. In fact, Affiliate programs are the core traction channel for many Ecommerce stores, information products, & membership programs.
13. Targeting Blogs that your prospective customers read is one of the most effective ways to get your first wave of customers. Popular Blogs are CodeCademy, Mint, & Reddit.
14. Trade Shows offer you the opportunity to showcase and maybe even demonstrate your products in person. These events are often exclusive to industry insiders, and are designed to foster inter-actions between companies and their prospects. Early on, you can use this traction channel to build interest in what you’re building. As you get more established, you can use Trade Shows as an opportunity to make a major announcement, sell big clients, seal a partnership, or as an integral part of your sales funnel.
15. Speaking Engagements. This channel works well when there is a group of people gathered that — if you pitched them right — would buy your product.
16. Existing Mega- Platforms – Web sites, Apps, or networks with huge numbers of users — that you can potentially leverage to get traction. Major platforms include the Apple & Android App Stores, Mozilla & Chrome browser extensions, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as newer platforms that are growing rapidly (Tumblr, Snapchat, etc.). Focusing on existing platforms means focusing your growth efforts on one of these mega-platforms, and getting some of their hundreds of millions of users to use your product.
17. Off-line Events. Sponsoring or running these events — from small Meetups to large Conferences — can be a primary way to get traction for Growing a Business. Off-line events give you the opportunity to engage directly with potential customers about their problems. Such events are especially important when your target customers do not respond well to Online Advertising and do not have a natural place to congregate online. Attracting these customers to one location or going to a place where they meet in person can be the most effective way to reach them.
Conclusion: my final Advice. When considering these Traction channels, try your best not to dismiss them as irrelevant for your company. Each traction channel has worked for startups of all kinds & phases. The right channel is often an under-utilized one. Get one channel working that your competitors don’t use, and you can grow rapidly while they languish.
Comments: Do you know any other Channel for Growing a Business?
from Medium.com 20 Sept 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz