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How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Channel for your Business?

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As a small business owner do you often find yourself grappling with these questions?

  • Is digital marketing relevant to my business?
  • Would Facebook be relevant for my products and services or should I start with LinkedIn?
  • Will I be able to reach out to my target audience with the help of Digital Marketing?

Most small business owners are confused whether digital marketing would work for their business or not.

We are doing business in times when the audience is constantly glued to the Internet, especially, social media channels. You can easily find any type of information online.

This trend poses a huge opportunity for businesses to reach out to their audience, quickly and effectively.

In the days of traditional media, businesses used to (and until now) have a very vague idea of the type of audience they were targeting.

Television and print do not provide an accurate picture of the campaign reach.

A traditional media planning agency gives a rough idea of the impressions your brand would get. With offline advertising, you need a huge amount of minimum budget to do any kind of advertising.

You need to keep pumping in money, but measuring the results accurately is next to impossible.

With the advent and growth of digital channels, things have changed dramatically. You now have multiple advertising platforms and each of them tells you the exact number of impressions and clicks you will receive from an online advertisement.

The digital advertising of today lets you figure out the exact number of people you will reach by investing X amount of money in a campaign.

That’s not all, you can start with very little investment and of course, there is no upper limit.

Digital provides you with an option to choose from a variety of platforms.

Before we look at some of the key digital marketing channels and whether they are relevant for your business or not, let’s understand the core audience types:

Who is My Target Audience?

You need to define the target audience on two levels. One is the basic level at which you need to define their age, location, profession, and interests etc.

The next level puts your audience into three categories – actual consumer, the payer and the influencer.

Let’s take two examples to understand these three categories. Now suppose you own a fast food joint like McDonald’s and you are primarily targeting nuclear families with kids. In this case, the kids are the key influencers and their parents are the ones who are the payers while the whole family is the consumer.

Now let’s take another example. Suppose you are selling diabetes medicines and your primary target audience is those who are suffering from the disease typically aged 45 plus and mostly much older.

In this case too, although older people are consuming your medicines they are not usually buying the medicines themselves. It is their son or daughter or caretaker who buys the medicines for them. The influencer, in this case, could be a doctor.

What you can understand from the above examples is that you could target these three types of audiences – the consumers, the influencers and the payers.

If a digital media platform allows you to reach one or more of these audience types, it is a potential medium for your organization.

Now let’s look at some of the key platforms and understand whether they will be relevant to your business.

How Relevant is Facebook?

The advertising interface of Facebook is very easy and you can start running your ad campaign very quickly.

You can know whether your target audience is there on Facebook or not even before you start running your campaign.

It’s a very simple process:

You can start by choosing a campaign type. It would be primarily based on your campaign goals.

Facebook Marketing Objectives

Let’s look at some of the options you have:

Facebook lets you run a variety of campaigns to help you get:

  1. Audience engagement on posts
  2. Brand awareness
  3. Traffic and conversions to your website
  4. More installations of your app

And more – as shown in the screenshot above

The next step is to choose an audience. The platform lets you choose the location, gender, profession, interests, and behavior of your target audience. Facebook’s advertising interface lets you figure out how many people you can possibly reach with your campaigns.

The platform provides you with detailed targeting options. It allows you to target people with specific behaviors like ‘early technology adoption’ and ‘frequent travelers’.

So, if you run an airline business and you wish to target frequent travelers in Mumbai, the Facebook advertising platform will tell you the exact number of people you can reach with your targeting.

Let’s take another example:

Facebook Target Audience

You have a fashion store in Greater Kailash, Delhi and you wish to target men in the age group of 20-45 in New Delhi. Take a look at the image below:

Facebook shows that you can reach 440,000 men in the chosen age bracket and within 3 km radius of the chosen location.

Do you think advertising on Facebook can help your business?

You simply need to open the Facebook ad interface and find out whether your audience is there on the platform or not. All you to have is a free Facebook account and a business page.

Can Search (SEO & SEM) be Helpful?

Did you know?

“Google processes a whopping 3.5 billion searches every day.”  [source: Internet Live Stats]

The search engine provides its users the ability to search for any information, business or services and get the right answer in less than a second.

As a business owner, you can figure out whether online searchers are looking for products and services in your industry.

Once you know that there is an audience for your product/service you can reach out to them through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing). 

Search Engine Optimization helps you to optimize your website content with some of the popular search queries on Google. SEO is an organic way to help your site rank on search results and reach out to your audience. You will need to stay updated on regular SEO Updates to stay on the top of Google search results.

Search Engine Marketing, on the other hand, allows you to run ads on specific key phrases relevant to your industry. Once you do that, your site will show up on top of the search results in the featured listings. This would help you to start getting instant clicks and conversions on your website.

Take a look at the screen-shot below to understand the difference between organic and paid search results on Google:

But, how would you find that out? Here are two simple steps:

  1. Create an AdWords account by adding any minimum daily budget (it could be as low as $1)
  2. Once you have created an account, you will have access to the keyword planner tool where you can find the average monthly searches of relevant keywords in the specified location as shown below.
  3. You can keep seeing the accurate average monthly searches in your account as long as you are running your ad campaign.

You can use the keyword planner tool even without having a Google AdWords account but in that case, the tool would not give you the exact number of monthly searches. Without an AdWords account, you will only be able to see the search figure as a range and this may not solve your purpose.

So this is a simple way, to figure out whether Google is a platform to promote your business or not.

Once you know that you can reach out to your audience on Google you can promote your business in the following two ways.

  1. Optimizing your website for search queries and helping it to rank on the first page of Google (SEO)
  2. Running paid campaigns on Google AdWords to show up in the search results (SEM)

Take a look at the Google AdWords ad interface:

The platform allows you to run ads on specific online search terms that are within your budget.

With Google AdWords, you can choose to run your campaign for as long as you like and improve its performance on the go. You can target multiple keywords and change these while running your campaign.

You can get your ads to appear on top of the Google search page and start getting the desired clicks and conversions. The Google AdWords interface gives you the opportunity to target people in a specific location, speaking particular languages and using specific devices.

While you plan your campaign you know approximately how much you will be paying for each click or conversion you are going to receive.

It also allows you to optimize your campaign and improve the results you are getting from it.  You can start off by running paid campaigns on Google AdWords to start getting leads and conversions quickly.

But in the long run, you would also need to create an SEO strategy to start getting organic rankings for your site. You can do this by creating quality content around some of the popular searches in your industry and building quality backlinks for your website. This approach will help you to build thought leadership and a loyal audience that follows and shares your content. A long-term SEO strategy will help you to get consistent leads and conversions for your business.

Google AdWords campaigns can give you insights about the keywords, which you should target for SEO.

Do you think SEO and SEM can help your business?

You can simply create an account on Google AdWords and analyze the search terms in your industry to figure that out.

Would LinkedIn be Helpful to my Business?

Are you running a B2B business?

The good news for you is that LinkedIn is a vibrant platform for some serious professional networking and you can leverage it to promote your business. It is a 500 million plus strong community and growing!

LinkedIn is an amazing platform to build a brand and get conversions for your B2B business. Actually, LinkedIn is valuable for a lot of B2C categories as well today.

The platform provides an extremely simple ad interface. It provides you with very detailed targeting options so you can reach out to your specific audience.

You can start your advertising campaign on LinkedIn by availing this free Rs 2500 ad credits. The platform gives you the option to pay for clicks or pay for impressions.

Take a look at some of the choices you have got:

The section shown in the image above can help you find out whether LinkedIn is the right platform for your business or not.

LinkedIn allows you to target people with specific skills from predefined industries.

All you need is a LinkedIn account and a business page to understand if it’s the right place to promote your business.

Would YouTube be a Good Fit?

Video ads are an effective way to get your audience to engage with your brand. The YouTube advertising platform helps you to target your audience on the basis of their location, demographics, interests, and devices.

Do you think YouTube advertising can work for you?

It is easy to find out. You just need a free YouTube account and a channel. Once you start creating your ad and see if your audience is there or not.  

The platform will give you the estimated number of people you can reach out to with your campaign.

While running ads on YouTube, you have the option of paying per video view while you can set a weekly budget for your campaign.

You will typically be charged $0.10 – $0.30 for each video view.

You can use Google AdWords to set up your YouTube campaign and get detailed reporting and analytics as well. The platform allows you to optimize your campaigns and improve the outcomes.

Here are some of the types of ads you can run on YouTube:

  1. Video Discovery Ads
  2. In-Stream Ads

Video discovery ads are those that are shown as videos to YouTube searchers.

In-stream ads are shown within the videos that the viewers are watching.

Here are some of the key metrics that you can track with YouTube ads:

  1. Partial views
  2. Completed views
  3. Clicks
  4. Channel subscriptions from the ad
  5. Views from users sharing the content

YouTube provides you with a great opportunity to reach out to your target audience and showcase the USP of your business.

Another way to check if a channel such as YouTube is relevant or not is by searching for keywords related to your product and service. Observe the Ads, which are shown, and consumption of relevant videos. If you see multiple advertisers or a high volume of consumption (i.e. no of views) of the videos, you will know that YouTube is relevant to target your audience.

Apply the same principle to check the validity of other content marketing channels such as SlideShare or Quora.

Can Remarketing add Value to my Business?

Remarketing is an advertising technique that helps you to target those people who have shown interest in your business.

Recently I was searching for a professional microphone on Amazon. I did not buy the microphone but for the next few days, I could see the ad for the same microphone from Amazon in my inbox, in my Facebook newsfeed and on the sites I was visiting.

Has this happened to you?

This is exactly how remarketing works. It can help you to reach out to people who are interested in buying your products and services.

You can create customized messages and discount offers for those who are aware of your business.

Remarketing helps you to catch your prospects when they are at the bottom of the buying funnel and actually convert.

It’s very easy to run a remarketing campaign on some of these popular platforms:

  1. Google
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Instagram
  5. YouTube
  6. LinkedIn

Remarketing helps you to target people who visited a particular page or pages of your site.

Do you think remarketing campaigns can be helpful for your business?

If you have a large number of daily visitors on your website, then running a remarketing campaign will surely help your business.  You can create a free Google Analytics account to find out more about the number and type of visitors you are getting on your site. It will help you to know whether remarketing is the right option for your business or not.

Which Digital Marketing platform will help my Business?

While kicking off your digital marketing efforts you need to know whether a particular platform is suitable for your business or not. Start with these simple questions:

  1. Is your target audience (influencers, consumers, payers) there on the platform?
  2. Are your competitors promoting their business using the platform?
  3. What are the results (engagement, views, subscribers, followers) your competitors are getting from that specific platform?

If answer(s) to the above questions is a yes then you can start using the platform to promote your business.  In the beginning, you can start with one platform and then as your budget grows you can expand.  If you have a good amount of traffic on your site, then you can use remarketing on a platform that’s relevant to your business.

You can always start with a few campaigns on a preferred platform and analyze the results before trying something different.

Conclusion

Digital marketing provides you with the means to communicate directly with your audience while getting them to convert.

The channel allows you start with a very small budget and scale up as you go. With digital marketing, you can run and manage campaigns quickly and track their results in real time.

Whatever be your business type, you can analyze whether a platform will work for your business or not.

Moreover, you can get measurable and live results for each of your campaigns. Besides that, you can choose from different platforms to suit your business and audience requirements.

So, what are you waiting for?

You can start promoting your business with digital marketing right away!

Would you like me to add any other important channel or an alternative approach to identify a channel? I would love to learn from your experience. Please share your inputs/questions in the comments section.

Originally published in YourStory

[CEO, Digital Vidya] Among the pioneers of Digital Marketing, Pradeep has been part of the Internet Industry since 2000. He has been a serial entrepreneur for last 17 years and is currently a Co-founder & CEO of Digital Vidya, a leading Digital Marketing, and Big Data & Data Analytics training company. A graduate of IIT Delhi and a recipient of Adobe Content100, Pradeep is one of the most sought-after international speakers in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
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