Many people wonder what the best online marketing channels are for 2017. Before we go over top internet marketing channels, it’s worth taking a look at what the marketing space has evolved into, from its early traditional marketing predecessors.
The internet has changed the game into how people buy, find and research products. This change in consumer behavior has changed the way marketers find or attract customers.
Due to the rapid evolution of the internet, technology, apps, etc, it results in a constant change in internet marketing as well.
Because of this rapid change in how consumers consume, it has caused a sharp decline in the effectiveness of traditional advertising and marketing.
- Print ads: People don’t buy magazines and newspapers as much, print advertising has decreased.
- Commercials: People fast forward through TV commercials, so commercials have lost the reach they used to have.
- Radio: We also use things like Pandora and Spotify instead of the radio, so traditional radio advertising has also declined in its reach.
The point is countless marketing practices used to work that don’t anymore. This is because consumer habits are changing. This has also given rise to the newer inbound marketing methodologies that we see today’s businesses implement.
Even online marketing channels fade
Even in the digital space, as technology evolves and gets adopted, certain online marketing techniques fade.
For example, due to the increased use of ad blockers, paid advertising in the online space has lost its effectiveness. Ad blocker browser extensions is a newer technology that has changed the landscape completely as people continue to adopt these technologies.
Choose the best online marketing channel for your company
Companies need to either adapt or fail. Its as simple as that. They need to choose the right online marketing channels and shy away from the traditional advertising that doesn’t work.
I see many companies will place a block on their content, saying you need to turn off your ad blocker to see the content.
This is a huge mistake in my opinion. This is them resisting a disruptive technology in the marketing space. Throughout history, time and time again, those that resist and fight against disruptive technologies fail.
There aren’t too many exceptions to this.
You must adapt to the changing environment and the changing behaviors of the consumers. There is no way around it.
Adapt or fail.
Being found in multiple online marketing channels
There are many internet marketing channels that online marketers can focus on. In Internet Marketing, there are many digital marketing channels, with different forms of digital media.
Online marketing channels List
- Search Engines
- Social Media
- Etc (See the full list in the Google Docs sheet below)
List of online marketing channels source
Some marketers focus on one internet marketing channel; some focus on multiple channels. It also depends on the size of the organization.
If there is a huge organization with a lot of resources, they will likely have many employees focused on many online marketing channels. They will also use data to be precise in their expenditure on each digital marketing channel based on its ROI.
However, if it is a small business or a one man show, they may only focus on one digital marketing channel or a handful.
An Internet marketing channel can be defined as where people spend their time online. So Facebook could be an internet marketing channel, in the social media space. Google could be an online marketing channel in the search space. And so on.
Three types of Online Marketing Channels
There are literally hundreds of digital media channels in online marketing that you could focus on. Because of the vast amount of places that people spend their time online.
However, the most mainstream and popular online marketing channels to focus on would be Google Search and other popular social media networks (such as Facebook, Instagram, etc., ).
Because there are so many online marketing channels, it can be somewhat overwhelming.
If you are new, where do you start? Which channel(s) should you focus on? Should you focus on one channel or multiple?
To simplify it, we can categorize all channels by three types of media:
Owned Digital media channels
An owned digital media channel is where you own your channel. This would include your website and email list.
An owned digital media channel is often highly valued, as this is real estate or assets that you own. A highly engaged audience through your organic website traffic and an email list can be extremely valuable for a business.
Though organic search is not technically an owned digital media channel, you own your website and can control every aspect of how you interact with your audience. Email may be one of the most truly owned digital media channels in existence and is thus very sought after in the online marketing world.
If you have a ton of Facebook likes on your page, this is not something you own and control. Facebook can and does change their algorithms how they please so that your message might not get in front of your audience, even though they may have already liked your page.
It is important to actually own your channel and to use other forms of channels to bring them into your owned digital media channel.
Paid Digital media channels
Paid media is a big part of many organization’s internet marketing channel focus. Paid media channels are where you need to pay to get in front of customers eyeballs. The following are some examples of paid digital media channels.
- Google AdWords
- Banner ads
- Pinterest ads
- Facebook ads
Earned Digital media channels
Earned digital media channels would be things like organic search, social media, industry influence, PR, etc. This would go under the concept of inbound marketing the most, out of any other type of marketing channel because that is the basis of inbound marketing; to earn the attention of your audience.
When you put out high quality, in-depth, entertaining content; etc. – whatever adds value, customers will seek you out, instead of the other way around.
This is earning your audience and is typically the favored form of marketing in the digital age
So which online marketing channel is right for your business?
There is no one answer for this, as every company will differ.
The best way to initially choose which online marketing channels is right for your business is to do your market research.
Questions to ask:
- Who is your target market?
- Where do they spend time online?
- What are their spending habits?
- How will they search for products you offer?
- What does their buying route look like? How would they get to finally make a purchase decision?
Once you have done the market research for your target market, you can begin to brainstorm which digital media channels (paid, earned, owned) and which online marketing channels within those media channels you will target.
There are several pros and cons to each digital media channel.
- Paid: requires a capital investment
- Earned & Owned: Takes time
The mix of online marketing channels you use for your business will change depending on your organization’s size, goals and target market.
Measuring your success with different online marketing channels
Online Marketing is all about using market research and your best judgment to pick out an initial plan for which internet marketing channels your business will implement.
Then its about measuring your success and seeing how much ROI each channel bring to your business. You do this by using Analytics software (like Google Analytics). This allows you to calculate conversion rate, average order value, revenue per customer, customer lifetime value, etc.
Then, you can pivot your strategy based on your findings. If you find that one online marketing channel creates a very high ROI, you might invest more time or money into that channel to get more bang for your marketing buck.
In its most simplistic form, that’s really all there is to it. It’s just a matter of implementing the technical hurdles of getting all the tracking set up for your business. The effort is well worth it, though, as you will find out which online marketing channels are right for your business.