Selecting Channels for SMME’s to Reach Customers

There are more ways than ever before available to SMMEs to reach their desired consumers. However, with so many different options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You want to make sure you spend your time and money on the most impactful channels and tactics. But, without knowledge of what will work best, it’s easy to let fear stop you from starting.

Here’s some good news though – selecting marketing channels doesn’t have to be rocket science.

You might hear a lot of hype about technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and chat bots, but unless you’re a skilled marketer or at a large company, those types of tactics are likely out of your reach. That’s okay though, because you don’t need all the latest widgets to succeed.

What’s important isn’t focusing on every new channel. It’s focusing on the right channels to maximise the growth of your business.

Here is a basic list of channels for consideration, including traditional and digital channels:

  • Publications/print advertising – newspapers, magazines, journals
  • Radio and television
  • Billboards (static and digital)
  • Sales collateral
  • Events
  • Trade shows
  • Incentive programs
  • Direct mail
  • Sales calls/face-to-face
  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn
  • Email marketing
  • Newsletters
  • Mobile
  • Search advertising (SEM)
  • Webinars

If that’s enough to make your head spin, you’re not alone. But it illustrates how many mediums, formats, and channels exist, all competing for attention. Fortunately, you don’t need to pay attention to every channel. In fact, trying to do so will almost certainly result in failure. It’s better to master a few, than to spread yourself too thin.

When asking Marketing Research companies to name the most effective channel for reaching their target customers, 79% of marketers said content marketing (by way of organic traffic) was most effective. Coming in a distant second was a tie between email marketing and social media marketing at 44%. Rounding out the top three was paid search at 37%.

Figure 1: (source – databox)

 

 

How to select a marketing channel

When selecting a marketing channel, five elements need to be taken into consideration to ensure a good match for your business:

  1. The number of customer personalities or the size of the market you are targeting.
  2. Investment required by the marketing channel – these will include an analysis of the different associated costs such as absolute value cost, cost per customer, fixed and variable costs and the profitability each channel option brings to the table.
  3. Whether the product is standard, in which case the same version will appeal across customer personalities and can be sold through an external channel or a non-standardised product which needs to be tailored to the customer needs and for which the company needs to have direct contact with the customer.
  4. Amount of control required over the marketing channel – the marketing channel can be characterised by open communication and free-flow of information or, if there is a possibility of competition from the partner channel, then a much more closed relationship.
  5. It is also important to consider how long a healthy relationship will take to be established with the marketing channel as well as the length of the relationship – factors which contribute to the flexibility of the channel.

Once you have defined which channels to reach your customers, you can start planning how to roll them out. For an intuitive way to choose channels to reach your customers have a look at our Online Strategy Creator. RLActive helps SMMEs create reliable strategies to build their business. Contact us to find out more about our strategy creator at www.rlactive.com

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