Marketing Channels Enables Traction
According to the authors of the book called “Traction,” Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares divides all marketing or ‘traction’ channels into 19 distinctive groups, which means that all channels fall into one of each category, whether online or offline.
Acknowledging these 19 marketing channels helps us diversify our marketing strategy and helps us achieve further growth for any business regardless of current revenues or business models.
If you want to understand the traction channels more in-depth, here’s a sponsored link to Amazon to get the book.
The point is not to use all of the channels, as it is not merely possible to do all of them profitably. The resources needed to achieve results from all channels properly would be vast.
And not every marketing channel available is suitable for every business outright.
It takes a lot of trial and error through testing to see which marketing channel combinations are the best for different businesses.
And not every channel will be profitable and lucrative all the time, even if you would find the perfect ones that work today.
Meaning the more we understand the underlying workings of these marketing channels and the basics of how these channels work, we get an understanding of where to invest in testing to find the right track for our current goals and needs.
Marketing Channels List
- Social and Display Ads
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Offline Advertising
- Email Marketing
- Viral Marketing (Word Of Mouth)
- Targeting Blogs and Influencers
- Business Development (Strategic partnerships)
- Product Development
- Traditional PR
- Unconventional PR
- Existing Platforms
- Trade Shows
- Community Building
- Offline events
- Speaking engagements
Now let’s explain every marketing channel available and go through examples of how they can benefit businesses looking to achieve growth.
But first, let’s look at how offline and online channels are coming closer to each other.
Offline vs. Online Channels And Their Future Development
While some channels could be more offline than others, nowadays, in the end, all the channels do have some elements of online activity in them.
What we mean is that offline channels utilize online channels as well, according to their primary purpose.
For example, if we look at offline events or trade shows.
By definition, they are offline, but they use online registration, forums, other forms of online engagement to further the effectiveness of a channel to be relevant. And these minor channels are a place for growth for companies as well.
And while TV is also an offline thing, companies using these ads are using these ads as an online medium.
Using the same-ish call-to-actions, and landing pages to build a more cohesive digital campaign overall.
So a hard distinction between online and offline is becoming harder and harder.
But that means that the level of opportunity for companies is higher.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand all of the possible channels when creating any campaign type, no matter the goals, to create an efficient digital marketing strategy.
Social and Display Ads
As a marketing channel, social and display ads are a powerful way to find growth for a business, especially in goal-driven marketing.
What makes social ads unique? It’s the way social media platforms target their users with exciting ads. All ads on social media are interested based.
Social platforms utilize vast user data to the benefit of advertisers to connect with target audiences and new audiences.
Through most social ad platforms and display ads, you can use remarketing to your advantage to target users who have shown previous interests to your business through a visit on your website or failed progressions in a sales funnel.
The platforms have specialized retargeting tags for this task.
For example, on Facebook, having the pixel installed on your website enables you to collect valuable data for later use for advertising.
There also many social media platforms to choose from for advertising.
Here’s a couple of them, and from the links you read more of their benefits.
With SEO or search engine optimization, you rank your websites and landing pages higher on search engines (Google, Bing, or even YouTube).
SEO itself is a combination of on and off-page optimization techniques. When done correctly helps you reach more people from the search engines as organic traffic to your website.
As a marketing channel SEO, nowadays is one of the most essential to have in your overall marketing strategy than can benefit even the most local companies out there.
For example, gaining local traction to your local business through an optimized Google My Business account makes sure your customers see you everywhere vital to you.
Gaining organic traffic is slow, that in mind, it’s also slow to lose it. Meaning a successful SEO campaign can have long-term success in gaining traction. And SEO has one of the best ROI’s due to this fact.
Every business model online or offline should have its search engine visibility optimized for the best results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing (SEM); on the other hand, you pay for exposure on these search engines.
Through SEM, you can make sure that your customers see your websites on Google, Bing, or other available alternatives.
Comparing SEM to social ads, the critical difference is targeting: In SEM, you pay to show your ads by search intent. And targeting for SEM campaigns happens through the use of keywords that people use to find relevant content on the search engines.
Ads on Google, for example, can be very targeted to precise user intent. Companies can use these SEM campaigns in many forms and for different purposes.
You can target people with the highest buying intent, or any other part of your sales funnel.
When combined with SEO, SEM campaigns are cost-effective. As one helps the other to achieve more results.
Content marketing uses unique content created with various platform specifications in mind to promote business products and services while increasing brand awareness.
At it’s best, content marketing can elevate a brand to new heights and acts as the base for the rest of a marketing strategy.
All marketing channels will need unique content, whether that’s videos, blog posts, or ads.
Even if you wouldn’t use content itself to gain the most traction, through a business blog, for example, having a content strategy that matches target audiences’ needs, can help you better succeed with other marketing channels.
As content marketing utilizes most marketing channels in this list, having a proper content distribution strategy to fall back to is crucial.
An example of content marketing is the article you’re reading now.
Affiliate marketing is the process of having a third-party (like an individual, publisher, or another business) promote your services and products.
These third-parties also called, affiliates, will get rewarded every time an action happens through their network.
For example, the affiliate networks use the affiliate link that sends traffic to your landing page, and if a sale occurred, the affiliate would get paid in commissions.
As a marketing channel, affiliate marketing is performance-based, which means you would only pay for results.
Affiliate marketing is a profoundly effective way to gain and scale traction, revenues, and profitability if you have the right influencers and publishers willing to work with you.
Offline advertising consists of the most traditional advertising methods, such as TV, radio, and billboards. In the U.S, it’s projected that TV and Video advertising alone will reach 140,07 billion dollars in the year 2020.
More and more of the offline advertising channels are becoming further online, enabling precise tracking of performance.
In offline advertising, in most cases, you will pay for the estimation of impressions, instead of real impressions like in social or display advertising.
Even offline advertising marketing channels can use conversion tracking when used correctly in certain types of campaigns.
For example, using hashtag campaigns or specific easy-to-remember domain names for landing pages, that on where there would be the online tracking of conversion.
To conclude, offline ads generally are a must for reaching specific demographics more effectively, and it offers a broader opportunity for brand building.
But it does come at an increased cost compared to online counterparts, making it a more challenging marketing channel for companies with less to spend.
You can consider email marketing and its components as an owned marketing channel like SEO for websites, where you don’t need to pay to access the customers and users in your email lists.
As long as you’ve collected the users in your lists legitimately and the users in it want to be there, an email marketing channel can be significant for companies.
Emails work great for re-engaging and retargeting campaigns, where you potentially know what the users in email lists would enjoy. For example, using online store data of sales creates interest-based groups for a more targeted approach for emails.
Most companies will have to use email as a business tool, but to use it effectively as a marketing channel is where companies have a harder time.
But getting email marketing to work can boost a company’s bottom line more efficiently if done correctly.
Viral Marketing (Word Of Mouth)
Viral marketing as a channel means your ability to grow your business and the marketing efforts through your customer’s power of referring others to your business.
Referral and word of mouth are a significant growth marketing tool if you can utilize them properly within a marketing strategy.
As people trust their closest ones to them and a referral from someone you know, will increase a conversion’s likeliness.
Ensuring that your products and services have elements that enable an easy way for these referrals to take place is how you can take more advantage of viral marketing.
For example, sometimes, just asking for your customers’ referrals can lead you to find growth in that channel.
Also, influencers and social media have opportunities you can use for viral marketing as a marketing channel.
Influencer Marketing Or Targeting Blogs
Influencers and their role as marketing channels have grown more as more influencer types have become available for different sized companies.
Today, in every industry or niche, there are prominent influencers and upcoming influencers who might have smaller following today, but might still offer growth opportunities for companies tomorrow.
Therefore, companies choose from a wide range of influencers to work with, and most will find a set of influencers that match their target audiences.
Or companies might use influencers with a huge following to gain brand awareness at scale.
With influencer marketing, you can combine it very easily with other marketing channels as well. Or using guest blogs on well-known online publications to advance your SEO.
For example, affiliate marketing combined with influencers is powerful as you’re creating more incentives to work with your business.
Business Development (Strategic partnerships)
The goal of business development as a marketing channel is to implement new growth opportunities within your business and find strategic partnerships to seek further growth.
Business development by itself can look inward to find ways of optimizing the business models that the company is utilizing today.
But mainly, it’s the newly formed relationships built among businesses where you potentially find the most growth.
For example, teaming up publishers for brand awareness or teaming up with related businesses to find scale opportunities.
The key here is to have business development closely tied with marketing strategies and develop both with the same goals.
Product development is crucial for having profitable marketing campaigns. As developing products through web analytics, you make sure products are the most optimized for your customers and the target group they present.
But as a marketing channel, product development is the use of products for marketing and advertising.
Think of a product that could exist in tandem to bring customers to your main product without cannibalizing sales from the main product.
For example, you could create free tools for SEO to boost your main SEO software or agency revenues.
In creating products for marketing, it’s essential to keep the target audiences in mind and remember campaigns’ end goals.
Public relations or just pr, as a marketing channel, its main focus is to get the most recognition and publicity from the press.
Nowadays, PR channels might include blogs, tv, newspaper, press publications.
We can put PR into two categories: into organic PR and active PR.
With organic public relations, a company would gain and amass traction by solely existing and growing their business, and eventually getting noticed. This strategy is slow, and in most cases, the likelihood of getting any press is low.
So public relations in marketing is active, in which companies pursue public relations channels to get their word out, for example, with the use of PR specialists or on their own.
The unconventional marketing is the same as using extreme measures to gain publicity and traction, usually fast.
You can call this also as publicity stunts or guerilla marketing. The key is to use the element of surprise for promotion and campaigns.
A good unconventional PR campaign can boost companies to reach if they are successful inexpensively.
Your goal is to reach as many people as fast as possible instead of gaining traction through increased frequency, which is the most common method in the other marketing channels.
For example, we used a sculpture of an exhibition that we dragged it around the city to collect as many mentions from the media (traditional and social), to grow an artist’s recognitions as further as possible.
Using the platforms, you already exist in and optimizing your visibility on them could work beautifully as a marketing channel for your company.
For example, optimizing your presence on the app stores would be essential for growth and extra awareness for an app.
Or if you’re selling products on amazon, then optimizing for its search engine through Amazon SEO would also be essential.
Or even for artists and bands looking to grow, say in Spotify, there’s a way of optimizing visibility.
Most companies have platforms where they exist (sometimes by default), and optimizing all platforms’ visibility is possible. Of course, not all platforms might be as visible or impactful as something like Amazon.
But even local platforms exist, you need to discover them and use them to your advantage.
Depending on the industry, trade shows might be essential for growing traction and revenues.
While trade shows as a marketing channel might not be worth it in other industries because of the upfront costs or the audiences might not match with your perfect customer type.
But trade shows offer the placements of industry specialists, industry-leading companies, press, and influencers to whom to connect with, and the shows can provide new ways of gaining brand awareness among your peers.
You need to decide or test if such a medium is suitable for you as a business.
A big and engaging community is where it’s at, and through a large community, a business can find new avenues of growth, utilizing its community members.
The hard part of using community building as a marketing channel is building the community itself around your company’s product, services, or even culture.
Community building takes time, effort, and investment, but can offer significant ROI in the long-term.
Whether its repeat purchases, increasing word of mouth or beta-testing your products before launch.
When done correctly, a community will consist of your most engaged customers, and their input is an irreplaceable resource.
In a nutshell, this channel could include sales teams, improving sales funnels as a whole, or utilizing customer support for sales.
For different types of businesses, the sales channels will look very different, as we tend to sell various products and services that require diverse customer steps.
Improving these steps of sales and customer acquisition is an opportunity for many companies to find growth.
For example, improving and optimizing a sales team’s procedure of handling leads to conversions or improving customer satisfaction to lower churn rates overall.
Compared to trade shows, these offline events would usually be much smaller gatherings for more specific niches or needs.
But of course, there are larger purposeful events and conferences that you could include in the offline events.
You can think about the local meetups that happen around your industry near you, for example.
Before attending any offline events as a marketing channel, you need to think about what you want to achieve from them. Attending events without goals will most likely do anything for any company’s bottom line, awareness, or traction.
But they might help find specific types of customers, or partnerships if that fits your marketing goals.
Same as above, in speaking engagements, which happens in events, tradeshows, and whatnot. The same thought applies.
If you’re using speaking engagements as a marketing channel, it’s crucial to have the proper goals and figure if the audiences match yours.
While speaking engagements can bring more brand awareness to the business, and its founders, if the audiences won’t match, it won’t impact your bottom line as much as time spent with customers.
But if the audiences do align with yours, then speaking engagements can function as a powerful and intimate way of advertising to your core audience.
These were the 19 traction channels that companies of any age or size should use to grow their businesses.
If you know the channels you can work with, you can test different marketing campaign combinations effectively.
The goal here is to find what channels and which campaigns work best for your business. The core is to test whether the results are on par what you want to achieve.
And using data to move forward with fast decisions and not forgetting optimizing every part of campaigns to be the very best they could be.
And you need to make sure that business and product development are closer to the marketing teams.
Remember that marketing is more than advertising. Check and learn our article on 7P’s of the online marketing mix.