I recently posted about how we can grow our business by choosing different and better marketing channels.
The crux of the approach is to think carefully about your marketing channels in relation to what you have used and what other people use in your industry – and then add different marketing channels to your mix.
This was based on ideas from Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, in their book Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth.
They introduced the “Bullseye Model”:
To improve your marketing:
- Identify all the possible marketing channels that you could use
- Test the most promising marketing channels
- Optimise and scale the marketing channels that worked best
The Bullseye model is solid. But there are some things we can focus on to get even better results.
These are listed below.
1. Explore More Marketing Channels
The list of 19 “traction channels” provided by Weinberg and Mares is a good starting point.
But there are also other viable channels.
For solopreneurs and small business owners, who are starting out, a big one to put on the list is is Networking.
- Live networking at live networking events
- Social networking, on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter
There may also be new channels emerging as a result of new technologies, innovations, or entrepreneurship.
There may be other channels specific to your industry or locale.
If you think you can add good new channels to the mix – add them in!
Brainstorm all the marketing channels you can think of while you are working on the “outer ring” of the Bullseye.
Dig deep and get very specific …
Think about each of the 19 “traction channels” as categories of marketing channels, not as the final marketing channels themselves.
For example, if you pick the traction channel of “Existing Platforms,” then there are many existing platforms you could use – like Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, iTunes, Appstore, Instagram, Slideshare, Twitter, and so on … you could probably name dozens of them.
If you pick the traction channel of Offline Ads, you have everything from billboards to fliers in mail boxes to streaming a message from a zeppelin to radio ads to TV ads – and more.
So go deep into brainstorming channel ideas within each of the categories.
And don’t stop just one level in.
If you choose “Existing Platforms,” for example, and you are looking at Facebook – don’t stop there. Ask: “how can I use the Facebook platform as a traction channel?”
You might identify multiple strategies or ways to use the Facebook platform, like:
- Facebook groups
- Facebook pages
- Posting on the Facebook timeline
- Social networking on Facebook
- Facebook lives
- Facebook events
- Facebook advertising
- Facebook apps (like quizzes)
- Use the Facebook API to develop a custom interface
Each of the above stems from particular features of the Facebook platform. And I’m sure this list does not exhaust the possibilities.
The strategies I listed overlap with the other traction channels.
This is OK. The point here is not so much to create a precise taxonomy (definition) of all the possible channels, but to help you brainstorm original and useful channels that might help you grow your business.
These channel categories are starting points for channel ideas. But don’t stay at the surface – dig deep into each channel category to discover multiple possible channel possibilities.
This is time for your creativity and lateral thinking to shine, as you come up with new ideas and possibilities.
Brainstorm the possibilities …
Be creative and list as many channels and channel strategies as you can.
If you think of networking, are there different places that you could network, like while on plane flights, or at high-end events?
If you think of offline advertising, think about what other people aren’t – like remnant media ad buys.
Be creative as you look for ideas in each of the traction channels – and beyond.
2. Connect Your Marketing Channels To Your Marketing Funnel
We often think of marketing and sales activity in terms of a sequence or “funnel” of steps, illustrated in the sequence below:
Contact is where people come across you for the first time. For example this might be when they do a Google search and your page comes up, they meet you at a networking event and find you interesting, or they go to a live event and hear you speaking on stage.
Connect is when people decide to hear more from you. This can be, for example,
- Opting in for email updates,
- Connecting with you on social media like Facebook or LinkedIn, or
- Registering (opting in) for a webinar you were advertising on Facebook.
Engage is when you provide valued content to the people who are connected with you, and deepen the relationship.
Enrol is when you make appropriate and relevant offers, and people accept – they become customers.
With this frame in mind, not all of the “marketing channels” are the same.
When we are considering marketing channels, we need to have a mix of channels that covers off all four stages – starting with Attraction.
To elaborate for a moment, consider the following four marketing channels:
- Email marketing,
- Viral marketing,
- Two different “community” channels: A “closed” group on Facebook built around a topic of shared interest, and a “closed group you created in a Facebook group, made up of clients who have all brought a product or service from you.
These channels are all different, when we consider the stages of marketing and sales activity.
Email marketing does not bring any new people into your orbit – unless you ask them to refer a friend, or send link or invitation to a friend. And if that’s the case, it’s viral marketing.
Email marketing is really focused around the Engage and Enrol phases of the marketing and sales process.
Viral marketing, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. It is primarily about getting new people to see your content or product and then connect, as a result of being referred by a trusted friend. It is true that if people forward a link to an inexpensive product with a sales page then it can lead directly to enrollment. But by and large, viral marketing is focused on the Contact and Connect phases.
If you have a “closed” Facebook group, say a Facebook group around a healthy lifestyle, relationships, or growing a business, you can create an engaged community. But Facebook also recommends your group to other people on Facebook who it thinks might be a good fit for the group, and those people can then apply to join the group. A closed Facebook group therefore covers off Contact and Connect phases as well. And, while you continue to add value in the community, you can also announce offers or product launches or other activities that lead to sales – the Enrol stage.
If you create a Facebook group that is only open to people who have enrolled in a program or bought a product or service from you, this can be very effective for Engage activity. It can also set up Enrol activity for a next level of service offering. But since the group is specifically restricted to people who are already buyers, it does not bring new people into your world.
All four of these stages of the marketing and sales process are important,
But if you want traction, you need Contact. You have to find a channel for Contact that “fills the funnel” with the right people.
And that’s worth doing some experimentation to achieve.
3. Find And Develop Related “Clusters” Of Marketing Channels
If we look at a long list of 19 (or more) marketing channels categories, it’s tempting to think of them individually, one at a time.
In real life though, several of these channels “cluster” together.
- Targeting blogs, content marketing, SEO, existing platforms, and email marketing all tend to hang together and reinforce each other
- Speaking, live events, community building, business development (JV partnerships), and exhibiting at trade shows also tend to reinforce each other
If you are going to create a presentation for speaking, then it’s not that big a jump to
- Speaking to an audience at a trade show at which you also exhibit
- Delivering a webinar, teleseminar, or interview to JV partners’ audiences
- Putting on a live event where you are the speaker and the host.
If you are already writing content for content marketing, it’s not a big jump to
- Generating SEO traffic
- Targeting blogs with guest posts
- Collecting email addresses from opt-in boxes from the blog, and doing email marketing
Think about your marketing channels in terms of a set of related, mutually reinforcing, activities.
Then come back to the stages of the marketing and sales activity, and make sure you’ve got them all covered off as well.
Put It To Work For Your Business
If you can add something else to your marketing mix that works great, and your competitors haven’t thought of yet, you’ve just given yourself a big advantage.
You can take this in other directions as well. For example, thinking about your marketing channels in relation to the current level of market maturity can be interesting.
Nothing will work until you apply it. Put aside a couple of hours, and apply this!
I am passionate about activating human potential – helping make the world a better place.
I work with smart, creative leaders – transformation leaders such as coaches and consultants, thought leaders such as speakers and authors, and change agents and difference-makers – to help them make a bigger difference through their work.
I focus on the areas of strategy, alignment, and full-expression – turning your ideas and expertise into messages that cut through and programs, services or products that make a difference.
I do what I can to improve the thinking and tools we have available in our industry and in the world.
You can learn more about me from my home page www.lauchlanmackinnon.com
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