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Help Choosing the right marketing and sales channels

How will you take your product or service and introduce it to your highly-targeted prospective consumers in a way that creates demand, grows brand awareness, and increases your revenue? Yes, there is fun to be had in creating marketing campaigns that capture your audience's attention. But the main focus lies in strategizing how to take that content, pique interest in your targeted consumer, and ultimately, sell your product. This is where channels, specifically marketing and sales channels, play a significant factor. So let's dive in on what sets these two apart and how to choose channels that suit you best.

Marketing and sales channels

Sales channels vs. marketing channels

The terms' sales channels' and 'marketing channels' get thrown around quite often, but what do they mean and what sets them apart?

  • Sales channel: This can be best described as the method through which you sell your product— a point of sale in a brick-and-mortar location, affiliate sales, or online through your website are all examples.
  • Marketing channel: Whereas a sales channel meets consumer demand, a marketing channel creates it. Marketing channels are different avenues of communicating with your audience (for ex: social media, email marketing, word-of-mouth).

Traditional marketing channels vs. digital channels

Think of traditional marketing channels as doing things the old school way, before the creation of the internet. This entails anything from billboards to telemarketing and personal selling, to television, to print advertising, to radio — to name a few. In contrast, digital can be thought of as anything that requires the internet: social media, websites, phone apps, search engines, emails… the list goes on and on.

Example of traditional vs. digital marketing channels

  • Traditional channels: You place an advertisement in magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, and HGTV Magazine, air a commercial during day-time TV, and broadcast advertisements on the radio during school hours.
  • Digital channels: You target advertisement placement on websites and blogs aimed at home improvement and cater to consumers who follow and interact with home improvement and interior design accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok.

The question then becomes, how do you know whether to choose traditional or digital marketing? By analyzing your data (on your buyer persona and targeted audience), you can identify and select the marketing channels best suited for you. After all, if your highly targeted audience consists of college students, attempting to target them through traditional channels might not yield as much traction as digital channels would. Remember, a marketing channel allows you to communicate with your potential buyers, so it needs careful thought and analysis based on your data and who you are trying to reach.

Determining the best fit for your marketing mix

Determining exactly which marketing channels to use can be daunting, especially since there are so many to consider. But that should not cause any fear or concern. It comes down to knowing who you are trying to reach. As stated in the example earlier, one channel might have more pull than another type might, depending on who your prospect consumer is. By utilizing your data, you can create a marketing mix that caters to them in a way that yields positive results. As you begin to study your ideal clientele and start to determine which channels will be the most appropriate tools in your sales strategy, keep the following questions in the forefront:

  • Is this specific marketing channel tailored to reach my target audience?
  • Does using this channel keep me within my budget?
  • Am I able to efficiently communicate with my potential consumers in a way that creates brand awareness and demand?
  • Can I use it alongside other channels so that I am consistent in my message?
  • And most importantly: will it be effective?

But what makes a marketing channel effective? How will you know that your marketing mix is providing the best outcome? Consider the following:

  • Brand awareness: How has this shift?
  • Generating leads and sales: Have you gained more leads? An increase in sales?
  • Customer education: How equipped are your customers with the tools and knowledge necessary to utilize your product or service?
  • Traffic: On a digital scale, how many people engage and interact with your message? On a traditional scale, is word getting around that places your product in a positive light?

Choosing the best sales channels

Remember, provide access to your product or service for consumers. Put: it's how you meet the demand of your marketing outreach. Before we elaborate on strategies for identifying the best sales channels, first consider the importance of the "multichannel sales strategy." While it might sound like a fancy term, it's just a strategy that provides multiple ways for your consumer to engage with and purchase your product. Sure, you can quickly sell your product from one particular website, but you might arguably benefit more from having channels in place. So how do you choose the best sales channels?

When it comes to selling your product or service, the internet can initially feel overwhelming. There are so many potential avenues to take to bring your product to your target audience. But not all will be winners, and that's why it remains essential to determine what is best suited for you and your business. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:

  • Business model: Who produces your products? Do you sell wholesale?
  • Cash flow and revenue cycle: What forms of payments do you accept? What are the fees for the channels you are considering? Can your budget cover the cost of paying out commissions?
  • Know your audience: Where does your target audience shop? Online in a marketplace? Local boutique store? Who will be most likely to buy your product?
  • Know your brand: Is your product a luxury? Does it appeal to the masses or specific buyers? Is it a limited/exclusive item, or can it be bought by anyone, anywhere?
  • Know your product: Is it one-of-a-kind? Who benefits from your product? Who can buy your products?

As you ask yourself these questions, analyze the pros and cons of each channel and see what will cater to your needs best.

3 Common sales channel mistakes

The broader your product's outreach is, the more opportunity to generate more demand and sales. But as you begin comparing and contrasting the various sales channels, it remains equally important to be aware of potential mistakes that can unwind your hard work.

  1. Brushing off how time-consuming manual entry is: With multiple channels put to use, it becomes a priority to be up-to-date on data across all points. This is information that cannot be inaccurately reported, so it does become time-consuming. Please don't fail to consider this and prepare for it. Consider a service that automates this data entry for you so that you can focus your time on what matters.
  2. Not creating unique content for each channel: Don't use the same content for every platform. Each platform has a different feel and audience, so cater it to the forum and focus on outputting quality over quantity.
  3. Failing to pick the proper channels: Don't just pick every track. Take the time to understand your target audience and which channels would benefit your sales strategy the most. Remember, it's quality over quantity. It does not matter if you're on multiple channels, but it does matter which ones you are on and what results from you are yielding.

Bottom line

Choosing the proper marketing and sales channels is not an arduous task, but it demands your utmost attention. Remember, a marketing channel creates demand; a sales channel feeds that demand. And while you might be tempted to pick each channel, know that the success of a channel depends on how your target audience receives it. And keep in mind quality over quantity. Knowing who your prospect consumer is what sets you up for success.