In business, you can’t really rely on the luck of the draw. Having your finger on your audience’s pulse will help you know what they’re looking for and equip you to deliver.
The best way to do this is through utilizing growth channels, the most important of which are SEM, SEO, social and display ads, and content marketing. A lot of these channels use popular platforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
This is my fifth week of learning growth marketing at CXL Institute and this week we’ll be looking at the major growth channels that exists in details and how to identify the best one for your business.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Major Growth Channels.
Being able to identify growth channels and know which ones are working and which aren’t is a function of growth. Basically, we will be exploring 4 different growth channels which are:
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) also known as Pay per click (PPC): here we explore google and Microsoft Bing ads. It is also known as Paid search and it’s a growth channel with lots of potential and you should look into exploring it.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): according to a research, 2 trillion searches are made on google annually and most websites gets their visitors from search engines. This is why SEO — the process of optimizing your website’s as relevant enough to be ranked by search engines is really important for growth.
Social and Display Ads: social ads are ads that run on social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest while display ads are those banner ads we see on banners on websites. Almost every adult has a social media account, so this is a very promising channel for growth.
Content Marketing: this is connecting to new audiences through writing blogs and forums.
Later in this review, we will be digging deep into some of these channels to see ow we can use them for our business growth.
How to Identify and Measure growth channels?
As a business, it is not necessary to use all the channels there is. It is important you know where your customers are and what they are doing to avoid spending time and resources on the wrong channel.
It’s important to know, again, your customers, your audience, where they’re at, what they’re reading, what they’re doing, online, offline as well, and understand what websites they’re looking at, and to look into those websites to see what those social media channels or those other channels that those websites are advertising on. That’s a quick hack for you to figure out.
This is why research is super important. A pro-tip is to look at what other giants in your industry are doing and get insights from them. So, you look for channels they are not using, because competing with them is going to cost you more, so using Reddit for example is a small space you can thrive on. Always look at your reporting, your performance reporting and see what it is costing you to be on some channels, then you should start seeking opportunities to do better.
- Study your audience
- Choose your channel
- Test it out
- Measure the results
Social Media Marketing
It is important to have a coherent social media strategy for your business. Social is where the customers are, but you don’t want to go meet them unprepared. Look at your brand, understand your audience and where they reside online, then develop your messaging strategy on how to communicate with them.
Social media is a great channel that allows you to be creative, jump on trends, create viral trends and basically seize the moments. Always remember to have your users at the centre of your social strategy. To do this, you have to test the following to see what works for them on social:
- Test the timing of the post: post at different times to see which time resonates best with your audience.
- Test the content: there are different types of content articles, gifs, videos, images. Test to see which one your audience love the most.
- Test the call-to-action(CTA).
- Test the length of URL: some users are inclined to long URLs, so you test this to be sure.
- Test your offer: By testing your offer, you are trying to find out what offers your user prefers, could be discounts, pdf downloads or free tutorials.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The objective of SEO is to capture potential users and retain existing ones that are asking questions on search engine. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve your rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in search engines.
There are different Key performance indicators to show that your SEO efforts are doing well and they include, increase in traffic to website, increase number of backlinks, reduction in bounce rate. This can be summarized into awareness, engagement and conversion.
SEO can be divided into two phases: off-page and on-page SEO. Off-page SEO are those tactics you implement outside your website while on-page SEO are the ones you do on your website.
Keyword research is the first and one of the most important steps in doing SEO, because it is what forms the foundation and roadmap for your contents. Keyword research is the process of finding what users are searching for online upfront and optimizing your contents and website for those words so when they search, your website will show up on search engines as one with the most relevant answer to searcher’s question. To do this, you assess your competitors, lookout for high search volume terms using keyword tools such as google keyword planner and prioritize your content.
After researching your keywords and identifying content gaps, the next step is to start creating the content either blogposts, articles or, social media posts.
Link building is the process of getting external websites to link to yours. The links you get from these websites are called backlinks. Link building is an important part of SEO because google uses backlinks to:
- Crawl websites
- Determine websites domain authority and rank them on search engine result pages (SERP)
In Link building, it is best to focus on quality over quantity, because getting backlinks from websites with high domain authority also improves your own domain authority.
So far, we’ve looked at Keyword research and Link building which are off-page SEO tactics, now we’ll be looking at On-page SEO.
On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing the html code and physical content of the website and these are your page titles, meta descriptions, URLs, keyword optimization, headings, and the image alt-text.
- For the page title, ensure that you have your targeted keyword on that page, name of your company on that page title.
- For your meta description, make sure it is natural enough to make a searcher want to click. If done well, it could improve your click-through rate, which then improves your SEO rating.
- Another structure for on-page is the URL. This includes how you put your keywords in the URL string and to make sure that you have that targeted keyword in that URL string.
- Headings are used to section your webpage content. In html, there are 6 heading tags H1 to H6. You want to optimize your heading tags such that there is only one H1 tag on a page. Other H2s and H3s, you can have multiple and that would be okay. Just make sure that you are optimizing for the keywords on that page and in your headings.
- For the image alt-text, the best practice is to ensure that you also place your descriptive keywords inside the alt-text.
Search Engine Marketing(SEM)/Pay Per click
Pay per click involves competitors placing their ads on SERPs leveraging competitive keywords for higher clickthrough rate. The goal for a good PPC campaign is high clickthrough rate, low cost per click, low cost per lead and higher conversion rate. One of the best ways to achieve this is to nail your keyword game and also ensure consistency in your ad copies and landing page/website copy.
Content marketing is that channel that ties all the others together, because without content, you won’t be able to share any content on any of the other channels.
Content marketing usually doesn’t give an immediate return on investment. It is a long term thing that enables you to become an influencer in your industry, help your audience to find you, and make them feel connected to you.
These channels we have seen are all useful depending on the business type, however, we’re expected to try them out and experiment with them to know which one works and which doesn’t.