Why it’s a hard no from us on crowdsourcing what marketing channel is right for your business!

As a small business owner, you may have found yourself asking your fellow business owners, family and friends, “what is the best marketing channel?” It’s a common question that often leads to a flood of responses from well-meaning peers, friends and loved ones. However, relying on crowd-sourced answers for such an important decision is, quite often, incredibly detrimental for your business. In this blog, we’ll discuss why you should not crowdsource the best marketing channel, and the factors to consider, when making this choice for your unique business. 

The first thing to understand is that there is NO one-size-fits-all answer to this question … sorry, no silver bullet, no shortcut, no magic formula, none of that.

What works for one business may not work for another, even if they are operating in the exact same industry. Many factors go into deciding what channels are right for a brand, such as the target audience and where they hang out, the product, the budget, what other channels are being used, and how all factors integrate and affect the user journey.

So … let’s take a closer look at some of these factors. The target audience is crucial to consider when choosing a marketing channel (ground-breaking I know). You need to deeply understand your audience and the types of media they consume and how they consume it. For example, if your target audience is young adults, you may want to focus on social media channels like Instagram or TikTokin either paid ads or via Influencer marketing. This is because there is a ton of data that supports the number of people in this age bracket using these channels and Influencers playing a role in their buying decisions. It’s all about answering, where can I best MEET my target audience. They should not have to go looking for you.

Next, what are you selling? The product or service that you provide (better than everyone else 😉) is key in deciding which channel to best promote it on. If you are selling a product that relies heavily on aesthetics or visual looks, like clothing or home decor, you would want to focus more on the channels where aesthetics reign supreme, such as Instagram or Pinterest. Products that may contain cool features, may need a short-video medium to best demonstrate those features, perhaps on Tik Tok or Reels (FB or Insta) or even YouTube. If you are selling a service, like consulting or coaching or even a trade, you may want to focus on channels that allow you to better state your track record and credibility, such as Facebook or Email (how did you come to see this blog?).

Money. No, not how much you’re making, but how much can you afford to spend on marketing? Your available budget is going to play a huge role in the selection of your channels. Some channels, like television advertising, can be incredibly expensive, ranging from a couple THOUSAND to even MILLIONS for a 15-30 second ad (depending on TV network and time of day). While other marketing channels, such as email marketing, can be relatively inexpensive, and accessible to all. It is important to consider how much money you can allocate to your marketing, which channels will give you the most bang for your buck, and which would leave you short on cash flow.

What channels are you using NOW? How do your current customers reach you? The channels that are ingrained in your business is another important factor to consider when selecting marketing channels. It is essential that your customers KNOW where to find you, they must know where they can best reach and interact with you, and where you update your brand’s happenings most regularly. So, if you’re already using social media, email marketing, and paid search advertising for example, you’ll want to make sure the new channel you’re considering integrates into that overall strategy as well to ensure you have a consistent brand message across all the chosen channels.

Oh, and if you are going to move to a completely new platform, make sure to let your audience know via your well-established channels. It can be as easy as posting on Facebook, “Hey guys, follow our new Tik Tok page for more exciting news and regular updates”, (however as previously mentioned, make sure you’re choosing a channel your target audience already uses … meet them!).

Following on from the previous point, how a marketing channel integrates into your user journey is crucial. It’s essential to consider how the channel will affect every step of your customer’s journey, from initial awareness all the way to final purchase. If you’re currently using social media to create awareness, you may want to supplement this message, by perhaps retargeting the same users with display advertising or email marketing to bring them closer to finally taking action (purchasing!!).

So why should you avoid crowd-sourcing the best marketing channel? Well, the problem with crowd-sourcing any answer is that it’s death by a thousand cuts. You’ll receive a flood of responses from “experts”, each with their own biases and experiences, which could lead you down a path that is completely wrong for YOUR business – even if it worked for them.

The truth is, like everything else in business, making any progress takes more work. There is no easy answer. It’s a decision that requires you to take the time to carefully consider the many different factors we mentioned here. Instead of relying on crowd-sourced answers, it will always be best to do your own research and testing, to select the channels that will work best for your own business.