There are lots of places to reach new and old customers:
But what’s the best channel strategy to use for each one?
In this article, I’ll show you:
You can skip ahead to any section:
Channel marketing is finding where your audience hangs out and marketing to them on those “channels.” A channel is a method of communication between you and your customers. This can be social media, email, PPC ads, or any other method to reach your audience.
You might do some market research, and find Instagram ads are a good way to find people who are potentially interested in your products. You would then use Instagram to grow your audience and have more people to market to.
You might also find using SMS marketing is effective for selling your products to customers who have purchased from you recently, or sending biweekly promotional emails to your email list improves your sales.
This is all channel marketing.
Think of your sales as a pond, and different marketing channels as little streams of water that lead to your pond. Some of these streams might be wide and carry lots of water to your pond, and some might be narrow and provide a little extra water.
Here’s a visual representation of what I mean — the lines vary in width, because they have different levels of impact on your sales.
All these streams, large and small, make up your pond. And they add up.
That’s channel marketing in a nutshell.
Now, I’ll show you six channel marketing strategies you can use. After that, I’ll show you how you can find the best channels for your business.
A survey of 3,100 consumers in the US, UK, Germany, and France found 72% of consumers use Amazon for their online product research, and 85% use Google.[*]
The same survey mentions consumers are likely to visit the following sites for product ideas and information:
My point is there are many places customers can discover your products online.
The more ecommerce platforms you’re on, the more likely you are to be found by shoppers.
List your products on all these platforms. Each platform is a channel you can use to get more customers.
Here’s what this looks like in action.
When I search for “bamboo cutting board” on Amazon, this product by Utopia Kitchen comes up.
If I run the same search on Google Shopping, I can also see the product:
A search for “bamboo cutting board” on eBay still shows Utopia Kitchen:
See what I’m talking about? Customers have different habits. Some might check Amazon, some might check Google, and some might check eBay.
If you make yourself more discoverable across the web, you’ll increase your chances of getting new customers. You can do this organically, or with pay-per-click ads.
Here’s what your game plan should be:
A tool that’s useful for getting your products listed on these platforms is Shopping Feed.[*]
It automatically posts your products on thousands of different ecommerce platforms, including Google, Amazon, and eBay. It’s one of the tools we recommended in our ecommerce marketing tools article.
There are companies and individuals out there that share your audience.
You can find them and offer to collaborate with them in some way that will benefit you both. This allows you to tap into your partner’s audience, and give them value in return. Win-win.
A great example of this is working with influencers.
One Sumo customer (EHPlabs), which runs a supplement brand, partnered up with influencers who produce fitness- and health-related content.
See how the audience overlaps?
Social media influencers that produce fitness-related content will have an audience that is likely interested in fitness supplements. The company produced a video series with fitness influencers, and they promoted their supplements in this content.
This is great for the brand, because:
This is also great for the influencer for a similar reason — they get exposed to a brand-new audience that they can gain as followers.
Here’s what one of their videos with an influencer looked like:[*]
People who are interested in this influencer would want to watch this video, giving EHPlabs a chance to impress the viewer and get them interested in your brand.
You can do the same. Find a potential partner whose audience overlaps with yours, and come up with a way that benefits for you both. Some offers you can make influencers include:
The goal is getting your partner’s audience interested in your brand. You might not directly make a sale, but you can get a new lead you can later market to.
Chief Sumo Noah Kagan has used viral giveaways to grow his email list by 52,919 subscribers over the past few years.
Our sister company, AppSumo grew its email list by 200,000 subscribers when it first started. This is how it started to grow into an eight-figure company (see Tip #2).
You can do the same for your business.
The idea behind viral giveaways is this:
Viral giveaways are a great way to grow your email list because it entices users to share your contest. That’s powerful.
This is easily doable with KingSumo — we built this awesome viral giveaway tool for this purpose.
Here are some strategies to promote your giveaway:
Here’s an example of a sponsored Facebook post promoting a viral giveaway:
To learn more about how to use viral marketing as a channel, read our guide on viral giveaways.
Everyone does email marketing.
Very few do it right.
There are a few reasons email marketing is a great channel:
So, what do you need to start doing good email marketing for your business?
You'll use the same approach as you did with the other channels — test new things, find what’s effective, and focus on what works.
Here’s what an amazing email looks like:
This email is great because:
Here’s another great example by Forever 21. Their subject is “Voted BEST of the Best,” which arouses a reader's curiosity.
The email body features a banner linking to Forever 21’s best sellers section.
The rest of the email shows best-selling products for women, plus-size women, men, and girls — making the email relevant to all of Forever 21’s audiences.
This email is great because:
Send emails and track what results in the most sales for your business.
People who have already shown an interest in your products are more likely to buy from you. Retargeting is when you reach these people again to get them to take the action you wanted them to take in the first place.
Amazon does this by showing you ads on Facebook for the products you’ve viewed but didn’t purchase:
You can do the same with your ecommerce store, using Facebook or Google.
Here’s another example. I got this ad on my Facebook feed after visiting NatureBox’s website:
It’s a great way to remind me of their product — they’re offering me a free box, so I can test their snacks and maybe become a customer. Effective retargeting right there.
Instagram has grown to become one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world today. It has approximately 1 billion monthly active users.[*]
This marketing channel involves two steps:
People are on Instagram to have a good time. Generally, people aren’t expecting to be sold to on Instagram.
For example, if you’re selling handmade chairs on your ecommerce store, your core audience might be people wanting to renovate their home, and you might consider sharing some content related to general home improvement rather than just sharing pictures of chairs.
Rocky Mountain Decals, a decal and wallpaper company, is a great example. They show entire rooms that are well-designed instead of just showing off their decals or wallpapers. They get a ton of likes on these posts.
Again, your focus is to provide content people want. And that means a good time for the majority of Instagram users, though look around you and see how your audience uses Instagram.
You obviously want to sell your products or get people to subscribe to your email list every once in a while, but your main goal is to keep people entertained.
Here’s a post from IKEA’s Instagram account — their pictures are eye candy and fun to browse, which aligns with why people use Instagram. In the post's description, they’re also promoting a sale.
To learn more about how to use Instagram as a channel to generate leads for your business, check out our guide to Instagram marketing.
We’ve covered six channels that are great for marketing your products, but there are many, many more channels out there to get more customers and sales.
Every channel can lead people back to your business.
However, there’s a caveat. More isn’t necessarily better. I’ve said this a lot in this article, and I’m saying it again: focus on what works.
Test every channel. Find what works best. Try everything. But don’t keep doing something that isn’t worth the return — make sure you're not spending more than you're making with your channels.
Always look for new trends to reach your customers.
Understand your audience better by answering questions like:
This helps you understand better how to reach your audience and cater to their needs.
The best way to do this is by asking your customers these questions.
To find new marketing channels, consider sending this email to your customers:
Hey <CUSTOMER’S NAME>,
Thanks for being a loyal customer to <YOUR BRAND>.
Your business means a lot to me — I mean it. You’re what keeps <BRAND NAME> going every day. I appreciate you.
Now, I have three very simple questions I’d love for you to answer, and your response would really make my day.
1) What are some online platforms you frequent about <YOUR NICHE>?
2) What is your #1 expectation from <YOUR PRODUCT>?
3) How did you initially find out about <YOUR BRAND>?
You’re one of our customers, and your answer to these questions will literally set the course for <YOUR BRAND>’s marketing in the next quarter.
Really looking forward to your replies. :)
Have a wonderful day,
This email is very personable, and I can almost guarantee you it will get a good number of replies.
Groove, a SaaS company sent out a similar email, and got amazing results. This is what their inbox looked like after sending out the email:
The email template I shared has three vital questions to determine the next channel to focus on:
Having a steady stream of customers from multiple channels makes your business more sustainable in the long term.
Want a spreadsheet to make tracking the effectiveness of different marketing channels easier? Click the button below.