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How to choose the right marketing channel to connect with customers

Every channel where customers interact with your brand counts. That’s why it’s important you understand what channels to use and when to use them.
Marketer choosing different marketing channels to use.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, marketers must connect with their customers effectively. The right marketing channels can help you build a stronger relationship with your target audience, run more targeted marketing campaigns, and develop a more effective overall cross-channel marketing strategy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover how to understand your target audience, evaluate different marketing channels, and maintain a consistent brand experience across all channels.

Understanding your target audience

It’s important to understand your target audience before selecting appropriate marketing channels. By understanding their preferences, habits, and pain points, you can create effective and personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience. There are several ways to gather data and learn more about your customers:

  1. Preference centers: Use preference centers to give your customers control over the content they receive from you and, in the process, collect valuable data. Invite subscribers to manage their preferences, such as the frequency of emails, topics of interest, and communication channels. This not only enhances their experience but also equips you with actionable insights into their preferences.
  2. Dotdigital pages and forms: Create pages and forms that help collect data from your customers. For instance, build sign-up forms that request basic demographic information, such as age, gender, and location.
  3. Surveys: Send surveys to your existing customers to collect additional information about their preferences and habits. 
  4. Customer feedback: Actively encourage customers to provide feedback and share testimonials about their experiences with your brand. This can offer significant insights into what resonates with them and what doesn’t. 

Types of marketing channels

After gaining a solid understanding of your target audience, it’s time to explore the various marketing channels you can implement in your strategy. Each channel offers unique benefits making it essential to select those that best align with your audience’s preferences and your overall marketing goals.

Email marketing

Connecting with customers through email marketing has numerous advantages, and it’s no wonder that it remains a favorite communication channel for many. Customers appreciate the ability to stay up-to-date with brand updates while maintaining control over their inboxes. 

They enjoy the freedom to decide when to check their email, choose their subscriptions, and unsubscribe when they wish. Over recent years we’ve seen new subscribe rates plateau while unsubscribe rates have increased significantly by nearly 8%. This can be attributed to various factors, but a primary reason is fatigue.

Customers tend to become disengaged when brands consistently send sales-focused content that lacks personalization. To keep subscribers engaged, it’s essential to utilize dynamic content that tailors messages to their preferences. This encourages click-throughs, exploration of your website, and ultimately, conversions and sales. When implementing email marketing as part of your strategy, several aspects should be considered:

  1. Segmentation: Use customer data to create segments based on demographics, preferences, and behaviors. By segmenting your audience, you can deliver customized content, making your email campaigns more relevant and engaging.
  2. Testing and optimization: Regularly test different elements of your email campaigns, such as subject lines, content, and design, to optimize performance. Utilize A/B testing to compare results and fine-tune your email strategy based on data-driven insights.
  3. Analytics and reporting: Monitor and analyze key email marketing metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Identify trends and areas for improvement to inform future strategies and continuously enhance your email marketing efforts.
  4. Deliverability: Maintain high email deliverability rates by following best practices, such as maintaining a clean email list, avoiding spam triggers, and using a reputable email service provider. High deliverability ensures your messages reach your audience’s inbox, increasing the chances of engagement and conversions.
  5. Subscriber retention: Focus not only on attracting new subscribers but also on retaining current ones. Monitor your unsubscribe rates and proactively address any issues. Offer valuable content, ensure easy subscription management, and respect your audience’s preferences to reduce the likelihood of unsubscribes.

SMS marketing

We’ve seen unprecedented growth in SMS marketing. The number of SMS marketing messages sent over the past year has increased by 160%, with click-through rates increasing by over 300%. This means there is more of an appetite for SMS than ever before.

But how do we get it right?

SMS can be considered a fairly intrusive marketing channel. Notifications and messages pop up on readers’ screens with every send. This means you could be interrupting them in the middle of a meeting, in a movie theater, or while they’re driving.

Therefore, it’s vital that you only use the channel when you have something to say.

Appointment confirmations, reminders, and flash sales are great use cases for this marketing channel. Recipients want immediate and actionable info, right in the palm of their hands. Messages about seasonal sales like Black Friday and early access for loyal customers will help you drive more sales than email alone. When incorporating SMS into your marketing strategy, consider these aspects:

  1. Message relevance: Ensure that the content of your SMS messages is highly relevant to your audience. Share valuable information, promotions, or indispensable reminders your customers will appreciate.
  2. Brevity and clarity: SMS messages have a character limit, so it’s essential to craft concise and impactful messages. Keep your texts clear and straightforward, making it easy for recipients to understand the intended message and take action if required.
  3. Timing and frequency: Be mindful of the timing and frequency of your SMS messages. Too many messages can lead to customer irritation, while poor timing often results in messages being overlooked. Tailor your SMS schedule to suit your audience’s preferences and the nature of the content you’re sharing.
  4. Personalization: Personalize your SMS messages using customer data for a more relevant and engaging experience. Addressing recipients by name or tailoring offers based on their past purchases can significantly increase engagement and conversion rates.

Social media marketing

It has been reported that approximately 4.95 billion individuals all over the world use social media. This indicates that social media marketing can be a tool for marketers to enhance brand visibility, connect with their audience, and create leads.

To kick-start your social media marketing strategy, it’s important to first focus on platform selection. It’s recommended that you choose the most suitable platforms as per your target audience’s interests and the type of content that you plan to share. This will help ensure that your brand’s presence is in line with your audience’s online activity, which increases the chances of engagement and conversion. Here are some essential elements to consider when developing an effective social media marketing plan:

  1. Mix up your content: Implement a variety of content types, such as text, images, videos, and polls, to cater to varying audience preferences and pique their interest. This diversity not only keeps your audience engaged but also makes your brand more memorable in their minds.
  2. Schedule and frequency: Plan your content schedule to strike a balance between regular updates without overwhelming your audience. Consistent posting helps maintain your brand presence while over-posting can lead to audience fatigue.
  3. Build community: Foster a sense of community by promptly responding to comments, direct messages, and mentions, showing your commitment to your audience and making them feel valued. Encourage user-generated content to showcase your brand advocates and increase credibility among potential customers.
  4. Hashtags and engagement techniques: Utilize relevant hashtags and engagement techniques such as contests, giveaways, and partnerships to widen your reach and attract new followers. These methods increase visibility and incentivize interaction with your brand.

Live chat

The demand for live chat has skyrocketed in recent years. We live in a ‘need-it-now’ generation. Any roadblocks that appear on a prospect’s path to conversion could lead to complete derailment. They could not only abandon the process but abandon your brand entirely if you fail to offer a resolution at the moment.

Primarily used by customer service teams, live chat is a marketing channel that has finally forced marketing teams to stop working in silos. Customer service is important for the customer’s user experience (UX). If you want to create a customer journey that inspires loyalty, making customer services as accessible as possible is essential.

One way or another, customers want to engage in two-way conversations with brands. By adding chat to your cross-channel marketing kit, you’ll be able to anticipate customer needs. What’s more, having real people managing this aspect of the customer relationship can even help you grow your marketing lists. When incorporating live chat into your marketing strategy, consider these aspects:

  1. Ease of access: Make sure your live chat feature is easy to find on your website or app. Users expect it to be in the bottom right corner of the webpage, so place it there if you can.
  2. Responsiveness: Respond to customer inquiries quickly and efficiently. This is one of the best benefits of live chat, so use it to maintain customer trust.
  3. Proactive support: Initiate chats with customers based on specific triggers, such as browsing behavior, time spent on a page, or shopping cart abandonment. Address any potential issues before they become problems to create a positive customer experience and improve conversions.
  4. Data collection and analysis: Gather data from live chat interactions to analyze customer behavior, preferences, and pain points. Use this information to optimize your marketing efforts and improve your support team’s performance.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a strategy that involves creating and disseminating valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract, engage, and retain your target audience. This can be achieved by providing content that addresses their needs and preferences, which can increase your brand’s credibility and foster customer loyalty. When implementing content marketing, there are several tactics that you can use:

  1. Blogging: Create informative blog posts with engaging SEO content. This will help you to gain visibility, showcase your expertise, and become recognized as a thought leader in your industry.
  2. E-books and whitepapers: Offer in-depth, long-form content such as e-books and whitepapers to explore complex topics related to your industry. This will help you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, as well as provide valuable insights to your audience.
  3. Video content: Create visually engaging and easily digestible video content like TikTok and Instagram Reels to deliver information to your audience. This will increase the shareability and overall reach of your content.
  4. Webinars: Host engaging webinars that delve into relevant topics within your industry. This will allow your audience to participate in real-time discussions, ask questions, and gain valuable insights. This approach will establish your brand’s authority and keep your audience engaged.

Wrapping it up

So, there you have it. To create a winning marketing strategy, the key is to get to know your target audience – their likes, habits, and what makes them tick. That’s when you can dive into using different marketing channels with confidence to connect with your audience in a way that truly speaks to them.

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