Selecting Communication Channels

Many businesses struggle with selecting communication channels that are right for them.

Strategic Marketing Plan | How to Grow Your Small Business

What’s the best way for your business to communicate to its audience?

With extremely diverse advertising all around us the options are endless. It can be a large project when it comes to selecting your communication channels. When you find advertisers to use, it can be hard to really know which one is the best for your target market. With large numbers of reach and exposure, it can be tempting to choose an advertiser that “makes sense” and has a competitive price. Properly selecting the communication channels your business uses to promote itself is a high value task that needs to be done carefully.

What are communication channels?

 

Communication Channels
The methods a business uses to convey its message to the world.

Examples of communication channels:

  • Social Media Platforms

  • Newspaper

  • Face to Face

  • Face to Face

  • Emails

  • Lawn Signs

  • Radio

  • Newsletters

  • Google Ads

  • Text Message

The list goes on and on….

Why should I take the time to evaluate my business’s communication channels?

Don’t just pick the first channel that feels right or costs the least for your business. Most people think the step of selecting communication channels for their business is not that important. That is why most of us skip this step and just choose the cheapest option with the best sales pitch. The businesses that take their time in their strategic marketing plan and carefully evaluate their advertising options are the ones that end up with higher return on investment (ROI) on their ads. Make sure your time and money is spent using the right tools to convey your message.

It’s all about ROI. You work hard for your money. Don’t settle for channels that are easy or familiar without knowing if they are the best option. By taking your time and researching into the best method to reach your target market you maximize your ROI of advertising.

It doesn’t matter how great your advertisement is if you selected the wrong channel to communicate it. Don’t assume your gut feelings are always right. Qualify each channel you select and make sure it is right for your business. Without proper research, you could be missing the boat with your advertising strategy and your competition could get a leg up on you.

How do you determine what communication channels are right for your business?

First and foremost, if you have not completed the first four steps of your Strategic Marketing Plan, do that first.

Read this article to learn how**

Once you have defined your USP, Target Market, Character Profile, and Message, you are ready to select the best Communication Channels.

There are 4 steps to properly selecting your businesses communication channels: 1. Select 2. Research 3. Rank 4. Evaluate Resources.

Select Potential Channels

The first step in the process is to select potential communication channels that feel like a good fit for your business. Select however many channels are “potentially” a good fit and write them down. Just know that you will have to research and rate each selection in later steps.

Here is a list of communication channels out there that you may want to consider. This list is only to give you some ideas, there are many other channels out there.

Published / Print Physical Social Media Digital Media Other Media:
Newspapers Events Facebook Posts/ads Email Ads Radio
Magazines Trade shows Twitter Posts/ads Websites Television
Journals Face-to-face Sales call YouTube Posts/ads Blogs
Yard Signs Cold Calls Instagram Posts/ads Newsletters
Brochures Pinterest Posts/ads Mobile App
Direct Mail LinkedIn Posts/ads Text Message Marketing
Billboards SnapChat Posts/ads Google Advertising
Podcasts
Strategic Marketing Plan - The Positioning Stage Infographic

Research:

Once you have a list of potential communication channels, it is time to do your homework. Start researching important information for each channel so that you can position yourself to rank them. Get creative with how you research and write down your findings. Before you research, set a goal for specific information you would like to obtain:

  • Target Market Reach – who the communication channel reaches.

  • Demographic reach
  • Psychographic reach
  • Geographic reach
  • Etc.
  • Monetary Cost – the amount of money it costs your organization to use that specific channel.

  • Time Cost – the amount of time it takes your organization to use that specific channel.

  • Skill Level Required – the skill level required to properly utilize that channel.

Start your research on the internet. You will be able to find helpful content from business owners like yourself who have already gone out and tried these particular channels. With blogs, youtube, and podcasts you can find helpful information, and possibly even a list of the best communication channels for your type of business. Always make sure you fact check suggestions online and look for quantitative data.

Most communication channels run by advertising agencies have done the statistical evaluation for you. Advertisers like Facebook or your local radio company will have large amounts of quantitative information for your reference.

Ranking:

Phase three is where you rank your selected communication channels. Ranking is important because it will allow you to determine where your resources will be designated. Communication channels are not made equally; some will provide more value to your business than others.

Rank each channel with the following scores:
  • Target Market Focus – Each Communication Channel needs to be somewhat focused on your target market. There are varying levels of how focused certain channels can be. The more focused it is to your target market, the greater the ROI. You won’t waste time and money with people who don’t need what your selling if you find channels that are highly focused on your target market.

  • The easiest way to rank this in on a scale of 1-10.

  • 1 not focused on your target market at all.

  • 10 very focused on your target market.

  • Monetary Cost – The amount of money needed to spend on communication channels is always a concern; unfortunately, often times this is the only measure business owners will consider. It’s obvious that the cheaper options are more attractive, but we must make sure to take all measures into account to determine true ROI.

  • The best way to measure this is to assign a dollar amount to a specific goal or time frame (ie: $100/month, $50/1k person reach, etc.)

  • Time Cost – Oftentimes, time-cost can be an underlying expense to your company that is more detrimental than the surface costs. Make sure to do your homework and have a good understanding of how much time a certain communication channel may require.

  • The best way to rank is with time/time measure (hrs/week, hrs/month)

  • Skill level required – Always do your research into the amount of skill required to properly communicate in each channel. Many bosses and owners are slow to realize that there can be detrimental effects on their company image if they did not possess the resources skilled enough to properly communicate in their communication channels.  

  • The easiest way is to rank on a scale of 1-10.

  • 1 being complex to use – requiring a lot of skill and expertise.

  • 10 being easy to use – hardly requiring any skill to use well.

Evaluate Resources:

Once you have ranked all your communication channels, now is the time to evaluate your resources. Evaluating your resources is important to do before you build your sales funnel. It allows you to take a realistic check at what is feasible in the short term. Your business will save time and money in the long run if you make sure you can implement the strategy you are creating.

Create a list of the resources you already have at your disposal. These resources can include:

  • Employees

  • A Monetary budget

  • Potential products or services to assist you.

At this point you are ready to start selecting your communication channels as you build your sales funnel. Based on the ranking you gave your channels and the resources you have available, you will now be able to decide what communication channels fit together in an effective way. Keep in mind that your strategic marketing plan should be uniquely catered to your business and all your communication channels should support each other.

Article written by Jacob Hirschman

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