As a small business or nonprofit, it’s important to think about your marketing channels in terms of what you can and can’t control. Sure, there are degrees of control to any marketing channel, but some are better than others when it comes to marketing small businesses and nonprofits.
The bottom line: Any time you’re using someone else’s platform or technology for something, you don’t have full control. That doesn’t mean don’t use those channels, but rather be aware of why using a combination of channels is important. Remember that saying about not putting all your eggs in one basket? If you rely solely on one marketing channel and then something happens with that channel, you might be in trouble. But if you’re using a mix of channels with an overarching strategy, you’re in much better shape if something happens to one of them.
In the fall of 2021, there was a Facebook outage that took down Facebook and Instagram for most of a day. While some people hardly noticed, it had a significant impact on many businesses and resulted in lost revenue. It was a prime example of the fact that businesses really don’t control their social media accounts. The same is true when accounts get locked or shut down for supposedly violating community guidelines. Even outside of those more extreme examples, the social media platforms ultimately control who sees your content and when due to the algorithms behind each platform.
With email marketing, you have a little bit more control over when your message makes it to your audience, but you still don’t have full control. Your email might get blocked by a corporate spam filter or end up in the junk folder rather than in the recipient’s inbox. Outages can happen with email platforms, too. Still, it’s good to have email marketing as part of the mix because it’s a way to keep your name in front of your target audience.
It’s easy to think you have complete control over your own website, but that’s not always the case either. You do have much more consistent control over the content of your website and who can view that content. Of all the marketing channels, it is the one you can control the most. Be sure you’re with a reliable hosting service and that someone is keeping an eye on the security and backend updates of your site, because hackers love to take control of small business websites when they can.
Yes, customer experience is a marketing channel! And it’s one of the few things where you have a significant amount of control. You can’t always please every customer, but the way you approach the customer experience can make an impact. Think about the customer experience and how your processes and employee training can have an impact.
Word of mouth
You can’t really control word of mouth marketing, but you can certainly influence it. Do you know people who love your company or your product? Ask them to tell their friends! Sometimes this even means reaching out to referral partners and giving them some sample language they can use to share about your company with other people they know. While you don’t have complete control over what other people say, you can do much more to influence this marketing channel than most people realize.
Thinking about how you can better use each of these channels to reach your target audience? Let’s talk about how the StoryPath team can help you show up consistently in your marketing efforts.