One of the most asked questions at our marketing workshops, when we talk about finding new business is “What is the easiest channel to market?”
Our Growthology team recently Googled that question, and apparently, there are five, ten, fifteen, and twenty ‘easy’ ways to find new customers – and that’s only on the first page of the search engine.
Back in the real world, the methodology for sourcing new business should be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy and you will find it is the part you look at after you understand your business’ Position and have put in place your marketing Capability. Growthology calls it Channel, and it is the third box in the Find section of the 9 Boxes™.
Channel is the pathway that leads new customers to your business. It may be that most of your business comes through referrals, or ‘word of mouth’. Alternatively, you might be using a traditional method such as advertising, public relations, social media (digital), or face-to-face events to form new business enquiries or sales.
Understanding what channels will work for you is crucial for revenue generation. When you determine the most productive pathway it is then imperative you continually market, with clarity, to your partners.
Third-party recommendations, or word-of-mouth referrals can be one of the most cost-effective ways of building business. The customer already has confidence in you from the information they have received from the independent party and should be easy to convert. However, ensuring the right type of business is being referred to you, by the right people, cannot be left to chance.
As a business owner, you need to constantly communicate with your referrers, making sure they comprehend the full range of products or services your business provides, understand why you are different from the competitors and what are the value-added benefits of doing business with you.
As part of your marketing strategy, you need to identify who could be potential strategic partners and start to actively build relationships with them. As with other aspects of your marketing, your business needs to have expectations and measurements in place for each of it. Identify what is working for you and what isn’t, because it is easy to waste time and money – nurturing channels that aren’t delivering profitable work.
With the traditional channels, your planning process is more complex today than it was a few years ago. The channel landscape is far more complicated and diverse. Not only have it themselves expanded – just consider the numerous content providers that exist now – but the way we view content has changed dramatically.
You will need to test what type of media is going to work for your business but remember to constantly measure outcomes. As a rule of thumb, don’t do anything you can’t measure. Don’t test too many channels at any one time. And don’t pull the plug on a test too early.
Here are our top tips for Channel
- You know and measure the channels that deliver work to your business.
- All of these channels have Key Performace Indicators and you give them a minimum of 12 months to work.
- You’re actively seeking new channels.
- Every channel has a documented communications program.
- You regularly review and refresh your communications programs.