You want to sell your goat. How do you let your potential customers know that? To get your messages out, you will need delivery vehicles, aka marketing channels. There are enough marketing channels available to make your head spin. The list reads like a Bubba Gump Shrimp menu: website, print, TV, radio, direct mail, search, online display ad, social media, email, billboard, movable signage, ad infinitum. Each category can be broken down even further. Digital newspaper vs. Traditional; Cable vs. Local Broadcast; Billboards at a shopping mall vs. on the freeway vs. at a ballpark; Facebook vs. Instagram vs. Twitter.
At the end of the day, a marketing channel is simply a place where your potential customers hang out. Think of it as a physical location where they step inside to see, experience, and spend their time.
Not all marketing channels will work for your product. To prevent you from wasting your hard-earned marketing dollars, there are a few steps to help you pick the appropriate marketing channels:
Step 1: Research your customers
If you have done the appropriate study on who your targets are, you can make assumptions about where they hang out.
To do this, answer 2 simple questions:
1. Who are your customers?
In our article on defining your target, we developed three imaginary buyers: Nancy, John, and Tiberius. Let’s looking at them a little closer:
Nancy is a city dweller who aspires to own a goat. She does computer programming for a living and has young children. She likes to do a lot of research before making any purchase
Tiberius is a veteran goat farmer who lives in the countryside. He has been goat farming ever since he was a child. In his spare time, Tiberius loves to travel and attend comic conventions as Thor. Tiberius is in his thirties
John is also a goat farmer. He is a retired sales executive, and goat farming is a hobby after retirement. He prefers a quiet life and lives with a wife and two large dogs
2. What are their motivations to buy your product?
People have many reasons they make purchases. Those reasons are usually based on their values, background, taste, and necessity. Companies can spend a copious amount of budgeting dollars on customer studies to get at the reasons for purchase. Ultimately, it is about getting to know your customers.
Here’s what we know:
Nancy wants a goat so her kids can drink fresh organic milk
Tiberius wants a friendly goat to add to his harmonious herd
John needs a new and shiny matriarch for his herd
Step 2: Determine Where Your Potential Customers Hang Out
People spend their time doing various things in various places for various reasons. They do them because they need to (i.e., sleep, eat, work, shop for grocery, clean, etc.) or want to (i.e., watch a movie, read, surf the Internet, hang out with friends, etc.). People who work full-time spend an average of 3 hours and 32 minutes a day on commuting. On average we also spend 8 hours and 50 minutes on sleeping and 5 hours and 13 minutes on leisure. So what are the common marketing channels where your customers might hang out?
Common Marketing Channels
Here are a few marketing channels that Nancy, Tiberius, and John might hang out throughout the day:
- Print – Magazine, newspaper
- On the road – Billboard/Signage
- Mailing – direct mail to the home, coupon inserts, Valpaks
- Online search
- Company website
- Social media
- Phone – SMS/Texting
- …and many others
Imagine Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes
Think of what you do in a day and why. Then, apply that process to your potential customers. This is the fun part. The make-believe. The fictionalization of characters. The key is to use both your creativity and empathy. And ALWAYS, think about their overall experience when interacting with your business.
What do Nancy, Tiberius, and John have in common? They are all in a search of a goat, even if they have different time frames.
Nancy does not know much about goats, so the searches she would most likely do would be on:
- Goat care and maintenance
- Where to buy a goat
- How to milk a goat
- What to feed them
For Tiberius and John, since they already know a lot about goats, their search could lean more towards:
- Reputation of the business
Marketing Channels Usage
YouTube is a place many people peruse how-to videos. Can you create a video on how to milk a goat and upload it to establish yourself as an authority on goat rearing? That would get you not only noticed, but likely get you customers.
Almost everyone in today is searching for their needs online – so Google AdWords would be a good channel. By bidding and getting the right key words people potentially use when looking to buy a goat (i.e., goat, goat buying, goat milk, baby goat), your website would rank higher in that search.
Yelp/Google Near Me
To search the reputation of a business, Nancy, Tiberius, and John use Yelp. It is a well-used platform where people can read reviews of brick-and-mortar (barn-and-pasture) businesses. Do you have positive reviews and enough images on Yelp?
Another place to search for reviews is to Google the phrase “Goats for sale near me.” Searching for any product or business “near me” will signal Google to find your location and give you suggestions on what you are looking for within 5-10 miles of your immediate location. This works like Yelp where reviews and pictures can be added to the business. Bing and Yahoo, among other search engines, have similar capabilities as well.
Social Media is increasingly becoming necessary as well. It offers your customers another way to get to know you and your company. On average, a person needs to see the name of a business 7 times before they would consider purchasing from them. So, the more you can get in front of your potential customers with a strong brand and content, the better. Do you have an on-brand Instagram, a Twitter, and a business Facebook account?
Most importantly, every business needs a customer-friendly website with relevant information. Every paid online advertisement you choose would lead them there.
How about some traditional channels? According to Marketing Sherpa print ad is the most trusted marketing channel. From research, we know 80% of readers of “Goat Fancy,” the monthly magazine for the goat enthusiast, are veteran goat farmers, so we can assume both Tiberius and John subscribe to it.
Direct Mail / Email
Also, let’s not discount the power of direct marketing. Forbes’ research shows that a good direct mail into the home gets an average of 4.4% response rate compared to 0.12% for email. Keep in mind that cost-wise, direct mail is much higher than email. Therefore, weigh the cost and return when choosing a marketing channel to fit your business.
Giving out Flyers
Partnerships are an important part of your business. Tiberius and John are farmers who would need feed for their herds. They shop for feed at their local “Farming Depot” store. Can you partner with the “Farming Depot” store owners and advertise your business through their flyers or even create a flyer about your business and product to be added to their bags or printed on their receipts?
On the other hand, Nancy is a mother who cares about healthy eating. Perhaps she frequents farmer’s markets weekly for fresh, pesticide-free produce. How about a booth at the farmer’s market selling your goat products?
By imagining ourselves in the shoes of our potential buyers, we’ve already identified 10 channels that could work.
Step 3: Narrow it down based on budget
Unless you have enough marketing dollars to advertise all 10 marketing channels, we’ll need to narrow them down to the most effective channels for your budget.
How much money do you want to spend? If you have $1,000, you will be able to do a lot less than what you can do with $10,000 or $100,000. But not all good marketing channels will cost a lot of money and not all expensive channel will work for your business.
Marketing Channels vs Cost
Free to Low Cost
- YouTube – Create your own video on how-to take care of goats (if you want professional production, this will of course increase your cost)
- Flyers – Create and give to feed stores
- Yelp / Google/Bing/etc near me– Give your customers good service so they would be compelled to give you good reviews
- Email – Send a monthly email to a list of potential customers you purchased or use the list of existing customers and refer-a-friend
- Social Media – Create Instagram, Twitter, and business Facebook accounts and update regularly with relevant news
Medium to High Cost
- Website – it costs money to create a website, host it, and maintain it. But of all the ones in this category, it is the most important. No other channel will work as well without a ‘destination’ to send your customers
- Google AdWords – this will depend on the cost of the key words you’re purchasing to rank high on the search engine
- Print ad – this will differ by publication. In “Goat Fancy” a half page is $500
- Direct Mail – depending on the number and design of the piece, cost can range from $0.30 to $10 per package. A postcard will cost less than a multi-page 4-color brochure with letters. Also, the lower the number of mail pieces, the higher the cost per piece
- Farmer’s market – cost will be on booth, which differs by event
There are many marketing channels to consider when you want to advertise your products to your potential customers. Not all channels will work well or at all. Some channels will work great and cost next to nothing. To get to the right channels for your product, it is important to understand your customer, where they hang out, and your budget. Then focus on the channels that would work well together to give your customers the experience you want them to have. Then, once you decide on which channel to purchase, use what you learn in our content article to create relevant and useful messages for your customers.
Let us help you:
If you have a goat or just about anything to sell but don’t have the time to establish a solid Marketing Channel Strategy, let Key Paragon help you. We are a Marketing Solutions and Advisory firm. We partner with our clients to address their most important marketing challenges, whether it be branding, strategy, process automation, social media, analytics, or marketing technology. Happy GOAT marketing!
Contact us today and we will build you the Greatest of All Time Marketing Channel Strategy!
Want to know more about How to Market Your GOAT? Take a look at our other blogs here.
Sarina is a writer, marketing expert, and entrepreneur. With degrees in Psychology and Visual Arts, she blended both disciplines in careers as an advertising producer, corporate marketing strategist, small business owner, and author. She believes at the core of every challenge lies the human heart, and solutions can only be found by exploring it.
An avid seeker of answers, Sarina is also the founder of Wandering Wonder Woman, a blog site with a mission to close the gap between people and places by sharing travel stories, food recipes, and advice from a global village of women.
Erika is a data and targeting expert. She has developed many segment analysis processes and target populations in order to support business initiatives. Her passion in chaos theory and fractal analysis helps her view data in a very unique way.
Erika enjoys also reading about the future of work and how we can bring it closer to the present. “How we work today will be so different in 10/20 years from now. It’s exciting to see what will happen given all the economic, human, and technical evolution we are currently experiencing.”
…and Han shot first…