Where is as important as how when considering the most important marketing communication channels
As a freelance copywriter, clients sometimes ask me how to make their advertising work hard for them – not just in terms of words but also £££. Here are two key areas to consider when choosing your most important marketing communication channels.
1. Where, what, how?
Where should your advertising communication run?
Selecting ‘where’ you communicate is as important as ‘what’ you communicate. For a piece of communication to be effective you need to plan the media, balancing several factors against the overall objective of the campaign.
What do you know about your target audience?
What media do they consume? How can you get your message across in the right channel, at the right time? All media planning derives from understanding the audience and the more you know about them, the more insightful you will be with your plan.
How large and how widespread is your audience? Can you reach your target market through print ads, or are would it be more efficient to target them through email?
Which marketing communication channels should you use?
What combination of media works most efficiently? What do you want the campaign to achieve overall – what do you want your audience to actually do? Are you better raising awareness with certain media and then provoking action with different media? Do you even need a response? Do you want to capture information about your audience?
Individual media are more effective for certain tasks. For instance, how much information can you include in a poster, compared to a piece of direct mail?
What does your chosen medium say about you? A paid-for advertising campaign might say you’re ‘big’ and ‘established’; a well targeted digital campaign might say you’re ‘modern’ and ‘switched on’; a blog might suggest you have ‘personality’ with an individual ‘tone of voice’.
What’s your marketing communication budget?
How much money do you have to spend and how will you get the best value from your budget? Think of the whole budget involved, which might include the cost of paid-for media, but also might include production money, or the cost of someone’s time – for instance the cost for a freelance copywriter to create a regular blog, or manage a Facebook site, or write Twitter feeds, has to be taken into account.
2. Offline v online marketing communication
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Traditional offline media
Pros: Can reach a broad audience easily. Allows in depth explanation. Variety of sizes. Cons: Can be expensive. Clutter. Readers rarely look at all sections.
Pros: Broad reach. Can target specific locations. 24/7 exposure. Creative venue possibilities e.g. escalators, train stations.
Cons: Limited message capability. Short exposure time. Prime outdoor locations are expensive and go quickly. Unable to change message quickly.
Pros: Target by location/demographics. Easy to track response. Low cost per thousand.
Cons: Low response rate (a successful direct mail response rate is 2%-3%). Could be thrown away. Only as good as your mailing list.
Pros: Cost effective. Can target different audiences at different times. Local radio station can write and produce the ads. Can measure response by asking people to contact specific web link/phone number.
Cons: Audience may not be listening. Audience is not actively engaged.
Digital media often allows for high levels of targeting, tracking and measurability which makes it easy to measure the success of your communication and refine and improve it for the future.
Pros: Ease – a template for a newsletter is created, for client to supply copy and images to be placed. Can direct audience to websites for more info and get feedback. Inexpensive and timely. Builds loyalty.
Cons: Can end up in spam box. May be ignored. Needs to be sent out regularly.
Pros: Cost effective. Can promote a service or build a community of supporters.
Cons: Takes time to set up, maintain and update. Not SEO friendly.
Pros: A short editorial piece that is newsworthy/provides an opinion and maintains regular contact with your audience. Boosts your SEO online. Timely. Free. Can create a viral effect through social sharing and bookmarking.
Cons: Needs to be done regularly, so consider hiring a good freelance copywriter. May run out of things to blog about. Social media takes continual time and effort to create a positive, relevant presence.
Pros: Good for starting a conversation around a certain topic. Generates a wide and engaged audience base virally. Instant. Free.
Cons: Takes time and effort to create a positive, relevant presence. Anyone can have a voice can offer opinions, with or without your consent. Large follower drop off rate. 140 character count.
Pros: Ideal if you want to avoid content-heavy print literature but have more information to get across. Quick to generate. Simple way to share digital information to a mobile device. Contains trackable links.
Cons: Many people still have no idea what QR codes are. You need to download an app to scan QR codes from your iPhone/Smartphone
Pros: RSS (Rich Site Summary) is an efficient tool for retaining updated information from frequently visited websites. RSS feeds are spam-free.
Cons: The identity of the source website is often confusing as RSS feeds don’t display the actual URL. Impossible to determine the number of users subscribed to a feed and frequency of visits.
Pros: Can tie into all of the advanced features of your mobile device, e.g. can provide GPS-based directions. When people make a phone call, they might see your logo. When they get a text message, your brand can be reinforced.
Cons: Can be expensive. Can fragment your online presence and/or marketing strategy, i.e. should you guide people to your website or app or Facebook page?
Whichever medium you choose, one thing is for certain, the tighter the brief, the tighter the creative work and the better the result. Want to know more about choosing the most important marketing communication channels to boost your business? Or see an ideal creative briefing template? Then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Caroline Gibson, freelance copywriter and business booster.
E: email@example.com. T: +44 (0) 7957 567766