Digital Marketing Channels You Probably Aren’t Using
There are many different ways to promote your business online. However, some strategies aren’t as effective at attracting and converting leads as others. If you’re sticking only to the traditional digital marketing channels, you may be missing out on better ways to bring in new customers and clients.
Many of the most effective digital marketing channels are also some of the most easily overlooked. For example, taking the extra step to participate in forum discussions, affiliate marketing, and digital PR are all great ways to attract high-quality leads to your business.
To help you improve your digital marketing strategy, let’s take a look at some channels you should be using but probably aren’t!
- Forum discussions provide opportunities for sharing content in relevant conversations.
- Affiliate marketing enables you to increase awareness and improve trust, while controlling your return on investment.
- A digital public relations strategy can help you increase your online visibility, without being pushy or aggressive.
1. Use Forum Discussions to Provide Helpful Content
Forums are places where individuals gather online to discuss ideas, ask questions, or address concerns they have around a particular topic. Of course, the majority of forum responses come from other individuals who are also looking for information. However, a forum can also be a great place to provide helpful content when your target audience needs it most.
Participating in forum discussions can also help you improve the visibility of your content. When you introduce your pieces in natural conversation, your audience will have some context for your content. This means they’re more likely to understand its value. When you include forum discussions as a way to connect with your target audience, you can establish long-lasting relationships that will encourage customers to keep coming back.
Providing helpful information and resources in forum discussions, such as the above example from the Digital Marketing Reddit, can bring immediate results and cost very little money. However, you do need to genuinely listen to the problems your audience is dealing with. If you simply jump on a forum and self-promote, you’re likely to anger potential leads. At the least, you’ll probably push them further away. Instead, you should participate in conversations, providing tips whenever you can while also linking out to your website or blog when appropriate.
[Tweet “When participating in a forum discussion, focus first and foremost on the value you can provide.”]
Whenever you’re participating in a forum discussion, therefore, you’ll want to focus on the value you’re providing first and foremost. Don’t include links to your content simply for the sake of promoting a product or service. Instead, listen to what your target audience is truly struggling with. Then provide the best answers possible—even if that means linking to content that may not be your own. If you can become known as a trusted source of guidance and assistance, your audience will be more likely to rely on you in the future.
2. Increase Awareness and Trust with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a common digital marketing technique, where you leverage relationships with your community to expand your audience base and attract more customers. Through affiliate marketing, you encourage your existing customer base to push your products or services to their own communities. Since those communities already trust your affiliate marketers, you have an increased chance of landing new sales.
For their part, your affiliates are incentivized to sell your products or services because they take a certain cut from each transaction. Like a traditional salesperson, each affiliate will receive a portion of the revenue, depending on how much you’ve established in your contract. You only need to pay your affiliates when they make a sale, which puts you in control of your ROI. However, this does mean you need to forfeit a portion of each sale that occurs through an affiliate. Therefore, you want to ensure that you’re setting your prices accordingly.
This example of an affiliate marketing program from Freelance Writers’ Den is a great way to make it clear what you expect out of your partners:
After all, the success of an affiliate marketing program will depend on how strong your partners are. If your affiliates are passionate about your products or services, they can push sales to their communities more quickly. However, if they’re simply trying to make a quick buck, you may find you’re not seeing high-quality sales through your affiliate program.
To improve your results, do some careful vetting when selecting your affiliates. Make sure they understand what you offer, the value you provide, and the audience you’re targeting. Keep in mind that your affiliates should act as partners for your brand, not just as salespeople trying to help you make more money. When you view these connections like partnerships, both you and your affiliates will have more success with the program.
Bonus: Use a Digital PR Plan to Increase Visibility
Digital public relations is a process used to improve your company’s online visibility. By increasing your exposure, you can improve your brand’s authority and build relationships with influencers, clients, and journalists. These people can then provide backlinks to your website. The stronger your online network is, the better chance you will have at attracting high-quality leads who are ready to purchase.
Digital PR should work alongside your traditional content marketing strategy. This means it will likely include more common PR techniques and social media tools. Through strategically targeting influencers, journalists, and even target audience members, you can spread your content further with digital PR. You can also use this approach to improve your number of backlinks or online listings. This should in turn increase your SEO, and bring you closer to the top of search engine results lists.
Keep in mind that digital PR can require some time before you really see results. The success of a digital PR strategy is based on the trust you’ve established with your target audience, and the visibility you’ve achieved online. However, digital PR can work much faster than traditional PR. When a journalist or target audience member can view a press release or piece of content as soon as it’s uploaded, word spreads much faster than with traditional print PR.
The cost of a digital PR strategy can vary. Typically, it will require a few thousand dollars per month. However, the exact investment will depend on the size of your business, how much work you’re looking to have done, and the agency you choose to work with. In most cases, digital PR can be bundled into a traditional PR strategy. Or, it can even be combined with your content marketing and social media strategies to save time and resources.
Mixing up your digital marketing strategy is a great way to boost your visibility and attract more high-quality leads. Including a few frequently ignored techniques in your plan can help you bring in new customers and clients, who may have missed your content otherwise.
Let’s recap the three digital marketing channels you should be using but probably aren’t:
- Participate in forum discussions, to help potential leads when they’re looking for answers.
- Boost awareness and trust with affiliate marketing.
- Use digital PR to build relationships and improve your online presence.
How do you think these techniques will improve your digital marketing strategy? Let me know in the comments section below!