7.2 Choosing the best marketing channels

Part 2: Choosing marketing channels

In the last chapter you created a list of your most important keywords. You analyzed the buying-intent someone has when searching with a specific keyword and now we want to start reaching the people with the most buying intent. But which marketing channels should you focus on first for your optimizations? 

Basic needs

Before we dive into the best marketing channel for your case. It’s important we first focus on the minimal needs our website/company needs to have. There are a couple of pages any website needs to have:

A Homepage
A Product page (or software or service pages depending on what you sell)
A Contact page

With these pages being the absolute minimal for selling any product, we are ready to learn which marketing channels are best for your specific case.

 Important Factors for choosing the right marketing channel

There are two factors that are most important when deciding the right marketing channels for your business.

  1. The amount of competition on your keywords
  2. The length of the customer journey

Competition on keywords

How many competitors have a page that rank organically for the keyword you want to target?
How high is the SEO difficulty according to Ubersuggest?
What is the domain authority of the competitors that rank on the keyword?
What are the paid difficulty and CPC for the keywords?

The lower the competition and SEO difficulty, the easier it is to rank on a keyword. If your competitors have a domain authority much higher than yours, it means that if your website and page are otherwise identical, the competition would rank higher on the keyword. Because that domain is of higher value according to Google.

If the paid difficulty for the keyword is low, this means there aren’t many competitors trying to rank for the keyword. Which could also mean that the CPC is lower. Although it is not always the case that low paid difficulty = low CPC. What your maximum CPC limit is depends on your business and the products you sell. As long as you’re able to reach your ROI standards you are good, there is no fixed value as the CPC ceiling. Your ceiling can either be at $1.50 or $25 depending on your business and goals.

Length of the customer journey

The length of the customer journey is another important factor I like to look at. The longer the customer journey, the more touchpoints a potential customer could have with your company. If we compare the process of buying deodorant versus the process of buying a car we see a very different approach.

When you go to the store to buy deodorant you don’t put a lot of effort in your decision making. You generally don’t read all the text on the back. You may base your decision on a vague statement such as: ‘sport’ or ‘comfort’ or ‘energy’. Not knowing what the difference actually is, you simply choose one without thinking too much about the chance of making the wrong decision.

When you’re purchasing a car, that is completely different. You may do weeks or months of research before you’re ready to buy a car. You compare many different features, prices, reviews, warranty, body models, and much more. Before you make your decision to buy a car, you have many different touchpoints because it is important for you to make the right decision.

My very first channel of transportation
My very first channel of transportation
My second channel of transportation
My second channel of transportation

Different strategies for different customer journeys

The shorter the customer journey, the more reliant you are likely to be on advertising. As there are more companies fishing in the same swimming pool of keywords, competition is high and if you’re starting out with your website you’re not likely to have larger domain authority and other important components of SEO ranking.

The longer the customer journey, the more impact you can make with SEO. The customer journey is long and many people only focus on the end of the tunnel, the moment someone is almost ready to buy. But what if the person looking to buy a car was able to reach all important information about the car she is looking for on your website. You’ve prepared her to look at the right things regarding the engine, the warranty, and other important factors. Do you think this person would rather buy a car from an unknown garage? Or from a garage that has already proven value and so has become more trustworthy? It’s the latter. And so, by focusing on less buy-related keywords earlier in the journey can make the difference when this person reaches the buy-related phase later in her journey.

But not only is the person more likely to choose from your company. When the customer journey is longer, there are also simply more opportunities for you to reach out. Because the person is searching with multiple different keywords, there is simply more opportunity for you to rank on those keywords.

The best marketing channel

Let’s summarize the learnings from above and display them in a table for each of the individual marketing channels:


Marketing ChannelAmount of competitionLength of the Customer Journey
SEO / Organic rankingMost potential if competition is low, otherwise choose keywords earlier in the funnel.Most potential if there is a long customer journey with many touchpoints.
Search Engine AdvertisingThe amount of competition isn’t as important. Make sure you can reach your ROI goals. Can be long or short. Focus first on keywords at the end of the customer journey.
Email MarketingDoes not matter as much. Email is free, but you first need to gather email addresses.The longer the customer journey, the better and more content you can show that is helpful to the (potential) customer.
Display MarketingAmount of competition doesn’t influence the ability to use display marketing.The longer the customer journey the better. I like to use display marketing in a combination with SEA. Focus your display marketing on earlier parts of the customer journey.
Affiliate MarketingMore competition can be better. As you pay per a certain conversion event, the affiliates will have better knowledge of how your campaign will perform.The shorter the customer journey the better.

Choosing the right marketing channels

To conclude. Choosing marketing channels is different for every business. Use your keyword intent analysis to make sure you’re focusing on the right keywords and look at the amount of competition and length of the customer journey to choose the marketing channel that best fits your business case.

Hope you enjoyed that knowledge snack, see you next week!

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