A few months ago I decided to write down every marketing channel I could think of and add new ones as I went.
Here’s the result.
You can whether read this article, or access the Google sheet by clicking on the link above.
I also added “marketing actions” at the end of the article which are things you can do to diversify your marketing.
We first start by outlining why exactly you want to use marketing.
What’s the Point of Marketing?
Marketing is all the activities in your company that deal with the way your customers buy, experience, find, or talk about your product.
It used to be defined as the activity dealing with the four Ps:
- Product: what you sell.
- Place: where you sell it.
- Promotion: what you do so people buy it.
While the ultimate purpose of marketing is to make more money, the direct purpose of what you do isn’t necessarily so.
I have found this great list of marketing goals:
- Drive sales
- Increase brand awareness
- Find new leads
- Increase web traffic
- Increase audience
- Promote content
- Increase brand engagement
In the end, they all drive sales up. But in the short term, they don’t.
Each of the following marketing channels will help you more or less with these goals.
A TV ad, for example, increases brand awareness.
Affiliate marketing drives sales.
Instagram ads increase web traffic.
Every Possible Marketing Channel You Can Use to Grow Your Business
1. Word Of Mouth
We start with word of mouth because it is simply THE best channel out there.
Whether it’s word of mouth online (people discussing your product on Reddit) or offline (asking a friend), word of mouth is free and often succeeds because no one paid the person who is recommending your product.
As a result, there is trust.
Word of mouth is achieved by blowing away your customers’ expectations with amazing service and quality.
2. Affiliate Marketing
It is simply giving a commission to somebody when they sell your product/service to someone.
You can develop your affiliate program in-house (annoying) or use one of these platforms that will make one for you and help you find affiliate marketers to sell your stuff.
3. Referral Program
A referral program is like an affiliate marketing program, but for your customers.
They get exclusive perks (or money) when they refer someone to use your product/service, which incentivizes them to promote your product.
Referral programs exist to boost word of mouth.
4. Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is one of the hardest marketing to do because virality cannot be engineered — it can only be “hoped”.
Viral marketing happens when your marketing gets widely shared “automatically” on social media.
When Elon Musk enters Twitter headquarters with a sink and caption “let that sink in”, that’s viral marketing.
Everyone saw that, shared, and remember it now.
5. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) entails predicting the search query that people will type in Google so that your website comes up first in the results.
6. Display Ads
This is simply ads on websites, social media, newsletters, etc.
To do so, you have to use an ad network (Google AdSense is one of the biggest) that will display your ad on different websites according to the audience you want to reach.
In the age of AdBlock, display ads don’t work nearly as well as in the past — and they’re fairly expensive.
SEO, or search engine optimization, entails writing content that directly answers people’s query on Google.
Overall, your website should also give people the best experience possible (fast, clear, well-designed, etc).
SEO takes time to build (up to one year to have your page ranking), but it’s one of the most cost-effective way to grow your business.
8. Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the things you have to do for SEO.
The idea is to write articles that help people fix a problem that your product helps fix so they come read the article and buy your product.
Content marketing isn’t only about writing. It’s also about making videos or podcasts.
And content marketing isn’t only targeted at SEO.
Growing a social media following is all about content.
Content you can use is:
- User-generated content
- Unique insights
- Stories from customers
- Showing what customers do with your product
Everyone nowadays writes a free (or not) newsletter because it enables them to contact their clients directly and not “lose them”.
Newsletter marketing is actually email marketing, and the idea is to give free content that entices the purchase of the product or services you sell.
You can also put ads in your newsletter and earn money this way.
Some companies like Morning Brew earn monstrous amounts of money this way.
10. Email Marketing
Email marketing is sending people emails so they buy your product.
Today, it’s become quite complex, you can’t simply send one email to people and hope they buy, as they won’t.
Email marketing is a part today of complex digital sales funnels that usually go like this.
- You offer people something for free in exchange for their email address: “sign up for my free 5-day email course”.
- You send people your course during which you teach them to do something.
- At the end of the 5-day email course, you invite them to a free webinar for those that “want to learn more”.
- You do your webinar and at the end, offer paid courses or individual consulting sessions.
- AND ONLY THEN, you make money.
This is only one example of a sales funnel, which, as you can see, would not work without email marketing.
11. Engineering as Marketing
Engineering as marketing is building a product or service people can use for free, and if they want more, they can get the paid version.
Similarweb, or Ubbersuggest, enable people to use some of their features for free, and to pay if they want more.
12. Business Development
Business development is partnering with another company and introducing each other’s products to the other.
Eg: you can now book a Bolt taxi in the Binance app.
Sales is hiring salespeople that will whether set up sales funnels for you, or contact potential customers directly to sell your stuff.
You usually pay them a basic salary + commission on what they sell.
14. Existing Platforms Marketing
These platforms are social media, aggregators, forums, listicles, and marketplaces.
There are lots of things you can do on social media nowadays.
Let’s take Linkedin as an example.
On Linkedin, you can:
- Contact people to sell them your stuff.
- Write content as part of a marketing funnel.
- Display ads for your product or service.
Aggregators are excellent places to display your product/service.
Producthunt is likely one of the most famous aggregators.
Listicles are a list that you can find on blogs.
Such an example could be: “best crowdfunding investment platforms in Europe”.
You can reach out to the people that wrote these articles and ask them to be added to the list.
App stores and Marketplaces
You can be present on these to sell your service, or you can also advertise.
15. Community Building
Community marketing is the creation of a community with a heavy content marketing strategy.
Fans in your community exchange together and with you. They’re usually the first people to buy your product when you sell something.
Everyone wants a community because no one understands how they work.
Community building is one of the most difficult things to build but it entails having people giving you BOTH their time and money.
Use software like Discord or Telegram and offer people to be a part of these groups.
Then create massive content so that they keep on coming back.
16. Event Organization
The idea is to organize events to promote your product or event.
When I was at the Web Summit in 2022, the payment processor Rapyd organized a private concert by David Guetta to promote their services, for example.
Event organization can also be online with webinars, for example.
17. Speaking Engagement
No one likes public speaking, so this is quite easy to do.
Find conferences and events in your industry, contact the organizers, and offer them to speak about your topic of predilection.
Networking is an abominable term that simply means “talking to people”.
People will remember you much better (and answer your emails) once you have talked to them in real life.
The easiest to meet people is at industry events.
Be nice, don’t kiss *ss, and ask interesting questions.
Add them on Linkedin too, always helps.
19. Merchandising Marketing
Likely one of the most UNDERRATED marketing channels nowadays, and the reason why clothes brands are so powerful.
Think about Gymshark or Nike for a minute.
Why do these brands have so much power?
Because anyone that buys them broadcasts to everyone they bought them because they have the name and logo printed in BIG on the clothes or shoes.
Consider that these companies sell products that advertise their own brand.
You can do the same by selling merch on your site, or simply giving it for free to your customers.
Sponsoring remains a really good way to build your brand and get into people’s minds.
What do you see when you watch Roland Garros?
Rolex. Rolex is everywhere.
You can sponsor anything nowadays:
- Summits, conferences
- Festivals (movie, music, etc)
- Charity events
- Athletes, cyclist teams, formula 1 teams, football teams (eg: Red Bull)
- Movies, through product placement
- A star so they wear/use/talk about your product
- An influencer
Stunts is akin to viral marketing, just…bigger.
When Felix Baumgartner jumps from his balloon, that’s not viral marketing.
That’s a stunt, because the world was glued to their screen to watch him — and watch Red Bull at the same time.
22. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is partnering up with someone with a large social media following and paying them so they talk about your product.
Max Lugavere, for example, often promotes products in his IG stories, with a coupon so the company can track how effective the campaign is.
Make sure to contact influencers whose audience is compatible with your product.
It’s basically sales.
Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean reaching out to your customers directly.
You can also reach out to potential affiliates or distribution partners.
There are lots of software that help you do that.
24. Building an Audience
It’s content marketing + social media (although not necessary) + newsletter (or at the very least, email capture).
Building an audience helps you always have people to sell your stuff to.
25. Develop Your Own Media
Did you know that Red Bull had a TV channel?
Of course, it’s another scale, but developing your own media can be as easy as having your own YouTube channel, like GoPro.
26. Offline Ads
One of the best ways to grow your biz remains to use some good old offline ads.
It’s important you go put them where your customers are!
Consider using flyers, billboards, posters, or interactive billboards.
Finally, consider advertising in the following places:
- Bowling Alley
- Airport lounges
- Doctor/dentist offices
27. Product Placement
Product placement is placing your product where people don’t necessarily expect to see an ad.
Eg: When James Bond uses a Nokia, that’s because Nokia paid millions for that.
You can place your products in:
- Music (Eg: Balenciaga)
- Video games
The next level is actually making one of these.
Eg: when I was a kid, the chocolate brand Leo had made two games to play on the computer.
There isn’t only Facebook ads in life.
Did I forget a channel?
Let me know in the comments.
Marketing actions are actions you can take to spice up your marketing.
Giveaways don’t work everywhere.
On Instagram for example, people no longer want to “tag friends” to “potentially receive $10”. It’s too much work and too little reward.
On Twitter though, giveaways such as the following, work extremely well:
“RT + comment “gift” and I’ll DM you my $99 exclusive guide about XYZ for FREE. Must be following!!”
As we can see:
- No competition or lottery. The customer will win something for sure.
- Not much social risk. They just need to RT, no need to tag people.
- Low effort, high reward. RT + commenting is easy. And you get a link directly in your DMs.
2. User-Generated Content
While this is usually paired up with giveaways, it doesn’t have to.
People will be more likely to do stuff for you if you retweet/post about them, than if you “potentially” give them money.
Let’s say you sell water bottles. You can ask your followers to take a selfie in the most original situation where they use the water bottle, and the winner will have his selfie posted on the official account of the company.
Elementor features the most beautiful websites that were made with their tool.
3. Scavenging Campaign
TIER decorated one of their scooters and hid it in the city. The first person to find it could earn something (once again, paired up with a giveaway….).
4. Holiday Campaign
When holidays or special days (Eg: “earth day”) are coming, you can launch a specific campaign with discounts on specific products.
Throughout the year, you can give discounts for the following holidays/celebrations:
- New year: Eg: discount at the gym.
- Valentine’s Day
- Carnival (it’s a European thing mainly)
- 1st of May (workers’ day)
- Diverse Christian celebrations (Pentecost, Ascension Day, etc)
- Mothers’ day
- Fathers’ day
- D-Day (6th of June 1944)
- Summer holidays
- Back to school
- All Saints’ Day (1st of November)
- All Souls’ Day (2nd of November)
- 11.11 Day (single day, invented by Alibaba)
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Saint-Nicolas (European thing)
Make sure you don’t forget:
- Local/national holidays (eg: 4th of July)
- Specific days like “Earth day”
- Religious holidays from minorities (Hanukkah, Ramadan, etc)
- Sports events that don’t happen too often (Eg: World Cup)
- Elections (although it’s mainly a US thing to mix up business and politics)
Imagine you are an SEO optimization platform.
The best thing you can do is teach people about SEO so they can then use your platform.
Imagine you sell beard-related products.
Teach men how to take care of their skins, how to shape their beards, the latest trends, etc.
And if you sell a product that helps people make money, teach them how to use it!
There are several ways you can teach:
- Make an actual course on Udemy or Teachable, or YouTube
- Host a course on your website directly
- Make it a PDF that people get when they give their email address
- Make it an email course
- Make it an audio course
6. Give People a “Different” Reason to Use Your Product
We’ll take the example of an airline.
If you follow the Emirates Instagram account, you’ll see that they’re not promoting as much Emirates as…Dubai.
People don’t take the plane for the sake of it. They take the plane to go somewhere. As a result, by promoting Dubai, Emirates encourages people to go there, hence to take the plane.
Call me crazy, but I think the best way for Uber to market would be if they maintained an event newsletter.
Very few businesses market themselves this way. It’s a variation of “customers don’t buy the drill, they don’t buy the whole, they buy the possibility to hang out the frame”.
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