“What’s the best channel for driving growth in [insert year here]?”
It’s a question that, just a few years ago, had a fairly definitive answer depending on your vertical & business model.
But the rise of cross-channel audience targeting at the user level, and the shift to algorithmic optimization (instead of manually dialling in your ad campaigns) has basically thrown out the “rules” for what your best channel is going to be.
Add to this the capabilities for remarketing to your prospects with specific messages as they move down the customer journey, and it becomes apparent that in 2018, the best growth channel for your business is… all of them.
It all works in concert.
Yes – you still need to test and see which channels are the best for initial prospecting (first-click), but most of the ROI is determined by what happens after the first click.
What remarketing ads they see, and when. What emails they get. What comes up in Google when they research your brand.
And what content they digest.
Obviously, the more you can influence this post-click process, the more effective your overall growth campaign will be.
And in my view, as the underlying ad tech at Google, Facebook & friends perpetually automates prospecting expertise – this is increasingly where most of your “ad optimization” will take place… far down the funnel.
It’s also a great segue into the true role of content marketing…
Content Marketing vs… ?
Zag.ai styles itself as a Content Marketing Intelligence platform – and it is. So we clearly have a bias towards it as a strategy.
But as I see it, content marketing isn’t really a standalone channel.
While it can be a prospecting channel, per se (organic search, viral content, etc) – it’s more accurately an amplifier for any channel.
Content is basically just a conversation. And the whole point of a conversation in marketing is to educate prospects, build trust, and handle objections. Brands who “have conversations” like this will see their conversion rates from prospects to customers multiply – several times over.
And those who don’t have conversations, will close sales far less frequently, and pay far more for each customer. Usually by orders of magnitude.
So if the best growth channel for 2018 is “all of them” because actual prospecting is becoming increasingly push-button, and it’s all about post-click conversations…
…then how can you optimize and gain and advantage over your competitors, in 2018?
In short – by having better conversations with your prospects after they discover you, especially via content, which essentially automates the process.
This is where our apps like Topical Thunder & SEO Radar really shine.
With Topical Thunder, you can measure the actual performance of content across your market (and competitors) to determine which “conversations” tend to have the most impact, and adapt accordingly.
And with SEO Radar, you can see exactly which content of yours is already ranking, and getting impressions in Google’s SERPs… but where something as banal as your title tag is costing you half of your potential “conversations”.
If you’re inclined, you can try them and all of our other apps.
Anyway – those are just a couple examples.
The big takeaway here, though, is to view content as a sales amplifier. It’s not a “bonus” traffic source.
Rather, it’s a way of automating sales conversations, which has a fundamental impact on whether your growth channels will actually drive ROI, or not.
So it’s not about finding the best growth channel.
Wherever your prospects find you – your success in 2018 & beyond will be mostly determined by building the best growth funnel... which is to say, the best sequence of conversations to engage your prospects with, once they find you.