This is the final part in Emma’s 7 part Planning for Growth series ‘Understanding the Business Model Canvas’

Marketing channels are what you use to communicate your value proposition to the relevant markets. Done intelligently and consistently this will create sales opportunities and generate revenues.

But marketing can be expensive. How many marketing channels do you need to reach your market? And how do you know which ones to choose? Should you pay someone to do it? These are big questions and most early stage businesses don’t know the answers. Yet focusing on the wrong channels with no strategy in place can use up a lot of resource in your business without adding to the revenue streams.

Understanding the right channels to use – and how to use them – is absolutely key.

There are now over 400 digital channels to choose from in addition to the more traditional routes to market such as telemarketing, leafleting, training events, keynote speaking, networking events, billboards, TV, Radio, sales letters, brochures and good old referrals. How do you settle on a mix that will be effective?

Using the BMC take a look at your customer segment and customer relationships. Which channels will allow you to have the most successful relationships with these audiences? Have you got the resources to manage these channels? How much will that cost?

If you are a start up or early stage business you may well elect to use the most accessible resource you have at your disposal, your time. Email, blogging and social media are still ‘free’ in their most basic forms so this can look like a really cost effective solution. But is it?

By going down this DIY route you set quite severe limits on what can be achieved and therefore limit your chances of success

You are limited by

The time you have available – which may keep being deflected into other more ‘urgent’ activities

Your skill level  – even if you are relatively skilled at marketing  are you able to keep up with the changes in the algorithms and the different digital options available to you?

Your network – have you a real plan in place to reach outside of you existing network? This usually either takes time or costs money.

Your self perception – this is the part where you as business owner can easily get in the way of your own success. everything you do yourself will be limited by your own perception of your ability to succeed and grow. Someone else can often be better placed to widen your horizons and increase expectations.

Your experience – previous experience can often be very helpful but previous negative experiences can stop you trying things that might really work for your business. Lack of experience – like lack of skill  may also stop you trying things that would be great for your business because you simply don’t know they exist

And going in to 2018 and the year of the big GDPR change, you may also be limited or at risk due to lack of uncerstanding of compliance regulation around digital marketing.

For all these reasons I would strongly recommend getting some outside advice when it comes to designing a marketing strategy that will really deliver for your business. Hub members can always use #hubhelp to sensecheck campaign material or ask about compliance issues, and of course   to ask for recommendations. There are many people in the Business Hubs community that will be happy to help you.However small your budget an initial conversation with a recommended marketing expert is a great place to start.

Whatever marketing channels you settle on to deliver your strategy, the key to success is having great content structured in the right way that talks directly to your target audience. Next Monday at the Guildford Hub the irrepressible Vanessa Lanham-Day is delivering a tour de force in great copy with her Sales Letter masterclass. whatever medium you choose, Vanessa’s workshop will be relevant to you. Book your place now.



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