What is a marketing channel?

It’s been three weeks since I did a marketing your self-published book related post. Following the most recent post about writing your marketing plan (along with a free template), I thought it would be a good idea to explain what a marketing channel actually is.
I’ve already written a post about this for my freelance copywriting blog over here, so I hope you’ll excuse that I’ve copied and pasted it over here (for some reason it wouldn’t let me reblog it).
Please note, it’s not because I’m lazy or want to concentrate on editing my novel and planning my next two at all! *wanders off whistling*

Marketing channels for self-published J E Nice

Can you tell what’s on the TV?

A television channel, a radio channel, the English Channel…a marketing channel? How can a channel be all of these things and just what is a marketing channel?

Ah, well, that would be the lovely English language, wouldn’t it.
‘Channel’ can be either a noun or a verb.

As a noun, it means either (as defined by Oxford dictionary):
‘a length of water wider than a strait, joining to larger areas of water, especially two seas’
‘a band of frequencies used in radio and television transmission…’
‘an electric circuit which acts as a path for a signal’
‘a tubular passage or duct for liquid’
‘a method or system for communication or distribution’

As a verb, it is used to ‘direct towards a particular end or object’.
This particular verb definition and the last noun definition are the ones that encompass the term ‘marketing channel’.

It’s that simple. A marketing channel is the way of getting your message out into the world. By ‘channeling’ your messages in these ways, you can achieve your objectives (selling however many products or getting so many clients by a certain date).
The type of channels available depends on your project and budget, but the list can be endless. Below are some examples:

Your online platform is crucial in this modern day of digital, when people spend more time on their computers, tablets and smartphones than anywhere else.
Often building an online platform is more about adding that personal touch and making your company memorable with subtle messaging rather than the hard sell.

  • Social media – there are groups to join on Facebook and LinkedIn, and discussions on Twitter. Find which one suits you and throw yourself into it
  • Website
  • Blog – post often to give your readers something to keep coming back for. That way you’ll stay in their mind
  • Forums – don’t go all out selling. Help people, give advice and support, and put your details in your signature

Print forms aren’t dead yet though, in fact sometimes a print channel can be a great way to get your customers attention in an age where everything is digitalised.

  • Leaflets and booklets
  • Business cards
  • Posters and banners

Going through third parties are also great marketing channels, again depending on what you’re selling.

  • Community websites – advertising may cost you but you can often promote events for free
  • Advertising – in newspapers, magazines, on noticeboards, at bus stops and train stations, on buses, on websites, the list of places is vast. Some are very expensive, others are free. It’s definitely worth investigating your options
  • Press releases
  • Articles in magazines and newspapers – it’s worth querying before you put in the hard work of writing it only to have it rejected
  • Guest blogging

And don’t forget that often customers like to see a personal touch. If part of your brand is you, then you need to get out there to help with promotion. If not, face to face (ish) methods can still help boost sales by offering that human touch.

  • Radio interviews
  • Written interviews – in magazines, newspapers, online
  • Talks – depending on your product or service, you can offer demonstrations, book signings or talks to groups
  • Networking – at conventions, conferences or your local business group.

Do you have a favourite marketing channel that has proved successful for you in the past?

Can you think of any others missed from these lists?

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