I decided to create a definite guide so people can stop wasting time buying useless ebooks, getting scammed or worse, just being stuck because they are overwhelmed.
I have spent close to a decade perfecting the art of getting customers through the door, both offline and online and have spent tens of millions of dollars both for my own startups and side projects alongside working with clients and handling their accounts.
I could list out over 100 different marketing channels and discussing them, but for this list, I will focus on 20 common ones you can laser focus on and test for your own ventures!
1# Sales: Yeah this is a pretty obvious channel. No sales = no business, but let's go deeper into this channel. You probably heard of sales funnels. Sales as a channel usually requires some sort of a refined process aka a funnel, to work. This should be your primary focus because every business needs a refined process in order to gain traction, sales and eventually scale.
Sales also include things like hiring salespeople. Do not worry so much about hiring salespeople if your a small one-time player. It's very easy to attract new talent who are eager to work on commision, the hard thing will be managing them. Use the DISC personality test when you hire sales people. Put up an ad offering 50-100k in commisions and they will swarm to you. However you need to make sure you know your numbers but if you do, the higher number you advertise the better talent you will get.
#2 Affiliate Programs: This channel is so underutilized, it's insane. Many of you may be familiar with them already, but for those who aren't, it's essentially an agreement where you pay people or companies for performing certain actions like making a sale or getting a qualified lead. Similar to a sales team, they already send pre-qualified traffic to your business and are only paid if the users they send convert. Major corporations like Netflix and clickfunnels use this to get leads which convert at 90%+. It's a major channel for many smart e-commerce based companies who seek rapid growth. If you are smart, you would want to consider this.
#3 Joint Ventures/Host-Beneficiary Relationships/Business Development: This is another underutilized method. I'm not talking about your usual JV's here. Proper joint ventures require approaching an established company and forming relationships where you sell each others product, either individually or an offer selling both products which compliment each other.
What's even better is that you are not competing against each other so many companies love the idea. NOTE: it can take a little while to set up a deal but if you can pull one off, it can be very profitable 6,7 or even 8 figure deals e.g Sohail Khan managed to get 4 million customers in less than a month by doing a simple JV.
#4 Trade Shows: This is a perfect way to gain clients and establish exclusive partnerships. Most Trade show events are pretty exclusive so there is a lot of opportunities both to show of your business but also form long-lasting relationships. This is great both for B2B and B2C however never go to an event and just proclaim yourself as a CEO. This approach is ineffective unless its some form of a networking event. Instead, pose as sales staff or a marketing manager etc.
#5 Celebrity Endorsements: This method of gaining traction was once very difficult, however since the dawn of Instagram etc, it is much easier and extremely lucrative. You can get these "Influencers" to make a post and you can get a flood of customers for sometimes a very low cost. Now of course if you want someone like Kim Kardashian to advertise your stuff, it's going to cost way more, however, just because its not an A-list celebrity, it does not mean you can't start with a smaller influencer who has 10-50k followers. There will be a day when you can afford more expensive people but DO NOT discount this channel. Now for posts, you can either ask them to make a custom ad or you can simply make one yourself. It's a good idea to actually track and see if our ads are performing so my suggestion is, make a google spreadsheet and record everything, account, traffic received, conversion rate, how much you paid etc. It's very important data. However, if you want additional help with setting up tracking, I may do a separate post for that.
#6 Community Referrals: People keep talking how important community surrounding their business is but never actually take action and invest time and money building one. A strong community can make you a lot of money via referrals so never discount it. Dropbox grew to a large size because it rewarded its fans more storage if they invited their friends. This is a simple method but invests into rewarding your community and it will pay off.
7# Speaking: You know how well webinars work. This is because you connect to a potential buyer directly which has a huge impact on their buying decision. But talking also means more. Put on a seminar, webinar or even a proper engagement. Webinars are great if you are a bit frightened which is normal. Speaking is great to sell your ideas and products.
8# Offline events: South by Southwest is a huge event where tech companies show off their latest ideas and products. Seminars, small events etc are great to come face to face with potential customers and see what their problems and desires are. You can use these events as an onboarding tool for customers. Have some cash? Sponsor an event. You will be displayed and mentioned which attracts customers. Great way to connect with people.
9# SEO: I'm sure I don't really have to explain much when it comes to SEO. For people who are new, Search engine optimization is the practice of ranking your sites high on search engines for traffic. I was never personally a fan of SEO and it's still something I leave to the end. In my opinion, I would rather spend the money on buying media at will however for most people, this is something you shouldn't ignore. Make sure to put in a lot of effort into SEO as it will pay off.
10# SEM/Search Engine Marketing: This is one of my favorite strategies for getting traffic. It's essentially placing ads on search engines like google or bing by bidding on keywords. Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars EACH DAY attracting new customers.
11# Social Media and Display ads: Banners ads, facebook ads, twitter ads etc etc. This is one of my main ways of getting traffic. This includes all the social media platforms, google display network and more. Facebook is amazing for essentially guaranteed traffic on a reliable basis.
12# Offline ads: Direct mail, tv, billboards, radio etc. A lot of companies still use this channel however due to the recent shift online, it would be great to experiment offline. I've had a lot of success trying stuff offline where fewer people dominate. Some mediums are better than others. If you can track results do it.
13# Direct site leverage: I love this technique because of the immense leverage you can get. Approach blog owners in your industry and reach out to them. Many are very happy to strike a partnership and if one can be established, your business can propel upwards. Not only can you get semi-famous from the start (if the audience is big and the site is an authority site) but also a flood of customers. If you have the money, you can potentially buy the site fully and own the traffic. It's a pretty great underground method.
14# PR: This method is getting your company featured on tv, newspapers, and magazines. It involves finding an agent and is rarely used however its powerful as it can propel you into an authority.
15# Unconventional PR: Stuff like publicity stunts. Remember the red bull space jump? It's pretty great if you are creative. An interesting way to gain traction.
16# Email Marketing: Another channel most of you will be familiar with. It's very important because its a hard business asset you own. Its traffic and customers you own that you can sell too over and over until they leave. It's vital for most companies to build a list as quickly as possible.
17# Content Marketing: Never underestimate content marketing. If it's consistent and good, it can lead to major virality and publicity. Whatever business you're in, make sure you fully engage with this because it can lead to some explosive growth.
18# Native Content: Your ads that are disguised as content aka advertorials. If you can make compelling advertorials, it can lead to massive surges in sales. Services like taboola and revcontent are the places you want to go to if your plane going down the native commerce route. It's a very lucrative channel to consider because it defeats ad blindness.
19# Growth hacking/Viral Marketing: Creating your offer to have an inbuilt viral feedback loop. I would suggest visiting https://growthhackers.com/ to check this out more but its essentially creating your products to be viral from the ground up like Gmail which gave people who signed up to its service a link so they could send it to their friends. It creates a feedback loop where growth happens extremely fast.
20# Leveraging existing platforms: Getting your products on places like the apple app store etc which already have tens, if not, hundreds of millions of users ready to engage. It could be a very powerful way to leverage your customer acquisition.
I will keep this updated and I hope it helps. If there are any spelling errors, please excuse me, I'm on medication as of the time writing this.