How to evaluate and select a client acquisition channel

Do you want a framework to evaluate digital marketing channels? To help you decide if an SEO backlink campaign would be more effective than boosted Tweets? Or if spending time on conversion rate optimization would produce better results than an interests-based Facebook campaign?

You can quickly jump into Instagram organic engagement or ad placement and do the same on TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat and other platforms. Before you do anything, try this review activity.

I’ve got seven criteria you can use to review, evaluate and judge which acquisition channel is a good starting place.

Table of Contents for the Evaluation Framework

Why would you review a digital marketing channel?

You do the review to gain strategic advantage, save costs or streamline processes. Each customer acquisition method has unique advantages.

Activities like working on your digital content in a blog or email list have a different value and outcome than an organic social media campaign.

Then each Social Media platform narrows to distinct features which draw in its user base.

  • Facebook and Instagram have a massive user base which means connection options.
  • While Twitter is comparatively small, the user base can fit buyers with a high lifetime value.
  • SEO is one of the most effective acquisition channel strategies.
  • Other than fostering your email newsletter and internal buyer lists.
  • And conversion rate optimization.
  • You can run an Organic Social Media campaign for three months
  • Or a Paid ad campaign for a week or shorter.

With so many effective options available, you want to judge them consistently without bias.

When you begin reviewing channels, you have to look from 50,000 feet—a view of the general characteristics of each platform.

  • Facebook users may be older millennials and Gen-Xers who value the interface, features and connections.
  • Instagram users are tech-savvy millennials who love the media.
  • Twitter users are across the board but tech-savvy, dedicated, and there for debate and conversation.
  • TikTok users are active and engaged but it’s a younger crowd that may not spend B2B or high dollar B2C products. Plus, they intent to buy isn’t there as much as other platforms.

(If you want to discuss other platforms or details get in touch with me.)

Your strategic advantage is rapidly gaining insight you can leverage to make the right decision regardless of the channel or platform.

evaluate digital marketing channels

What is a digital acquisition channel?

An acquisition channel is any interactive media you control (or is viral) and you can track.

Again back up to 50,000 feet regarding channels. At a high level, do you have brand or product recognition at the local, regional or national level?
If your product or service is fantastic and recognizable, you do Product Led Marketing.

If you do lead generation or word of mouth, hang a sign and make inbound sales or do site, phone or Zoom visits, then do Channel Led Marketing.

From there, drop down to 30,000 feet and see client acquisition in four lanes.

  • Paid acquisition
  • Content acquisition
  • Sales acquisition
  • Viral acquisition

As with many things, some channels and strategies span more than one lane.

  • Organic Social Media Campaign on Twitter is some content creation (Content) and lead generation (Sales), and you hope for a retweet with a comment (Viral).
  • One of the benefits is that retweets drive targeted people to your Twitter Profile, which has a call to action back to your website.

You don’t know for sure without at least evaluation. Let’s begin.

The XWebNow List of Digital Acquisition Channels

The client acquisition channel list as of this blog post update date.

  • Your website is a digital marketing channel with many strategic options.
  • Email is one of the best channels. In fact, I say it’s one of the best.
  • In-app Ads for all free and trial period iPhone and Android apps.
  • Paid Channel platforms with advertising structures
    • Amazon ads
    • App Store ads
    • Bing ads
    • Facebook ads
    • Google Search ads
    • Google Display ads
    • Google Shopping ads
    • Instagram ads
    • LinkedIn ads
    • Quora ads
    • Pinterest ads
    • Snapchat ads
    • TikTok ads
    • YouTube ads
    • Twitter ads
  • Organic Social Platform Growth
    • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and more.
  • Influencer Outreach and Marketing to their audience
  • Content acquisition channels
    • Search engine optimization
    • User-generated content
    • Viral content
    • Organic social media

There’s more ways to get customers, and within each channel and platform are unique strategies and opportunities.
Find buyers with one of these channels and refine that process before venturing into another.

7-Step Framework to Evaluate a Channel

It takes effort, time and (paid placement) money to get traction on a channel. Take an intelligent approach and use a framework to make decisions.

Read through and decide for yourself.

You’ll evaluate using practical criteria. You want enough to make an informed decision, but there’s action to take, so it must take a little time.

Your criteria are straightforward because let’s keep this simple.

  • Cost
  • Scale
  • Targeting
  • Context
  • Level of Effort
  • Results timeframe

Go through steps one to seven, keeping your Persona and Ideal Client Profile in mind.

Step 1 - Cost evaluating a channel

Cost depends on your skills, experience, resources (people) and time available. The channels have mixed costs because of rapid feature growth and other factors.

  • Organic Social Engagement is free because of the platform structure but effort and time are not free. If you value long-term buyer relationships and have brand strength, then this can work for you.
  • Paid Ad placement has view, impression or clicks costs and someone has to run the campaign which is effort and time spent.
  • On-page optimization is a lower-skilled task than backlink outreach if you engage in SEO. Anyone can analyze backlinks; the actual craft involves communication with the correct web admins.

You can make an effort yourself if you have the knowledge and skills. Having no experience will cost more than lots of specific understanding. Delegating to staff means they’re not doing other work and outsourcing means you have to manage the project.

  • Launch, maintenance, optimization costs along with your time, staff time along with admin and HR.
  • Meetings, discussions, asset creation, copywriting, review, rework and email after email.
  • Organic growth lacks media cost but is balanced with time effort and knowledge requirements.
  • Paid ads require budget spend, knowledge, skills and experience to preserve ROI.
  • Outsourcing to professionals; designers, writers, marketers, developers, strategists.

Step 2 - Scale of your market in a channel

If you have an open mind and look at the Social Platforms and traditional SEO from a buyer intent and content perspective you’ll see opportunity. Meaning, don’t just look at volume, look at engagement and use numbers.

Paid Ads and placement will get you results but you must target, track, test and watch your budget spend.

You probably want specific examples, no problem.

  • Google Paid Ads (search, display, shopping, YouTube) have the most volume. There’s plenty of paid placement options.
  • Facebook has a massive user base, followed by Instagram, then Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest.
  • Side note: how large is your target market really? (10,000 people, 100,000, 1mm ?)
  • A website can have informative and helpful blog posts which are Google and Bing optimized pages designed to rank for key phrases your buyers use while researching, comparing, deciding and purchasing your product or service. Each post should have a call to action CTA. Why not rank your pages over anyone else’s? Especially for a region.
  • Twitter users are there for much different reasons than SnapChat, Facebook and Pinterest users.
  • But Twitter is well known for high Lifetime Value Buyer engagement. Twitter users are loyal, they go every day and love to engage.  You should see how Delta and other enterprises consistently run Paid campaigns on Twitter.
  • TikTok is full of opportunity.
  • YouTube is still underutilized and an excellent Paid Ad channel.

Step 3 - Targeting your market in a channel

Each channel, other than Google Shopping Ads, allows some level of control, setting and targeting.

By targeting I mean either by keyphrase on Google Search Ads or by demographics and audience, which can includes keyword, interest, and topic-based targeting. 

Step 4 - Context of the channel

This criterion describes what the audience is doing on the channel. TikTok users watch and post videos, comment, interact, and engage. Users on Twitter see videos, but there are other attractions; they want text-based interaction. Facebook is all over the map, but you can zero in on people.

Step 5 - Level of Effort for channel traction

The work and time required to get traction on a channel. Yes, closely related to cost but you may want to see this information.

Step 6 - Buyer intent on the channel

Will you get buyers on the channel? Or whatever your conversion event is, a lead form, email subscriber or purchase. Is your market in the buying mindset and close to that conversion event?

Step 7 - Results timeframe for channel benefit

Self-explanatory but spoiler alert. Organic social campaigns take longer. Paid ads can be almost immediate, usually next day and you get engagement or a flop and everything in between.

If you’re interesting in breaking into a digital channel and need help, get in touch with Eric.

Google Search Ads

Cost

  • You set a bid payment option for keyword phrases and pay when visitors click.
  • You’ll pay more for higher-demand keyphrases, like economics.
  • Bid costs can quickly get out of control, so you must set daily limits.

Scale

  • Google has more users than any platform.
    Scale is limited only by searches for the keyword phrases you target.
  • Your ideal buyers search either directly on Google or see Google results if they don’t use Bing or aren’t on a Social Platform.
  • There may be an illusion of multiple search engines, but it’s Google. Bing is a distant 2nd but you must still optimize for the engine.

Targeting

  • Keyword
  • Location and Language
  • Audiences/Remarketing list
  • Devices
  • Ad schedules (time of day, day of week)
  • Gender, Age
  • Household income (Lower 50%, Top 41-50, etc.)

Intent

  • Your buyers are on this channel.
  • Your ad’s message should compel visitors to click and
    your landing page should take over.
  • Yes, execute strategy correctly, and you’ll get leads, subscribers, buyers or conversion events.

Context

  • It’s Google; people do whatever they do.
  • It’s a noun, a verb.

Notes

  • You need to have a high lifetime value customer.
  • Meaning your product or service can’t be low cost.
  • Because you’ll pay for clicks, your acquisition cost will be $50+, so you should be aware of CAC.

Google Ads – Start A Google Ads Campaign

Does the content in this post provide you value or make you curious? Please let me know if you have questions.

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