Refresher: The Top 4 Digital Channels

Each channel has its strengths and weaknesses. Here are the core 4 channels and the main considerations for each.

Paid Search

The two most common paid search platforms are Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. They are popular because they work.

Strength – Fast results and clear outcomes (it’s relatively easy to evaluate your spend vs your result).

Weakness – More expensive than other channels, competitive risk, will get more expensive over time.

Use paid search to learn about your target audience, market limited time events, and maintain a platform presence over your competitors.

Organic Search

Organic search is primarily through Google (excluding the ads). Top results in Google search validate your authority on a topic or in an industry.

Strength – A strong website and high rankings is an asset for your organization. This channel gets stronger with time and less expensive.

Weakness – Requires longterm planning and takes time to build.

An organic presence is a requirement for all organizations. How much you invest in this channel depends on your longterm goals and ability to execute. It takes time to build up a presence through your website but because you own the content (as opposed to renting via ads) you build more value.

Social Media

The primary social media channel for each market segment will be different. The most popular for environmental organizations are usually Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Strength – Leverage networks to reach more people and interact with your community.

Weakness – People are usually on social media for news and entertainment, not to find solutions to their problems.

The biggest risk with social media platforms is mistaking vanity metrics for real progress. Likes, comments, and shares are important and are valid metrics in the right context. In the wrong context they may lead you into investing in campaigns that aren’t really supporting your organization’s growth.

Email

If you have the privilege of accessing someone’s inbox, use it wisely.

Strength – Direct communication with your subscribers.

Weakness – Building and segmenting lists can be costly and difficult.

Email is one of the most powerful channels when used properly. Make sure you understand your follower’s motivations and communicate with them accordingly.

Segmenting your email lists is critical. You will lose trust by sending irrelevant emails or too many too quickly… but you will gain brand advocates by emailing the right information at the right time.