Online Marketing Face-Off: The Best Channels For Your Business

In the spirit of March Madness, we pitted 8 online marketing channels against each other to find out which ones small business owners like best.

Here’s how they voted, with our own expert analysis of the qualities that make each channel the better choice for marketing a small business.

Here’s the final outcome:

ROUND 1


Facebook vs Pinterest | Winner: Facebook

What Makes Facebook Better:
Most online marketing mediums are a fad. Surprisingly, Facebook is still here and that’s a good thing.” -from a Facebook user

While Pinterest might not be just a “fad” as our Facebook commenter suggests, it does tend to be more niche-specific than Facebook. Facebook, on the other hand, is easily leveraged by all kinds of businesses, whether you’re a local establishment or an online consultant.

Pinterest depends on big, beautiful images that other users can get inspired by. That makes it perfect for artists, designers and retailers. In fact, 69% of people have purchased something that they saw on Pinterest. But if your business is outside of those niches, you might have a harder time finding success on the network.

Facebook doesn’t depend on visuals like Pinterest does. While photos tend to make followers interact with your post more (by liking or commenting on it), you can also make text only posts and reach your audience that way.

Text Messaging vs Email | Winner: Email

What Makes Email Better:
Email all the way. Text messaging seems tooooo private for me.” -from a Facebook user

Most consumers share this sentiment – only 9% of people want text messages from businesses and most admit that text messages don’t impact their buying decisions at all.

People are used to seeing marketing emails in their inboxes. 77% of consumers actually prefer marketing messages as emails than through any other medium.

Text messaging is still too intrusive – and both marketers and consumers feel it. If you want a response from your customers, email is definitely the way to go.

Google+ vs Twitter | Winner: Twitter

What Makes Twitter Better:
I actually have found more useful information that I have benefited from on Twitter. Twitter’s brevity is a huge plus.” -from a Facebook user

Google+ might give your SEO a boost, but Twitter has a more vibrant community.

Twitter’s brevity of 140 characters or less means you can make a meaningful connection in less time and share or glean useful information without scrolling through long status updates.

YouTube vs Blog | Winner: Blog

What Makes Blogging Better:
YouTube has its place in marketing and can even drive traffic to your site, but nothing beats a blog for keeping people interested once they get to your site.

You can distribute a variety of content through a blog that will keep people coming back and linking to you. YouTube can help with your initial push, but a blog keeps them interacting with your site.

Plus, you might find blogging easier for your business. You don’t need to be a New York Times best-selling author to whip up a quick post your audience will appreciate. The only equipment you need is your computer and your fingers.

Quality YouTube videos take more work. You may need to invest in lighting equipment, a good camera and some sound equipment to give your video a professional feel. Some businesses just don’t have the time or the resources for that.

ROUND 2


Facebook vs Email | Winner: Email

What Makes Email Better:
Facebook clobbered Pinterest in the first round, but it was almost no contest against email.

Email is more personal, one-on-one communication with your readers. Plus, you face less of a risk of getting buried in someone’s news feed and your message getting missed. Email puts you in your readers’ faces in a way Facebook can’t always do.

Twitter vs Blog | Winner: Blog

What Makes Blogging Better:
Quality is better than quantity. Twitter is too impersonal.” -from a Facebook user

Twitter beat out Google+ in the first round because of its brevity. But sometimes brevity can equal impersonal.

Twitter is great for getting quick updates out to your followers, but a blog gives you space to tell your story. Stories connect and resonate with your audience in a way short tweets might miss.

The persuasive power of storytelling wins out over short and timely tweets.

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND


Email vs Blog | Winner: Email

What Makes Email Better:
Email campaigns and blogs are both mediums for telling your brand’s story. But the big problem with a blog is that you need to rely on your readers to bookmark your site and come back again.

Most people check their email at least once a day. If you’re emailing your readers – whether it’s with your blog posts or a newsletter or a special announcement – they’re more likely to see it in their inbox.

YOUR ANALYSIS


What do you think? Do you agree with the outcome and our analysis? Would you have liked to see a different winner? Do you think the right channel ultimately won? Tell us why in the comments!