CommonLounge Archive

How to choose a marketing channel?

December 24, 2017

Testing marketing channels

The Bullseye Framework is a simple framework that helps you to choose the ideal traction channel for the current state of your company.

Read up on each of the 19 channels in this list, then brainstorm ideas for every channel. Use your knowledge of the industry and the history of companies similar to yours to come up with ideas.

Take your time to choose a meaningful strategy for each section. Don’t skip over this section—many startups don’t succeed because they’ve overlooked a channel that could really help them.

Be aware of your own biases. Don’t skip a channel just because it’s not traditionally associated with your field. That may be the creative angle you need to set yourself apart from the competition.

Next, choose a handful of channels that seem promising, and run cheap traction tests for each. Stick to the ideas that excite you.

Your tests should answer the following questions:

  • How much will it cost to acquire customers?
  • How many customers are available in this channel?
  • Are they the kind of customers we want?

Don’t spend a lot of time, effort, or money at this stage. Work cheaply and gather just enough data to answer the above questions.

Finally, choose the best channel based on the results of the test. Once you’ve chosen the channel, focus 100% of your efforts on it.

Don’t split your efforts between two channels, or you won’t be effective at either. Just focus on the best one.

Congratulations! This is your core channel.

If you couldn’t find a good channel during testing, repeat the process again. Figure out where you went wrong. Maybe your product or messaging needs to be tweaked.

Get advice from other startup founders who have already been through this stage.

And don’t throw away your ideas from the other channels—you may be able to use them in the future.

Testing strategies

Once you’ve chosen your core channel, you’ll need to test multiple strategies to find the best place to start your marketing efforts.

Do quick, cheap tests to validate the strategies you brainstorm within the channel. Answer the same questions as the Bullseye Framework.

Create a spreadsheet to compare data from each test. Your columns should include: how many customers are available, the conversion rate, the cost to acquire a customer, and the lifetime value of a customer. This will help you to uncover each strategy’s earning potential.

Once you’ve chosen one or two strategies, keep testing and tweaking them to improve your results.

Keep all your tests focused on numbers (even if they’re only estimates).

All good strategies eventually catch on, become saturated, and lose their effectiveness. Once your current strategy wears out, you’ll need to find a new one.

Feel free to use other channels to support your efforts in your core channel. They often compliment each other.

Identifying the critical path

Once you’ve created your traction goal, you’ll need to work backwards to create subgoals and their deadlines.

Brainstorm the milestones that are absolutely necessary to reach your goal. This is the critical path. Don’t waste time on activities that won’t move you closer to your goals.

After reaching every milestone, reassess your critical path and adjust it if necessary.

© 2016-2022. All rights reserved.