Understanding and Optimizing Growth Channels | CXL Week 3 Review

Abdulsamod Balogun
5 min readFeb 28, 2021
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Growth channels are not strange to marketers. We use them every day in a bid to reach set business targets. But do marketers understand them well enough? Maybe, maybe not.

I’ll come back to this.

The first two weeks of CXL’s growth marketing Minidegree scholarship have been quite packed and intense. We’ve walked through an introduction to growth marketing, growth experiments, and user-centric marketing. If you missed the summaries of my key learnings from the program, you can catch up at your own pace here.

Back to the growth channels, how do you know what channels fit your brand goals, track channel performance, measure results, and iterate?

I spent the past week going through lessons in growth channel identification and optimization, and conversion research.

I’ve summarized the key ideas and points below;

Don’t spread yourself too thin

It’s difficult for companies in the early stages to have an equally amazing engagement at all of the channels. It’s also not a best practice for an established brand to be using all growth marketing channels.

Essentially, It’s about knowing where your own audience is and positioning for success in this business

You cannot be successful at all of the channels. Identify which channels are largely working for you — either as a startup or large corporate.

But How do you pick your first channel?

1. Study the channel that your audience uses and is engaging with.

2. Identify the channels that are a clear mismatch for you. E.g. if you’re a B2B company, social media shouldn’t be your topmost channel. You can dabble in it but it’s not a top priority.

3. Test your identified channel

4. Avoid channels that are too competitive. Start with SEO — the inexpensive one of the pile. If you have some budget, test the channels but if not, start with SEO.

5. Measure😀

Measure the results — How do you measure the results of the channel?

Good marketers focus on channels that give high ROI and a high ability to scale. Others focus on platforms that have a low ability to scale.

How do you identify failing channels?

Focus on what your data says and not what others are doing. Do not try to set standards based on surface-level knowledge of your competitors’ ads. When the ROI is low, the chance to scale is low.

Know this and know peace. Know when to cut your losses.

Give your channels time to succeed

When you find the channels that do well for your brand, give it time to succeed and scale. Then double down on it.

Experiment with new channels

As a startup or new company, you get the opportunity to play around channels, experiment, and test. You get to have a headstart on those channels. Reddit, for example, was first used by some individuals before some others come to its realization, etc

New channels/technologies include AR, VR tech, etc

There are five digital marketing channels available — Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social & Display Ads, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing.

Search Engine Marketing (pay per click)

Tools: Google Adwords and Microsoft Bing

In fact, marketers spend over $100 million on these channels weekly

SEM requires constant optimization. To do that you need to be looking at your keyword search traffic, search trends, and fluctuation on PPC cost.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Tools: Google AdWords keyword tool, Moz keyword explorer and Ahrefs

SEO encompasses the technical and creative elements required to …improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in search engines.

Google handles 2 trillion searches per year. That’s a lot yeah? If you’re not using SEO, you’re definitely leaving money on the table.

Myths about the SEO

1. You shouldn’t waste time on SEO, it’s automatic.

That’s untrue. Before crawling your site, Google looks at the domain authority (how the site compares to others in your industry), Page authority (how well your site is set up), content schedule (how frequently do you publish new content), Popularity (a combination of site traffic, CTR, bounce rate and time-on-site).

2. You have to rank number 1 for a certain keyword. The keyword with the high search volume may not be the one that will get you to the front page.

3. SEO is dead. Nope! SEO lives.

What KPIs should you track?

  • Sessions and visits — how much traffic from a source
  • Goal completions — set goals
  • Revenue
  • Goal conversion rate
  • Bounce rate

How should you approach Keyword research?

  • Assess your competitors
  • Determine high search volume terms
  • Prioritize your content accordingly

What should you do in a Content Gap analysis?

  • Compare competitors strategies
  • Assess your current approach
  • Build a roadmap to reach your goals

Social and display ads

Tools include Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.

These are typical banner ads you see on other people’s websites and social media pages.

Social may be time-consuming and you may need to hire managers but some tools can help with the process.

Facebook and Twitter are typically used by B2C companies

Instagram works for brands in e-commerce, fashion, lifestyle, etc.

LinkedIn works very well for B2B. You can target professionals and C-suite executives on the channel.

Myths of SM Marketing

  1. ROI is not quantifiable — Google analytics now allows you to see and monitor your traffic. Almost all Social media platforms also provide on-platform analytics.
  2. SM is just branding and impressions and has no connection to sales or business bottom line. You can do more now, you can generate new leads and also build, create and engage in deeper relationships with customers.

What should you not track?

Vanity metrics — misleading metrics that don’t necessarily equate to success. For some brands, the number of followers, likes, and shares are not reflective. Good metrics reflect business objectives.

Testing messaging strategies on social media

  1. Test the time to message your audience — morning, noon, etc
  2. Test the type of content — Gifs
  3. Test the CTA
  4. Test the link to video and posts
  5. Test your offer

Email marketing

This is one of the oldest channels for growth but it still converts like crazy especially for new prospects. It’s also great for retaining and engaging customers with personalized messaging.

Content Marketing

This is largely about crafting and leveraging the power for compelling content to bolster brand goals.

See you at the next one.



Abdulsamod Balogun

Communications and PR Lead, Leonine Investment Services Limited. Enthused about Technology, New Media, Finance and Leadership.