How do I identify new sales channels and marketing channels for my business?

Question: “How do I identify new sales channels and marketing channels for my business?” — Matt

This is a great question, or maybe, these are great questions and ones that every business owner should be asking themselves regularly.

The long answer:

To unpack this, let’s start at the beginning: sales vs marketing.

The simplest way to think about sales vs marketing is marketing is the process of getting a lead and sales is the process of converting the lead. The key to all of this is really understanding “the lead” or the actual human or type of humans who will do business with you.

So now let’s answer the question, “What is a channel?”

Basically, it is the path between the manufacturer of the product or service and the customer. So a marketing channel could be a retailer or Facebook. A sales channel could be follow up emails after a product demo.

Okay, enough with the academic approach to this. Let’s chat about finding more customers because that is what this question is really about. Most younger companies want to talk about better Facebook ads, or email strategies, or new marketing tactics to accomplish this. Most older companies want to talk about new distributors or retailers. Again the aim of all of this is more new customers.

How do you find new customers? By knowing your existing customers better.

Most business owners know ABOUT their customers buy they don’t KNOW their customers. You know ABOUT your friend’s kids. You KNOW your kids. You know ABOUT dogs. You KNOW your dog. When you know ABOUT your customers you can often rattle off demographic information about them. You might say things like, “My customer is a 25–40-year-old mother of 2.” While this might be true, this doesn’t tell you anything other than census data. And this is a poor predictor of behavior. In America, heck even in your city, there is nearly a limitless number of situations where a lady could be anywhere between the age of 25 and 40 with 2 kids. And it is that other information that causes her to purchase from you or not. With just that much information you could get a Syrian refugee who just arrived in your country or the Governor’s daughter.

If you KNOW your customer you might say things like, “I mostly serve moms who worry about providing their kids the healthiest food for their budget.” This is more psychographic information. It brings clarity about why the customer might be doing business with you. It illuminates what might be motivating their behavior.

Armed with this information about WHY they do business with you, you can study the different ways that these types of people go about solving these types of problems. Moms who worry about their kid’s food choices make surprising similar purchase decisions at surprising similar places. You can then ask yourself the following questions:


  • Where do they hang out offline/online?
  • What do they buy?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they do daily?
  • What organizations are they in?
  • What iPhone/Android or FB apps do they have?
  • What do they read?
  • What events do they attend?
  • What do they watch on TV?


  • What or Who do they hate?
  • What are their passions?
  • What are their major HOT points?
  • What are their top fears and frustrations- what keeps them up at night?
  • What makes them mad?
  • What do they worry about?
  • What are their top wants and desires?
  • What’s the outcome that they really want in whatever area of their lives that we’re involved in? What are they really after?
  • What is the end goal they think they want?
  • What or whom do they love?
  • Who do they admire?
  • What music, movies, actors do they like?
  • What do they often say?
  • What are niche phrases that they often use?
  • What does your product do or give your prospect that he or she doesn’t know about?

If you take the time to answer these questions you might find the unexpected and new channels you are looking for.

The short answer:

Get to know your existing customers better.

Here are some great lists of sales and marketing channel ideas:

13 Types of Sales Channels

50 Ways to Make Your First Sale

The BIG list of marketing channels

The amazing photo is from this website: