5 Tips for Effective Multi-Channel Marketing
You can appreciate the fact that today’s consumer journey involves a sophisticated path paved with computers, phones, connected devices, tablets, and more. Consumers deftly switch from one device to another as they research answers to questions and ultimately decide who they want to give their money to. Your challenge is in engaging a potential customer across all these channels in a meaningful and relevant way. But as they move from one device to another, it often feels like you lose their attention.
That’s why it is imperative that you have a highly-effective multi-channel marketing strategy. Rather than simply attempting to wave a flag to get a consumer’s attention on one channel or another, your strategy should be cohesive, with defined goals that you work toward. Here are five best practices to help you offer a constant and consistent interaction with your customers, no matter what channel they’re on.
- Treat Each Channel as Its Own…But Connect the Dots
You can’t measure your desktop advertising campaign the way you would a mobile ad campaign, because they are two different animals. Conversions look different across channels. For a retailer, a mobile conversion might be if someone comes into the store and buys something, while for an ecommerce shop, a mobile conversion might mean someone signs up for their email list.
Consumers tend to search in the moment on mobile when they’re out and about, ready to buy, whereas when they’re on a desktop computer, they may just be starting to research options, and may not be prepared to take the next step.
The same goes for any other campaigns, be they social, email, content, SEO, or other. Set up metrics for each channel separately, but do pay attention to how they connect.You may find interesting parallels between different channels, so don’t silo them away from one another, and also don’t try to compare apples to mangoes.
- Observe, Understand, & React to Consumer Behaviors
With the right data and analytics, you can dive deep into how people act and react along the consumer journey. You might find that, when a consumer first researches solutions to their problem, they use a desktop, where they can easily read a lot of content. Then later, they might respond to a retargeted ad on their tablet. Knowing how to reach them on each channel — at each stage of the consumer journey — is essential for your multi-channel strategy.
- Market to People, Not Devices
It’s all too easy to get caught up in this idea of cross-device marketing. After all, if you can nail marketing on a given device, then you should be able to capture new customers. But remember: today’s consumer is savvier than at any point in the past. They don’t like being referred to as “ones and zeros.” They are looking for a meaningful connection with the brands that they buy from.
Rather than trying to reach your customer on every device, consider them as a person and their actual use and needs from that device. Here’s an example: a lot of businesses jumped on the app-designing bandwagon several years ago, but most of the apps they designed didn’t have inherent value to users. An app that simply helps users find the closest retail store of a brand is pretty much moot when Google will do the same. On the other hand, an app that offers exclusive discounts customized to a user’s shopping habits is supremely helpful. Apply this same concept of trying to provide value to the end user to your multi-channel marketing.
- Build Brand Loyalty
Beyond what channel you’re trying to reach a consumer, remember that, at the core of it all, they want a relationship with you. They wants to buy from brands that continue to give them a reason to care about them. Part of that is rewarding their loyalty. That might come in the form of a rewards program or giving them discounts if they refer you to their friends. But it also means having personalized interactions with them. Send customized emails with special offers she’s most likely to take advantage of, not the generic shotgun emails you send everyone else (well, don’t do that either!). Make the consumer feel like their one-and-only, and they’ll stick with you long-term.
- Know When to Fold ‘Em
Not every channel will be for you. Consider the social media wave of popularity a few years ago. In an effort to be with the “in crowd,” a lot of brands blindly created profiles on every social site known to man. That turned out to be a waste of energy, as they realized that their audience spent the majority of its time on only one or two social media sites.
The same goes for the multi-channel approach: understand that your audience may not use every device. If you cater to a demographic over the age of 60, mobile phones likely will not be a large part of their consumer journey. Knowing that, and instead putting more focus on the channels you know they frequent, will net you better results.
Gone are the days where your marketing centered around a single channel. We’re at the beginning of multi-channel marketing, so expect even more channels to come on board as potential avenues to reach your customer, like wearables, smart TVs, virtual reality, et cetera. The sooner you become adept to shifting your message to fit the medium, the faster you will prove to your audience that you are the brand they’re seeking.
Having a clearly-defined marketing strategy for your multi-channel approach will help you center your focus on the channels most appropriate for reaching your audience. Don’t be afraid to adapt your plan as needed, but do stay in line with those goals.