In today’s social media driven marketplace, if you’re not taking advantage of multi-channels, you have to wonder if you’re leaving opportunities on the table. Marketing dynamics are always changing, and the face of marketing looks very different than it did just 10 or even 5 years ago — inbound marketing, SEO, social media, data gathering, push notifications and the list goes on. Understanding multi-channel marketing is about understanding customers and being in all the same places they are. This means you can get more leads, but how do you do it?
What is Multi-Channel Marketing?
As businesses, we have always engaged in multi-channel marketing for lead generation. We likely have a storefront, a website, run some ads, conduct an email campaign, and may even try to post regularly on Facebook or Twitter.
But today, multi-channel marketing has broadened. We no longer reach our target audience with 2-3 touch points. Our interactions with them are more likely to happen on a dozen or more platforms in hundreds of ways. Multi-channel marketing means having a presence where they are — where they work, learn, socialize and even play.
Did you know…
- 72% of consumers say that they want to connect with brands through multiple channels
- 95% of marketing professionals say they get how important multi-channel marketing is
- And yet, only 14% of businesses say they are currently running coordinated multi-channel marketing campaigns
This is a tremendous lost opportunity for that other 86% and a competitive advantage for those who do get it, plan it, and execute a multi-channel strategy.
Why? Well… it’s a lot of work, but work that can drive a much higher ROI.
What Makes Multi-Channel Marketing Successful?
Without a solid strategy, we are just broadcasting seeds across hills and valleys, rock and sand, forests and meadows just to see what grows.
To get more leads – those that you can actually convert to sales – requires developing a multi-channel strategy with purpose and precision. You need the right marketing mix to reach your intended target.
- Know your buyer – inside and out (I know I say this to death, but it’s that important)
- Build a strong plan (one that can be carried out with the resources you have, or can get). And remember to create a consistent experience, with consistent branding across ALL channels.
- Execution – Consistently executing your plan is paramount. Marketing results typically gain exponential results over time – like a snowball. If you’re not consistent, taking 1-2 month pauses between campaigns, changes, analytics, your results will suffer.
- Analytics – Reporting, review, and tweaking the process is so critical to success. Don’t risk your company’s success on platforms that don’t produce results (or can’t produce reports you need). Often times, saving a couple hundred bucks a month can end up costing you thousands in the long run.
What Challenges Do Marketers Face?
Difficulty Targeting – Multi-channel marketing is reaching your audience where they are. That means you may need to be on three social channels instead of one, or guest posting instead of just posting on your own blog.
Each platform for customer contact has its own set of rules, processes, unique audience, so reaching your target in the right place with the right message at the right time in a way that provokes immediate action is important.
Capture their Attention, Interest, Engagement and then their Action. If you are missing one of these, the chain can break and the impression remains just an impression as it scrolls unheeded off the screen.
People move – Your target’s on Facebook, now Pinterest, then SnapChat, Vimeo and beyond. Developing and coordinating your message to span the places that your target will interact requires evaluating and re-evaluating where, when and how you’re reaching those prospects.
Not getting the whole picture – Since businesses are found on multiple channels, it’s increasingly difficult to get the whole picture. The same customer or demographic may behave differently on a different platform.
Engaging on one platform may lead to action on a different platform. Cutting that first platform because it ‘appeared’ ineffectual could significantly impact your results. So it’s important to understand just how your multiple channels work together for an effective multi-channel campaign.
How Do They Address These Challenges?
Addressing these challenges, requires:
Gathering the right data across channels – Through this they develop an understanding of the who, what, where and when customers are interacting within various channels and at what point the customer is taking action.
Connecting the dots – Maintaining a single view of a customer across platforms allows for improved targeting. You have to know everywhere a customer was touched to better understand the path that led to conversion.
Proper analytics and reporting can help you easily see how channels impact results on other channels. With closed-loop analytics you can see which channels are working and, more importantly, which channels you can get drop from your strategy.
If your systems don’t currently allow for simple reporting like this, consider evaluating the cost of switching (and more importantly, the cost of not switching). Hubspot offers strong reporting on multi-channel efforts. [If you need a smaller platform, let us know. We can help you find one that works for you and your goals.]
Creating consistency across channels – Your customer must always know that it’s you. Whether subconsciously or consciously, every touch point gets you closer to a sale.
Whether they interact in a physical store, see an ad on another website, follow you on social media or subscribe to notifications or emails, every time they see you, they shouldn’t have to think too hard to know that it’s you, reminding them that they were going to make a purchase.
Remember, it’s all about the customer experience regardless of where they see you.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Bombarded with choices and perhaps a bit more selective than earlier consumer generations, it can take 6-8 touches — and according to some studies many more — to get a viable sales lead.
Prospects aren’t easily sold with promises of great customer service and the best prices; they need something more. They need to feel that your brand is a part of their ecosystem and that they are a part of yours.
Who you are and how you relate to your target is part of your brand and presence in their lives. And if it’s not consistent and present across channels, you’ve just missed another touch and sales conversion opportunity that you can’t afford to lose.
How many different channels are you using to market your business?
There are so many different channels available to marketers today: social media, blogging, email marketing, paid search, organic search, guest posts… which have you found to be most successful?
For success tips on marketing channels, download this (free) ebook offering 30 lead generation tactics.