Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of “cross-channel marketing”. Now lift it even higher if you understand the ins and outs of creating a successful cross-channel campaign.
Chances are not many of you took that second step because cross-channel marketing is a relatively new approach that is evolving almost as quickly as new marketing channels arise. As such, finding success can be tricky. But it’s not impossible, especially if you understand the challenges, benefits, and strategies.
By definition, cross-channel marketing seems really simple. It’s just the practice of using multiple types of media to reach consumers. How hard can that be, right? Send an email, hand out some postcards, post a few ads on Facebook and call it a day.
While that certainly is an example of cross-channel marketing, customers expect a lot from the businesses they buy from…and a disjointed campaign can do more harm than good. “Most customers don’t think specifically about whether or not their favorite stores are reaching them via a variety of channels, but they do think about convenience,” explains Amit Bhaiya, founder and CEO of DotcomWeavers. “They want to deal with businesses who understand what they want, when they want it, and how they like to receive that information. Throwing all kinds of information at them with the hope that something will stick, isn’t going to work.”
This is why understanding the challenges, benefits, and strategies of cross-channel marketing can give you an advantage over your competition.
With so many different avenues to reach consumers, it’s easy to see potential challenges of cross-channel marketing:
• It requires tremendous coordination—If you’re going to use multiple forms of media to reach your customers, it’s important to build a campaign that is consistent across the chosen media. Said another way, successful cross-channel efforts require cross-promotions that build off each other.
• Not all businesses need to use every form of media—Your business might not need radio or television, for example. Maybe it needs only social media and telephone. Understanding your customers’ favorite channels is critical.
• Be prepared to spend a lot of time (and maybe money)—With so many moving parts to coordinate, it’s highly likely you’ll need to devote a significant amount of time to ensure each used channel is feeding off the other channel. Will that mean more staff? Maybe. Will it require testing and re-testing, almost certainly.
Although the challenges of cross-channel marketing might scare some folks away, the benefits might draw them back in:
• It can lead to increased brand recognition—By reaching customers across a variety of media, you are bolstering your brand through multiple touch points in the consumer’s life. Think about the potential to outpace your competition by not only reaching more customers but becoming a more recognized brand.
• You receive important customer data—Giving your customers choices about how they choose to interact with your organization provides extremely valuable data about how to reach out in future marketing efforts. If you know that a certain batch of customers never responds to your email notifications but loves your mobile updates, you are one step closer to improving your conversion rates (and decreasing your time and energy pursuing cold leads).
The Steps to Success
We’ve already acknowledged that success with cross-channel marketing starts and ends with data/tracking. To that end, here are three strategies that can help you improve your connections and conversions:
• Mix-up your cross-channel efforts—One of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of your cross-channel efforts is to test the channels via similar communications. For example, if you include your telephone number and website address in one email campaign, remove the telephone number from another email campaign (but leave everything else the same). This will help reveal the relevance of your telephone contacts.
• Communicate internally—Cross-channel marketing often involves a variety of different team leads. One for social. Another for print. One for TV. Another for web. Etc. As such, it is crucial for these teams to dialogue frequently to ensure the campaigns are cohesive. “I heard a story recently where a company used one website address in their email campaign, but a different one in their social media efforts,” Bhaiya says. “Even though the addresses led to the same site, customers who received both campaigns had no idea which one was right. The company’s reputation for clarity and professionalism was tarnished.”
• Consider the customer—With cross-channel marketing, success frequently hinges on your ability to reach customers how and when they want to be reached. So, set up your metrics to gauge the channels (or channel combinations) that drive the best results, as well as the effectiveness of the timing of your communications.
Knowing that customers typically need several touch points before marking a purchase, cross-channel marketing has the potential to boost your conversions while simultaneously improving your customer experience. But—like many things in life—success will likely take time, energy and insight. Are you ready?
If you’d like to speak with a professional about cross-channel marketing for your business, contact DotcomWeavers at [email protected] or 888.315.6518.