Few businesses today can establish a robust marketing plan based on a single channel. Here’s how you can use the multichannel approach to build your local business.
What is multichannel marketing?
A marketing channel is a type of media or mode of communication that connects you with potential customers. Google search, Facebook, referrals, billboards, and the phone are all potential marketing channels.
Multichannel marketing, then, is a strategy that employs as many of these channels as can be effective in your marketing plan. Often, you’ll get them to work together as people move through their buying journey. The idea is that the more presence you have across channels, the more chance you have to reach and be remembered by prospects.
Tip #1: Determine Your Best Channels
There are a lot of marketing channels businesses can target. So many, in fact, that determining what’s best and will have value is a challenge.
There are certain lead-generation channels that are basically mandatory for local lead generation, the main ones being Google search and website marketing.
Other channels, like social media or digital radio, may be more effective for brand advertising and retargeting. You may even want to stick with a few traditional tactics like print media or radio ads.
Prioritize the channels that are most effective and that lend themselves to your business. For example, a local plumber will want to focus resources on Google search. But a fashion boutique may get more results through Instagram.
Your priority channels are the ones that are most likely to result in leads and sales.
Your secondary channels are where you nurture leads and build brand awareness. These are channels where you spread things out with the goal of “renting” space in people’s minds. The long-term value of these channels can be just as great as your primary channels.
With multichannel marketing, you’ll need to capture data so you understand what’s working and what isn’t. You’ll discover that some channels exceed expectations while others might underperform. The only way to know for sure is to test them out.
#2. Determine Your Budget
The number of channels you can invest in is budget dependent. The more visibility you can gain the better, but it may not be within your budget to do everything.
To estimate (for a local business), use the figure of $20 per day per channel. So, say you choose Google, Facebook, and local digital billboards. Your budget estimate would be $60 a day or about $1800 per month.
Your goal is to reach at least break even on your spend, then grow both in profitability and investment from there.
#3. Determine Your Campaign Time-Frames
Directly connected to your budget is the time-frames you’ll apply to your marketing channels.
Again, to make a general estimate, use a 6-month time frame. So with the three channel approach, you’d want to plan for $10,800 6-month budget.
6-months is the initial minimum time benchmark we’ve found to be necessary, in particular to gain traction with your primary channels.
After 6-months, take a hard look at what’s working and what isn’t. Make changes based on that data and expand based on your brand awareness goals.
#4. Track Your Success
With multichannel marketing, you don’t just look at your channels and tactics in isolation. You want to take a blended approach that helps you track the overall lift to your brand.
So, look at your overall traffic, conversion, and cost per acquisition numbers. Over the 6-month period you want to see improvements in each area.
You also want to look for signals that your brand is gaining in the marketplace. Look for growth in your social followings and increases in direct website as well as brand search traffic. A strong KPI for multichannel marketing is growth in these brand signals.
The data on Marketing 360® will help you track these blended metrics.
#5. Social Proof and Reputation
An important channel in multichannel marketing is reputation management. This sometimes gets overlooked, which is a mistake because it’s often the last, crucial step in the local consumer’s buying journey.
You’ve done all this work to gain exposure across multiple channels. Leads know your brand, looked up your website by name, and they’re ready to convert into a customer.
But most of the time, one more step occurs. They check your online reviews and may also visit your social media channels. They want to know how you are with people.
The reviews verify you do good work. Social media verifies you’re active in your community and focused on making positive connections with people.
This is a crucial last step in the multichannel journey. Don’t overlook it.
#6. Use a CRM
Multichannel marketing coincides with a customer journey. It’s a journey that’s ongoing.
You’ll want to use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track this journey, from initial lead to ongoing customer.
CRM software not only tracks activity, it also automates some of your execution; in particular, email marketing.
Without this type of software, you won’t have a way to track individuals as they move through your marketing channels, which will decrease their overall effectiveness.
It’s a multichannel, digital world out there. It’s where your customers live, so it’s where you need to be.