The Yellow Pages…single-channel marketing. A strategy about as dead as the printed yellow book whose main purpose today is as a door-stop.
Digital marketing of today is – by its very nature – multi-channel. The varied, constantly updating platforms we use on the internet make multi-channel inherent.
Even the smallest local business needs a search channel and a social media channel. And for some businesses, the traditional channels of print, TV, and radio still have ROI. Multi-channel marketing is everywhere:
The truck wrap is a type of local print/banner advertising. But included are the website domain (online) and SMS text (mobile phone) channels.
This creates more touch points and options for leads. They’re exposed to the brand and can visit a website, phone, or text to inquire about services.
Today, being multi-channel in your marketing approach is not a question. The real question is how effective you are at cross-channel marketing.
The Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy
Cross-channel marketing is a strategic plan to get your multiple marketing channels working together. This is where you get the real value of multi-channel.
The idea behind cross-channel marketing is that you can stay with leads as they jump around from different communication platforms, using a consistent, mutually supportive message.
One of the big areas of cross-channel marketing today is retargeting ads. For example, say someone visits your website on their phone, checks out a product line, but doesn’t buy. Later, they’re on Facebook using their laptop. A pixel you put on your web page connects to their Facebook, displaying an ad like this:
This strategy is implemented because you know – with certainty – that a single channel approach won’t work. Most people visiting your website one time won’t convert. You have to create touch points that cross channels with a seamless user experience.
Cross-channel marketing today can cross a lot of channels. For example, a lead might do an informational search on YouTube, looking for “how to” videos so they can fix a problem on their own. You rank for a video that has just the info they’re looking for.
On the YouTube video, you have an overlay ad that links to your website. The person watches the video, clicks on the link to your website, but doesn’t convert.
Since this person is seeking information and likely in the early stages of the buying cycle, you use RSLA ads to target further broad searches on Google.
They click on an ad and return to your website. This time, they sign-up for your email newsletter so you can hit them with more informational content. One article really clicks with them, so they Tweet it, sharing your brand name with their followers.
After a few months of periodic emails, their need becomes immediate. They look you up by your brand name and call you directly.
This is actually a typical buyer journey through digital marketing channels. With cross-channel marketing, your message and the user’s experience with your brand is seamless.
Cross-Channel Marketing Challenges
There are two main challenges businesses face with cross-channel marketing.
This first is when the business prefers to use a single channel. For example, many salespeople prefer phone calls or in-person meetings because they feel they can create more rapport and do a better job cross-selling. But then they fail to reach customers who prefer to shop online, communicate by email, or use Facebook Messenger.
Often, businesses that get stuck in a single-channel had success with one tactic at the end of the buying cycle. But they don’t see the business they’re missing by not expanding their strategy.
The second, more formidable problem is tying together the goals, strategy, tactics, and execution of cross-channel marketing.
Strategically, cross-channel marketing has greater reach, generating interest in the awareness/research phase of the buying cycle. As we described, your tactics overlap, staying with people as they use digital content.
With more channels, you have to embrace the idea of a broader marketing strategy reaching more people. It’s difficult to get maximum results if your efforts are fragmented.
It’s also a mistake to try to use different vendors for each marketing tactic. It’s hard to execute a cross-channel strategy between different groups with no established communication process.
The best solution is to use marketing software that’s designed to integrate channels and combine your data. This lets you see how multiple channels are coming together to reach your goals. As you learn more about your target audience and how they respond to content across channels, you dial-in your tactics.
We frequently speak of “digital marketing” as if it were one channel. In a way, it is, because the multiple channels we talk about have strong cross-over.
There are few businesses today that can be successful marketing through one channel. In fact, today, with tactics like Facebook Lead Ads that let people convert without going to a website, it’s likely you’ll be converting across multiple channels.
It gets complex, which is why the professionals at Marketing 360® work so hard to keep their clients at the forefront of marketing.
The good news is, when it’s done right, multiple channels result in far more business leads and sales.
Cross-channel marketing puts the right message in front of people based on where they are and what they’re doing in their digital lives.
Today, businesses must meet consumers where they live; they can’t wait for consumers to come them just because one marketing channel worked well in the past.