By Ahmad Benny
Modern marketing is more than just conventional advertising. It’s more than just the web or viral ads. It’s a balanced mix of everything from TV to social media, from billboards to YouTube.
In today’s fast-paced business world, companies must be able to navigate through the whims of search engines, shifting demands of consumers, and changing trends of social media in order to boost their visibility.
One way to get your products in front of the right people at the right time is through a multi-channel marketing strategy. By mixing different marketing channels into a cohesive strategy, your business can achieve its marketing goals while avoiding potential challenges associated with each individual medium.
This article will show you the ins and outs of multi-channel marketing and how it can help you capture new leads.
What is Multi-Channel Marketing?
Multi-channel marketing is the act of using various platforms to get your brand noticed. A multi-channel marketing strategy lets businesses connect with customers across multiple touchpoints. This strategy consists of a holistic combination of everything from in-store and in-person experiences to digital and online properties to social media communities and live events.
A lot of marketers get caught up in the idea that social media is the ultimate solution to every marketing problem. While social media is a powerful tool, it’s not the end-all-be-all. It has its place, but you need to put your brand in front of your audience in multiple ways.
Multi-channel marketing campaigns can typically include the following types of elements:
- E-commerce sites that show off your product or service
- Social networks that help you spread your message
- Email for sending newsletters and special offers
- Paid ads to gather potential leads
- Trade shows or live events to create buzz
- Brick and mortar stores to display merchandise
- Text messaging to keep the customers consistently in the loop
Omni-channel Marketing versus Multi-channel Marketing
Multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing are often confused with each other. But, they’re not one and the same.
Omni-channel marketing aims at creating experiences that wow customers. This strategy focuses on serving shoppers across touchpoints. It doesn’t concentrate on promoting the products on multiple channels.
Omnichannel marketing is all about making sure that you don’t lose sight of your customers’ needs, even when they’re interacting with your brand in a different way than usual.
To further illustrate the difference between multichannel and omnichannel approaches, let’s take the example of Topshop’s London Fashion Week campaign.
The UK-based fashion company used digital billboards to show off its London Fashion Week lookbook. Topshop linked the billboards to its Twitter data. By doing so, the billboard could show off the tweet and other relevant info whenever followers used hashtag #LFW.
Each billboard was placed within 10 minutes of one of Topshop’s stores so that people did not even have to travel far after seeing the advertisement. With this strategy, Topshop could share the latest fashion trends with people while pointing out where they could buy these styles. Topshop’s multi-channel usage is a splendid example of how businesses can use multiple mediums to engage audiences. And their seamless integration of more than one channel to get customer-centric results is the definition of omnichannel marketing.
Why Multi-Channel Marketing is Important?
There’s no such thing as the best channel for reaching customers. You need to try everything and test every angle. Different channels can serve different purposes. Some customers prefer reading ads on Facebook, while others stick to Google. Some people don’t even have an Instagram profile, while others love to hang out on LinkedIn.
In order to become and remain a top brand, it’s necessary to meet customers on their preferred channels. That way, they can choose how and when to interact with you. Over 80% of senior marketers believe that creating a cohesive customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to the success of your marketing initiatives.
Mixing different marketing channels lets you break through the clutter and reach more customers than you might with just one type of platform. Whether it be traditional advertising, influencer partnerships, or viral campaigns, the right mix can amplify your company’s visibility and prevent you from getting lost in the crowd.
Apple’s retail outlets are prime examples of how to engage consumers through multiple channels. Apple knew that the majority of its sales came through e-commerce. So, the brand took the traditional “retail store” formula and flipped it on its head by making the locations more than just a place to buy things.
Apple understands that people want the whole experience before making a purchasing decision. Customers want to feel like they’re immersed in the brand. Seeing it in action is a big part of that. As is experiencing it through all the marketing channels. All of this leads to more frequent visits, which, in turn, results in more sales.
The more a brand is out there, the more likely its customers will find it. By being mentioned throughout multiple channels, brands have the advantage of being easily remembered when a problem arises, and their solution happens to be what the customer needs.
Challenges of Multi-Channel Marketing
Multi-channel marketing is a powerful way to improve the reach of your product or service, but it’s not without its flaws. Here are some hurdles you’ll need to consider before getting started.
When a brand sells through more than one channel, it can get a lot harder to control messaging and branding. A company might have a perfectly consistent brand across its one channel, but when it comes to the other channels’ nuances, and specifics, the same sort of consistency doesn’t happen. Your company may have a crowded marketing calendar, but you’re not going to win fans without consistent branding and messaging across different channels.
Ensure that your brand has the right voice and looks consistently on all your marketing channels. Adhere to the stylistic conventions and technical specifications of each channel.
Too much to handle
Multi-channel marketing campaigns can be a time-consuming ordeal. With several platforms and a limited budget, it’s hard to coordinate effective cross-promotions.
Businesses need to employ good coordinators who are capable of efficiently handling the load from each channel with equal success. They can also leverage the power of marketing solutions to optimize their multichannel strategy.
Ineffective customer targeting
Another drawback of a multi-channel strategy is that businesses have to deal with a new audience on each platform. Each channel comes with a different user base. Unless you know your customers well, your sales pipeline will be full of mismatches.
To keep on generating quality leads, you need to know exactly who your customers are. Take extra time to tweak your buyer’s persona for each platform. For example, Generation Xers, Millennials, and Baby Boomers all have distinct online preferences. By creating content tailored specifically to the audience will increase the chances of attracting customers.
Ways to Build a High-converting Multi-channel Strategy
Multi-channel marketing is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. While one platform might dominate your business, you should still strive to diversify your marketing efforts. Here are some ways you can turn your store into a multi-channel powerhouse.
Set a defined set of objectives
In the beginning, you might be tempted to try everything that pops into your head. But you’ll never achieve your desired results if you start with too broad of an objective. Focus on one channel or target at a time. Run tests on what’s working, and repeat until your initial goal is realized. While the ultimate goal of multi-channel marketing is to raise sales, each tactic has its own goal. For example, email marketing might be aimed at nurturing relationships with prospects, building brand loyalty, and driving site traffic.
Use the Power of Marketing Automation Tools
Multi-channel marketing is nearly impossible to pull off without the help of marketing automation tools. These tools streamline the process of collecting feedback and managing different channels. They also allow you to do multi-channel attribution. Which is key to figuring out your ROI for each touchpoint across your customer journey. This data can be used to determine where your ads are most effective and where your marketing dollars are best spent.
Adapt to Changing Marketplace Trends
You have to keep up with current marketing trends if you want to stay relevant. This is especially true for multi-channel marketing because it requires you to understand how each channel works and what your target audience is looking for. If you want to grow as a brand, you need to be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. Never assume that the current form of marketing will continue forever. Marketing trends change quickly, and you need to be on the lookout for the next big thing.
Increase visibility with PPC on social media advertising
When social media advertising is used correctly, it’s a force to be reckoned with. Paid social media marketing can boost your reach dramatically when placed alongside your organic content. Offering your products on social media creates a compelling call-to-action for users to visit your site and purchase your product or service.
Make Sure Your SEO is in Order
It’s never a waste of time to invest in online search engine optimization. SEO is like good customer service. It’s vital to the survival of your business. It is fundamental to ensure that customers can find your brand online with ease. To do this, you need to incorporate best SEO practices to drive traffic to your sites.
Treat each channel with equal attention
No channel should be less important than the others. Assign one manager to oversee and develop each channel. Equip them with adequate time, budget, and resources to make their channel a success. This way, your business can maintain a consistent voice and branding across different channels.
Focus on the right channels
Use buyer personas to identify which channels you need to maximize on. For example, if you’re targeting consumers with families, you may find that Facebook is the best channel to reach them on. If your buyers are younger adults living in urban areas, then Instagram or Snapchat might be better for maximum engagement. Marketing channels may not be exactly the same for every brand, so it’s crucial to find the best cocktail of channels that fits your target audience.
Follow the rules of each channel
Every channel has its own rules and it’s important to follow them closely. Instagram, for example, is a visual platform where images often perform better than long text-based posts. LinkedIn is a more authoritative platform, which means the content you publish there should be informative. Use each channel in a way that will best serve your goals and help you to reach your target audience.
Boost your offline presence
Businesses can easily get caught up in the digital world, forgetting that real-world marketing is just as important. Not only is offline marketing necessary, but it can also prove more powerful when used alongside online touchpoints. For instance, combining online ads with local radio spots will give your brand more traction.
Retarget and Re-engage
Retargeting is using the data and tools you’ve accumulated about your customers to reach them with an ad or message on another platform. It is a simple way to build brand recognition. Anyone who has visited your social media accounts, read your blog, or spent more than a few seconds on your website can be reached via retargeting campaigns. By giving them a second chance to discover the value of your products or services, you’ll see higher conversions and better engagement.
Conclusion: Reach your audience where they are
The fast-changing business landscape means that marketers have to play a constant game of catch-up. When it comes to getting the word out about your brand, don’t be afraid to explore as many different channels as possible.
Different channels can serve different purposes. Facebook might be great for ads, but it isn’t always suitable for real-time communication with customers. Twitter might be the ultimate social platform for chatting with customers, even indirectly through mentions, but it isn’t appropriate for all brands.
Your marketing campaigns should be distributed across multiple channels to reach and appeal to an audience of every kind. Diversifying allows you to cover all of your bases so you can reach more leads and keep existing customers engaged.
About the Author
Ahmad Benny is a London-born lover of technology, e-commerce, and digital marketing in general. They love learning, researching, and curating value nuggets to save you time, money and help you achieve your goals.