How to Engage Consumers Through Cross-Channel Marketing
Thursday 13th April 2023
by Beth Perrin
How to Engage Consumers Through Cross-Channel Marketing
Thursday 13th April 2023
Cross-channel marketing, also known as multi-platform marketing, refers to the process of using many different avenues to reach, gain and engage customers. In today’s digital age, it’s no longer enough to just use one channel to interact with consumers - this will cause you to miss out on a large portion of your target audience and will drastically limit your impact. Instead, a wider and more connected approach is required in order to get your brand name heard by the right people, and to create a more cohesive experience that flows seamlessly from start to finish.
Cross-channel marketing ensures that every step of the customer journey is taken into consideration, from initial discovery right through to purchase. It generates tangible ROI too - campaigns that integrate at least four digital channels are more likely to outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by an impressive 300%, plus 62% of shoppers who engage with retailers across 10 or more channels say they make purchases at least once a week! Let’s take a look at some more benefits and suggestions below.
Which Channels Should I Be Using?
Of course, the platforms you choose to use will depend on a few factors such as your business type, the industry it belongs to, and the demographics of your desired audience (for example, older generations are less likely to be on social media and younger generations are less receptive to direct mail) - but here are some of the main ones to consider:
• Organic (unpaid) social media
• Paid social media (ads and boosted posts)
• Social storefronts (Instagram Shops, Facebook Shop etc)
• SMS (text messages)
• Your website
• Live chat support
• PPC ads
• Direct mail (flyers, letters etc)
• Signage and billboards
When it comes to social media, if you’re unsure about which platform(s) your target audience are spending most of their time using, it’s a good idea to conduct a social media audit to look for usage trends before launching a marketing campaign. 91% of retail brands use two or more social media channels, so ideally you should be looking for at least two of the most active platforms among your audience.
First and foremost, marketing your brand across multiple channels will improve consistency, a factor which is highly valued by customers. In fact, 60% of millennial consumers expect brands to be consistent across different platforms, and consistent brand presentation has been proven to increase revenue by 33%. Limiting yourself to only one or two channels will decrease the amount of touchpoints available to your customers, and will make them less likely to share your business with their peers. Imagine you’ve just found a great new brand and you want to let your friends know about it on Instagram - only to find out that it doesn’t have an account on this platform! That’s why it’s essential to have a presence on all of the applicable networks.
To guarantee further consistency, the visual branding style and tone of voice used in your marketing copy should clearly match each other so customers can see straight away that they belong to your brand, and are part of the same campaign. This will reduce confusion and will make customers more likely to make a purchase - research shows that consistent graphic design can lift a brand’s sales by a third. Adopting a formal tone of voice and using high-end stock photos on your website, for example, will make your brand feel disjointed if your social media is full of casual language and brightly coloured graphics, weakening your overall brand identity.
Reach Customers at the Right Time
Cross-channel marketing also allows your business to create experiences that are relevant to where each customer is in the buying cycle. The style of messaging required to onboard a new customer is very different from the style needed for a loyal customer who has been around for a while. Similarly, welcoming a new customer requires a different approach from the one used to incentivise an existing customer to stay and not go to a competitor.
A multi-channel campaign enables you to understand who the customer is and what exactly they’re looking for, meaning you can react and respond to them in a way that is relevant and significant to them as an individual - rather than serving them a generic, non-specific marketing message. 84% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that treat them like a person, not a number, so tailoring your campaigns to their needs really does have the power to turn occasional shoppers into loyal customers.
Boost Brand Awareness
It goes without saying that the more platforms you’re using, the higher chance you have of being discovered by newcomers. Brand awareness is a key factor in making your business stand out from the crowd and of course, customers can’t buy products they can’t find. Even when they do, it’s likely that they’ll need to have multiple interactions with your brand before their curiosity is piqued enough to actually convert. On average, it takes 8 touchpoints to close a sale, with 80% of sales being made on the 5th to 12th contact, proving how vital it is to build familiarity with your audience before expecting a purchase to occur.
During the initial stages of discovering your business, someone might come across your Facebook page and browse it for a few minutes, then exit the page and forget about it. Then, the next day, they might see a PPC ad promoting your brand at the top of an article they’re reading, therefore reminding them of your brand again and resulting in a click through to your website. This is a great example of the impact of cross-channel marketing, as without it, that potential customer’s journey would have ended when they exited your Facebook page. Diversifying your digital presence will not only make your business more memorable, it will also give you more opportunities to make your mark on customers who are considering a few different brands at once.
Offering Live Chat support is a great way to keep in contact with your customers across different channels. Meta’s Chat Plugin can be added to your website with just a few simple clicks, and one of its unique features is that it saves the chat history, meaning conversations can continue in the Messenger app (and on Facebook’s desktop website) even when the customer has left your website. This helps to reduce cart abandonment, which for 53% of shoppers is done as a result of not getting their questions answered quickly enough, because it means they can keep gathering information from you before returning to your site to finalise their purchase. The plugin can also be customised to match the look and feel of your website, so there’s no need to worry about it looking off-brand.
Another huge benefit of cross-channel marketing is data collection. By integrating your marketing efforts across numerous platforms, you can map out touchpoints to see how and where someone turned from a lead into a customer, allowing you to build even more effective and personalised experiences for future customers. When you give them exactly what they want, you delight them, and a delighted customer is a loyal customer!
You can also analyse which platforms are most commonly used at each stage of the customer journey - such as initial discovery, consideration and conversion - again, enabling you to tailor your messaging to every step of the sales funnel. 71% of marketers say they are able to share insights with other departments within their business, showing how the information you gain from cross-channel marketing can even have a wider influence on your company as a whole.
Plus, you can leverage this data to determine which channels aren’t producing conversions (or any other of your desired results), meaning you can safely remove them from your strategy and focus your efforts on those that are performing well instead. This will save you time and money, and will ultimately improve your marketing teams’ efficiency.
87% of retailers agree that a multi-channel marketing strategy is essential to their success and ROI. However, only 8% have achieved it, so setting one up for your business today will put you one step ahead of your competitors. Remember, creating a seamless experience for your audience should be at the core of your campaign - so when it comes to choosing your content for each platform, make sure it flows in a way that makes sense, and points customers in the right direction. Finally, don’t forget to monitor your results and use the data to gather meaningful insights into your customers’ behaviour. Once you access this information, you’ll be on track to delight your customers at every step of the journey.
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