Did you know that 15 years ago the average consumer used two touch-points when buying an item, while consumers today run through an average of almost six touch-points?
This means that reaching new customers has become significantly more complex. With new platforms and channels still emerging, consumers have more and more choices and are demanding greater attention from brands trying to reach them.
The concept of multi-channel digital marketing has gained popularity among digital marketers over the last few years as brands and agencies have realized that one-off campaigns targeting potential customers on only one channel at a time no longer cut it.
In this article, we will examine updated multi-channel digital marketing tools and effective strategies; but before we do, let’s clarify what multi-channel marketing actually means.
What is multi-channel digital marketing?
“Multi-channel marketing is the implementation of a single strategy across multiple channels or platforms, thus maximizing opportunities to interact with prospective customers,” according to digital marketing agency Emarsys.
While as marketers we try to best predict how and where our customers might interact with us, giving them a choice — a say in the matter — leads to higher conversions. This requires casting a wide net of orchestrated touch-points and repeating your brand message across various channels, but ultimately improves your chance to raise customer awareness and let the message sink in to actually have an effect.
Let’s take a look at a handful of channels that effectively support a multitude of touch points and provide your customers with choice in selecting their preferred channel.
The advantage of social media is that it can be utilized as both introductory (initial interest) as well as retargeting channel leading a new customer further down the sales funnel.
Eyeballs through content
Facebook is a fantastic method to fill the top of your funnel with visitors. Whether you amplify content or gain people’s attention through Facebook live or other multimedia ads, it’s crucial to think about what your target customer might be interested in and then tailor content to their desires.
This doesn’t mean that you should advertise for your product right in the article or video, but rather cover topics that might interest potential customers and ultimately lead to your product page. At the top of the funnel, the goal is to create that first touchpoint which will enable you to start marketing to them through other channels, particularly email and remarketing.
Another helpful Facebook tool comes in handy at this stage of the sales funnel, especially if you run an ecommerce business — it’s called Dynamic Product Ads. These ads “automatically promote products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the internet,” according to Facebook.
You can even upload your product catalog to Facebook and after setting up the campaign, the social network will handle the rest (such as matching people with the right product).
While social media is very effective as both introductory and retargeting channel, emails are most effective when retargeting potential customers.
Chances are that by the time someone has provided their e-mail address, you have some idea of what they are interested in and looking for, thanks to your “eyeballs through content” campaign as discussed above. So crafting effective e-mails addressing their potential pain points should be a little easier now.
Crucial to making e-mail marketing successful is to make sure its content aligns with your overall campaign message. A recent case study confirmed that “Coordinating messaging across channels resulted in reaching customers who were 22% more likely to purchase than those only reached by email.”
You can craft AdWords campaigns to function at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. At the top, you can create broad match modified campaigns focusing on identifying exactly what keywords people search for in your space.
As part of your exploratory campaigns, you can also look for lateral keywords of interest that can help you understand exactly what your audience is looking for.
At the middle of the funnel, you have people who are interested in the products or services you are offering so you serve them the most targeted ads. Traditional AdWords campaigns tend to belong to this stage of the funnel. At the bottom of the funnel, you can use AdWords remarketing to continue creating additional touchpoints after consumers have visited your site.
Smart marketers use AdWords Ad Extensions to include interactive and clickable information right on top of the ad, such as coupons, phone numbers, and text message extensions. Making these marketing tools available right inside the ad can cut down significantly on the number of steps in your sales funnel.
By clicking on the coupon, for example, customers could be enticed to walk right into a physical location to pick up the product they are getting a discount on. Clicking on the phone number or text extension, on the other hand, could connect them directly to customer service, who in turn can answer any remaining questions and, thus, increase purchase intent.
Speaking of text messages: retargeting potential customers is not restricted to e-mails and Google AdWords. Text messaging (SMS) is another way — and an increasingly popular one — to lead consumers further down the sales funnel.
Let’s say your Facebook or Twitter ad asked potential new customers to “opt-in,” which they did using their social media accounts. Most social networks now require mobile phone numbers when users first sign up. This information will be available to you as well if you are setting up ads through these social networks.
You now have the opportunity to text your lead and interact with them on a channel that has so far not been saturated by marketers. It also provides a much more intimate environment, which could help build trust.
You can easily set up text message campaigns with tools like Autopilot and TextMagic; and you should, too, because text message opens are as high as 99% among mobile users. Key is to let potential leads opt in voluntarily as opposed to being contacted via text out of the blue. Also, a good next step might be asking for permission to set up a phone call to continue the conversation.
Text messages can also be useful when sending out reminders for live events or webinars, which some of your new customers might have signed up for, but are about to miss because they forgot putting it in their calendars.
Putting it all together
As you can see, none of the marketing tools listed above are particularly effective in this day and age if you keep them isolated. Google AdWords can lead to customer service conversions; social media can lead to email and text message opt-ins; email in turn can be reinforced by text messages, which could lead back to customer service.
That’s why a consistent brand message as well as consistent quality of content, service, and customer experience across all channels is essential. Future customers should get a sense of familiarity at every turn of the sales funnel if you are to build a trustworthy relationship with them.
Coordinating this rather significant number of communication channels seems like a daunting and expensive task; but don’t worry, even with a low budget you can implement these multi-channel marketing strategies.
One final thought: all the marketing in the world is for naught if you do not measure and analyze key data. This includes customer profile characteristics (like demographics and psychographics) and customer behavior to narrow down your target audience.
In addition to this data, keeping track of conversion rates between the various platforms will help you measure success and create a continuously more effective multi-channel digital marketing strategy.