4 Actionable Steps for Multi-Channel Marketing
'Be where your customers are' is a marketing watchword, and rightly so. But with so many channels, it can seem daunting. So here are some strategies to help you out.
Be where your customers are. From the beginning of business and marketing, that has been the key to making sales and building a loyal customer base. Never before, however, has it been as difficult to fulfill that requirement as it is today. There’s simply such a diversity of places where customers congregate that it’s practically impossible to cover all the bases.
At the same time, though, the rewards for effective marketing across all customer touchpoints have never been as high as they are today. In this study by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 90% of customers said they expect a consistent experience across all platforms, and that consistency is sure to be rewarded with increased customer loyalty. So the question is, does this provide an opportunity for your business, or an obstacle?
Map your customer journey
The first thing you need to do in getting your message across to customers effectively is to identify exactly where your customers spend their time and which platforms are most influential in their buying decisions.
The reason for this is that although reaching out to your customers on every single social media platform and marketing channel is ideal, it’s impossible even for the biggest companies. What you can and must do, however, is to conduct an analysis of your customer (and potential customers) base to determine which platforms to focus your resources on.
After choosing your channels and launching your campaigns, it’s equally important to track your results and identify exactly what is working and what isn't. It’s easy to get drowned in a multitude of metrics`, and small businesses must avoid that. Instead, identify the ones with clear impact on your bottom line and make your decisions based on those.
Automate, but actively monitor feedback
Marketing automation is a huge time saver. When you’re posting across multiple platforms, it can seem easy to run out of content since you must stay active across all of them. Automation is a good way to fix the problem. You can create content weeks and even months in advance and schedule it to go up regularly.
There are many scheduling services you can use depending on the particular platforms you’re operating in, but most of them do the same thing so your choice will mostly boil down to preference.
Social listening is crucial though. It’s the need to monitor all your accounts and track what’s happening to your brand every single second. Nowadays, reputations can be made or broken in minutes on social media, so you have to be ready to jump on any opportunity to go viral for the right reasons or to nip any potential PR disaster in the bud.
For small businesses that can’t afford to have staff solely focused on social media, it’s still important to assign the task of monitoring your social media profile to a specific team member. That way, they can be responsible for getting alerts and taking prompt action when necessary.
Maintain a visually consistent content strategy
Visual marketing is ever more crucial as each day passes. Several studies, including this one by Content Marketing Institute, have shown that visual content such as images, videos and infographics are crucial in imprinting your brand in the minds of customers and making it easy for them to identify and engage with your content.
The easiest way to do this is by getting social media templates made and then resizing them to fit the dimensions required by different platforms. That way, whether you’re posting business insights or birthday quotes regularly, for instance, your audience will begin to automatically associate the design template and even the content type with your brand. That’ll increase your brand authority significantly.
You might need to tweak the positioning of certain elements to be sure they show up well in the various designs, but the key is just to make sure you have easy-to-edit templates you can use to create content without too much hassle.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Cross-pollinate your accounts
If you’re like most people, you’re very active on one or two platforms and have only the barest minimum activity on others. The same goes for most of your customers, which is why referencing all your accounts is crucial to boosting your audience everywhere.
Someone might encounter your content on one of the sites where they aren’t too active, check you out, follow or even engage with your posts. Then they might log out and not hear anything from you again for months or years – not because you aren’t posting, but because they don’t follow you on the platforms where they are usually active.
The solution to that problem, according to research, is to reference your other accounts and direct your followers to them as much as possible. That way, people will know exactly where they can find you and get the chance to connect with you with only a couple of clicks. People can then easily keep track and engage with your content where it’s most convenient for them.
Of course, the more convenient it is, the more people will do it, and the more engagement you have, the more sales and profits you’ll likely be making. That’s the entire point of multichannel marketing and why you should start it now.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor