Today, there are endless channels that you can use to market to your customers.
For instance, you can market through social media, email, or online content. But many marketers will only focus on optimizing one, and in doing so, they often miss out on the chance to reach a larger audience.
They also fail to meet their customers on the right part of their journey. So how can you appeal to your entire audience and do so when it matters?
The answer: cross-channel marketing. With this marketing technique, you create a seamless, cohesive buyer journey throughout multiple digital channels. Better still, you strengthen your brand presence, which further builds your relationships with your customers.
At the onset, getting started could feel a little overwhelming. Fortunately, this strategy is much easier than it seems. It begins with doing a little research on your target audience and setting goals with your team. From there, you have plenty of tools and resources that can automate the process and bring you a wealth of customer data.
What is cross-channel marketing?
A cross-channel initiative follows a single, united campaign across your various marketing platforms.
What this means is that rather than having each channel deliver a different message, your customers will receive the same brand story at each touchpoint of their journey. By doing so, your brand builds trust, awareness, and credibility, making consumers more likely to go through with an action.
For example, you could begin by creating a social media post about a new product. A lead could then visit your website to learn more about it. And you can send a marketing email following their visit that offers them a discount code if they purchase the product. Reminded of their interest, and happy to get a deal, they decide to make the purchase.
And with that example, you managed to target the customer at various sales funnel stages while keeping a consistent message and delivering a seamless experience — resulting in a sale that you may not have otherwise gotten.
What’s the difference between cross-channel marketing and multichannel marketing?
Many marketers mistake cross-channel marketing with multichannel marketing. While both methods use several marketing channels, their strategies are different.
Rather than concentrating on a single campaign, multichannel marketing promotes different campaigns across its channels.
The aim of multi-channel marketing is to use the channels to maximize the potential of each campaign. So, unlike cross-channel marketing, a unified message isn’t necessary with multichannel campaigns — there’s less emphasis on providing an integrated customer experience. As a result, customers may easily forget a specific message or set of information that could eventually lead to a sale.
What are the benefits of using cross-channel marketing?
One notable benefit is greater personalization. In fact, since 71% of today’s customers expect a personalized experience, this turns out to be quite important. They want to be treated as individuals with their own interests and expectations — they don’t want to be just another number.
A cross-channel strategy incorporates personalization by following a customer’s unique journey. Ergo, brands can offer a completely contextualized experience that’s influenced by the actions of their target audience.
Personalization also comes with its own benefits:
- Increased customer loyalty: Provide a personal journey, and customers will become more than happy to return. It also saves them the headache of seeking out new brands to provide solutions.
- Increased engagements: Patrons who receive value from a brand are likely to engage with that brand again and in more ways. For instance, a shopper who is happy with a purchase may decide to be more active on the brand’s social media pages.
- Higher sales: A seamless customer experience often leads to higher sales numbers. As a bonus, delighted consumers are likely to spread the word about your brand, leading to even more sales.
What are the best practices for cross-channel marketing?
Use the right research and best practices with this marketing approach, and you’re bound to enjoy greater success.
Start by creating a buyer persona
Your company’s buyer persona — also known as your customer avatar — represents your ideal buyer.
Having a detailed buyer persona allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to better align with your customers’ needs and behaviors. It’s a targeted approach meant to attract and retain customers, so it helps to mitigate the risk of developing irrelevant campaigns that can sometimes result from wider approaches.
You can create your buyer persona by starting with some research. If you’ve already created a marketing campaign on social media or email, you can gather data about who has interacted with them in the past.
Look at demographics first, including factors like age, gender, and location, to see if you can spot any customer trends. Many social media sites or email marketing platforms offer insights into analytics that will provide this data. Another option is sending out a demographic survey via email.
After collecting this hard data, it’s time to consider your ideal customer’s motivations and pain points. This will help tell you why they make the decisions they do. From there, you’re in a better position to determine what solutions you can market to solve customers’ problems.
A good way to gather this kind of data is to practice social listening. This involves tracking mentions about your brand across various social media platforms to see what people are saying. Oftentimes, people will take to social media to address brands with questions, concerns, suggestions, or compliments. You’ll see what drives them to buy from your brand and what challenges they’d like to see fixed.
Gather your data and keep it in one place
Another key practice with your cross-channel efforts is collecting and unifying your customer data.
This includes data across your various marketing channels, from email interaction to social media impressions and website activity.
Gathering this information in one place helps you avoid data silos and having important data accessible to only one team. It also enables you to build a customer profile for every one of your buyers since you’re tracking, using, and understanding their behaviors for your marketing efforts.
You can gather the data yourself by tracking URLs or using browser cookies. This will help you understand where, when, and how customers engage with your site.
However, this manual approach is often time-consuming. It’s also more prone to disorganization or even unintentional mistakes. That’s where customer relationship management (CRMs) and customer data platforms (CDPs) come into play.
CRM software assists you in strengthening relationships with your current customers.
A CRM provides you with information on the history of your customers’ interactions with your brand, including factors like transaction details. On the other hand, CDPs take a more holistic approach. These platforms will track user behavior and data across your multiple marketing channels, integrating it into one consistent customer profile.
A CDP then syncs with your other marketing tools and platforms to continually connect with customers based on their behavior.
Segment your customers for better personalization and target marketing
Segmenting your customers involves dividing them into more specific groups.
The groups will usually share common characteristics or user behaviors. For instance, you can segment customers by demographics, content engagement level, or step in the buyer journey. Doing so helps you drive personalization efforts even further to create hyper-targeted cross-channel marketing campaigns.
To choose how to segment your customers, refer back to your findings in your buyer persona research.
Think about the trends and patterns you saw. Did you notice any commonalities among the groups of people interacting with your brand?
For example, you could have many customers buying from specific locations. There could also be a part of the buyer journey where you notice higher conversion rates — perhaps a large number of people buy your product or service after reading your blog.
Aim to segment your customers into a few different groups.
Choose the right mediums for your audience
You may already have one or two mediums you’re communicating on now, but how do you know where to expand?
It all ties back into your valuable customer data and information. Are there particular mediums a majority of your customers interact with most? Also, think about what your business goals are with your marketing. Is it to gain more brand awareness, build quality leads, or increase conversions?
Some brands still opt for traditional advertising, using paper coupons or flyers. But the audiences for these mediums can be few and far between. To appeal to the modern-day, cutting-edge audience, you’ll need to meet them where they’re at.
Use methods like email, social media, SMS, or paid ads instead.
Create content that’s personalized to each segment
Personalization is best expressed through the content you craft.
As each customer segment has different behaviors and interests, your content will need to be tailored differently across each medium.
Here, you can think about your customers’ motivations and pain points across the buyer journey.
Perhaps you notice that a large customer segment interacts with your social media posts about your products. They may like, share, or frequently comment on your posts. However, oftentimes, they don’t go on your website and buy anything. There’s an apparent interest here, but they lack the motivation to commit to a purchase.
To target this specific customer segment, you can send follow-up emails that re-introduce the product to them with a special discount code. By doing this, you show them that you understand their pain point, intend to address it, and offer a solution in light of such. What’s more, you’re also offering a consistent brand message across all of your channels.
How do I get started with cross-channel marketing?
You know the what and the why — but how do you get started?
Write down your goals for a single marketing campaign
Just like other business ventures, you’ll need to start your cross-channel marketing journey by identifying your goals.
While it may be tempting to develop broad goals to encompass all of your channels, begin by focusing on a single campaign for one medium. It will be easier to focus on analyzing your success. Plus, you can see what works and build on that with your future campaigns.
You can use SMART goals to help with the goal-setting process. SMART goals are made up of five different factors to give you more clarity and productivity. The acronym stands for:
- Specific: Make your goal as specific as possible, including setting a certain timeframe to accomplish the task.
- Measurable: Set up a goal with a quantifiable objective to measure its progress, such as choosing an exact number of new social media followers.
- Attainable: Your goal should be achievable considering your time, budget, and resources.
- Relevant: Ensure your goal is relevant to your business’s objectives and offers you advantages.
- Time-sensitive: Set up a deadline to stick to, as this will give you more motivation and accountability.
To track your progress over time, you can use key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are measurable values you can use to see how effective your efforts are over time. You can track such KPIs as the amount of traffic, leads gained, or conversions you receive for your marketing campaign.
Start with email marketing
With over 4 billion email users worldwide, email marketing remains one of today’s most widely used customer communication channels. Two of the most effective email marketing campaigns are surveys and click-segmentation.
Besides using surveys to understand customer demographics, you can also use them to better understand your company’s performance.
For instance, you can send out surveys about satisfaction with products, services, or other marketing channels. You can then leverage this data across the rest of your marketing channels to improve the customer experience.
Need some help crafting your first survey? Check out this article on how to write a survey.
Email marketing is also where you can implement click-segmentation, which does the segmentation work for you.
In your emails, have a few different links that lead to varying products or services on your website. Your customers will then be segmented into different groups based on the links they click on in your email campaigns.
From there, you can further create more targeted email campaigns, based on their established interests.
Expand to social media
Once you have an email marketing campaign or two under your belt, you can expand to social media.
You have many platforms to choose from, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. To determine the best social media platform for your company, consider your industry, customer demographics, and overall goals.
You’ll likely find that your target audience spends more time on certain social media platforms compared to others. If you’re unsure where to start, you can check out Constant Contact’s social media platform cheat sheet to see which platform is best for which goal.
Social media presence
Start building your social media presence by experimenting with varying kinds of organic content.
For example, you can ask your audience questions, share a behind-the-scenes look at your company, or post links to your products or services. You can track your social media success using platform analytics or measuring engagement yourself.
Targeted paid ads
Aside from organic content, you can also use targeted paid ads on social media.
You can target these paid ads by customer segments, such as buyer behavior or characteristics. The most popular form of paid ads is pay-per-click (PPC), where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Many brands combine organic and paid strategies to optimize their presence and success across their social media platforms.
Test, adjust, repeat
You can optimize your cross-channel marketing efforts through continual testing.
A/B testing, in particular, is incredibly useful. This is when you create two versions of the same material, release them, and measure the results to see which brought you the most success.
You can A/B test across all marketing channels — email campaigns, social media posts, and SMS messages all fit the bill. Each version will have some modification, whether it’s different visuals, layouts, or calls to action (CTAs).
After some time, you can check out the statistics of your marketing materials to see which was more effective. Perhaps one campaign received more engagement or conversions.
Once you have an idea as to why one outperformed the other, adjust your future campaigns to include the factors incorporated in those that were successful. After that, A/B test again.
Repeating the process will continue to provide you with fresh insights for each and every campaign.
Fire up cross-channel marketing for your business
If you’re seeking to optimize your campaigns throughout a large number of marketing channels available today, cross-channel marketing is the answer.
You can enjoy higher channel engagement, stronger customer relationships, and more impressive sales. Best of all, you’ll show that your brand is consistent, trustworthy, and knowledgeable in your industry.
To begin, get together with your team and craft a buyer persona. What is your ideal customer interested in? What are they excited and scared about? Once you have this buyer persona formed, you’re ready to start developing cross-channel strategies — and you’ll continually reap the benefits.
Looking to tackle a more complex customer journey? Check out SharpSpring from Constant Contact. This all-in-one marketing automation platform offers everything you need for cross-channel marketing.