How Small Businesses Can Offer Value Through Cross-Channel MarketingChristine Soeun Choi
Connecting with and engaging your customer base can be a full-time job. But even if you’ve mastered one marketing channel, your work isn’t done just yet. The most effective way to market to an audience involves what’s called cross-channel marketing.
Your customers are flitting from their phones to computers to tablets to television. Doesn’t it make sense that your marketing efforts should reach out to them across at least a few of those channels? In fact, leveraging cross-channel marketing can boost revenue significantly: customers who interact with a brand on three or more channels buy 250% more frequently than those who engage with a brand on just one.
Let’s look at a few effective strategies to reach your audience through cross-channel marketing.
Know the Channels Your Audience is on or Ask Them
While cross-channel marketing can refer to reaching your customers on different types of devices, it can also mean connecting with them on different digital assets. That could be social media, a website, a blog, or a mobile app. Or all of the above.
The key is understanding your audience’s behavior. If you’re trying to reach Baby Boomers, Snapchat is probably not the best channel to connect. If you’re looking to connect with Gen Z, realize that Facebook is passé.
It may take a little investigating to understand your customers’ preferences, but it’s well worth it if you can then zero in on the most effective channels to reach them. How can you find out where they want to connect with you?
- Send a survey asking which channels they prefer
- Pay attention to your web analytics to see which channels are driving the most traffic to your site
- Ask them in person
Create Unique Value on Each Channel
Many brands think they’re using cross-channel marketing effectively, but all they’re doing is posting identical promotions or even content on each channel. But this gives the customer no reason to connect with the brand on multiple channels.
Instead, create unique content and offers on each brand property you own. For Facebook followers, offer a VIP coupon code that you don’t share anywhere else. Email subscribers might get a sneak peek at new products. Followers on Instagram could have the chance to win goodies.
Not only does this strategy compel your audience to follow you on multiple channels, but it also allows you to really track results on each. If you use a different coupon code on each channel, you can easily see how many redemptions each received, which indicates which is the most successful at reaching your audience.
You can also cross-promote each channel: encourage social media followers to sign up for your emails to get exclusive offers. Post content from your blog on social media. The more you can engage your audience across channels, the stronger the relationship you will have with them.
Pay Attention to Hidden Channels
Still today, small business owners and marketers make the mistake of only optimizing the customer experience for desktop. If you’re not putting any attention on your mobile presence, you’re going to lose market share to the competition. Guaranteed. Today, 88% of consumers who search for a local business on their phones end up calling or visiting the business. They’re using their mobile devices to find local businesses like yours. If your brand isn’t optimized for mobile search, you might not appear.
To optimize for mobile SEO, be sure to include local keywords like “Boston dry cleaners.” Also use the specific neighborhood you’re located in, as well as your zip code. Make sure your Google My Business profile is optimized -- Fill out with your business address, phone number, email address and hours so this information will appear in search results. From your profile, mobile users can click to call your business or click your address to get directions to your location. Easy peasy.
While mobile is a bit more obvious, pay attention to other potentially hidden marketing channels. These can include tablet, in-OS, in-car, set-box top, SMS, on-location, in-SaaS and in-app opportunities. Of course, not all of these channels make sense, especially for small businesses broadly, but for others many will make sense to consider.
Pay Attention to the Data
Today’s cross-channel marketing is highly-trackable, which means you don’t have to waste time on the wrong channels. Spend time analyzing both your web traffic sources as well as insights on social media and digital ads to understand what’s working and what isn’t.
You might invest in a Facebook ad and spend $500 in a month, but if you’re not seeing a decent percent of that traffic to your site converting into customers, assess why. It could be that the copy in your ad was misleading, and once people clicked to your site, they didn’t see what they were looking for. In this case, tweak the copy and try again.
Or if you see you’re getting a surprising amount of traffic from guest blogging on another site, step up your game and contribute more.
There’s so much data available with online marketing today; to ignore it is to miss out on great opportunities to connect to your audience.
What Are Your Best Customer Channels?
Today, there’s no single approach to engaging customers. Some will prefer to interact with you on one channel, while others will prefer another. The best way to hit the mark with everyone is to make sure you’re everywhere they are, and that you’re reiterating the message that your brand is one they need.
To help you personalize your approach to cross-channel marketing, here’s a nifty infographic from Salesforce: