Part of a solid marketing strategy today is going to involve reaching your audience over multiple channels. You can’t simply depend on TV ads, or great blog content, or YouTube videos to generate leads anymore. Your marketing strategy now has to incorporate several channels, because people don’t just use one device or pursue a single entertainment format.
Using multiple marketing channels helps you interact with current leads and customers over more formats, bringing yourself and your business into view more often. You also make your brand more visible to more people. As long as you craft a strategy you can adapt as your brand and your audience changes, you’ll find marketing across multiple channels to be a smart advertising move.
Marketing distribution strategy
A sound marketing distribution strategy involves more than upping your presence on TV, social media, email, or print. Lots goes into making it successful, from remembering to study the customer as an individual and not as a set of data points, to creating the teams and the budget capable of handling this new initiative. For companies unfamiliar with this level of marketing, beginning a strategy may seem overwhelming. Start small, with a few channels, and build until you’re reaching and converting the audience of your goals.
Find your audience’s preferred channels
Does your audience haunt social media sites like Facebook or Twitter? Do they mostly use mobile devices or laptops and tablets? How do they prefer to interact: via surveys and comments, or likes and shares? When you think about the full list of marketing channels, and the ways you can use each channel, the scope of your strategy becomes extremely wide. But using every option available to you isn’t a good way to tap your resources.
Instead, you already have data indicating which channels your audience prefers. Clues like the number of people subscribed to your newsletter, the number of people who visit your site using a mobile device, and your followers on different social media all tell you the best ways to reach your audience.
The beginning of your strategy will also help you discern which channels work best. You may assume that a lot of Facebook followers means Facebook should be one of your major channels, only to discover that most of those users are also Twitter and Instagram followers who prefer those modes of interaction instead.
Always keep the customer in mind
With so many data points to analyze, remembering that the customers are humans on the other end of this interaction gets difficult. If you look too much at your customers like pieces of data, you’ll lose sight of how to connect with them in meaningful ways.
Additionally, one customer might interact with your brand via multiple channels. Part of your data understanding revolves around how one person interacts in all ways. Breaking down your customer data solely based on each channel doesn’t give you a full picture of how your leads and customers are viewing your content.
Make your marketing cohesive
Your brand is cohesive, and your marketing should be, too. Though you’re reaching across channels that sometimes vastly differ from each other, never forget that each marketing campaign needs to be a single concept. Launch one promotion at a time, advertise one new product, or bring customer eyes back to your favorite current feature.
The design, style, and tone of your advertisements should all match, too. Of course your posts on Facebook and Twitter will be different from each other, just as they won’t be the same as the emails you send out. The graphics, the fonts, and the general message you present? Those need to match. Your marketing channel strategy isn’t for dividing and confusing your customer base, but for bringing in lots of people from lots of different spots.
Pair different media
You’ve probably turned on the TV and seen an ad that encourages you to whip out your smartphone. Many marketing channels pair well with each other, and most distribution strategies take advantage of paired channels to funnel customers to a specific point. Basically, you use one channel to give your customers an incentive to go to a different channel.
During the hours people are at work, cross-market between computer screens and mobile devices. If you think about it, people are sitting at their desks for hours, often times getting bored. In the evening, market to your audience via their televisions instead. You might encourage them to hop on Twitter and use a hashtag for a chance to win something, or to join in on an ongoing conversation that your brand is having with its customers.
Don’t forget about print, either. Pairing print media with online media is a good way to bring people from the catalogue ordering system to the online ordering system. Offer a code for a percent off a first-time online order, and make your website’s URL very obvious. You can do the same thing with email lists of customers who signed up but never bought anything.
Monitor the channels open
While your strategy is intended to work across channels, you also need to know how each channel works on its own. To that effect, create groups of customers who only receive one channel of marketing at a time. This way, if one piece of your marketing is lagging, you can address it without overhauling the entire structure. Similarly, if one channel blows the others out of the water, learn from that channel’s marketing to boost the rest of your marketing.
Study the quality of your leads
Not every business has success with the same multi-channel approach. Different audiences and demographics do not gravitate towards the same media channels, which means you won’t gain as much ground with some pairings and media options.
You also have to study which channels give you the most conversions. One channel might generate lots of leads, but the medium itself might make converting those leads more difficult. Since conversions are what you’re after with this distribution strategy, be willing to downgrade or cut off certain marketing channels if they aren’t producing the results you want. Lead quality, not quantity, is ultimately the most important thing coming through your marketing channels. Creating a lead scoring strategy is one way to discern which channels are truly doing their jobs.
Understand the difficulties
Multi-channel marketing requires extra time, money, and effort because of its complexity. You almost never can convince people to abandon the channel, like a smartphone, that they’re most attached to. Even if you’ve done your best work on a different channel thus far, you have to find ways to adapt your marketing touchpoints to the channels your audience is using.
Some businesses have spent a long time advertising through a single channel or two, and have honed those marketing strategies to finely crafted machines. Opening up your marketing to include lots of new channels and touchpoints means you lose those targeted audiences and marketing opportunities. The way you used to rely on conversions changes when you give people more options for reaching you and interacting with you.
Create an infrastructure
Your current marketing strategy’s infrastructure is not adapted to handling a bigger marketing distribution strategy. You need separate campaign management strategies, more people to create the content you’ll be sending out, and in-depth ways to look at the data these marketing schemes return to you.
Your budget and your teams should change when you make a new marketing plan this significant. Finding people or firms masterful at distribution strategies to hire for help is one smart way to get started. Not all businesses are equipped to design the amount of content and touchstones required for multiple marketing channels, and sometimes the best ROI comes from putting your money in the hands of someone who can do something spectacular with it. After all, every piece of content you release, from surveys to email blitzes to blog posts, still needs to exhibit stellar quality.
This marketing and distribution strategy is going to take a lot of constant study and adaptation. Your business will change, the channels will change, and your customers will change. Paying attention to the strategy as a whole, and to each part individually, will keep you moving in the right direction.
Feeling overwhelmed? Get more out of your to-do list by working smarter, rather than harder.