Are you struggling to bring in traffic and boost conversions on your website? The issue may not be your website, and instead what you’re neglecting: other channels. Now that internet users are switching between multiple devices before converting, they’re browsing on more channels too. Managing your website alone won’t cut it anymore.
With this changing landscape, it’s up to you to bring your business back in front of customer’s eyes. You can accomplish this with multi-channel marketing. But, how can you be everywhere at once? Let’s learn how multi-channel marketing works and what you can do to capture more customers – no matter where they are.
What is Multi-Channel Marketing?
Multi-channel marketing is a type of marketing that reaches out to customers across multiple channels. A channel can be anything from a search engine to a social media profile – if your business can have a presence there, it’s a channel. Some of the most popular channels include:
- Social media platforms
- SEO & PPC ads
- Push notifications
- Live chat & SMS
- Television ads
With multi-channel marketing, you get your foot in the door of all the channels that your customers already spend their time on. Rather than working to bring your customer to your site, you’re bringing yourself to them.
It’s important to note that multi-channel marketing is not the same as cross-channel marketing and omnichannel marketing. All three approaches are similar, but they are different in important ways.
Cross-channel marketing involves creating a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. This is done by connecting all channels together and communicating customer information between them.
Omnichannel marketing is similar, but even more advanced. All of the channels you market on are connected to create a singular, personalized experience for the customer – often simultaneously. This could take the shape of a customer using your mobile
While multi-channel marketing still focuses on customers, its main difference is that the business’s channels are not fully connected. Instead, it gives customers a choice to engage with your business on the channel that they prefer. Each of these styles of marketing can be used together to create the experience that you’d like to achieve for your customers.
How Can Multi-Channel Marketing Benefit Your Business?
Taking a multi-channel approach to your marketing strategy can manifest benefits to your business in several ways.
- Larger audience: With more channels involved in your marketing strategy, you’ll have access to a wider audience of potential customers to convert. By having a presence on the channels that they frequent, you’ll have a better chance of capturing more relevant traffic.
- Industry gaps: If your competitors aren’t taking a multi-channel approach, then there may be gaps on relevant channels that your business can fill. Attract customers by being active on channels that your competitors may have forgotten about.
- Brand awareness: By putting your business on more channels and reaching new audience, you’ll be introducing your brand to more users that could end up being potential customers. Without a presence on relevant channels, users that would buy your product may never even know you exist.
Drawbacks to Multi-Channel Marketing
Multi-channel marketing can be extremely helpful for many businesses, but it’s not without issues.
One such concern is that it can become very complex very quickly. With all of the touchpoints involved, it can become increasingly difficult to maintain a consistent tone and message for all of them.
Another issue with multi-channel marketing is that it can require lots of new resources and budget to pull off well. In fact, nearly a quarter of marketers state that a lack of resources and time has prevented them from implementing it. Your business may need to work with new software and tools to start marketing on multiple channels in a manageable way, or you may even need to hire new help to handle it all.
Overall, multi-channel marketing is a substantial undertaking for any business. But, with the right tools and strategy in place before getting started, it can prove to be worth it.
How to Build a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy
Even though a majority of marketers know that multi-channel marketing is important, only 73% have a multi-channel strategy. Now that you have a better understanding of multi-channel marketing, let’s get into how you can build an effective strategy.
1. Establish the goal of your strategy.
A marketing strategy without a goal isn’t a strategy – it’s simply a disjointed marketing effort. Your first step in building an effective multi-channel marketing strategy is pinpointing what you want to accomplish at its core.
What is the messaging at the center of your strategy? How will you work to stand out from the rest on any given channel?
Ultimately, your strategy’s goals should serve to accomplish several things:
- Creating a strong brand personality that stands out from your competitors.
- Promoting your USP (unique selling proposition) centered around your business offering.
- Hitting your desired KPIs (key performance indicators).
Above all, your marketing efforts across all channels should stay consistent with and true to your main goal. Your tone and personality needs to carry over to all channels, with slight variation, and your messaging needs to ultimately serve the same purpose – spreading awareness of your USP and converting. Without a clear goal, your strategy may end up being disorganized and ineffective.
2. Find and flesh out your buyer persona.
Aside from your strategy’s goal, the most important thing to keep in mind throughout all of your multi-channel marketing efforts is your end consumer. It’s vital that you understand your buyer persona before creating your strategy.
What is a buyer persona? It’s a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It combines background information, demographics, characteristics, motivations, pain points, and more to create a full picture of who your campaign is targeting. But, in multi-channel marketing, one piece of information is the most important – the channels that your buyer persona prefers.
You can create a buyer persona in a variety of ways:
- Communicate with existing customers.
- Send out surveys to site users.
- Monitor user activity on your site and external channels.
- Collect user data.
There are many tools, like Google Analytics, that can help you build an accurate buyer persona. By tracking data on your site traffic, you can find out where most of your traffic is coming from. This can give you insight into where your customers are, and what channels they frequently use the most.
3. Decide on the channels you want to market on.
Did you know that over half of companies use at least eight channels to engage with their customers? That may seem like a large number of channels, but that number may be necessary for your strategy.
However, the goal of multi-channel marketing isn’t to market on every existing channel. In fact, that may end up wasting both your time and marketing budget.
To get the most out of multi-channel marketing, you need to zero in on the channels that will best reach your audience. To find that information, you need to understand your buyer persona. Not only can user behavior inform you on where your customers are, but their demographics can as well.
Different channels attract different audiences. For example, Facebook has an older user demographic than TikTok, which is mainly inhabited by Generation Z. If your target audience and buyer persona is a B2B customer in their late 40’s, then TikTok may not be the right channel for you to focus on – LinkedIn may be a better choice.
Depending on the platform you pick, you might also need to optimize for different things. If you're going with YouTube or TikTok, then you might need to optimize for video marketing. However, if you're using Facebook or LinkedIn, then there is a different set of content best practices to focus on instead.
4. Match your content and messaging to the channel.
With your channels chosen, it’s time to learn about each one. Because every channel is different in both audience and format, you need to tailor your content and marketing messaging to each channel individually.
While this is time-consuming because you have to tweak content pieces for each platform, you can always cut your work in half with the right tools or by using an AI writing assistant to help with your content.
Avoid posting the same exact content to each platform. This gives customers no motivation to explore your other channels. It may also lead you to post content that simply doesn’t work on that channel. For instance, say you’d like to share an article relevant to your industry. This type of content typically does well on Twitter, or even Facebook, but it won’t translate over to Instagram. Why? Instagram posts don’t allow for links, due to its focus being on images.
You should also keep in mind channels outside of social media. This includes search engines, which require a completely different approach. To capture attention and leads on search engines, you’ll want to optimize pages with SEO in mind or create PPC ads.
Don’t forget: your website is also a channel. Don’t neglect the content on your site when compiling your multi-channel marketing strategy, because it’s a crucial part of the marketing funnel.
5. Keep your multi-channel efforts consistent.
While it’s important that each channel gets unique content that fits its audience and format, your messaging and overall experience should also be unified. This doesn’t need to reach the extent of unification that you’d find in omnichannel marketing, but your channels still need to work together to leverage your overall campaign performance. 90% of customers look for consistent interactions across all business channels, so it’s not something to overlook.
Here’s an example. If you’re marketing the release of a brand-new product, you want to create content focused on that product for each channel with similar messaging and tone. However, you still want it to fit the unique format of each channel. You could write a long-form blog post announcing the new product, post a photo carousel showcasing the product on Instagram, and then create a custom Snapchat filter to promote the product.
Even though each piece of content here is different, it’s still consistent with what you’re trying to promote – your new product.
6. Target your persona at each point in the sales funnel.
If you’re familiar with marketing, the marketing funnel should not be a new concept for you. But, if you need a refresher, here’s a basic version of the marketing funnel:
Like any other marketing strategy, you need to take customers through the marketing funnel to achieve the conversion. The beauty of multi-channel marketing is that it fits perfectly within this funnel, with each channel you’re marketing on serving a unique purpose at every step.
At the awareness level, you want to have your audience established and their intent fleshed out. Here, you want to base your efforts on capturing awareness across all channels, but most importantly search ads, high SERP rankings, and social ads. These placements can capture leads that may not know your business, but they are aware of your general industry. Your main goal at this stage is to introduce your business to interested parties.
At the consideration level, you’re still targeting audiences, but the intent is different. You’re no longer simply building awareness, but you’re also giving customers reasons to consider your business. This type of content can work well on the same channels as awareness content because the audience is similar – only more granular.
At the conversion level, customers have now decided that they want the solution to their problem. At this point, that solution should be you – reinforce your USP and share what you bring to the table. Here, you want to ensure that your business is present wherever they look for a solution. This could mean ranking high on or having PPC ads for specific search terms, like “best organic shampoo.” If they’ve visited your site before and haven’t converted, you can also utilize remarketing ads via email or on social media – Facebook is one of the best channels for this.
Once the customer has converted, it’s time to nurture the audience you’ve built up. Continue to remarket where appropriate and work on your organic content strategy. If they were happy with your business, they may follow on social media – post content that they’d be interested in to keep your brand top of mind. The goal this point forward is to build brand loyalty and, eventually, brand advocacy. From there, they’ll advocate for your brand organically on their own channels, which you can leverage.
7. Use customer relationship management tools.
Juggling so many channels manually can be time consuming, and even impossible, for many businesses to handle. This is why automation tools, like customer relationship management (CRM) software, can come in handy when running a multi-channel marketing campaign.
With a CRM platform, you can keep track of all customer data in one place. This makes it much easier to monitor engagement across all of your active channels. It also helps you to develop a single view of your customer, which can work to create a more realistic buyer persona than what you may have started out with.
Additionally, CRM tools give you the ability to follow customers throughout their buyer journey. This enables you to serve customers personalized experiences every step of the way through targeted, personalized campaigns.
There is a wide variety of CRM tools available that can be helpful to your marketing. For direct contact with customers, add live chat support to your website and social media profiles with tools like LiveChat and ZotaBox. For overall CRM, software like HubSpot can keep all of your channels connected. Your eCommerce platform may even have built-in CRM software to keep things streamlined and efficient.
8. Track performance metrics and adjust as necessary.
All of your marketing campaign efforts can amount to nothing if you have no way of keeping track of performance and changes. To get the most out of your multi-channel marketing, consistently track your metrics and note any progress, whether it’s positive or negative, so that you can adjust as necessary.
Track the KPIs that you indicated at the beginning of your strategy-building for each individual channel. Remember: not every KPI can apply to every channel that you’re active on. Retweets may be an important metric for your Twitter goals, but that may not carry over to a platform like Instagram, which doesn’t share the same sharing functionality.
If your KPIs aren’t reaching the benchmarks that you’ve set out, it’s time to make some changes. Pinpoint what’s working and what’s not – are there any channels that are underperforming, or are there any gaps in places you can be filling? What content is successful, and what content is falling flat? Take the successes and run with them, and don’t be afraid to make changes. Eventually, even your most successful strategies may need to be changed.
Any marketing approach, including multi-channel marketing, is only as effective as the strategy backing it. Without a strategy, your multi-channel marketing will simply look like a presence on multiple channels without any real purpose or benefit.
Multi-channel marketing can also serve as a jumping-off point for other approaches, like cross-channel and omnichannel marketing. You don’t need to stick to one approach – in fact, it’s recommended that you don’t. Marketing is constantly evolving, like all things on the Internet are, so it’s best to evolve with it.