Your consumers are everywhere. They can see ads in the street and communicate with your brand on social media. That’s why your business must meet customers on multiple channels.
To ensure a smooth transition between devices and screens, store owners optimize their websites. Some of them even switch to progressive web apps, and these examples of Magento 2 PWAs prove that this move bears fruit to their store owners. But, by all means, you need a robust cross-channel strategy to cover all touchpoints.
This article will show you what cross-channel marketing is and why you should integrate it into your business. Different types of companies may find these tips helpful.
What Is Cross-Channel Marketing and How Does It Work?
Cross-channel marketing is the promotion of goods or services through several different advertising channels. Communication channels can be, for example, promotional email, SMS campaigns, web push notifications, Facebook Messenger, and so on. Moreover, they support one another and form a single whole.
How does cross-channel marketing engage your target audience? It combines several strategies to lead your customers on their journey.
For example, a person needs to visit the company’s website several times to decide on a purchase. And every such interaction should reflect the brand’s character and lead to customer satisfaction.
Let’s assume a customer adds an item to the shopping cart while browsing the website via a desktop computer and abandons it. You can send a push notification that they’ll see on their mobile device. Or you may send an email with the cart contents and a promo code as a reminder and motivation to complete the transaction. In this case, you utilize different tools, such as the desktop site, its mobile version or mobile app, and email marketing. Here you can find a list of some useful tools for your cross-channel marketing campaigns.
What kind of attitude do your buyers expect? They hope you’ll recognize them according to their communication history. So, you need to know what they want.
But how can your team understand the intent and reach out to the customer most effectively? Try this eight-step approach to boost your cross-channel conversions.
8 Tips to Use Cross-Channel Marketing to Your Advantage
1. What’s Your Buyer Persona?
Creating a buyer persona involves describing an imaginary person, the ideal customer of a particular company. You need this to get the most accurate picture of the people who buy your product.
What do they have in common? What do they usually buy and how often? This information helps you determine the tone of communication with the target audience and decide on other most suitable marketing activities.
Your buyer persona should include the following items:
- Socio-demographic characteristics: gender, age, education, region of residence, social status, income.
- Life philosophy: goals, pain points, values, fears, and things that make a customer happy.
- The client’s lifestyle: where they spend time (online and offline), leisure, and hobbies.
- Online habits: what devices and channels they use when searching for a product/service, what time they’re online most often, what’s their purchase frequency.
- Who makes the purchase decision, what influences it, what principles guide them when choosing a seller.
- And, most importantly, your target audience, whom you address. For example, Pandora has a predominantly young female audience. But they are also trying to attract male clients by suggesting to give gifts to their special girls: daughters, moms, etc. That’s how they did it on their Instagram account with a Mother’s Day gift.
Screenshot taken on the official Pandora Instagram account
How Can You Create a Buyer Persona?
a) Imitate a customer journey.
Explore your website, look through different sections, make an order, reach out to the customer support team to test the level of service.
What does the user experience from arriving at your site to reaching the payment page? Thus, you’ll identify what your customers need.
b) Analyze who your buyers are.
Invest time in figuring out who your customers are. Then, segment them to decide on which approaches will work best for them.
c) Audience poll.
Ask your marketing and sales department to create polls. The screenshot below shows an example of such a poll on the Webinar Software website. It’s a win-win solution because the audience gets helpful advice, and the team receives data about their needs and budget. They created this poll with the help of the Interact tool.
Screenshot taken on the official Webinar Software website
Another way to conduct polls and collect demographic and personality statistics is Google Forms. After completing the questionnaire, you’ll receive a link to insert it into the text on the site, send it in a newsletter or add it to your post on social networks.
What Knowing Your Buyer Persona Gives You
Now you know the characteristics of your audience. For example, these are people who are 25-35 years old and prefer to use Facebook and Instagram. They also usually make purchases from mobile apps between 8 and 11 pm. Based on this information, the marketer develops strategies to attract this segment in the best way possible.
For instance, if a person stumbles upon your content on Monday but doesn’t have time to interact with it at the moment, they will most likely forget about it. But if you follow them at different times on various platforms, the chance of interaction increases dramatically.
2. Organize Your Data
Keeping all of your information on a customer data platform (CDP) is the backbone of a cross-channel marketing strategy. It allows you to gather and analyze your leads’ touchpoints.
How does CDP work? It collects all customer data of the company and integrates it. But doesn’t it look like a CRM? Yes, CDP evolved from CRM and customer support systems. But unlike CDP, these systems are traditionally not integrated.
For example, a consumer calls a retailer’s support team. He wants to get help with a product return. The customer support team may need third-party assistance to verify purchase and personal information, even though they already have all of this information in their database.
Therefore, companies started to connect their databases to both CRM and customer support systems to have a complete history and profile of each customer.
CDPs use data for a wide range of purposes, including:
- customer support;
- advertising and marketing.
What types of data does a CDP gather? It accumulates the following facts:
- sales data;
- digital property data;
- performance data (like how many people open a mobile push notification or click on an ad).
Therefore, CDPs offer an in-depth look to help companies launch customer-driven marketing. According to a Statista survey, 87% of marketers improved overall marketing effectiveness thanks to CDPs. The areas they optimized include:
- preparing reports;
- managing customer data;
- breaking down silos;
- data onboarding process;
- reducing time spent on legal issues;
- ad spending;
- headcount optimization;
- freeing up IT resources.
Image credit: Statista
3. Integrate Your Mediums
Use multiple mediums at once to attract customers and move them through the sales funnel. For instance, you can distribute your advertising messages through various media, including good old:
- magazines and newspapers;
- brochures and catalogs;
- TV commercials and the radio;
- banners in the streets and other outer ads.
But most likely, in the 2020s, your main focus is still the Internet. There are many mediums at your disposal:
- your website;
- mobile app;
- email marketing;
- social media channels;
- pay-per-click advertising;
- among others.
Note that you need to be careful when choosing mediums for cross-channel marketing. Some of them complement each other better than others. So, figure out which combinations of complementary mediums attract your audience the most.
For example, offer customers an in-app QR code to show in the brick-and-mortar store to get a discount. Or maybe you’ll find it practical to use Instagram as a source of traffic to your website.
Cross-marketing campaigns should work together across these channels. It’ll raise the chances of displaying your message in front of your target audience’s eyes at the right time.
Evaluate the value of each medium. What place do they take in the customer journey? Also, think of the campaign’s primary goal. Is it to extend your audience in a new geographic region? Are you aiming to increase engagement? Do you want to launch a contest? Whatever the case may be, choose which medium will provide you with the desired outcomes.
4. Personalize Your Cross-Channel Campaigns
How can you set a business apart from the competition? The solution is personalization plus a unique experience that benefits the consumer.
Personalization improves sales as 80% of customers are more likely to engage with individualized offers. Customers have different journeys. So, you need to treat them as individuals, right?
Tailor content to customers (or customer segments) separately, depending on their habits. An example of personalization is using past purchase history to make recommendations to your consumers.
For example, going back to the cart abandonment case, you can send a client an email with a discount offer. Then, if customers made the purchase, send a thank you email and offer products they might also like. This way, they’ll interact with your brand on a different channel and take the desired action. Here is an example of such a practice of an Artfully Walls online store.
Screenshot taken on the newsletter from Artfully Walls official website
5. Engage with Your Audience on Social Media
One of the most important venues for executing a cross-channel marketing plan is social media. Note that each social media platform requires its own content form and structure.
In the case of TikTok, you should post not just promotional videos but short native videos 15 to 60 seconds long. And Facebook is more focused on photo content, just like Instagram. Videos for TikTok and YouTube will also be radically different: from the format to the content. For example, you can’t imagine extended interviews on TikTok. But you’ll achieve great results if you do the following:
- cut out the most exciting moments of a long video;
- edit them as previews for an interview;
- upload them to TikTok and drive traffic to a YouTube channel.
Explore where potential and existing customers spend their time and direct your social media efforts there. How exactly, you ask?
- It’s your chance to communicate directly with customers. For example, reply to comments, direct messages, repost content, add interactive elements to stories, etc. It’s not what most other channels allow, is it?
- Track discussions related to your business. Take an active part in them. Show that you are an expert, and people will be more willing to listen to you.
- Offer your help and mention what solutions your business provides to solve the problems people are talking about. This strategy will also be a step towards raising brand awareness, engagement, and conversions. However, be careful and discreet. Direct and intrusive promotion of your services in informal conversations can backfire.
Lush is one of the most sociable brands on Instagram. They answer not only users’ questions but also give advice and support dialogue in a friendly style. For example, in this screenshot, you can see how the user asked when the fall product line is coming out. Company representatives replied that it would be soon, but in the meantime, they were enjoying the last summer days.
Screenshot taken on the official Lush Instagram account
6. Make Use of Retargeting
About 95% of users leave the site without buying anything. How can you drive this traffic back? Use retargeting. Its purpose is to place advertising to remind visitors about the product they viewed.
The users open other sites and see your ad, reminding them about the product and special offers. Thus, it retains the target audience and ensures customer return.
Why is such advertising more effective? Because it addresses targeted, or “warm”, customers. Plus, it’s cheaper to return an interested user than to attract new customers.
You can implement retargeting on various channels, such as:
- social networks;
- search engines;
- advertising platforms;
- sites with similar products;
To illustrate my point, I visited the official Lyst online store and looked through some pages. I didn’t add anything to the cart and proceeded to read some news on the CNN website. And here is where I find the retargeting practice. The section displays the goods I viewed and discounts.
Screenshot taken on the official CNN website
7. Pay Attention to Customer Support
Customer service is vital to 96% of consumers throughout the world when it comes to brand loyalty. What kind of customer service is beneficial to your sales? The one that makes customers feel respected and valued. It boosts brand exposure by increasing their loyalty and encouraging positive word-of-mouth.
So, make your customer support available at all times. To boost satisfaction, handle all of your customers’ issues. Otherwise, they may switch to another brand. Make sure that your customer service interactions flow seamlessly across all channels.
It especially applies to eCommerce marketers who may be at the receiving end of the client’s dissatisfaction. As a result, you should invest in customer service and incorporate features like live chat and chatbots into your store. They allow you to answer clients’ questions quickly.
You can find an example of a fully-fledged chatbot on the official Zenni Optical website. First, as you come to the home page, you see the robot icon in the lower right corner of the screen. It’s Zee, a personal eyewear assistant. It suggests you reading articles, checking order status, or choosing the right frame. Thus, customers from all over the world can interact with the brand anytime.
Screenshot taken on the official Zenni Optical website
8. Measure Your Work Effectiveness
So, you’ve launched interconnected campaigns on multiple channels. But are they effective? Choose a set of metrics to follow your customers. When do they become regular buyers? How can you convert the new ones?
Tracking KPIs shows which channel works best. Using this data, you’ll tweak your course to attract the maximum number of customers.
The best option is to use specialized tools such as JotURL to measure your campaign performance. For example, it allows you to start with the following metrics:
- consumer portrait: their IP, region, language, browser type, and more;
- the number of views and clicks;
- conversion tracking: conversion funnel, configurable cookies, tracking multiple conversions;
- revenues and costs;
- calls-to-action metrics;
- among other things.
Here’s how the JotURL interface looks.
Screenshot taken on the official JotURL YouTube channel
Start analyzing those data each week, month, and a quarter (depending on how long your campaign has been operating). Assess how successful it is at meeting your main campaign goal. Consider the following questions:
- Is your social media campaign consistent with the overall marketing strategy?
- Do you address the right audience?
- Do you convey the same message across all channels?
- How many consumers saw or interacted with the content?
Remember to use this information in future campaigns. Thus, you’ll establish a never-ending cycle of integrated marketing efforts and victories.
How can you attract customers in today’s competitive world? As numerous studies and practices show, it’s vital to utilize several communication channels at once. And сross-channel marketing will help you with this.
What steps can you take to reach a successful cross-channel marketing strategy?
- First, leverage data insights.
- Second, make ongoing adjustments to your plan.
- Third, strive to establish emotional contact and improve customer engagement.
And then, you’ll develop such a successful cross-channel marketing strategy that will raise brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales.
About the Author
Alex Husar, chief technology officer at Onilab with almost a decade of successful Magento migration and PWA development projects for eCommerce companies around the globe. Being a Computer Software Engineering specialist, Alex is equally competent both in terms of full-stack dev skills and the capability to provide project-critical guidance to the team.