From 2010 to 2014, the average number of channels used before conversion rose from 1.25 to 3.25. Shoppers aren’t only shopping in-person anymore and are regularly using more than one channel to make purchases. For example, a consumer might see a pair of jeans that she likes in store, but decide to hold off on purchasing until she gets more information. She researches the jeans online before ultimately using her smartphone to make a purchase.
A business without a strategy for marketing across multiple channels would have been unlikely to convert the consumer above. With only one in three consumers being a mono-channel shopper, and younger consumers likely to use three or more channels, businesses need to market across channels now more than ever.
What is multi-channel marketing?
Multi-channel marketing is the process of interacting with prospects across websites, digital ads, social media, direct mail, catalogs, email, mobile, or any other channel chosen by the prospect. Marketing your products and services on a single channel isn’t enough for today’s consumers. Your prospects want to have the option of shopping in-store, via mobile, or even by phone with a sales rep.
As the number of channels increases, marketers must adapt and remain accessible to their potential customers. Marketing across multiple channels is all about giving the consumer a choice to interact with the business when and where they want.
Marketing across multiple channels gives prospects a greater degree of choice, but there are still some challenges with the process. Since prospects are interacting with businesses on several channels, determining which channel had the most impact on a conversion can be difficult to determine. Learning which touch point had the strongest impact on a sale could help marketers to become more efficient in their campaigns.
Another issue with marketing across multiple channels is targeted marketing. Prospects are more likely to convert when they receive personalized messages on their preferred channel.
A study from Infosys found that 59% of shoppers who have experienced personalization believe it has an impact on their shopping. When developing personalized messages, marketers need to create a single customer view, with information from multiple channels aggregated in one place.
According to an Econsultancy survey, only 29% of businesses had this capability in 2015:
Marketers also have difficulty creating highly choreographed campaigns, and they aren’t always integrated, with a consistent message and experience found throughout each channel. That same Econsultancy survey found that only 14% of businesses integrate all of their marketing campaigns across channels:
Creating a consistent, personalized experience across channels is challenging for marketers, but it is the ultimate goal of cross-channel marketing. Cross-channel marketing aims to create a seamless experience for prospects, so they don’t get an entirely different experience with a company when they visit a different channel. According to a 2015 Econsultancy survey, 73% of businesses claim that cross-channel marketing has a major impact on conversions.
For example, a shopper visits Walmart’s website to look at a flat screen TV. They place the TV in his cart but ultimately doesn’t make the purchase. Later on that evening, the shopper is browsing Facebook and sees a Walmart ad for the same flat screen TV he placed in his cart. This example shows how cross-channel marketing helps keeps the shopper’s experience consistent regardless of what channel he decides to use.
The fundamental difference between multi-channel marketing and cross-channel marketing is the level of interchangeability. Businesses with multi-channel campaigns have a presence on multiple channels, but the experience isn’t always consistent for prospects. Companies which engage in cross-channel marketing want channels to be interchangeable, so prospects can get a seamless, consistent experience wherever they go.
How businesses can reach customers through multiple channels
Consumers who only use a single channel to buy tend to be older. Younger prospects use multiple channels to research a brand before they make a purchase. That is why it’s critical for businesses to build a strong presence on multiple channels, to be prepared for the coming years when the percentage of prospects who shop on a single channel falls even lower.
How can a company get started on marketing to their prospects through multiple channels? Multi-channel marketing might not produce an experience as seamless as cross-channel marketing, but is still a highly effective way for marketers to increase conversions. Here are a few examples of marketing across different channels that your business can utilize:
1. Use social media to push prospects to your landing pages
Companies are building strong social media followings by offering relevant industry content and being responsive to consumer questions. Businesses can leverage their social media followings on Facebook and Twitter to market their landing pages for ebooks, product demos, and more. After these prospects complete the landing page form, your business can email them new offers.
2. Track how customers shop in store
Birchbox, the beauty ecommerce startup, opened a New York City store in 2014. Its goal was to track how customers shop by making their app a companion to the store. While in the store, customers received push notifications with special offers. Birchbox also placed iPads in the store showcasing product reviews.
Birchbox can use the app to collect customer data, including how many times a customer has visited the store and what products they purchased. This data can then be used in future marketing campaigns to send personalized offers via other channels, like email.
Difficulties with multi-channel marketing attribution
When marketing across multiple channels, determining which aspects of a campaign are most effective can be difficult. Marketers can view open rates for an email campaign, but a campaign that spans multiple channels gives prospects a variety of opportunities for interaction.
How can marketers determine which interaction had the biggest impact on the conversion?
For instance, a shopper might visit a store in person, then sign up for the email newsletter online. They might follow a social media post to a company landing page. All before they ultimately convert. Which touch point had the biggest impact on the conversion? Was it the email newsletter? Or was it the social media post?
Marketing attribution is still a question without a clear cut answer. There are several attribution models which attempt to discern which touch points have the biggest impact on prospects. The different attribution models are as follows:
- First interaction: This model gives the first touch point the prospect interacted with all of the credit for the conversion.
- Last interaction: This model gives the last touch point the prospect interacted with all of the credit for the conversion.
- Time decay: This model gives the last touch point the most credit, with each contact point closer to the first interaction receiving less credit for the conversion.
- Linear interaction: This model gives all touch points equal credit.
- Position based: This model gives the middle touch point less credit than touch points at the beginning and end.
4imprint found that 72% of companies use attribution models to learn how to better budget their marketing resources across channels. Channels that have a high impact on conversions receive more funds, while channels that underperform receive less. This helps companies improve their ROI with marketing campaigns that span multiple channels:
How to create an effective multi-channel marketing strategy
The first step to managing all of the moving parts is to build a single view of the customer. Businesses with a single customer view can track customers and their communications and purchases across channels. This allows a company to determine a prospect’s preferences and provide them with a more personalized marketing experience.
Prospects change and grow over time, and your business must be responsive as their needs and goals change, and they move through your marketing funnel. Maintaining a single view of the customer lets businesses be responsive by tracking customer data over time.
Now that you know what your prospects prefer, you need a way to implement those preferences quickly into your marketing campaign. Your business must be able to run a campaign on multiple channels all from a single place. Doing so gives you easy access to things like campaign management, advanced analytics, response attribution, and digital marketing. Adobe and Intercom are two platforms which allow users to market to prospects across multiple channels.
Your business should strive to produce a consistent experience across channels so that your prospects learn what to expect from your brand. A successful marketing campaign across multiple channels will deliver consistency in everything from color scheme to personalization.
How landing pages fit into multi-channel marketing
Landing pages are designed for conversion, so they are the optimal landing spot for prospects. For example, prospects who signed up for a fitness company newsletter online after reading an ad in an industry magazine might receive an email about a new workout DVD. The email link would take prospects to a landing page built with the sole purpose of getting prospects to convert on the DVD offer.
Your company’s marketing campaign won’t reach its full potential if you aren’t using landing pages. If your ultimate goal is to increase conversions, then your campaign should be using landing pages to compel prospects to convert.
What is the future of multi-channel marketing?
In the future, marketers will take advantage of new technology to send notifications and alerts directly to a shopper’s phone. It will also become more personalized and targeted through better use of user data. Here are a few of the trends that will change marketing strategies in the future:
Beacons can send a Bluetooth signal to nearby devices which elicit a push notification or displays a specific message. Marketers are using beacons in store to make prospects aware of special offers. For example, Target has tested beacons where shoppers with the app receive a phone alert notifying them of a headphone offer as they browse the electronics section. Expect more businesses to use beacons to market to shoppers in the future.
More targeted communications
According to a study from Experian, 59% of consumers have stopped engaging with four or more brands because of poorly targeted communications:
Brands that aren’t targeting prospects with personalized messages risk turning them off to future communications. In the future, companies will use more data about prospects to increase personalization and avoid poorly targeted communications.
Integrated marketing experience
Companies are increasingly integrating data from a variety of channels, such as social media, email, search, display, and mobile. In the future, new channels like virtual reality will also be integrated into marketing campaigns. This will help to increase the efficiency of campaigns and create a better experience for prospects.
One channel isn’t enough anymore
Your company is likely already using multiple channels to reach prospects and increase conversions. Giving your visitors a consistent experience on the channel of their choice will help improve your odds of success.
After you’ve determined your multi-channel marketing strategy, streamline the process of designing a consistent user experience with our 100% customizable landing page platform. With a variety of designer-specific features, 200 conversion-tested templates, and custom fonts integrations, no other landing page solution can match the power of Instapage.