Marketing is a game of layers requiring an effective mix of channels. For example, a social ad may lead to a blog on your website, which prompts a download, which in turn triggers a welcome email. By utilizing targeted messaging via one channel, and following that up with additional messages through related channels, you significantly increase opportunities for brand engagement and establishing lasting relationships.
Cross-channel marketing is a more concise term used to describe these tactics. You want to reach consumers by employing a multi-tiered, consistent (yet natural) campaigns that leave positive impressions and lead to results. By using multiple channels, which leads to increased touch points, you enable your customers to engage with your brand using the method they find most valuable.
At the core of any cross-channel marketing strategy is email. Despite the growth of customized mobile apps, social media, pay-per-click tools, and even trusty direct mail – how many times have you been enticed to look when you receive a teaser email from Hautelook? -- email remains the key element of a cross-channel strategy. The reasons are simple:
- It is direct. There are no stops between your company and potential customers. Email is a direct conduit to customers.
- It is the most fluid way to establish a relationship with customers. Recipients have opted in. They have shown interest.
- It helps to establish loyalty. You’re building a relationship and offering incentives. How many times have you decided to finally make that online order after you received a coupon?
- It has been proven to deliver a higher return on investment (ROI) than other tactics. Think about all the times you’ve opened an email, clicked the image, and been delivered to a company site.
- It enables you to collect click-through data and pinpoint consumer behaviors. You can dive into why people are opening the email and how far are they going in the process. The more data you collect, the better you can target subsequent efforts.
Email is a fundamental piece of every cross-channel marketing campaign. For email to work, however, you need to collect addresses.
How to Collect Email Addresses
The words “buyer journey” or “customer journey” are the current buzz phrases many marketers use to describe how a person moves through the sales cycle. While the terms may seem lofty, at heart they are correct. Understanding how a customer travels from point A to point B, and so on, is critical to figuring out the best opportunities to generate results. Using the following tactics will help your organization maximize results of the process:
Optimize Your Website – Your company site is headquarters for all online marketing efforts. You need to ensure your digital real estate is set up to collect email addresses as quickly and efficiently as possible. If a potential customer takes the time to visit your site, they’re obviously curious about what you do, your brand, or the products you offer. Your website should include several opportunities for the consumer to type in their email address. Ways to gather this information include:
- Sign-up boxes on pages where you offer valuable content – If your visitor has enjoyed or found value in the content they’re reading or viewing, you can offer to send future pieces directly to their inbox.
- Exclusive downloads – Perhaps you have an insightful white paper or eBook you want to provide to customers. Access to the free content is simple if they simply type in their email address.
- Discount offers – Everyone loves to save. An email address in exchange for a coupon off their next purchase is an easy way to start a relationship.
Maximize Social Media – Most major brands have jumped into social media by using networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. The reality is that many consumers spend hours each day on these platforms. If that’s where your potential customers are living, it's more critical than ever to connect with them there. While you want to engage with consumers through these solutions, they’re not set up to gather valuable email addresses. You can, however, use these tools to direct people to your website.
- Facebook – Facebook is great for customers to establish a relationship with your brand. You can post updates to your page, but always lead them back to your website. If you use ads on Facebook, follow the same pattern. A Facebook Like is nice, but the goal is to get them to your site where you can gather more information.
- Instagram – If you have some great new products you want to promote, Instagram is great as a visual conduit. Show customers the goods, and then lead them to where they can learn more and purchase.
- YouTube – Video continues to be one of the fastest growing tools for customer engagement. In less than 90 seconds, you can create a meaningful and lasting reaction on which to build a long-term relationship. Video is another tool for directing traffic back to your site where you can collect addresses.
- Twitter – Twitter sometimes suffers from unilateral shouting. Brands that push their products without attempting to engage can struggle. What you can’t forget is that Twitter is a fantastic platform for one-to-one interaction. Conversations on the network may lead to positive relationships, which you can direct back to the site for email address acquisition. Brands can also leverage hashtags on Twitter to increase the level of conversation, which can draw engagement back to your site. Most television show producers have figured out that a hashtag in the bottom right corner of the screen during the event will increase impressions and discussion among fans.
Leverage Mobile – Where are your customers? Increasingly, they’re on their phones and tablets. Brands must continue to identify methods for reaching their customers where they live. Mobile app saturation – too many apps on the market and not enough differentiation – is a concern. If your company or brand would benefit from having a mobile app, you need to find a way to make its usage a frequent part of a user’s daily routine. Think about what item or content of value you can offer. After you determine what that is, you can encourage app users and SMS/MMS subscribers to submit their email addresses to receive additional content of a similar value.
Every cross-channel marketing campaign is different, but the tactics you use to build engagement and encourage relationships are fairly consistent. Successful campaigns are able to consistently tie together the various channels to deliver a unified message that resonates with customers.
However you decide to roll out your strategy, you must always keep in mind the end goal of acquiring email addresses. Strategically applying the tactics described above in your cross-channel marketing campaign will help to satisfy this critical goal.
Interested in more tips and tricks for effective cross-channel marketing? Check out this survey of nearly 4,000 marketers for more customer journey trends.