3 Cross-Channel Marketing Strategies for SMBs
Posted by Erica Bell on September 6, 2013 in Marketing [ 2 Comments ]
Integrating offline and online marketing approaches can be a bit of a challenge. From trying to piece a puzzle of the different channels together correctly to developing a seamless experience for customers across each, there’s a lot to consider. A recent Econsultancy study found that the most commonly cited factor enabling effective coordination of cross-channel marketing campaigns is a clearly defined strategy, with 37% of companies identifying this as such this year. To help you overcome the obstacle of an undefined strategy, we’re sharing some tips you can take away and apply to your own cross-channel marketing approach.
Focus on the Right Online Channels
Marketers are becoming more focused on the customers, as they should. Customers are more informed than ever before and a simple search on Google or Bing could provide them with more information they even know what to do with. Therefore, it isn’t about being on all channels to attract as many eyes as possible; it’s about being on the right channels to meet your objectives. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are on tight budgets. If this is the case, focus on:
- Your website. Once a website is designed and developed, your biggest investment will be time. Keep products and services up-to-date and make sure contact information is accurate. Many consumer searches start with search engines so you need an online presence.
- Email marketing. Email marketing is a great way to stay connected with your customers. If you’re worried about your marketing budget, make sure you’re spending on email marketing. A great segmentation strategy, design and copy can lead to clicks and conversions.
- Social media. Social media is one of the best marketing channels for businesses on a budget. Be on the networks where your customers and focus on engagement more than selling. Social media is for socializing, don’t turn it into a one-way conversation (Tweet this!)
- SEO. Maintain a blog and optimize content and images for search engines. Topics can range from what’s hot in your audience’s industry or your own to best practices and news about your business. Focus on creating content that is valuable and encourages sharing.
Focus on Offline Integration
Marketing online places your business in front of the eyes of your online audiences. This doesn’t mean offline strategies should be neglected or ignored. Integration of your online efforts with your offline marketing messages creates a seamless and continuous experience for your customers. Any print media, direct mail, outdoor or television advertising, and telemarketing should contain the same overall messaging as your online marketing campaigns do. The customer journey often isn’t a “one and done” deal. Econsultancy found that, with the exception of telemarketing and direct mail, offline channels are very integrated digital marketing channels.
Focus on Acquisition AND Retention
Some businesses spend more of their time and budget on new customer acquisition. Others spend more on retention. Businesses need to be able to find that sweet spot where the appropriate amount of attention is spent on each. For many, it’s assumed that retaining a current customer is less expensive than acquiring a new one, especially in industries where the lifetime value of a customer is more significant than profits from a solo sale. While many businesses (44%) are more focused on acquisition than retention, many also think that an equal focus is needed (40%) (Tweet this!).
Integrating your marketing channels can lead to greater customer acquisition and customer retention. For example, integrating your direct mail with your paid search in terms of promotions, design and messaging can drive new customers to your site while also enticing past customers to return and make a purchase. Again, utilizing the multiple touch points provided by a cross-channel approach drives your business to meet its objectives: acquisition and retention.
Related: 5 Ways to Sell More in 2013
A cross-channel approach to marketing is beneficial to your business for a number of reasons. You’ll have consistent branding, which leads to your credibility as a business, be able to connect with customers across multiple touch points, and you’ll be able to acquire and retain customers. Even without a large budget, focusing on the messaging, points of contact and design will lead to a more a successful cross-channel approach. Just remember to focus on the right channels and all around integration, including offline mediums.