The days when a business could get by only offering customers one or two ways to get in touch or keep up with company updates are long over.
Today’s digital-age consumers expect the brands they buy from to meet them where they already live, whether that’s in their email inboxes, through social media, or on a dedicated company website.
Ignoring this expectation can hurt your business and cost you sales.
Because if you don’t satisfy your customers by embracing the right combination of digital marketing channels in the correct ways, you can bet one of your competitors will.
Cross-channel marketing is the key to ensuring your brand is everywhere it needs to be to stay ahead of the game.
Here’s a closer look at how to get it right.
What is Cross-Channel Marketing?
Cross-channel marketing is about more than simply planting a flag in a variety of different places online to ensure you have a presence on platforms your audience uses most often.
It’s also about seamlessly blending those presences together to create a homogenous, fully immersive experience for your audience.
That difference is the fundamental characteristic that differentiates proper cross-channel marketing from multichannel or omnichannel marketing.
Omnichannel marketing is merely concerned with marketing via every channel an audience is likely to expect these days.
Cross-channel marketing builds on that idea by further recognizing the fact that most consumers today will keep track of a business via more than one channel.
This means all of those channels should come together to create a unified experience.
Who Should Use Cross-Channel Marketing?
If you run a business or are in charge of marketing a brand in the digital age and you’re serious about succeeding, you should be using a cross-channel approach to marketing.
Most companies these days already use and understand multichannel marketing, but it’s just not enough anymore.
Today’s consumers don’t shop, research, or connect with brands online the way they used to even a few years ago.
Most of your customer base is connected to you via well more than one point of contact and will likely consult several before finalizing a purchase decision.
For that reason, each needs to complement and remain consistent with all the others as far as impression, voice, and branding message.
In other words, a successful brand today needs to connect to an online audience the same way a friend or acquaintance would — with consistency, relevancy, and authenticity.
What are the Benefits of Cross-Channel Marketing?
Every business needs to develop a thorough understanding of its audience if it’s going to succeed in today’s competitive digital landscape, and this is true regardless of industry.
Cross-channel marketing can help you do this in a way that gets results while maintaining the type of relationship modern consumers expect. Individual benefits include:
Higher Engagement Rates
Successfully connecting with an audience today means going out, meeting them where they live, and putting your content in front of them instead of waiting for them to come to you.
Cross-channel marketing does this in a way that nurtures the emotional connections that drive engagement and encourage sharing.
Stronger Brand-Client Relationships
Successfully maintaining an immersive online environment across multiple channels supports better brand awareness and strong brand saliency — the likelihood that a particular customer will think of your brand when they’re ready to invest in a solution.
It also helps your customers and followers see your brand as a trusted friend, which in turn encourages high levels of loyalty and strong ongoing relationships.
Seamless Customer Journeys
The easier you can make your customer’s journey through the three stages of their buyer’s journey — awareness, consideration, and purchase — the healthier your bottom line will become.
According to research, 73 percent of today’s shoppers make purchases via more than one channel.
Cross-channel marketing helps you ensure you’re reaching them right when it counts the most.
What are the Challenges of Cross-Channel Marketing?
Of course, even the most effective marketing strategies come with their share of challenges.
Here are a few you’ll run into as you work on making cross-channel marketing part of your approach.
Choosing the Correct Channels
With the sheer number of connection points out there these days, no one can be everywhere, including your customers.
You’ll need to develop a granular understanding of your customers to accurately determine where they’re spending their screen time, as well as how they use each channel.
Reaching Customers at the Correct Time
Once you figure out which platforms and connection points will actually connect you with your target audience, you also need to figure out how to reach them at the right times.
Every channel is different, so the best timing for a tweet or an Instagram story isn’t necessarily going to work for a streaming media ad.
Maintaining High Data Quality
Managing the massive amounts of data even a barebones marketing campaign generates is getting more complicated by the day for businesses.
Quality is crucial for accuracy, so a reliable way to determine what data is truly important is a must.
Increasingly multifaceted approaches to customer connection and an ongoing journey toward a cookieless future make keeping quality levels high challenging.
How to Get Started with Cross-Channel Marketing
A great cross-channel marketing campaign is about creating a cohesive collection of dynamic, highly personalized content experiences that delight, inform, and inspire customers.
Check out a few tips to get started in the right direction.
1. Take a data-based approach to decision-making
Without solid data to work from, even the most creative marketing campaigns are nothing more than hopeful guesses.
Start the process of planning your cross-channel marketing strategy by analyzing data from multiple channels and resources.
This will help you identify significant trends, behavioral patterns, and other insights that will give context to your audience’s likes, dislikes, user habits, and decision-making processes.
This makes it easier to determine which contact methods will be most effective.
2. Create realistic customer personas to work from
Identifying wide-reaching behaviors across whole demographics isn’t all there is to getting to know your audience when you’re in cross-channel marketing.
You also need to know your customers on a deeper, more intimate level — as people and not just as platform users or consumers.
Creating a well-rounded set of buyer personas takes the guesswork out of this process.
Combining personal data with aggregate data will give you unique insights that fuel significant (and repeatable) successes.
3. Use smart content to personalize customer experiences
Personalization is the key to any successful modern digital marketing experience.
The goal is for every last one of your customers to feel as if the content they see from you was created specifically for them.
This helps boost brand loyalty by cultivating deep, lasting bonds between your company and that customer as a person.
The term “smart content” (also sometimes called dynamic or adaptive content) refers to various characteristics of an advertisement or content experience that change according to a specific customer’s interests and past behavioral patterns.
This ensures that no matter where your customer may be in their journey as a buyer, they’ll be getting exactly the content they need at precisely the correct times.
4. Optimize for multiple key performance indicators (KPI)
Start-to-finish optimization of your cross-channel marketing campaign with key performance indictors in mind is the best way to ensure a successful effort across the board.
Thorough, detailed data on your KPI will help your marketing team make well-informed marketing decisions on an ongoing basis.
Great KPIs to track include:
- Revenue growth
- Net sales
- Conversion rate
- Social media share rate
- Pages per session
- Newsletter signups
- Cost per acquisition
- Time to conversion
Pay special attention to data that speaks to how your efforts with one marketing channel influence one or more of your others.
The more you know about the unique cause-and-effect nature that comes along with any cross-channel marketing campaign, the stronger you’ll be able to make yours as you move forward into the future.
5. Refine your strategy and repeat
Make sure you and your marketing team are regularly reviewing your collected data according to a set schedule.
This ensures that you’ll be able to identify potential issues before they have a chance to add up to lost revenue and customer connections.
The sooner you know whether something you’ve changed or newly implemented is working as predicted, the better.
Use insights obtained at the close of each evaluation period to refine your campaign and adjust your efforts appropriately.
Take special note of anything new you may learn about your customers and plan accordingly.
Repeat what works, reevaluate what doesn’t, and you’ll be looking at a highly successful cross-channel marketing strategy before you know it.
Wrap Up: Quality Content Experiences Yield the Highest Returns
Successful content marketing of any kind is no longer about throwing as much of it out there as possible in the hopes that something will stick.
Modern consumers are getting smarter. They’re also demanding better-quality content experiences and personalized connections from the brands they do business with, so meeting their expectations in this regard is crucial.
Check out our interactive ebook on creating dynamic, high-quality content experiences that are entirely in step with the needs and preferences of today’s customers.
You’ll enjoy a comprehensive deep dive into what really resonates with digital-age audiences and learn how to make your next content experience contain a massive success.
Get started today!