How Cross-Channel Marketing Can Improve Your Marketing Strategy

Reach your customers at the right time, in the right place with cross-channel marketing. 

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Over the years, the way we market to our customers has changed. Once upon a time, we relied solely on newspapers to get the word out about our company. Before we knew it, marketing expanded to radio, television, the internet, and now to mobile devices that people take with them everywhere.

Of course, our marketing strategies have changed with the times. But with the numerous options available to customers in today’s world, are we doing everything we can to make an impression? 

Many companies find one marketing avenue that works for them and stop there. Maybe direct mailing or email works well and brings in enough leads to keep you going. We often get complacent in a routine that simply “works” and pays the bills. While there is an entire marketing toolbox full of shiny new tools we could be using. 

While sticking to the status quo might sound like a safe idea, changing things up will benefit your company by increasing engagement, loyalty, and conversions. Without taking a little risk, you’ll find the numbers will remain consistent, or even decline, year-over-year. 

That’s where cross-channel marketing comes in. Having the ability to reach customers on multiple different marketing channels will allow you to increase your brand awareness and improve your sales and revenue numbers. 

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover throughout this article: 

  • Discuss what cross-channel marketing is
  • Understand how multiple platforms can work together to create a cross-channel marketing strategy
  • Look at three different benefits of cross-channel marketing

When it comes to engaging customers across multiple platforms, many companies feel they perform fairly well — but the question is, are they using these channels to create a seamless experience for their customers? If not, they may be losing engagement and sales opportunities. Image courtesy of Salesforce

Cross-Channel Marketing

You’ve probably heard of the idea of multi-channel marketing. In fact, your company is probably already using multi-channel marketing in your overall strategy. This basically means that you are using or have a presence on more than one marketing channel. 

So, if you are using email marketing, direct mailing, in-store promotions, social media, and paid advertising, you are participating in multi-channel marketing. Now, while it may sound like cross-channel marketing, a multi-channel approach is not the same. 

Multi-channel marketing is a seamless experience across mobile different channels all at the same time. The marketing message and imagery don’t deviate from the overall marketing strategy whether it is a print piece or social media advertisement. 

When you consider it takes the average shopper nine or more touch points before a purchase is made, cross-channel marketing can help improve your chances of landing a sale. 

Utilizing multiple channels will h not only improve engagement rates but you should also expect to see higher engagement rates as well. Image courtesy of Click Z

Understanding Cross-Channel Marketing 

If you’re still unsure of exactly what cross-channel marketing means, here’s a scenario to help put it into perspective. 

Imagine that a customer is browsing your website. They view multiple product pages and then leave your site. Then, a few days later, they receive a reminder email about the products they were viewing. After that, they are scrolling through their social media accounts and see an ad for the same products. 

At this point, they have had three different touch points around the exact same marketing message. Once on the site, once through email marketing, and another through social media messaging. 

They have been reminded of the product and encouraged to revisit the site and make a purchase. Everything has been consistent and now the customer can easily identify the ads are coming from your company — you’ve now build brand awareness on top of the product reminders.  

This is just one very basic example of how cross-channel marketing can benefit your company. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the different channels you can incorporate into your cross-channel marketing strategy. 

Cross-Channel Marketing Avenues 

So, we already identified that cross-channel marketing will use a number of different avenues to reach your customers. But what sets cross-channel apart from multi-channel is the seamless nature of the marketing strategy. To implement a true cross-channel strategy, you must understand the available platforms and how they work together.

Email Marketing

In any marketing strategy, email is likely one of your most frequently used tools. That’s because email still comes out as one of the most efficient ways to reach your customers. In fact, 49% of online users still want to receive weekly emails from their favorite brands. 

People want to hear from their favorite brands. Depending on the company and content, the frequency may change, but the fact that customers want to hear from brands they follow doesn’t. Image courtesy of Statista.  

Email can be used in cross-channel marketing in multiple ways. 

One way is to learn more about your customers and use machine learning and predictive analytics to help create a hyper-personalized campaign. You can use the data you have from your email marketing campaigns to build a fully incorporated cross-channel strategy — carrying that level of personalization across the board. 

The other way to use email for cross channel marketing is to implement email campaigns based on a few different triggers, such as: 

  • Retargeting campaigns
  • Transactional emails
  • Loyalty campaigns
  • Post-purchase emails
  • Re-engagement campaigns

All of these different email types can be brought into the cross-channel marketing process for a more comprehensive strategy. The more communication you have with your customers, the more likely they are to talk about your brand and share it with friends and family. 

Mobile Marketing

Let’s face it, we use our mobile devices every single day. As a marketer, that presents an opportunity. 

If you didn’t consider adding mobile marketing to your cross-channel strategy, you need to re-evaluate how you think about marketing. As mobile usage continues to grow, you should be thinking in a mobile-first mindset — and that doesn’t change here. 

More and more customers are using their phones and tablets at every stage of the sales funnel. From product discovery to completing a purchase, it can all be done on their mobile devices. 

In fact, more stores are starting to create a mobile in-store experience. Many have adapted to the mobile world by creating an app that can help customers check prices and find products in-store — taking the cross-marketing experience offline. 

In-Store Marketing

The in-store marketing experience has changed drastically in the last few years. We are seeing more mobile adoption and interactive experiences popping up in stores all over the mall. From apps that help customers find the products they’re looking for, to magical fitting room mirrors to help customers request a new size — the in-store experience is becoming a cross-channel platform. 

Don’t forget about the in-store experience when you’re developing your cross-channel marketing strategy. By using both digital and in-store promotions you care much more likely to land a sale than just using one. 

When a customer interacts with these in-store digital experiences, the data from the interaction is captured. This means that you can use this information to help target a customer and provide them with content that is relevant to their recent experience. 

Take the example of the mirrors that allow customers to request new sizes or other products. Knowing what items the customer was trying on or interested in will open up the door to understanding their style and interests. From there, you can start providing them with product recommendations or promote positive reviews on the products they may have been on the fence about through email or remarketing ads.

Once again, it all comes back around full circle. While their interactions may have started in-store, you don’t have to limit your marketing tactics to one single platform. 

3 Benefits to Cross-Channel Marketing

There are numerous benefits to implementing cross-channel marketing, but in this section, we’ll take a look at the top three. Beyond the three we’ll discuss below, you can also expect to see an increase in ROI, increased reach, and stronger brand identity. 

  1. Increased engagement

When you are utilizing multiple marketing channels at once, you’re increasing the frequency that people see your posts. That means that not only are more people seeing your content, but they are also seeing them at different times and on different channels. 

What did not resonate with them via email might catch their eye as an SMS message sent to their phone when they get home after work. People can easily forget about a message or product they viewed, but a subtle reminder might be all they need to revisit your site and make a purchase. 

  1. Improved loyalty

Staying consistent across platforms and providing customers with relevant content to their interests can help build brand loyalty. When a customer knows a brand and trusts in their products and services, they are much more likely to become a return customer. 

By getting your brand in front of your customers and becoming a familiar face you start to improve brand awareness and build loyal relationships. Once someone has become a loyal customer, they are generally more likely to make a secondary purchase because they have trust in the company. 

Remember, acquiring a new customer can be 5-25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers. That’s why building brand awareness and a loyal customer base is so important. 

Retaining a loyal customer is much more profitable than landing a new customer. That’s a great reason cross-channel marketing can help improve your sales. Image courtesy of Shopify.

  1. Increased visibility

Last but not least, cross-channel marketing will increase visibility. The more people see your brand, the more likely they are to recognize and trust your products. Similarly to building loyal customers, increasing visibility will let you build stronger brand awareness to reach new audiences. 

With the help of the multiple different marketing platforms, you can ensure your customers see you from their email inbox and mobile phone text message to their social media page and even their mailboxes with direct mailings. The more visible you are, the more likely people are to remember your brand. 

On top of that, the more people are talking about your brand the better. Maybe they saw a digital ad and were telling a friend about a product you promoted to them. That’s a great way to get your brand promoted through word of mouth — yet another amazing way to reach more customers. 

Is cross-channel marketing for you? 

If you haven’t already invested in cross-channel marketing, now may be a perfect time. While finding the perfect balance between each channel mat takes some time to perfect, the first step is getting started. 

The good news is, you’re likely already utilizing multi-channel marketing efforts, now all you need to do is create a seamless marketing strategy for your promotions. From there, you’ll start to see the benefits that cross-channel marketing has to offer.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.