A multi channel marketing campaign helps a firm in conquering customers through multiple channels in one go. I have written about the pros and cons of multi channel marketing as well as about its challenges in this article. If you have the budget, the benefits of multi channel marketing far outweigh that of a single channel presence.
To prepare a multi channel marketing campaign, you need to pick multiple channels to touch base with your customers. These multiple channels can be a combination of offline marketing vehicles or online marketing vehicles. For the ease of application, i have divided the options into Online marketing vehicles and offline marketing vehicles.
Online vehicles for Multi Channel Marketing campaigns
Here are some online campaigns which you can run simultaneously and get your message across to end customer.
A website is crucial to your marketing campaign. Quite simply because it is an ingrained habit that customers nowadays turn to websites whenever they want to learn more about your brand or your products.
A website is your online shop, your 24 / 7 customer touch point, your information base & it is an all in one aspect of your marketing campaign. When you create search or social media campaigns, they will also point to your website. So this is the first step and is like the bark of a tree. From this bark, there are many branches which shoot up, such as Email marketing, social marketing, search marketing, all of which points towards your website and tries to bring customers to landing pages.
Many small businesses use their websites as knowledge bases to give more information about the products & service packages available and at the same time, use web design skills to convince and convert the customers. The capability to convert their customers through websites becomes a strong selling point. If you are building a multi channel marketing campaign, a website is a must have in your kitty because many other channels depend on it.
2) Search Engine Optimization
The next best thing to having a website is having the website featuring regularly at the top of google rankings for the keywords you want to rank for. If i was into the air conditioning business and was a dealer of air conditioners, i would like my website to rank for the keyword “Air conditioner dealers in India”
However, this is easier said then done. There are many many things which go into search engine optimization. The input involves optimizing each and every landing page as per google or other search engine’s guidelines.
And further it involves getting backlinks so that the pages start ranking on top. Understanding the basics of search engine optimization is a different topic altogether. But more interesting is the output of SEO – where you rank above everyone else and hence get the chunk of the business of your locality / segment.
The bottomline is, a website should be optimized for google which is the major search engine out there. So the logical step after the creation of a website, is to optimize it so that your website ranks higher than your competitor.
SEO not only considers search engine ranking, but local ranking as well. And once you are optimized and ranking high, you will know the benefits of being on top of google. Trust me, they are manifold. Sometimes, this single channel can give you more business then 10 of your retail stores.
3) Search Engine Marketing
If your website is in a very competitive sector (garments, other retail), or if you just don’t have the time to do Search engine optimization, then Search engine marketing is the route to take. Search engine marketing benefits many different sectors in any industry.
If there is one marketing vehicle which is under utilised by small businesses, it is search engine marketing. It is easy to learn, and it is easy to implement. So anyone who is reading this, should be on board this wagon because with the right technique, it gives very good returns. If you don’t have the confidence to run your own campaigns, then you can hire an agency, or better yet, get a course from Udemy. Trust me, that’s time and money well invested.
Each one of us operates in a defined radius. I operate out of Mumbai, and for my other businesses, i like enquiries from Mumbai only. With SEO, i will get enquiries from all across India or even from outside the country. However, with Search engine marketing, i can target even the 20 kilometer radius around me. That’s how effective it is. Naturally, with this targeting in hand, sometimes search engine marketing might give better results than hiring a field salesman (hint – use the salary as a budget for SEM, try it for a couple of months.)
Search engine marketing does need a site which converts well. Hence, the first thing i wrote about is the website. Involve as many call to actions as you can on your website. Try different conversion techniques. And watch the conversions happen live when you get calls or Emails. If you are in a competitive sector, then i would recommend search engine marketing higher then SEO in your multi channel marketing campaign.
4) Email Marketing
Every year we heard that Email marketing is dead. And every year, it rises up like Undertaker from WWF. But just like The Undertaker had his life in a vessel which was in the hands of his manager, the life of Email marketing lies in the words within the email, the frequency of the email and the need levels of the consumer reading it.
Email marketing is disliked because people hate being bombarded with emails which have no meaning and no rhyme.
Buy this.. buy that… how often do we hear these statements in email.
And the SPAM box is a legendary, never-go-there place which i have hardly visited in the last decade.
Yet, its population increases day by day. So there is no doubt that the word Email marketing has lost its charm.
But do it the right way, and you will see results. Provide value, give knowledge to the customer which will help him in his walk of life, keep customers interest above yourself and see how your emails convert. When you keep your customers above you, it shows in the way you write, in the headlines you use and even in your sign off.
A professional email literally says – I don’t want to take too much of your time, but i have some valuable input to provide. Knowing my previous contributions, you know my inputs are good. Check me out in your own good time. AND the user does exactly that!!
There are many Email marketing softwares out there like Mail chimp and Aweber. Personally, i like Aweber better then most because of its easy interface and solid performance. Do check them out when you have time.
Other online vehicles for Multi channel marketing campaigns
5) Social Media Marketing
Quite possibly a strong vehicle which is growing by the hour and not by the day. Facebook has started paid promotions and you can reach a huge customer base if you are ready to spend the right amount of money. However, the interaction level and the results totally depend on the number of followers you have as well as the quality of your ads and the frequency AND the need of your products.
There are multiple reasons that in certain sectors a social media marketing campaign might work very well. Sectors such as garments, consumer durables, services, software and IT, E-commerce have found Social media and remarketing to be an excellent way to reach their potential customers and convert them. However, when you move on to different segments which are more B2B oriented, you will notice that Social media does not play much of a role in its marketing campaign.
However, for B2C, social media marketing is indispensible. Many people have made a brand of themselves by selling items on Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook or any of the other social networks out there. Sites like Shopify allow you to create your own facebook store itself. So if you are into a fast moving retail channel, social media marketing is a good vehicle for a multi channel marketing campaign.
Blogging is growing in popularity because of its ability to optimize a site for search engines and at the same time to influence more and more people with written words. Blogging can do wonders for product sales especially if the product is offered via affiliate marketing.
Many brands have entered blogging as a means to stay in touch with their consumers to give them the latest info from within the company. Brands are expected to communicate as per their brand values because blogging itself builds a brand identity for the brand. When we think of Buzzfeed or Scoopwhoop all we can think of is fun. But when we think of a blog like cultofmac, then we know we are going knee deep in knowledge about macbooks.
Blogs are hyperfocused on one topic and as a result, customers who are hyperfocused on your business can connect to you via your blogs.
Secondly, the more the number of pages on your website, the more the options to search engine optimize or social media market or search engine market your website. Even Email marketing can regularly update the customers if you have new content updated regularly.
Hence, blogging is a choice being used by many brands nowadays in their multi channel marketing campaign.
More then Marketing of a product, Apps are useful for retention of customers. One of the reasons that brands move on from Websites to apps, is that once your app is in someone’s smartphone, they hardly uninstall it especially if the app is regularly delivering value.
An app can perform multiple functions for your product or for your brand which may be a combination of a website, blog and an update service. However, maintaining an app is a regular time and money investment and hence it is mentioned last in the list of online marketing vehicles.
Offline vehicles for multi Channel Marketing campaign
Where online marketing is a trend and majorly involves inbound marketing and relies on customers to reach to the brand, offline marketing is a different ball game altogether. You have to ensure that you reach customers and influence them enough to come back to your brand. You can do this with the use of multiple marketing mediums.
The number 1 marketing medium is advertising. There are various mediums to advertise such as televisions, newspapers, radio, outdoor, print media like magazines and others. The more you advertise, the more eyeballs you capture which directly affects and increases your brand equity (advertising won’t be the only criteria)
Depending on the budget in hand, Advertising is the first offline medium which most businesses invest in. One of the most common medium budget ways for small businesses to advertise is Print media, which has a good ROI too. As the business grows, Local TV ads or even regional ads becomes a possibility.
There have been developments even in sectors like Advertising where companies like Amagi (India only) give you a tailor made television plans and you don’t have to market to the whole country. You can market only to the region you want to target. There are similar media agencies across the world. When we consider offline marketing, Advertising is the first and best marketing medium to consider in your Multi channel marketing campaign.
9) Sales promotions
Sales promotions can happen through customer discounts or trade discounts. Using coupons, discount techniques, sampling techniques are all part of sales promotions wherein you entice customers to use your products and try to sell off as much product as possible in the market.
Sales promotions has tremendous effect especially in local marketing. Once consumers get in the habit of purchasing products from you, they are going to come back repeatedly. But getting the product to the customer the first time around is difficult. That is the exact job of sales promotions.
10) Personal Selling
If you are confused whether selling is a part of marketing or not, then read this article on marketing vs selling. In general, if your product is a saleable product and it requires push in the market, then no other technique can generate the push which personal selling can generate for your brand or your product.
The process of personal selling, right from building a sales pipeline to using different techniques to convert sales and then following up with customers to retain him, is built keeping turnover and revenue in mind. The ultimately objective of your campaign is to increase the revenue, hence personal selling can sometimes become a major part of any marketing campaign which involves multiple channels.
Trade events and product events are the best ways to get some visiting cards and to showcase your products and your brands to potential customers. I have known B2B brands which market themselves solely on the basis of events or exhibitions.
Another advantage of participating in events or exhibitions is that the customers there are already in a purchasing or information acquiring mood. And these customers are possibly the customers who will buy in bulk. Hence, Event marketing can be considered an important part of your campaign especially if you are a B2B company.
12) Direct Marketing
Where Email is considered as an online direct marketing medium, offline direct marketing vehicles include written materials such as Flyers, brochures, and others. These are very effective where marketing is concerned. People love to carry brochures with them so that they can read more about the product in their leisure time. In fact, if you look at the business of medical representatives, their whole business depends on their brochures and the written material within.
Similarly, mail order business or flyers are ways to get a quick written word across to the potential customer who will browse the product on offer and then make his or her own decisions of purchase. This customer might also research online and buy from there. But in general, such methods ensure that the customer is being pushed and goaded into making a purchase. It works especially well in services like Restaurants, Spas, Travel and tourism and others.
So Again, how to make a Multi channel Marketing campaign?
Its quite simple. We are talking of tackling multiple channels at once. You should have at least the following vehicles in your marketing campaign.
Online – Website +SEO + SEM
Offline – Advertising + Sales + Sales promotions
It is important that the campaign be executed in an elegant and orderly manner. Again, if you have not read it, i would recommend you to read this article on challenges of Multi channel marketing which will give you further guidance.
Which channels of marketing are you currently using? What are the difficulties in starting more channels?