We’ve covered the importance of email for your marketing and customer engagement strategy; it is the marketing channel with the highest return on investment and is effective in both acquiring and retaining customers. However, if you are holding email on a pedestal while ignoring other avenues, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach potential customers and stay top of mind.
Customers are interacting with you on their time, wherever and whenever they want, through whatever platform or device they choose. But the loosening of your grip on the customer experience can actually be used to your advantage through a cross-channel marketing approach.
If you want to reach your customers, be where they are
Email is a big part of your strategy, but it’s just one of many marketing channels you should be using. Your audience spends their time elsewhere, from their phones and other mobile devices, to browsing the web and social media, to shopping in stores. It doesn’t serve you to try to reach them through just one channel. In fact, other channels can be used to supplement and support your email campaigns.
Let’s say you are trying to get a hold of a friend with urgent, important news. Knowing they use social media, text, phone calls and email to communicate, would you just send an email and hope they see your message? Or, would you use all possible avenues to get a faster response? Multi-channel marketing is built on this same idea; by delivering messages through all the communication platforms your target customers use, you have more visibility and a higher chance of reaching and engaging them.
So what channels should you use? Considering social media takes up 30 percent of people’s time online, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to build awareness and engagement if you haven’t developed accounts on popular social sites or aren’t posting to those accounts every day. Mobile also presents a chance to contact audiences on the go with an app and SMS push notifications. Gartner estimates that 25 billion connected devices will be in use by 2021.
It’s not enough to simply have a presence in all these different places, however; you’ve got to ensure consistency between them to establish a voice for your brand and provide a seamless experience for customers.
Using a cross-channel approach
A multi-channel strategy is a good place to start, but moving to cross channel is what will elevate your marketing impact. A cross-channel approach takes all channels into consideration, as well as where customers are in the customer journey. By using this plan, you’re not just using all channels－you’re optimizing them.
Leveraging a cross-channel approach comes with many benefits. First, it makes your job as a marketer much easier. You may not think so, but sending out ad hoc email, social and push messaging actually wastes a lot of time. Doing most of the strategic work upfront means you can set your campaigns in motion and make minor tweaks if needed as you go.
Cross-channel marketing also provides your audience with a far better experience across touchpoints with your brand. When people move between marketing emails, your website and social pages, the look, feel and voice of your brand should feel familiar. Additionally, using all outlets available allows you to personalize experiences for different customers based on their interactions through each medium and what stage they are in the customer journey, encouraging loyalty and retention. In a Forrester report, 70 percent of customer respondents agreed that they would be more likely to establish loyalty with a retailer brand that they feel knows them.
Finally, integrating all your channels into one strategy helps you collect data more easily and get an aggregated view of customers, therefore allowing you to provide more insightful and relevant marketing messages moving forward.
The customer experience is what determines long-term success of your brand. A report from Ensighten found that 94 percent of companies see higher engagement and conversion rates as benefits of a commitment to customer experience. Achieving a smooth, pleasant experience for all customers means your customers won’t forget you! Implement a cross-channel strategy and interact with them at any time, anywhere, through any device.