June 11th, 2019

How to Use a Multichannel Marketing System for Your Business

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

Creating a multichannel marketing system focuses your marketing efforts.

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of digital marketing (or reading our blog), you’ve probably heard about multichannel marketing. It’s easy to get caught up theorizing about how it works, but if you plan to put it into practice, you need more than a strategy: you need a multichannel marketing system.

In our last post, we discussed what multichannel marketing is, how to audit your current marketing channels, and why understanding your user personas is integral to conducting a workable strategy. In this post, we’re going to take a more tactical look at how to construct a multichannel marketing system that drives website visitors and sales prospects through your conversion funnel.

It’s a lot to get through, so it may help to remember the main purpose behind multichannel marketing: to put the customer first by allowing them to choose which marketing channels they use to interact with your business.

1. Prioritize the channels your customers prefer.

Multichannel marketing is all about empowering your customers. Instead of creating a strategy that funnels your visitors into channels that are convenient to you, support the pathways they prefer to use and that work best for them, and let them move between them as freely as possible.

If they come to your website through social media and then sign up for your email newsletter, is their experience similar to one they might have if they met you at a marketing conference, followed you on Twitter, and then clicked through to your website after seeing an interesting blog post in their news feed? Or are they struggling because the only way they have to engage your business is by emailing you directly through the contact form on your website?

Tracking user data is an important part of this. You can’t know how your users prefer to use your website unless you’re able to tie actions on your website to individual customers. We’ll get into this more when we start talking about attribution, but for now, focus on how your customers are able to interact with the marketing channels you have.

2. Integrate the channels across the customer experience.

There is some attempt in the marketing industry to create a distinction between a “multichannel” and an “omnichannel” marketing approach. The distinction appears to be one of integration, where multichannel marketing remains siloed, and omnichannel is more united.

To me, this distinction seems wholly imaginary. I don’t know of anyone who would seriously propose to launch a marketing strategy across a variety of channels and deliberately keep each channel segregated. However, it is possible that some business owners are failing to unify their marketing channels out of neglect or lack of awareness.

Clearly, a systematic approach requires businesses to have an interlocking network of channels, so that a service offering in a brochure also has a page on a website, a supporting ad campaign, and perhaps even a small in-store display.

However, with such a range of diverse lead generators, it’s important you know how to track how well each of your channels performs so that you can know how effective each is at reaching your audience.

3. Establish attribution metrics.

We talked earlier about the importance of choosing channels that your customers prefer, but how do you know what they’re using? If you don’t have a way to trace your leads back to a source, your strategy is flying blind.

For this reason, you should be analyzing each channel to see how it fits into your multichannel marketing system. You may have one email list that markets solely to current customers, and another designed for new leads. You may have contacts who began following you on LinkedIn after meeting you at a conference, and other leads who came to your website after receiving a print mailer.

Each channel will have a different use and different metrics by which you measure success. Some of these success metrics you can trace through Google Analytics, and others you can glean from the reporting options of the various marketing platforms you use. Others will take more creativity.

For instance, if you’re at a conference passing out flyers, you may want to know how many attendees at that conference came to your website after receiving a flyer. One way to do this is to create a specific landing page for that conference—something like yourdomain.com/Detroit-Conference-2019. If that URL only appears on the flyers you distribute at that conference, then any traffic that comes to that URL can be attributed to your in-person marketing efforts.

4. Find the right software to back you up.

It’s very hard to do all of this effectively without the right software enabling your actions. This is where a multichannel marketing system becomes more than just a strategy. With the right tools, you can follow social activity, create automated email workflows, and connect IP addresses to email downloads all from one location.

When it comes to executing a multichannel strategy, our software system of choice is SharpSpring. Combined with WordPress and a few other tactical plugins (Inspectlet for user tracking, Yoast for SEO), and we have a powerful toolkit for designing a multichannel marketing system of any level of complexity.

There are plenty of other software programs on the market, and it’s common for many businesses to start with a smaller version and then upgrade as their marketing becomes more serious. If you’re looking for a software program, we recommend paying attention to the tools it offers both for distribution and user tracking, and your options for exporting data once it comes time for you to upgrade.

A multichannel marketing system results in increased awareness and improved customer relations.

It takes a lot of work to execute a multichannel marketing initiative successfully. With so many moving parts, it’s easy for one aspect to get out of hand or for another to be neglected.

However, if you do put the time and the work into creating an effective system, the results will be good for both you and the customer. You’ll learn more about their needs and interests, and they’ll have a better experience engaging with your company. That’s a strategy we should all get behind.

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