Imagine two e-commerce companies in similar verticals. Both companies use Facebook ads and email newsletters to market their business and find new customers. But one of them also runs a Youtube channel, grows an Instagram presence, and regularly shares special deals with their customers via SMS and Whatsapp. Which company do you think reaches its business goals faster?

Many businesses choose to reach out to their customers using multiple marketing or sales channels. When they add more channels of communication, this allows them to reach a greater number of customers through their preferred channels, build brand recognition, and increase the likelihood of purchase.

Perhaps your D2C brand is already using multiple channels, or maybe you’re new to multichannel marketing. Either way, we’ve developed this guide to help you get the most from your marketing efforts across channels. 

Read on as we discuss 

Let's dive in.

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What is multichannel marketing?

 

Multichannel marketing is exactly what it sounds like: marketing through multiple channels.

A marketing channel is a method for reaching your customers. It can be a form of advertising for sales.  Some examples of the most relevant digital marketing channels for the e-commerce and D2C space include banner ads, email newsletters, referral campaigns, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). 

Why is multichannel marketing important?

 

Multichannel marketing is becoming increasingly important for D2C businesses, especially as new technologies split consumer attention between a wide range of devices. With multichannel, businesses can reach a wide variety of customers through the channel of their choice, whether that be email, SMS, or social media.

Most marketers are already using multichannel strategies — a survey by Heinz Marketing showed that over half of respondents were marketing on both digital and non-digital channels. Here’s why multichannel marketing is crucial for success today:

Multichannel marketing makes your business more resilient

Relying too much on a single marketing channel leaves your business vulnerable to changes in the market. In the fast-paced world of e-commerce sales, marketing channels are frequently evolving, and the business landscape often changes at a moment’s notice.

One example of a rapidly-changing digital marketing channel is SEO. As of 2022, Google is the dominant search engine in many countries around the world, but this could always change in the future (for example, if a competitor gains market share). In addition, Google makes thousands of changes to its search algorithm every year, and has released dozens of major updates over the past few decades. If SEO is your primary marketing channel, adding additional channels will help reduce the risk your business might face due to these changes.

Multichannel marketing will help you reach a wide customer base

By using a multichannel marketing strategy, you can reach a wide variety of buyers, building relationships across different platforms. Not all customers use the same types of platforms. Some will be more active on certain social networks, while others may have a commute that takes them past certain billboards each day. Multichannel marketing therefore gives you a higher likelihood of connecting with your target audience. 

Multichannel marketing can lead to better results

Using a multichannel marketing strategy may lead to better business results — especially if you align your marketing channels with one another, integrating them for optimal performance. In the Heinz Marketing survey mentioned above, marketers that integrated all their channels were more than twice as likely to report higher marketing effectiveness, as opposed to those using fewer channels and less integration. An integrated multichannel strategy is sometimes called an “omnichannel strategy”.

How brands are using multichannel marketing

 

So what does multichannel marketing look like in practice?

We spoke with two marketers from the D2C industry to get some actionable advice and real-life multichannel marketing examples. Here’s how they’re using multichannel to grow their businesses today:

 

Leanna Serras is the Chief Customer Officer of FragranceX.com, an online perfume retailer. She says, “Our most effective strategy is to use dynamic retargeting across channels. This enables us to display product ads on different channels to customers who’ve already visited our site. We use retargeting to re-engage with the customers who have shown interest in buying and draw them back to make their purchase. Retargeting has increased our online sales by 17%, and reduced our cart abandonment rate by 6.3%.

Stephen Light, CMO and Co-Owner of Nolah Mattress, also uses a multichannel strategy that includes organic search, digital ads, social media, email marketing, and affiliate marketing. Light sees multichannel marketing as the key to reaching a wider customer base. “It’s safe to say that almost everybody needs a mattress, and so a multichannel marketing strategy is the only intelligent choice as we look to reach as many consumers as possible.”

 

Nolah Mattress often combines YouTube affiliate marketing with paid YouTube ads. “We know that in this day and age, video is one of the top content types that drive engagement, so using affiliate marketing is a surefire way to grab the attention of prospective buyers. They get to see the product in action and witness a real person speak authentically about it (which we know humanizes a brand).

This multichannel marketing strategy has paid off in the form of increased traffic and conversions from YouTube.

Multichannel marketing challenges 

 

While multichannel marketing can contribute a lot to the success of your business, executing it isn’t always easy. That’s why a McKinsey Periscope study showed that 45% of retailers said they weren’t progressing fast enough with their multichannel strategies. Retailers cited a lack of customer analytics (67%), siloed organizations (48%), and poor data quality (45%) as some of their main multichannel marketing challenges.

To succeed in your multichannel marketing efforts, you’ll need quality data to help you understand your customers. You’ll also need to make sure your staff and campaigns are aligned, not siloed, so you can deliver a consistent experience across all your channels. Ultimately, your goal is to create memorable campaigns that stand out and are fully integrated. Investing in multichannel marketing tools can help businesses overcome these challenges and obtain better results.

Multichannel marketing strategy: 5 steps to get it right

 

Planning to launch your own multichannel marketing campaign?

Here are five key tips to keep in mind when building your multichannel marketing strategy:

 

Multichannel Marketing Strategy: 5 Steps to Get It Right Multichannel Marketing Strategy: 5 Steps to Get It Right

 

1. Understand the buyers’ needs and personalize user engagement

 

As with any type of marketing strategy, it pays to understand your target audience. Companies that know their customers will be better positioned to identify which marketing channels to focus on. They’ll also be able to develop a tone and messaging that appeals to the target group.

When creating marketing materials (like social media posts, newsletters, videos, or ads), companies should include content that is engaging and relatable, directly addresses their customers’ concerns and uses language tailored to the target demographic.

Online advertising platforms such as Facebook (Meta) and Google Adsense allow companies to serve personalized ads to different types of users based on their interests. With personalized ads, businesses can target their campaigns to make sure they’re relevant to the viewer.

2. Deliver engaging content 

Once you’ve developed a solid understanding of your target audience, you should be able to  hone in on a few key marketing channels. With a finite budget and resources, you’ll want to get the biggest bang for your marketing buck. This means meeting your audience in the places they’re most likely to be.

Not all marketing channels are alike. For example, social media demographics can differ dramatically — in the US, the under-30 age group is likely to be found on Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok, while older adults are more likely to use YouTube or Facebook, according to Pew Research. Knowing this type of demographic information can help you craft your strategy.

To capture the attention of your target audience, be sure to create content that garners attention and creates awareness in a way that makes sense for each marketing channel. You can use marketing channels to share information about your offer, address potential buyer concerns, and make it easy and frictionless to purchase your products.

Map Your Customer Journey

One technique you can use when building your multichannel marketing strategy is customer journey mapping. Journey mapping will help you understand how prospects are finding your business. For example, perhaps a prospect sees one of your banner ads, then clicks on a targeted social media ad to ultimately arrive on your website.

To build your customer journey map, start by collecting qualitative and quantitative data on your customers’ behavior. You can do this by exploring the information in your analytics tools, collecting demographic data from social media, and speaking to your customer support teams. Then, use this information to understand the ways your customers are moving through each stage of the customer journey (discovery, consideration, purchase, and retention). Finally, you can create a data visualization using a marketing automation tool.

 

3. Implement a marketing automation tool to integrate your marketing functions

 

To find marketing success, you’ll need to have the right tools. Marketing automation tools come with data, testing, and visualization features to help you take your business to the next level.
When you implement a marketing automation tool like Freshmarketer, you’ll be able to easily:

With marketing automation, you’ll be able to deliver consistent and relevant messages, reaching large numbers of users at just the right moment. This type of platform can help you seamlessly bring all channels together, for a fully-integrated multichannel marketing strategy that’s highly effective at scale.

 

4. Use customer feedback to inform your strategy

 

E-commerce and D2C marketers can use customer feedback to help them create engaging content, guide purchase decisions, and drive upsell opportunities.

Many marketers prefer to work closely with their sales and customer service teams to better understand what buyers want and need. To learn more about your customers, have a look at the data you already have — there’s a lot of valuable information in customer feedback. Check out your chats with customer service representatives, online reviews, and responses to customer satisfaction surveys.

 

5. Grow multichannel into omnichannel


If you want to get the best results from multichannel marketing, it’s not enough just to have multiple channels. You’ll also have to make sure you’re offering a consistent experience across all your channels, including your messaging and service offers. This type of integrated multichannel marketing is sometimes called omnichannel marketing.

With omnichannel marketing, you can prevent your customers from receiving mixed messages (like a social media ad that includes a different offer from what you have on your website). You can also maintain more control over the customer journey, leading to greater sales opportunities. An example of this might be a customer who walks into your brick-and-mortar store, and is then served a geo-targeted ad for your online shop on social media.

Best Practices for Multichannel Marketing

Website

To get the best results from your website, ensure it:

  • Has a fast page load speed

  • Has an attractive user interface (UI) and copywriting that fits your brand voice

  • Is optimized for conversions, using techniques like A/B testing and heatmaps

Is optimized for user experience (UX), including accessibility and usability

Email

Email can be a powerful channel, but it works best when used strategically. If you’re distributing your newsletters using an email marketing software, you’ll be able to track and A/B test for metrics such as click-through and open rates.

Your email marketing campaigns should have:

  • A clear value proposition and call(s)-to-action

  • Copy tailored to your brand voice

  • An attention-grabbing subject line

  • An attractive design and layout

Social Media

Social media can be a key sales channel, especially for B2C brands. But not all social platforms are equally effective for selling — a 2020 survey showed that most US adults who had made a purchase through social media used Facebook or Instagram (with a smaller percentage buying through Pinterest, Snapchat, or TikTok).

While you can sell your products directly through social media, you can also use this marketing channel to nurture leads, provide customer support, and showcase your offer. When marketing on social media, be sure to:

  • Research the demographics of different social media platforms, and focus on the ones that are most appropriate for your product 

  • Create content that resonates with users of that specific platform (for example, you may want to use a more business-focused tone for LinkedIn, an opinionated/humorous approach for Twitter, or an aspirational and image-heavy strategy for Instagram)

  • Build an audience on social media, and interact with that audience in a professional, friendly, and supportive way

  • Use copy that fits your brand voice

  • Add video and/or rich media content when appropriate

Text message/SMS marketing

This is an easy way to reach your customers instantly, since the average open rate for an SMS is nearly 98%. You can use text messages to share exclusive deals and discounts with your customers, or to send important reminders (for example, reminding customers to renew their subscription).

 

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Multichannel marketing is crucial for capturing attention in today’s market. You can use multichannel marketing to send a consistent message across platforms, bring customers to your website, re-target them, and drive more conversions.

For the best multichannel marketing results, you’ll want to build a data-driven strategy based on testing, analytics, and an in-depth understanding of your customers. A marketing automation tool like Freshmarketer can help. 

Sign up for a 21-day free trial now. 

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