How to successfully deploy a multi-channel marketing strategy

Seb writes articles about the wider marketing sector. After learning his trade at an SEO agency in Manchester, Seb is now the PR and Digital Marketing Manager at Assured Pharmacy.

In today’s 24/7 interconnected world, societies engage with companies through a plethora of online sources, whether it’s social media, email, news portals, or simply their own website. Consequently, it’s of the utmost importance that brands are omnipresent on these diverse channels. In this article, we’ll look at how you can deploy a successful multi-channel marketing strategy, and the steps to take to ensure it will succeed.

Plan and research which channels you should use!

First and foremost, specifically decide which channels you plan to incorporate into your multi-channel strategy. These decisions can often be tricky for businesses due to the diverse choice of platforms out there. However, if you have a strong insight into how your target customers engage with online services, the wide selection of choices should be narrowed down to a few options. Content Marketing strategist Phil Parker from Bring Digital outlines how analysing referral traffic strongly influences his decision to market on certain channels. “We use several analytics platforms to see which channels have directed people to our clients websites, and whether those people actually buy anything. For myself in content marketing, we mostly refer back to Google Analytics to see the referral path of site visitors”.

Communication is key…

Inter-department communication is key! It’s a bit of cliche that everyone should be on the same page when it comes to multi-channel marketing, but there’s not a truer word spoken. Frequently project strategists will aim to create a multi-channel campaign, without necessarily, or regularly consulting the specific channel experts – thereby hindering the full capability of the campaign, as well as potentially damaging internal company relations. Whether it’s the email marketing team, social media marketing team, or content marketing team, each department will have valuable knowledge specific to their channel that another department is unlikely to take in account. It’s also highly likely that you might have to slightly tinker the marketing strategy dependent on the channel as what may work on email marketing, might not necessarily work on social. Ashley Ellis, Head of eCommerce at Assured Pharmacy exemplifies this with his companies multi-channel marketing strategy.

“When we roll out campaigns, no channel is producing exactly the same stuff. We’re well aware that people like to digest differing content, hence why it’s important to produce individualised and targeted campaigns for each channel. At Assured, it’s great – all the teams collaborate when we’re creating a campaign. The best thing to see is when people modify others ideas to suit their specific channel, this is the epitome of when communication and individual skill comes together”

Distribution

Whether it’s a list of journalists, (past, current, or future) customers, or internet users, the people you decide to distribute your multi-channel campaign to, can make or break it’s overall success. Josh Garside, Outreach Executive at Visualsoft, states how hours, sometimes days of research can go into compiling a list of journalists. “When distributing the content marketing aspect of a multi-channel campaign, we spend an appropriate amount of time prospecting journalists to contact. Although this may seem a relatively trivial and easy activity to conduct, it’s crucial we find websites and journalists who would be the ones most likely to cover our campaigns. Initially we look for journalists who cover similar themed topics to our campaigns in their articles, for instance football rumours, holidaying destinations, and political news”. Although Josh has only mentioned the distribution of the content marketing aspect of multi-channel marketing, the same rules can be applied for social media users and email marketing customers.

Equally as important as who you distribute your campaign to, is what time of day you choose to do so. Understanding the different time frames when your targeted demographic reads emails, or uses Twitter or Facebook can mean that your campaign will gain maximum traction. For those looking to gain some attention on community sharing sites such as reddit, user posts like the one below gives redditors some indication as to when the best time to post is.

Analysing results and moving forward

Once a campaign has been fully deployed, take a scrutinous look at the final results of your multi-channel marketing campaign. To ensure maximum success for future campaigns, identify which channels have been a success and which areas can be improved, using online tools relevant to your channel. Email tracking tools such as Hunter and Streak, are useful for CRM purposes and customer opening rates, while Google Analytics can provide similar customer productivity insight as stated in the planning stage at the start of the article.

Once you’ve identified which channels are underperforming, map out routes to improve them. Arguably the most important method is to go back to the drawing board and develop the content being posted on each channel. Obviously, ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broke’, but inevitably trends, tastes and audience habits evolve, and it’s important to keep that in mind when improving your own campaigns.

In addition, a common method used to improve multi-channel marketing campaigns is looking into how specific channels can support and help boost the less successful channels results. For example, if you aren’t getting as much social media traction as you would have hoped for, financially incentivise social interaction via email marketing, or through your content on site. Alternatively, if your content marketing campaigns aren’t acquiring online coverage, potentially use paid social media adverts to expose them to an audience who might be interested in covering them.

Conclusion

While these steps can be used as a handy guide, flexibility is key when conducting multi-channel marketing. Planning, research, analysis and communication are all indispensable tools for any marketer, however being able to change your approach, thinking and even practical notions like time frames, can be the difference between a failing and a successful campaign.

All that’s left to say, is now it’s up to you to become a multi-channel marketing magician!