Cross-Channel Marketing: What It Is & How to Create a Winning Strategy
If you're like most companies, you've probably tried promoting your business on a variety of marketing channels.
From social media, email marketing, SEO, paid advertising, industry events…the list goes on.
The question is, how can you streamline your marketing efforts across these different channels to ensure a consistent brand experience throughout the entire buyer’s journey?
That is exactly what we are going to discuss in this article:
- What is cross-channel marketing?
- What is the difference between single-channel, multi-channel and cross-channel marketing?
- How to create a cross-channel marketing strategy?
Read on if you want to create a better customer experience, increase customer loyalty, and get a better return on investment (ROI) on your marketing efforts.
What is Cross-Channel Marketing?
Cross-channel marketing is an approach to marketing in which you aim to integrate multiple marketing channels into one seamless experience.
This approach to marketing typically requires:
- Software that allows you to unify the customer data
- The ability to analyze that data and identify patterns and trends
- A willingness to make constant adjustments based on the insights you have identified
Cross-channel marketing is also sometimes referred to as omnichannel marketing, these terms are synonymous.
Single-Channel Marketing vs. Multi-Channel Marketing Vs. Cross-Channel Marketing
When it comes to marketing channels, there are three general approaches:
- Single-channel marketing: This means you use one marketing channel and is usually where beginner marketers should start.
- Multi-channel marketing: This means you use several marketing channels, although they all function separately from each other.
- Cross-channel or omnichannel marketing: This means you use several marketing channels that all work together to maximize your ROAS.
Obviously, cross-channel marketing has the most potential, but it’s also the most complicated approach to marketing. It’s also quite resource-intensive—taking a bunch of disparate marketing channels and making them all work together requires a lot of time, energy, and money.
That is why cross-channel marketing campaigns make the most sense for more established businesses with a dedicated marketing team and a substantial marketing budget.
Step-by-Step: How to Create a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy
Let’s assume that you have both the marketing expertise and the resources for cross-channel marketing. The next question is where should you start? Let's break this up into thee steps.
Step 1: Gather All Customer Data in One Place
You are probably already used to making marketing decisions based on data. After all, digital marketing is data-driven by default, since ad platforms allow you to see the relevant numbers for each marketing campaign.
However, if you want to create a winning cross-channel campaign, you can’t have all that analytics data in different silos—you need to gather it in one place.
As HubSpot describes in their article on data silos:
A data silo is a group of raw data that is accessible by one department but isolated from the rest of that organization. This results in a severe lack of transparency, efficiency, and trust within that organization.
In short, data silos can be harmful as they provide an incomplete view of the business, create a less collaborative environment, and often lead to a poor customer experience. To solve this, all-in-one reporting software like AgencyAnalytics and automation software like Zapier can go a long way.
Step 2: Map Out the Buyer’s Journeys
Now that you have all your customer data in one place, it’s time to analyze it.
You want to figure out how people go from hearing about your company for the first time to buying your product or service, which is referred to as the customer journey.
In general, you will learn that most customers who have purchased your product or service did not do so immediately after visiting your website for the first time. Instead, it’s likely that they have visited your website several times, read a few blog articles, followed you on social media, subscribed to your email newsletter, checked out the sales page more than once, and maybe even sent an email to customer support.
As you look at data from the customer journey, you will start noticing various behavioral patterns, since people brought in through different channels (paid ads, SEO, email marketing, etc.) tend to behave differently.
Your aim should be to identify the three most common buyer’s journeys that lead to purchasing your product or service and focus on growing those channels.
Step 3: Use Personalized Content to Nudge People Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
Once you have a clear understanding of how most people get to the point of purchasing your product or service, you can use content personalization to nudge them in the right direction at each touchpoint.
For example, let’s say a potential customer enters a search query into Google, clicks on a link to your blog, and reads said article. What should you do next?
Well, you could offer them a generic lead magnet, put them through a generic autoresponder sequence, send them a generic sales email…
You can offer them a targeted lead magnet related to the article they have just read, put them through an autoresponder sequence that is focused on the problem addressed in that article, and send them a sales email that zeroes-in on that specific problem.
It’s safe to say that the latter approach will almost certainly yield better results.
You should build out these “Choose Your Own Adventure” marketing funnels where the content shown to the potential customer is personalized based on their previous behavior.
Of course, this will take a significant amount of time, energy, and money, but if you get it right, cross-channel marketing will significantly improve your bottom line.
Tips to Succeed at Cross-Channel Marketing
Here are a few additional tips that will help you to get better results with cross-channel marketing.
Use Customer Data to Build Buyer Personas
You are probably familiar with the idea of a buyer persona. It’s an imaginary person that is a composite of your target audience.
It’s likely that aggregating all the customer data in one place will provide new insights into who is actually buying your products—use these insights to build buyer personas that represent different segments of your target audience.
Once you have your buyer personas, make sure that your marketing across various channels is personalized to them as much as possible.
Understand Why People Don’t Buy
Now that you know how the three most common buyer journeys look like, the next step is to investigate why people drop off somewhere along the sales funnel.
To use the previous example, if someone went through the Google Search -> Blog article -> Lead magnet -> Email autoresponder -> Sales email funnel, but did not make the purchase, you could reach out to them and ask why.
Simply send them an email. Say that you have noticed that they have checked out the product or service, but decided not to buy it. Ask them if they would mind sharing why. Is there anything you can do to improve your product or service? (Make sure that you come across as a friendly person who wants to improve their product or service, not someone who won’t leave them alone.)
Their answers might surprise you. Sometimes, it may be something that you weren’t aware of, like a user experience glitch.
Once you have a better understanding of why people don’t buy, you can pre-emptively address common concerns in your content.
You can also take measures to win those people over. For example, eCommerce stores often send abandoned cart emails to customers who have put products in a cart but didn’t finalize the purchase.
You will almost certainly want to consider retargeting (showing ads to people who visited your sales page but didn’t buy) to increase your overall ROAS.
Remember the Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
In a business context, this means that 80% of your customers come from 20% of your marketing efforts.
If you can identify that 20% of your marketing efforts, you could grow your business much faster by giving those marketing channels your full attention.
Of course, 80/20 split is just a rule of thumb, the exact percentages may be different in your business, but it’s almost certain that the general rule holds nevertheless.
Track Your Performance Across Each Marketing Channel
Similar to how you want to have all your customer data in a unified platform, you also want your marketing data from various channels in a single platform like AgencyAnalytics. As you probably know, having to switch constantly between platforms and manually generate reports is both costly and time-consuming
To see an example of a cross-channel report, check out our digital marketing report template, which includes the following sections:
- Monthly summary
- Google Analytics - All Channels
- Google Analytics - Goals (Conversions)
- SEO Rankings
- Social Media Overview
- PPC Overview
- Email Overview
Summary: Cross-Channel Marketing
Cross-channel marketing is a sophisticated approach to marketing that can requires a significant investment of time, energy, and money, as well as expertise in marketing. That being said, if you have what it takes to pull it off, then it can drastically improve your bottom line.
Ready to give it a shot? Follow these three steps and you'll be headed in the right direction:
- Gather all your data in a single platform
- Use this data to identify the three most common buyer journeys that lead to purchasing your product or service.
- Use personalized content to nudge potential customers in the right direction throughout their buyer’s journey
In summary, a cross-channel marketing strategy will allow you to create winning campaigns that integrate all marketing channels into one seamless experience.
Written by Peter Foy
Peter Foy is a content marketer with a focus on SaaS companies. Based in Montreal, QC, when he’s not writing he’s usually studying data science and machine learning, you can learn more about him at mlq.ai.