Published by Online Strategies Magazine
Written by Brian Deagan
There are millions upon millions of ways to effectively combine the respective strengths of the various digital communications channels to improve customer relationships and increase sales. In fact, simply contemplating where to start is enough to intimidate some marketers from seeking the new innovations necessary to keep their businesses ahead of the competition. However, these marketers will miss out on huge segments of the ever-evolving pool of consumers and prospects by failing to employ a multichannel strategy in their direct digital marketing.
Direct digital marketing–digital marketing that is addressable to a specific consumer with an e-mail address, a mobile phone number or a web browser cookie–is the best way to unlock new opportunities and improve key loyalty and sales metrics.
Getting the most out of a multichannel direct digital marketing strategy first requires the ability to leverage the massive amounts of valuable data available to advance business goals. Having a universal profile management system enables marketers to bring known customer attributes–like past purchase history and enterprise customer data–together with online behavioral data points like keyword search activity and–most important–e-mail, mobile and website activity. Combining data from multiple channels unlocks entirely unique segments. For example, it becomes possible to create a segment of customers who have not made a purchase or opened an e-mail in the last six months, but who have used a mobile coupon. Understanding a customer’s multichannel lifestyle opens up enormous opportunities for growth.
While many attractive multichannel strategies exist, here are a few effective and cost-efficient tactics that use multiple data points to create previously unattainable segments and best-in-class results.
Multichannel Tactic #1: New Product Launch (Channels: Web, E-mail)
When launching a new product exclusively online–using the e-mail and web channels–it is important to use the data points from each channel to shape overall strategy. For example, if a company chooses to send an e-mail announcing a new product, the content on the website should reflect information gathered from the e-mail channel. Onsite targeting technologies–using the web browser cookie as a customer “address”–can leverage data points like e-mail opens to create rules that rotate dynamic content on a homepage or landing page.
This way, when a customer opens a new product e-mail and clicks through to the homepage, they should see the new product again. (Remember those old advertising clichés about frequency and consistency of message?) If a customer who has not received the new product e-mail visits the homepage, it is better to display legacy product that the consumer is familiar with in order to create the conditions for an immediate purchase. A recent study showed that this exact tactic showed a potential increase in sales of 25 percent.
Good onsite targeting solutions also include built-in testing and optimization tools that ensure the most effective content is always in market. This is an elegant, but simple multichannel approach currently employed to great success by direct digital marketers.
Multichannel Tactic #2: Customer Communi-cations Preference Center (Channels: Mobile, Web, E-mail)
The consumer is clearly multichannel, but marketers are lagging behind. One way to make communication with consumers more convenient for them–and more profitable for you–is to create a customer communications preference center. For example, every direct digital marketing program includes some form of e-mail marketing. But is each e-mail newsletter available for consumers to receive in the form of a mobile webpage, an SMS message or a mobile e-mail? If not, it is limiting the consumer’s capacity to interact with your brand, and limiting your brand’s ability to create the conditions for a purchase. Consumers want choice in how they receive communications, and marketers who fail to take advantage of the multichannel environment are leaving sales on the table.
Multichannel Tactic #3: Sales Event Reminder (Channels: Mobile, E-mail)
Every direct digital marketer knows that the majority of e-mail opens happen within the first 72 hours of a campaign’s launch. But if a sales event is planned for Friday through Sunday, and the e-mail campaign was sent on Monday, it is likely many customers and prospects will completely miss the opportunity. As proven and historically reliable as e-mail is as a channel, it is still rather imprecise and sometimes verges on impersonal. These traditional drawbacks to e-mail create the perfect opportunity for including mobile in a sales event reminder campaign. Because mobile is as precise and immediate as it is personal, a reminder for a sale can be sent anywhere from two days to two hours before the event. Using both the mobile and e-mail channels to inform customers about an event opens the door to additional viral, word-of-mouth activity and helps maximize potential sales.
Multichannel Tactic #4: Re-marketing with Triggered Messages (Channels: Mobile, E-mail, Web)
Understanding the customer’s website browsing behavior unlocks myriad new and exciting segmentation and targeting strategies. Recognizing a website browser as an e-mail subscriber immediately allows the marketer to understand what content and information has already been presented to the customer and display more aggressive offers designed to capture a sale. However, when that e-mail subscriber, mobile subscriber or return website visitor browses product pages without purchasing–or abandons a shopping cart–it can be difficult to re-engage that customer in a meaningful way to entice a purchase. Re-marketing is an extremely effective tool for re-engagement, and mobile and e-mail are the ideal channels.
Sending a targeted message with a more aggressive offer to an e-mail or mobile subscriber hours after they abandon their shopping is a proven tactic for increasing sales. A tactic as simple as requesting feedback with a brief survey or form also provides additional insight necessary to complete immediate sales opportunities and create more successful marketing programs in the future.
While multichannel strategies may seem expensive and complicated, they are quite cost-effective and surprisingly simple if the right solution is available. Software solutions that combine multichannel capabilities with a marketing datamart specially designed for developing cross-channel, targeted segments is ideal.
With the ever-increasing popularity and ease of software-as-a-service marketing solutions, marketers have more tools at their disposal to create and execute simple multichannel direct digital marketing strategies that appeal to consumers and increase sales.
Brian Deagan is the co-founder and CEO of Knotice, a direct digital marketing solutions company. You can reach him at (firstname.lastname@example.org).