It would be safe to say that most of your customers use several devices. They are using your services on their phones, desktops, maybe even their smart watches or who knows, TVs. In fact, a Google research shows that 98% Americans switch between devices through the day. And a seamless experience across all these devices, sometimes within the hour, isn’t an achievement. It’s just the least your customers expect. For example, they could start a search on their phones and end up buying on their desktop, going back and forth multiple times between the two. Whether it’s retargeting, your notifications or the consistency of personalized offers, it all has to fall neatly in place across all channels seamlessly which is why we created this guide on cross-channel marketing best practices to make sure you always have your A-game on, no matter where your customers go.
1. Gather and Unify Your Data
The backbone of any robust marketing plan is data, which is especially critical when you’re talking cross-channel marketing. Take a careful long-road strategy that involves tracking browser cookies and URLs to develop detailed user profiles based on their online activity. Use this information to create customer personas that best define your customer segments. Track the emails these people have received from you and how they’ve interacted with them.
Carefully watch open rates and click–through rates to further understand the depth of your communication. Track the blog posts they’ve read, the social media campaigns they’ve interacted with, PPC campaigns they’ve clicked on, social channels they subscribe to, and any interaction they’ve had with your customer service. Use all of this information to create a well-defined customer data platform (CDP). Each segment and each persona will now have a CDP that will help you craft the perfect marketing strategy for each segment on each device.
2. Segment Your Customers
Customer segmentation is one of the first things you need to nail for effective cross-channel marketing. Marketing cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to customize your approach with every customer. But how can you possibly do that when there are millions of customers with thousands of interests. Customer segmentation is your answer. Divide your customers into smaller groups with common attributes. You can divide segments by age, demographics, gender, location and even behavior. Then it’s time to create customized marketing messages for each segment. You wouldn’t send a notification about a sale on snow boots to someone in Florida. Pay attention to your segments and craft your marketing messages accordingly.
3. Develop Communication Suited for the Spectrum of Devices Your Customers Use
There are distinct differences in the way customers use a mobile phone or a laptop. Even mobiles phones and tablets differ significantly. A mobile can have an easily integrated ‘call now’ button but a laptop and many tablets cannot. Also, there are differences in the way these devices are used. Mobile can be used when the customer is on the move, stuck in traffic or riding a rollercoaster. A laptop however, is mostly used either at home or at the work desk. You can integrate Maps in a notification on the mobile, enabling navigation to a place (maybe your store), but doing that on a laptop would be pointless. Even in terms of design, laptops would have a hover state where users could view options from a roll-down without clicking, but a mobile notification would have to be clicked. Account for all these differences and create appropriate messages for each device.
4. Define Your Goals
Is your digital marketing strategy aimed at a specific campaign for long-term business growth? Are you marketing to build brand awareness or drive sales? Is this a short sales cycle or a long-term one? Are you looking to acquire new customers or retain old ones and sell them more? Before you dive into the process and invest precious marketing dollars, clearly define your marketing goals. The outcome you are hoping to drive entirely influences the methods you follow. Determine the number of touchpoints you wish to include. How many devices do you wish to customize for, how many channels such as email, social media or landing pages you wish to cover. All of these questions need to be answered at the outset to make sure you have an effective blueprint on which to base your cross-selling marketing plan.
5. Leverage Dynamic Content
Even after defining customer personas and segmenting your customers, handcrafting each and every conversation is a far-reaching task. First of all, integrating your CDP with your content management system (CMS) can be a useful first step, to move things along easier when it comes to personalizing content. Another extremely useful step is to utilize smart content, also known as dynamic content. Here’s what you do. Just designate functions that work on if this then that principle. So as soon as the customer takes an action, the designated content will be delivered to them, making the entire marketing process completely organic. This way, you can make sure that each customer sees the content most relevant to them, depending on which stage they are at in their journey.
6. Optimize and Repeat
Cross-platform marketing isn’t a one-time process. It is an evolving process and requires consistent optimization. Learn from each stage to refine the next one. Use smart analytics to track which campaigns on which platforms are performing the best. Fine-tune the others using the positives of that one. Each step enriches the next and it is a continuous process.
Cross-channel marketing allows you to keep your customers hooked no matter how fragmented their journey is. No matter how many times they drop the session for a work emergency, they can pick up right where they left off anytime they want, on any device they like. This is a definitive advantage to your business and the above steps will help you ensure that a seamless experience keeps your customers satisfied and loyal.
Devesh Sharma is a WordPress enthusiast and founder of Ecommerce Booth, a blog which focuses on Unbiased Reviews, Comparison, and In-depth Tutorials.