It’s the end of the year. We’re busy. We’re distracted. We’ve got information, content, ads, things, products, stuff being thrown at us every second of every day. How do you keep on top of it all? And as a marketer, how do you cut through the incessant noise to get your message through to your perfect audience?
A multi-channel marketing strategy isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ in the current landscape; it’s a non-negotiable. Remember your shock when looking at a pair of jeans online, and then having those same jeans pop up the next day on a completely unrelated news website you were browsing? That’s cute. How times have changed. It’s not just sophisticated marketers who leverage a multi-channel approach, it’s all marketers (*or should be.) So, why is it so important?
In the Golden Age of Distraction, your brand needs to remain top of mind. It’s not good enough to just be seen; you need to be remembered. This is key. It’s a monumental achievement and hard enough on its own to get someone to interact with your brand/website for a first time. So when you get them there, why the hell would you let them go?
Would you plant a seed, leave it in a dark corner and then come back three weeks later and expect to see a flower in full bloom? No, that would be illogical and unrealistic. So why would you expect that you can bring traffic to your website, leave that traffic alone, and then three weeks later that traffic will magically turn into happy paying customers? That’s crazy talk. No, you’ve got to water those suckers every day. You’ll see nothing but dirt, and then eventually some green shoots. And then, finally, a flower.
Obviously I’m not advocating that you track down your ideal prospects and hose them down every day ‘til they want to do business with you, but I am saying that it is rare to find people who will be swayed by one single interaction/touchpoint before committing an action that your business deems valuable. Naturally this has massive caveats depending on what your business is and what your offering is – but I’ll assume that it has at least a degree of complexity, may not be cheap, and may require ongoing commitment between you and your customer. If this is the case, your sales process will be drawn out. No one types in ‘new car’ on Google and clicks/buys the first one that comes up in their search. You might start with a generic search like ‘best rated car of 2018’ or ‘most fuel-efficient cars.’ You’ll find a solid list of about five – six, and then probably shortlist that down to three of your favourites. You may register your email and phone number as an expression of interest for all three. Then the fun begins. Say you like the three cars equally, but one of the cars won’t leave you alone. You do a second Google car search and it’s the first paid ad you see in the search results. You log into Facebook and there’s a GIF of the car zooming on your screen – reminding you how fuel efficient it is. You’re watching a clip on YouTube and before the video starts, there’s the car. You check your email inbox and there it is again; promoting free car upgrades if you buy before the end of the month. You’re trying out a new stir fry with a recipe you found online and; there’s the car again. A couple of days later you get a call from a sales assistant, asking if you got the upgrade email and if you had any follow up questions. Assuming you liked all three cars equally at the start, which car would you now be more inclined to buy? You’ve probably already forgotten about cars A & B, but car C won’t let you forget about it.
The car example shows why it’s necessary to have a multi-channel digital approach to help you remain top of mind for your prospects – but we’re only scratching the surface. This basic example is based on the premise of cars A & B not having a multi-channel strategy at all; but what if you were receiving similar messages from all three cars at the same time? SOS and back to the drawing board. What now?
If someone has just signed up for your newsletter, submitted an expression of interest, downloaded something, added something to their wishlist, literally interacted with your business in any way that you deem valuable – acknowledge it! And do it fast via the beauty of automation. Set up an auto-reply/workflow that acknowledges the action they’ve taken. How you respond should correlate with the action the person has taken – if someone downloads an e-book on your site it’s way too thirsty to have a sales rep speed dialing them 30 seconds later and asking if they require your services... that’s strong overkill. But an automated email in this situation will never go amiss. Just know overall that this is a great opportunity - someone has purposely gone out of their way to engage with your business for the first time. Be nice and say hello back.
Is there anything that makes you feel more special and unique than an email titled ‘Thanks for signing up USER@GMAIL.COM!’ or an opening line that reads ‘Dear valued customer’ – ouch! The more personal and targeted the message is to the person’s interaction the better. We can retarget based on specific pages that a person has visited on a site, videos they’ve watched, articles they’ve read, e-books they’ve downloaded (you get the point) so why not acknowledge this when you’re speaking to them next? Refer to the previous action that they’ve taken and invite them to take another. This will get you noticed way more than spamming the same generic message over and over.
If you’re a complex business, people might well need time to think and decide before making the final decision to do business with you. This means that you slapping them in the face with a strong sales message every day of the week is (unfortunately) not going to = enquiries. It’s going to = them not caring about your brand and ignoring all future comms from you. Where the sales cycle is more drawn out, deliver valuable, interesting and useful content and communication with your prospects. Remain top of mind so that when the time is right, they’ll know who to call (hint: It’ll be you. They’ll call you.)
Still we’re only scratching the surface, but the bottom line is - water your prospects. Mirror their user journey and be there for them/with them, wherever they are offline/online and eventually they’ll flower.
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