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At first, when businesses were faced with the unprecedented onslaught of the coronavirus, they shifted their operations to digital channels merely as a means of survival. 

Gradually, as the onslaught solidified, proceeding to coronate itself as the new normal, businesses could no longer afford to rely on digital channels simply for survival; now, they had to embrace digitization to ensure their sustenance. 

And with this leap followed many changes, with that in customer behavior being the most noticeable of them all. 

As many as 60% of customers now have higher expectations of their digital experience than before the pandemic- greater expectations for convenience and security and increased demand for online payments.

As a result, businesses were left with no choice but to completely revisualize the customer journey to be able to accommodate all of these new changes. If earlier delivering a seamless customer experience was among the “top three things to do” for a marketer, now it has undoubtedly become their topmost agenda. 

In a world where customers get exposed to your business through multiple devices and channels, is it even possible to deliver a consistent and unique experience to them all? 

Yes, the answer lies in cross-channel marketing.

By letting businesses establish an interconnectedness between their various marketing channels, cross-channel marketing enables them to deliver a truly integrated and personalized experience to their customers. 

The result? Greater interaction, increased traffic, and higher conversions.

However, implementing a full-proof cross-channel marketing strategy is no picnic. Should you not have the right strategies and techniques in place, things can go south in the blink of an eye. 

To make sure you always stay on track, today, we’ll walk you through a host of effective cross-channel marketing growth and engagement strategies.

Best Practices To Spruce Up Your Cross-channel Marketing Efforts

The basic idea behind wanting to implement a cross-channel marketing strategy is to intercept your audience with the right message at the right time. Besides having a positive business impact, this goes a long way towards consolidating your brand reputation as well. 

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Keep Data at the Core

With every passing day, customer journeys continue to become more complicated and nuanced. 

For instance, get this- in 2000, the average customer needed only 1-2 touchpoints with a brand to complete their transaction or purchase. Fifteen years later, in 2015, the number of touchpoints had increased to 3-6. While this, of course, makes matters more challenging for businesses, there’s also an extremely rewarding upside to this. 

By interacting with your brand through more channels and devices than ever before, customers are essentially handing you over valuable traces of data revolving around their identity, likes and preference, purchase history, behavior, and other parameters. 

Now, with this comprehensive data set at your disposal, you get the liberty of crafting and delivering personalized experiences across the entire customer lifecycle, irrespective of which channel your consumer is using to interact with your business.

The growing complexity of user journeys means marketers can no longer afford to view any single channel in an isolated manner- it will only lead to misleading observations and inferences. There is already an inherent overlap between your various marketing channels; implementing a cross-channel marketing strategy allows you to reinforce and amplify that interconnectedness and, ultimately, offer your customers a seamless user experience. 

Different channels draw different customer demographics and, so to implement an efficient cross-channel strategy, you first need to have a thorough understanding of your customers.

You need to collect data about your customers from all the possible channels – social media, website, email marketing campaigns, and CRMs. For instance, if you’re using Salesforce as a company CRM, link Salesforce to Excel to keep customer data in one place to better understand your buyer persona and opportunities for future sales. 

Focus on capturing customer data in a compliant manner and creating diverse buyer personas. At the end of the day, it all boils down to this- the better you know your customers, the greater will be the success of your cross-channel marketing strategy. 

If you’re stuck creating a tangible plan of action for your data sets, you could start by obtaining the responses to the following questions:

  • Which data points do I need to deliver hyper-personalized messages to individual customers?
  • Which customer (or business) data points shape my segmentation thresholds?
  • What platform will act as the system of record for the consolidated customer profile?
  • Which stages of the customer buying journey provide me with the most insights?

See Your Journey Through Your Customers’ Lenses

Often businesses get so occupied with designing their customer journeys that they overlook navigating the journeys for themselves. While this is not a grave mistake per se, it certainly robs them off from some pretty valuable insights. 

Walking through the sign-up process yourself can help you answer the following critical questions:

  • Is the process easy and user-friendly?
  • Are there any obstacles or hurdles that would discourage the customer from enrolling?
  • Is the frequency with which you are asking for opt-ins ideal?

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But improving the journey isn’t necessarily the only objective behind donning the customers’ lenses. It also helps you discover new and inventive ways of capturing customer information. 

For example, you can always consider incentivizing the process- offer them special deals and unique discounts in exchange for their contact numbers and email addresses. 

The main objective of assessing and examining the customer journey is to identify the scope for including seamless opportunities for buyers to opt-in through their purchase experience. 

Equally important is to evaluate whether you’re giving customers on one channel the ability to opt-in to other channels- from mobile app to email, from website to social media, and the like.

Establish The Right Channel Mix

The secret behind implementing a successful cross-channel marketing strategy lies in understanding which channel to use to interact and engage with individual customers. And to ace this, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of the diverse buyer personas in your data set. 

Remember, no two customers will ever behave in the same manner. So, it is essential that you communicate with every customer based exclusively on their likes and preferences rather than greeting them with generic messages and updates.

But, how do you discover their interests in the first place? 

A simple yet highly effective way of going about this is to set up preference centers across your channels. What a preference center essentially does, is hand over the steering wheel to the customer themselves. They choose the topics that hold their fancy, and you, in turn, tailor your communications accordingly. 

Further, you can also customize the preference centers to let your customers choose the channels in which they want to receive their messages. This not only improves brand loyalty but also significantly enhances your sender reputation. Because the customer is now receiving exactly what they signed up for, there is absolutely no reason to worry about them blocklisting or reporting you as spam.

Having said that, it is not practical to expect everyone to have the patience to fill out a preference center for your convenience. 

So, what can you do to understand the channel preferences of this particular segment? 

Analyze their engagement. Observe their purchasing journeys closely to unravel useful insights- which customers engage with which channels, the frequency of their engagement, the last channel they visited before completing the purchase, and other similar stuff. 

Subsequently, you can leverage these findings to deliver highly customized and rewarding cross-channel experiences. Doing so will also help you understand which channels you can rely on to give a leg up to others, should their engagement and performance in general ever happen to plateau. 

Use Email as the Driving Force of Your Cross-channel Strategies

Nothing much remains to be said about the sheer prowess of email as a marketing channel. 

From providing a staggering 4200% ROI to flaunting as many as 4 billion daily users, email has managed to establish itself as the marketing channel of choice for the majority of businesses out there. 

Well, did you know that email can also act as the driving force of your cross-channel marketing efforts? How? The answer’s multifold. 

For starters, email can be utilized to drive traffic to your other channels. By embedding links to your social media handles, mobile applications, and website blogs in your newsletters and promotional emails, you can redirect your subscribers towards those channels. 

Additionally, marketers can practice email list segmentation to send hyper-personalized and targeted messages their audiences’ way. Segmentation allows businesses to divide their contacts into different groups based on various parameters such as gender, ethnicity, browsing history, geographic location, position in the sales funnel, and the like. 

Consequently, this opened the floodgates to implementing personalization at scale.

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Triggered emails, a virtue of email automation, allow you to send automated emails to your subscribers corresponding to their activities and interactions. This enhances the customer experience by leaps and bounds. 

Triggered emails can take many forms- onboarding emails, abandoned cart emails, post-purchase emails, and product recommendation emails, to name a few. 

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Moreover, email automation also enables businesses to respond to customer queries and grievances with curated responses, sparing them from the trouble of physically stationing an individual for the same. 

Earlier, we mentioned how capturing data from your customers in a non-compliant manner is central to implementing a successful cross-channel strategy. 

Guess what? You can use emails to collect vital customer information like birthdate, phone number, job profile, email address, and city/country of residence.

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How Can You Improve Your Cross-channel Engagement?

Sure, integrating multiple marketing channels to deliver a personalized and integrated experience to your target audience is the stuff of dreams for every business. 

But making it a reality is where many stumble and fail. 

Read on to find out what you can do to amp up your cross-channel engagement.

Always Highlight Your Brand Message

In the course of reaching out to your customers through multiple channels, brands often neglect their brand message. 

While cross-channel marketing is obviously a potent means of maximizing your reach and visibility, it only provides the best returns when you’re able to keep your messages consistent across all platforms. That includes your brand message, besides the usual advertisements and promotional content. 

Now the question is, how do you arrive at a compelling brand message? 

Brand messages are subjective, and there exists no “one-shoe-fits-all” recipe, but you’d do well to keep a couple of points in mind:

  • Make sure your brand message addresses the customers’ pain points.
  • Your brand message should convey the USP (unique selling proposition) of your product or service.

Once you’ve sealed your brand message, the focus shifts to ensuring that it is delivered consistently across all platforms. Irrespective of how you want to position your brand- fun-loving, formal and grave, irreverent, outspoken- make sure all your blogs, tweets, social media posts, and newsletters reflect the same. 

Hold Attention Through Intelligent Cross-channel Moments

One of the best things about implementing cross-channel marketing is that, unlike multi-channel marketing, when customers hop channels in this setup, they don’t have to start from scratch. 

In this arrangement, all the participating channels are continuously building off and complementing one another. As a marketer, it is your responsibility to leverage this interconnectedness to manufacture intelligent cross-channel moments.

Suppose a customer has just completed a purchase on your website. First, send them an order confirmation message via email. In this email, prompt them to download your application to receive continuous order-related updates. 

Once the item is ready to be shipped, send them real-time updates over SMS or push app notifications rather than email. People are more likely to check updates on their phones than open their email inboxes. 

You can lead them to either your application or your website through your push app notification- that call rests with you. In a nutshell, you must synchronize your channels to furnish a cohesive customer journey.

Test, Measure, and Optimize

You’ll never find out what’s best for your customers unless you routinely test your campaign strategies across all your channels. 

Remember, customer expectations and market trends are incredibly dynamic in nature. So, what might have worked well for your business a month ago, might not hold the same ground in the present. 

And there’s no better way of determining the best course of action than by continuously testing, measuring, and optimizing your strategies. 

Wrapping Up

Cross-channel marketing has now become an indispensable part of every marketer’s toolkit, and rightly so. 

Delivering personalized, integrated, and seamless experiences is the only way forward for brands and businesses looking to cut through the noise generated by run-of-the-mill marketing campaigns and win their audience’s attention in the process. 
To help you get started with your cross-channel marketing journey, we compiled a neat infographic on the same in collaboration with our friends at cordial. You can find it over here.

Cross-Channel Marketing

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Marketing does not work in a siloed fashion. Social media, email, content marketing, and SEO – all work together to build a brand and get conversions for your business. That’s what omnichannel marketing is all about. You must try to impart a consistent experience to the users through all the platforms. 

Two marketing channels that I would like to discuss here are email marketing and SEO. The interdependence between the two seems least evident, but it can take your business to the next level and improve the customer experience. 

Email marketing, if done correctly, can boost your website traffic and get you a better search engine ranking. How? Read this article to find out.

Drive Traffic To Your Site

One of the most significant advantages of using email campaigns is that they empower you to drive a lot of qualified and targeted traffic to your website. This, in turn, helps lower your bounce rates by a significant margin, improving your search engine ranking in the process. To understand this better, let us first wrap our heads around the concept of bounce rate itself. All search engines keep track of how long visitors stay on your website and what proportion of them leave or “bounce” from it without interacting with any of the content. And this plays a critical role when it comes to determining your search ranking.

In simple terms, the higher the bounce rate, the lower your ranking will be. Although creating original or insightful content is the first step towards slashing the bounce rate of your website, it’ll continue to be in vain if you fail to regulate the quality of your traffic. Therefore, businesses prefer getting their website frequented by those prospects who are more likely to make a purchase or maybe just engage with your content. Email campaigns or, more specifically, email newsletters let them achieve this objective with ease. 

Most businesses use free newsletter templates to give their audience a preview of their content. Subscribers that find the preview interesting follow the link to the main site, while the remaining ignore it. While getting your newsletters dismissed is obviously not an ideal outcome, in the longer scheme of things, businesses would rather have their target audience disregard their newsletters than bounce from their websites. Another benefit of driving qualified prospects is that it facilitates longer web sessions, improving the on-site engagement and consequently your search engine ranking.

Here’s how the newsletters of some of the best brands in the market look like.

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Create Personalized Email Content

Creating high-quality content is, of course, non-negotiable, but if you really want to strike a chord with your recipients, then you have to go a step further and aim at crafting personalized content as well. Personalized content is important to email marketing practices. But, how important exactly? We’ll let stats take care of this question.

As many as 74% of marketers hold targeted personalization responsible for the growth in their customer engagement. Emails that have personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Besides, personalized emails also deliver 6x higher transaction rates. The bottom line is that personalization drives greater engagement, which gives a solid boost to your SEO results. Since personalized emails contain targeted content, they are a lot more relevant to your audience than any of the other emails that you send them. As a result, your recipients take more interest in interacting with these emails, and eagerly follow up with the links that are enclosed within them, thereby increasing your overall website traffic in the process.

While there are several ways to personalize emails, video messages have become all the rage these days. Why? Because it has helped marketers improve their conversion and click-through rates by leaps and bounds. In terms of numbers, emails with videos were found to register a staggering 96% higher click-through rate than those without. 

No other visual medium instigates the curiosity of your customers as much as videos. But that’s not the sole reason why they’re successful. Since they invariably contain a human face in them, videos make your emails seem highly personal, thereby making it easier for you to establish a connection with your target audience. In the process, your emails become more trustworthy and engaging as well. 

However, to make the most of your video messages, there are certain best practices that you must abide by without fail. For starters, do not make your videos too long. Just remember that the average attention span of humans stands currently at a measly 8 seconds. Therefore, the shorter the videos are, the more effective they’ll be. Additionally, ensure that your videos are neatly shot and have good audio quality. That is to say, instead of shooting your videos on the selfie camera of your cell phone, invest in a camera and a tripod. The quality of your video goes a long way towards shaping the audience’s perception of your brand. 

Lastly, keep your videos relevant for the recipient. For instance, the video you send to someone who just subscribed to your newsletter should not be the same as the one you send to a recurring customer; you get the drift.

Take a look at these examples.

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Include Links To Your Social Media Handles

The active global social media population as of now stands at a whopping 4.2 billion users. And if you’re not using your emails to harness this incredible potential, then you’re definitely missing out on a trick or two. Whenever you send out a newsletter, ensure that you incorporate links to your social media handles in it. This will encourage your users to share the enclosed information and promote the content across their respective social media accounts. All of this, subsequently, results in driving greater traffic to your website.

Social media sharing and SEO results are more intricately linked than you think. A study by Cognitive SEO reveals that the top five ranked pages are also the top five shared on popular social media platforms, namely Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. As a good practice thus, try to include a CTA (Call To Action) button in your emails that specifically asks your readers to share the information on their social media. 

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Nothing drives more organic engagement to your website than when people share your content with their networks and connections on various social media platforms. It goes without saying, in order to incentivize your subscribers to share your content, it needs to be interesting, visually appealing, and relevant to them. 

Wondering how you should plug in your social handles in your emails? Take inspiration from these examples.

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Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly

No matter how curated and insightful your newsletters and email campaigns are if they aren’t mobile-optimized, to begin with, chances are that a significant portion of your audience will never be able to access them. In the current scheme of things, almost 60% of email opens occur from mobile devices, with 35% of business professionals preferring to check their emails on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). What’s more, launching a mobile-responsive email design can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%.

Hence, optimizing your email content for mobile platforms essentially paves the path for better engagement rates, leading to higher traffic and improved search engine rankings. 

But, designing mobile-friendly emails is a tricky affair. You need to keep certain things in mind to get the best results. We have listed them below for your reference.

  • Keep your subject lines short, crisp, and to the point. According to a report by ReturnPath, mobile devices typically cut off subject lines after 25-30 characters in contrast to desktop devices that display around 60 characters. So, you need to keep this in mind while writing your subject lines.
  • When designing mobile emails, use a larger font size than you would for a traditional desktop email. For body text, try to maintain a minimum font size of 16px, while for headline font, you could shuttle between the range of 22-24px based on your template design.
  • Ensure that your CTA is both clearly visible as well as easily clickable. Minimum size of 44x44px is considered ideal.
  • Most mobile OS block images by default. Hence, be very judicious with your pictures and try to use as few of them as possible. 
  • Email copy for mobile-friendly emails needs to be concise, short, and highly relevant. Additionally, try to include your main message above the fold to increase its probability of getting noticed by the recipient. 
  • When it comes to layouts, it is best to keep things simple. A linear and single-column template layout provides the best results in most cases.
  • Make clever use of white space to accentuate the readability of your emails.
  • Highlight all clickable links in your mobile emails using outlines, borders, big buttons, animation, bold typefaces, and other similar techniques.

Optimize Your Email Campaigns With Testing

A/B testing and multivariate testing are two powerful techniques for assessing various aspects of your SEO efforts, including video messages, CTA designs, mobile-friendly templates, and the like. While A/B testing includes comparing two different versions of an email, multivariate testing takes several versions into account. Conducting these tests helps you understand two important things- which email content solicits the maximum response from your viewers and whether or not it encourages them to look you up on the internet later. 

Subsequently, you can utilize the outcome of these tests to fine-tune your email campaigns and enhance your results. It also gives you an accurate idea about which keywords you could optimize for your website. To that extent, subject line testing can prove to be an equally insightful exercise as well. By trying out different keywords in different versions of your subject lines, you could discover the ones with whom your audience is engaging the most.

Ask Your Subscribers For Reviews

One of the lesser-known ways of using email marketing to bolster your SEO efforts is by requesting your subscribers to post online reviews about your business. If you’re a local business, then this tactic could do wonders for you. This is because online reviews form one of the most critical ranking factors for local SEO.

For local businesses, ranking higher in local search results assumes greater importance than overall rankings. Such businesses can, thus, devise specific email campaigns to ask their customers to write reviews for them. Besides boosting your SEO, reviews can also help them earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. This is because as many as 86% of customers go through local business reviews before making up their minds. Needless to say, the more positive reviews that a business has, the higher are its chances of attracting customers. 

A Few Additional Tips

Apart from the techniques discussed above, here are a few additional email marketing tips that can help you prop up your SEO efforts.

  • Invest time in curating an email list that includes all of your highly engaged customers. How these individuals interact with your business will give you ample insight into your own operations.
  • Make use of the analytics data at your disposal to get an accurate idea of how awareness levels vary between different segments of your target audience. This will empower you to tailor your content to each group and deliver a more personalized experience. 
  • Ensure that your email abides by all the standard accessibility benchmarks before it is sent out.
  • Make use of a clear narrative structure while composing your email body. This will make sure that your readers remain hooked to your content and are incentivized to follow it up on your website.
  • If you notice that any one of your newsletters is getting more traction than usual, then capitalize on that momentum by repurposing the newsletter’s content in the form of social media and blog posts.

Wrapping It Up

When implemented in proper measure, email marketing outshines other channels when it comes to amassing authentic traffic and engagement for your website. Want your business to become a force to reckon with? The formula is pretty simple. Align your email campaigns with your SEO objectives.

Get PR and Links That Increase Rankings.

Show up in content your ideal customers actually read, on sites you actually recognize.