There you are, with hundreds of Facebook fans, earning tons of retweets, and building an email opt-in subscriber list that’s starting to look like the local phone book. From all outward appearances, you’ve mastered email and social media marketing.
Or have you? Even if you’re just getting familiar with the tools, experts and newbies alike may want to do a reality check on how current their marketing approach is.
If you don’t have enough time to finish your to-do list, are scratching your head for ideas on what to post next, or are deciding which social media channel to nix so you can get your life back, you may be stuck in old-school marketing. And it’s costing you a boatload of time and money. But you’re not alone.
According to a recent survey by Constant Contact, the top two marketing concerns facing entrepreneurs today are making marketing dollars go further (59 percent) and selecting the best marketing campaigns to run (56 percent). While these problems aren’t new, how they’re being solved is. Enter multi-channel marketing.
Multi-channel marketing uses a variety of tools such as email, social media, mobile, and the Web to get your message out to the right audience. Instead of the time-consuming process of promoting a single product or event, you market a campaign and execute it through select channels that allow you to maximize your presence in the most efficient way possible.
For example, let’s say you own a sporting goods store. Your campaign could ask fans to vote on their favorite sport and say why it’s so great. In exchange, they’re entered into a drawing to win new equipment for that sport.
The campaign could include a promotion of the sweepstakes by email and then point subscribers to your Facebook page. If they’re not already fans, they soon will be. When they like your page and cast their vote, their network of friends will also know about your contest. Your tweets can feature the contest, the Top 3 contenders during the voting period, and reminders for followers to enter to win. And great images on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will attract new followers and inspire more entrants to the contest.
Does multi-channel marketing work? About 82 percent of the survey participants that have adopted multi-channel marketing report an uptick in new customers, stronger engagement with existing customers, and more revenue. Here’s how to do it.
1. Whip up a great campaign
It doesn’t need to be time consuming or involve The Flying Wallendas, though it does need to demonstrate your expertise and show what makes your business unique.
Since your campaign is going to drive all of your content, every message should be about the needs and interests of your customers. Nobody likes a barrage of overt promotions. Remember that customers buy, and buy more, from businesses they know and trust and will actually pay more if they believe they’re getting a greater value from the experience.
2. Go deep, not wide
Find out where your active customers prefer to engage and focus your efforts there. Some like Facebook, others may be strictly email, and others enjoy face-to-face interactions, although it’s likely they’re using a combination of these communications channels. Instead of having a surface presence in a lot of places, focus on two or three channels where you can make an impact.
3. Think big by starting small
At first it’s best to tackle only a few channels, such as sending out an email with a link to the campaign’s Facebook page and then add in more channels when you’re ready. You’ll find that the more proficient you become with each channel, the easier it is to extend your campaign to new ones. Since you’ll be staggering your marketing efforts across various channels on different days, this allows you to keep your day job.
4. Be a mad scientist
Experiment with different ideas, and if they’re not all homeruns, it’s still okay. You’ll learn more about what works through experimentation and failure, so allow yourself a few mulligans along the way.
5. Slice and dice your content
You can save lots of time and reinforce your campaign messages by cleverly re-using your content. Just be sure to always put a fresh twist on them.
6. Use short-cut tools
There are lots of tools available that make it easier for you to manage your various profiles on different social networks, schedule when your messages go live, and manage all of your campaigns in one place. These tools also are a great way to reduce your learning curve, so why not check out Hootsuite for Twitter and the Constant Contact Toolkit for managing your marketing activities?
If you really want to drive business, it’s time to ditch old school marketing and adopt multi-channel.