As digital marketing has evolved, it has brought with it a plethora of new channels on which marketers can communicate and reach new audiences. Marketers originally thought that choosing between these channels and selecting the best one for the business was the aim, but in recent years the method of ‘cross channel communications’ has come to light.
Businesses no longer have to choose between various online and offline methods of communication; instead the key is to unify the message across all channels while tailoring the strategies used on each channel to ensure maximum success.
Getting The Message Right
At the beginning stage, you should be considering the campaign’s core message. It is important that, although the different channels will require varying efforts, the campaign goal and message remains the same throughout.
When considering your message you should be thinking of what the overall aim of the campaign is. If the campaign aims to raise awareness of the brand among new audiences, then the message should reflect the core values of the brand. Consider the audiences you want to reach on each channel and consider their own values and common interests. Where does your brand’s values fit in with these?
It is likely that your audience will be interact with your business across a number of different channels, so it is vital that when tailoring the campaign to each channel, the core message never falters. An inconsistent message is forgettable at best, and could even be misleading or puzzling to cross channel audiences.
Tailoring The Strategy To The Channels
Because the same users are likely to see your campaign more than once across various channels, it’s a great way to target those users at varying stages of the engagement funnel.
Using search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) is use primarily to drive new traffic to the business website. Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a common way to fully control the search engine marketing efforts, and SEO is slower and organic, but equally as effective.
Once people are on your site, the content strategy can ensure they find something of value. You can also use paid retargeting ads to ensure your brand is not forgotten when people leave the site.
Social media channels are the key to building loyal relationships with your target markets, by showing your brand’s ‘human’ side. Encouraging people to share your content on their own social media by adding share buttons to your website is also a great way to promote your brand, as people trust their own friends more than they will trust a company, making them more likely to engage with the content.
Whereas users on social media don’t like to see ‘salesy’ posts and engage better with non-promotional and personal content, email marketing allows you to be more self-promotional and get away with it. People expect to be sold to via email marketing campaigns and therefore the response rate is often higher. The key is use an attention grabbing subject line and keep the call to action in the first section of the email, so people know what to expect. And of course, make sure there is genuine value in them opening and reading the email!
Timing Is Everything
So you’ve got the message, you know how you are going to reach each the audience on each channel, but what the success of the campaign all comes down to is timing.
Each channel has its own optimised time frame where the maximum users will interact with the campaign, and getting all these timings right is where cross channel communications can get a little complicated.
Once you have decided on time slots for the release of posts on each channel, make use of a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer. These tools allow you to set up posting across all the different channels at varying times and dates and monitor the cross channel campaign through one dashboard.
Implementing The Cross Channel Communications Strategy
So you have the message, you know the channels you will use and how you intend to use them, you know which times you will post to which channels. Now it’s time to set it all in motion.
If SEO and paid advertising are part of your strategy, you should consider the typical time lengths for these methods to come into effect, to ensure your campaign goes out across all channels at the same time.
As mentioned before, scheduling tools are a great way to set up posts at varied times across a range of channels including social media and blogs. All of them allow you to monitor the streams of each channel, and most also come with built in analytics allowing you to monitor the success of the campaign and real time engagement all from one dashboard.
And then you watch. Keep analysis the results and checking that you are still on track to reach the original goal. If any channels or strategies used on those channels are not working towards the overall goal, then keep adapting the efforts to keep everything on track and going in the same direction.
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