Cross-channel marketing, sometimes also referred to as multichannel marketing, is the strategy of using multiple channels to reach consumers. This could include email marketing, social media, television, online video, podcast ads, and any number of other marketing channels. Any visibility or communication with a customer could be considered part of a brand’s cross-channel marketing strategy.

Cross-channel marketing is an effective way to execute marketing campaigns because it can create a cohesive experience that reaches consumers in several different media. Some consumers may see a brand’s message on just one platform, which is why it’s important for the company to be visible on multiple platforms. That ensures the message reaches as many future and current consumers as possible.

Take a look at examples of successful cross-channel marketing and its benefits.

 
Learn how to connect every interaction across email, mobile, advertising, and the web — along with sales and service — into a seamless customer experience.
The main purpose of a multichannel approach is to interact with consumers where they already are. As our digital ecosystem continues to evolve, companies should always be on the lookout for new places to interact. Then, create a cross-channel campaign with multiple arms. Each one should fit the style and format of a particular marketing channel — and appeal to customer needs.

For instance, when brands try to start a campaign on the popular discussion site Reddit but don’t understand the site’s nuances and policies, they often receive pushback from consumers who think they’re trying too hard. A few brands have hosted an “Ask Me Anything” (or AMA) on the site. This allows Redditors to ask posters specific questions.

Celebrities and individuals with strange jobs have had successful AMAs, but when a company hosts an AMA specifically to promote its products or services, it can fall flat. However, when it’s done in a way that is humorous, honest, or useful, Reddit users will thoughtfully engage. Done well, an AMA can be a win-win for the company, which gains valuable visibility, and Reddit users, who get answers to their questions or win prizes.

No matter what platform a brand is trying to use in its marketing efforts, it’s important to get to know how users interact with and use it before establishing a presence. Once a company decides to become active on a particular channel, employees who are actual users of the platform should assist with the campaign. That will help your marketing sound more natural.

Once a company reaches consumers where they already hang out, especially online, it can create a cross-channel marketing campaign that embraces the platforms its average customers regularly use.

For instance, McDonald’s launched a campaign earlier this year in which actress Mindy Kaling appeared in a commercial. She wore a yellow dress and was juxtaposed against a red background, a subtle nod to McDonald’s branding, but there was no mention of the brand. She simply asked viewers to visit Google and search for “that place where Coke tastes SO good,” which led to an interactive and multichannel experience for viewers.

According to Inc., the YouTube version of the ad got almost 4 million views in a single week and is considered a smashing success. Because users were asked to perform a Google search, something they likely do multiple times a day anyway, most didn’t hesitate to act. Viewers were also curious because the video had no direct branding, and they wanted to find out the answer, which appealed to their sense of FOMO (“fear of missing out.”)

Another cross-channel campaign that used a televised ad and the internet was Esurance’s 2016 Super Bowl commercial. The ad told viewers to use the hashtag #EsuranceSweepstakes for a chance to win up to $1 million. Adweek reports that the commercial generated about 9,000 tweets per minute after airing, allowing it to trend nationally on Twitter for 15 minutes and generate social media buzz for the brand. Forbes reports a total of 2.5 million hashtag mentions and 1.5 billion impressions for this campaign.

Since they were asked to do something easy in order to have the potential for a big payoff, a multitude of viewers participated. When you build a multi-platform campaign, ask what your customers wouldn’t mind doing or what the path of least resistance is. By making it as easy as possible to interact or complete a conversion, you remove potential roadblocks and may increase engagement.

 
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Leveraging one platform to get activity on another is a tactic used by brands on a regular basis. Many create advertising campaigns designed to get more exposure with their target audience. Wordstream found that companies get more branded Google searches — in which people search specifically for your brand name or product names — when they advertise on other platforms: namely Bing, YouTube, and Facebook.

Wordstream reports a 420% increase in Google-branded search interest when advertisers ran both Google Search and YouTube ad campaigns. Getting your ads in front of more people not only improves paid traffic but also creates organic awareness about your products that lifts advertising results. While this is harder to track than direct clicks from ads, it still means your marketing, branding, and advertising efforts work together to increase awareness, positive sentiment, and interest about your company.

The lift that companies get from advertising is great, but it’s not always the mark of a successful campaign. As competition grows, it’s often not enough to grow brand awareness and audience sentiment. Companies must continue to improve by shaping their marketing efforts to be more specific to customer needs.

Reaching consumers on different platforms allows companies to experiment with mass personalization. This can be done through email, advertising, direct mail, and other media. Additionally, the internet of things, which is the network of connected devices that consumers use throughout the day, has evolved the way companies can interact with their customers. Voice-enabled AI assistants, smart refrigerators, and internet-connected cars are all products companies offer to make consumers’ lives easier — while also giving brands more opportunities to connect with them.

While technology continues to grow and change the landscape, marketers can use these new opportunities with existing tactics to give consumers the exact offers or information they need at the very moment they need it. From offering related products based on past order history to tailoring emails and landing pages to user behavior and information, personalized marketing messages make cross-channel campaigns even more powerful.

Activity on as many useful platforms as possible is beneficial for marketers, but the effort that goes into each platform is wasted if your metrics aren’t properly tracked. Set up unique tracking URLs for each medium and make sure conversion tracking is enabled in Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. Find out which channels bring in the most conversions or revenue.

In addition to tracking URLs, you can also use platform-exclusive offers or promo codes. Make it easy to decipher so you can view them at a glance in reports and know where they came from, such as “FB50OFF” for a deal on Facebook for 50% off or simply TWITTER for a product-specific Twitter deal.

With better tracking, you can see which channels bring you the most conversions — and which ones need more work or aren’t worth continuing.

As you track your channels, strive to be interesting, engaging, and informative. Only use the channels you know play to what your brand offers. By leveraging unique aspects of each platform to work cohesively in a cross-channel marketing campaign, you can increase brand visibility and sales, all while keeping your products and services top-of-mind for your consumers.

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant and writer under Six Stories, her marketing agency. She has been working in digital marketing since 2007 and journalism since 2004, gaining proficiency in social media, SEO, content marketing, PR, and web design. Kelsey was the head editor at Search Engine Journal for three years and has worked with Yelp, Contour Living, Bounty, Gazelle, and many more. Based in Kansas City, she enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
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