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How to Integrate Content: The Do's and Don'ts of Multichannel
How to Integrate Content: The Do's and Don'ts of Multichannel

Prospective customers for your business have different preferences and exhibit different behaviours.

Some like direct mail, while others prefer receiving promotional emails. Some regularly click on PPC ads, while others only like organic search results. Most are doing some combination of these things, and some are doing all of them.

What Is Multichannel Marketing (MCM)?

Multichannel is a way of enhancing the impact of your content by applying it across multiple marketing channels. WordStream defines MCM as follows:

"Multi-channel marketing is the practice of using multiple channels to reach customers. Also known as cross-channel marketing, multi-channel marketing also makes it easy for customers to complete desired conversions on whatever medium they are most comfortable with. Multi-channel marketing lets the user decide, giving them a choice."

Multichannel Remains a Challenge

An increasing number of marketers are embracing multichannel marketing, but many report they don't know how to optimize it. According to a recent Episerver study, for example, 95 percent of marketers say multichannel is "important for their businesses," but only 30 percent are "confident" their current strategy will be effective.

To increase your odds of success, you should adopt best practices, including the following do's and don'ts:

Do Establish Clear, Specific and Measurable Goals

You can't succeed at multichannel without a comprehensive plan. That plan should include specific , measurable goals for each channel you leverage, and those goals should be numerical, so you can more effectively monitor progress.

Goals might include generating leads, increasing sales, building your brand, boosting conversions or promoting a new product. The strategies you employ should align with each channel you're using, as should the percent of the goal each strategy and channel will deliver.

Do Understand Your Audience

The best way to understand and segment prospects is to create robust buyer personas. Content Marketing Institute defines buyer personas in this way:

"A persona is a composite sketch of a target market based on validated commonalities - not assumptions - that informs content strategy to drive productive buyer engagement (i.e., revenue)."

Each buyer persona you create should include a preferred method of contact and a preferred source of information about your business. For example, some will prefer contact by email, while others will prefer texting or online chat. To maximize results, align each persona with one channel or a combination of channels.

Do Apply Content Throughout the Customer Journey

According to Smart Insights, only 25 percent of leads sent to sales are sales-ready, and 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. The reason for the deluge of unqualified leads is that 65 percent of marketers have no comprehensive lead nurturing strategy.

Multichannel marketers who focus on lead generation but not lead nurturing face the same dilemma as the dog who catches up with the car: What do I do now? For each channel you highlight, you need a strategy that extends engaging content throughout the buyer's journey. Said differently, your goal isn't to generate leads; it's to generate sales.

Don't Change Your Message When You Change Channels

Marketers think about channels; consumers think about messages. If your message changes from an email to a QR code to a direct mail piece, prospective customers will at best be confused, at worst distrustful. You can tweak messaging to better align with specific marketing channels, but the core of that message should be consistent across all channels.

Don't Neglect Testing

Even if you're a seasoned marketer, you don't want to commit substantial budget to strategies until you've tested them. Whether you're launching a PPC campaign, crafting an email series or putting up a new landing page, conduct rigorous A/B or multivariate testing to find out what works, and what doesn't, before you commit to a formal strategy.

Don't Try to Be All Things to All People

Multichannel is challenging, especially for rookies. If you overcomplicate that challenge by trying to be a player on every channel, you'll increase the odds of failure. You need to carefully pick your battles, deciding based on careful research which channels are the best fit for your business and for each campaign.

Conclusion

Effective multichannel marketing requires a substantial commitment of time and energy, but the potential rewards justify that commitment. If you break the process down into a series of simple steps, stick to your goals, remember your audience and continually monitor progress, you can build your brand, drive sales and grow your business.

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