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How to Create a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy to Expand Your Reach

If you work in marketing, you know just how complicated – and confusing – marketing products or services can be in the modern world. Social media, email, websites, and the list sometimes seem never-ending. When you also consider that customers are more discerning now than at any point in history, it can mean that navigating these challenges sometimes seems like a constant uphill struggle. 

That’s why a good approach and a robust marketing strategy can be so important. You hear constant ideas such as multi-channel marketing or omnichannel marketing, and it can be hard to see which one is right for you. However, one strategy that is often overlooked is cross-channel marketing. But just what is cross-channel marketing, and how can it boost your efforts?

What is cross-channel marketing? 

Depending on your existing business model and strategies, you are likely operating your marketing across several channels. You might be advertising on television, having a presence on one (or more) of the social media platforms, sending out email newsletters, and… well, you get the idea. 

Image sourced from WordStream

If you write down a list of all the “places” you create marketing content, then those are your marketing channels. Now, think about a customer progressing through your sales funnel. As the customer journey progresses, you want to engage with them at each step but in a way that reflects where they are in that journey and your funnel. 

Rather than them seeing the same old material and offers, you are looking at how you can customize your content to reflect where they are. While the idea, as always, is to convert a potential customer into an actual one, you also want the customer to feel that they are at the center of all your efforts. So, you could say that the ethos behind cross-channel marketing is to ensure that the experience is always customer-centric. 

Cross-channel vs. multi-channel vs. omnichannel marketing 

It can get confusing sometimes, so it’s best to separate these terms before creating a cross-channel strategy. One thing to note is that you may well be operating different strategies at the same time. You could have a campaign that runs an omnichannel strategy and another on a cross-channel basis. 

Multi-channel marketing 

Image sourced from Passive Secrets

If you’re using a multi-channel strategy, you’re already marketing on multiple channels. However, your efforts in this strategy will not always be aligned. The idea behind multi-channel marketing is to boost engagement at every step of a customer’s experience and encourage connections between your various channels.

For example, you may email existing customers about a forthcoming sale while using Facebook ads to promote a new product range. Many marketing teams will eventually develop a multi-channel strategy into a more holistic omnichannel one. 

Omnichannel marketing

For many marketers, an omnichannel strategy is a step up from a multi-channel strategy. The clue here lies in the name, “omni”, which comes from the Latin, meaning “all”. With this strategy, you’re bringing all your brand’s channels under one holistic umbrella. You’re considering all the touchpoints involved in customer experience, from initial awareness to post-purchase support. 

Omnichannel marketing integrates every channel you use into your marketing plans. For example, you may be running a campaign on a contact center solution. You could then coordinate ads for that campaign on all your social media platforms, on television, with banner ads in your newsletter, and so on. You can also automate your campaign analytics to measure different metrics across the channels you use. 

Cross-channel marketing

A cross-channel strategy is often confused with multi-channel marketing. The primary difference lies in the sharing of information. Unlike a multi-channel strategy, cross-channel marketing DOES share information across the various channels being used. That means your efforts closely align with where that customer is on their journey through your sales funnel, and this is an area where you can automate some processes.  

For example, a customer’s initial awareness of your business may come from a search engine. Their search leads to an ad or even to your actual website. They then see a link to your blog on Facebook which gives them more detailed information on your products/services. They sign up as a subscriber and a week later, you send them a personalized thank you email offering a no-obligation quote. You have applied a cross-channel strategy to reflect where that person is in your funnel. 

Moreover, with the rise of remote work, ensuring security across various platforms has become increasingly crucial (with solutions such as Linux VPN gaining popularity).

Integrating social media tools into your cross-channel strategy can also enhance engagement and broaden your reach across different platforms.

The benefits of cross-channel marketing 

Knowing the benefits of any particular strategy to your business can help you plan it better.

1. Better engagement levels 

Image sourced from HubSpot

If you put yourself in the shoes of a customer, you will see that we are deluged with ads every single day. Everywhere you look, there are boosted posts on social media, click-through PPC ads, and emails that seem never-ending. Even a well-thought-out subject line can sometimes not be enough to stop a marketing email from ending up in the trash folder. 

Utilizing cross-channel marketing means that your ads and other content recognize where a customer is on their journey and what they likely want to see. It also means that when it comes to a CTA (call to action), you can personalize that CTA, something that has been shown to increase conversions by up to 202% more than a standard CTA. 

2. Improved ROI (return on investment)

For many marketers, they don’t only have some budgetary restraints, but they also need to demonstrate that any marketing efforts give a healthy ROI. After all, you don’t want to spend $10,000 on a campaign only to see $12,000 in sales. With cross-channel marketing, you’re not looking at the ROI on a single channel but how your combined efforts have performed. 

A single ad may not lead to sales, but taken as part of your holistic approach, it may be the factor that starts people on their journey through your sales funnel and eventually leads to a sale. This integrated approach can recognize the various touchpoints and pinpoint where a casual viewer became a qualified lead, but it avoids giving “credit” to any one channel. 

3. Higher loyalty rates 

Image sourced from True List

You already know the benefits of good customer retention and loyalty rates. It’s cheaper to market to loyal customers than to acquire new ones, and they tend to have a higher CLV (customer lifetime value). In fact, loyal customers are likely to spend around 67% more on a favored brand than a new customer would. 

Cross-channel marketing can encourage brand loyalty because they see that you are giving them a better experience and that you recognize where they are on their journey. Of course, other factors, such as good customer service and quality products/services also contribute, but how you market to them plays a major role. 

How to approach cross-channel marketing

You now know the differences between the different marketing approaches and you can see the benefits of a cross-channel strategy. You also may already be aligning sales and support teams to improve CX (customer experience) but how do you do the same when it comes to your marketing? 

To effectively execute cross-channel marketing, it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign plan that integrates all channels seamlessly. Identify your channels, allocate budget efficiently, and consider the customer journey to ensure your strategy aligns with your business goals.

A flowchart maker can be useful here to help you visualize the interconnectedness of your channels and ensure a coherent and efficient strategy.

1. Identify your channels

What channels should you use? The answer will depend on your business goals and type. You need to look at the channels you are currently using and see how well they integrate with each other and with your marketing plans and goals. It won’t necessarily be viable to connect every channel you use, so list the ones you see as integrating efficiently. 

As mentioned earlier, adopting a cross-channel strategy does not preclude using other strategies, especially if you have channels that won’t play together nicely. Once you have identified and selected your preferred channels, you can move to the next step. 

2. Budgeting 

Image sourced from Vital Design

Does any one word strike more fear into the hearts of marketers worldwide? Sadly, keeping to a budget is a reality of the profession. At this stage, you need to look at your overall marketing budget and determine how much can be allocated to your cross-channel efforts. After you have that figure, you can break your budget down for individual channels. 

Not all channels are created equal, and neither are all marketing efforts. You should be looking at allocating to each channel depending on its purpose and your needs. Think about both existing reach and how your efforts might boost reach, as this can be a major step toward sales. And, of course, regularly review analytics to see how different metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) are doing. 

3. Reach

Remember, it’s all about a customer-centric approach. You want to increase your reach but you also want to retain those customers you’re already reaching. As with any marketing approach, you want to know a lot about your existing and target demographics. You can also consider segmentation where needed to improve personalization opportunities. 

Who is your ideal customer? Have you built a buyer persona? Where will you find your customers and potential customers? Knowing which channels to utilize is integral to success. For example, sharing a blog on how to improve call center efficiency might not increase your reach if posted on Instagram, but it could boost if it is posted on LinkedIn. 

And go: create a cross-channel marketing strategy

Now that you understand cross-channel marketing, you’re ready to create a strategy for your business. It’s a lot easier than it seems and you just need to follow these steps.

1. Understand the customer journey 

You need to understand how a customer moves through your sales funnel and how customers behave at each stage. Analyze the historical data you already have to construct a road map that highlights behavior but also wants and needs. This can help you decide what content, information, and offers are best suited to different steps and channels. 

It’s another area where walking a mile in your customers’ shoes can give you deeper insights, help you improve touchpoints, and solve pain points. You can then tailor your marketing efforts to what customers want and expect.

2. Create a marketing funnel 

People always think about a sales funnel but how do you make that align with a marketing funnel in a cross-channel approach? Someone at the start of your sales funnel isn’t going to want to see CTAs, they want information on your brand and what you offer. What you’re presenting to the customer should match where they are in that all-important sales funnel.

What you actually present will depend on your business type, but there should be similarities across the board, starting with information that boosts awareness to a CTA in the final stages that leads to a conversion.

3. Choose your channels

Let’s say you use a total of 8 channels in all your marketing efforts. That doesn’t mean you would use all of them in any cross-channel campaign. Consider your goals, the customer journey (and their expectations), and then choose which channels will work best for this campaign. Remember, you might use 8 channels this time but only 2 in a future campaign.

You also need to consider which of your channels might complement each other. For example, reading a blog posted on social media could lead to a customer subscribing to your newsletter, which may in turn lead to you sending them to the next stage in your marketing funnel via email. Many of your channels have almost symbiotic relationships you can use to your advantage.

4. Balance costs and budget 

When using more than one channel, you need to consider associated costs and the benefits each channel and method will bring. For example, a television advert would likely be the most expensive option, but it would be a great way to boost reach and awareness. However, if you already have substantial reach, would the ROI be a good one?

You also need to remember that channel performance will not be static. A channel that performs well in one quarter may not do as well in the next. You need to be flexible and analyze results so that you can raise or reduce any allocated budget when needed. 

5. Have clear goals 

Keep channels and ultimate goals separate. One channel may aim to boost reach, while another may look to turn interest into qualified leads. However, your overall goal may be to increase sales or get customers to sign up for a service. Your overall goal should be your main focus, and you shouldn’t get too caught up in how the components of your strategy perform.

6. Use retargeting 

Cross-channel marketing is not just about attracting new customers and leads, it’s also about any existing and loyal customers as well as people who may have fallen through the cracks. Any cross-channel strategy you implement should include some retargeting as this can produce good results. A marketing automation platform like Encharge will automatically sync segments from your email audience with Facebook ads, allowing you to retarget precise audiences with targeted ads.

Read more: 12 Ways to Integrate Facebook and Email Marketing

7. Track your customers

To make cross-channel marketing work, you really need to know where customers are in your sales funnel. The best way to do this is with a CRM (customer relationship management) system. It can let you know what progress people have made as well as make segmentation and retargeting far easier. 

The takeaway 

Deciding which marketing strategy works best for your brand, products, and campaign can be difficult but crucial. A properly executed cross-channel strategy can work well in any sector. The important thing to remember is that you should ensure the entire strategy is focused on the customer, their needs, and their journey through your sales funnel.

By looking closely at what each customer expects from you and where best to put the content they want to see, you are better positioned to help them progress through your sales funnel and, hopefully, become a loyal customer.

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