Multichannel Marketing: A strategy that works!
Whether you’re a startup veteran looking to inject new life into your business or a newbie cutting your teeth, it is vital to get a good handle on marketing. With all the options now available – social media, content marketing, big data, PPC and SEO to name but a few – deciding where to focus your efforts can be overwhelming, and often makes diving into the murky multichannel waters an intimidating prospect. That said, the success of your company depends on whether or not you can stay afloat. At every stage of a startup’s life, it’s essential that decision makers have an understanding of which channels can drive new business to their door.
Adjusting to the new multichannel norm for me and Access Self Storage involved concentrating our resources on these key areas, and developing a solid marketing strategy that’s still paying off today. By the end of this article, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of the benefits and disadvantages of each channel – and which will perform best for your business.
1. Physical marketing
Reports of the physical channel’s death have been exaggerated – but only slightly. Where it used to command most of our budget, it now amounts to only 15% of our overall strategy.
In a reduced capacity, some of the old ways can still work. For example, in our attempts to secure regional business for our 54 Access stores, we’ve found that dropping leaflets, buying billboard space, and organising direct mail campaigns can still get decent results.
But we need to acknowledge that some time-honoured strategies aren’t suited to the modern age. Print has been declining for a while now, and publishing an advert in a magazine or newspaper is unlikely to drive revenue in any meaningful way. Furthermore, the old business directories (which used to be an excellent way of raising a company’s profile) have all but been replaced entirely by electronic databases. If you’re going to do physical marketing, integrate it with your digital channel as seamlessly as possible: include your website and social media handles on leaflets, for example.
2. Digital marketing
As the above implies, a solid digital strategy is essential, and most of your marketing efforts should be directed towards this channel. The internet has destroyed many businesses that fail to adapt, but for those willing to move with the times, it offers unprecedented reach, higher margins, and better returns than ever before.
For better or worse, it’s certainly shaken up our company. While keeping pace with the change can be difficult sometimes, it’s also, in its own way, invigorating – and it has produced excellent results.
Focusing on SEO is a good start. While it won’t guarantee sales, moving your company site up the page rankings does guarantee visibility – which can’t hurt your chances. Social media and content platforms provide a good way to boost your SEO rankings – and they’re excellent listening tools to boot, giving you an idea of the trends and keywords currently dominating your sector. We devote around 10% of our attention to updating Twitter and Facebook, and blogging – both updating the company blog, and submitting guest pieces elsewhere.
It’s also worth investing in pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and – if you have a B2B service – LinkedIn. These permit the user to set their own budget (meaning you’ll never exceed your means), and work to increase visibility across social media, blogs, and search engines. Google’s service is particularly notable for its analytics tool, which compares and evaluates your PPC ads against each other – allowing you to fine-tune your campaigns over time.
The remaining 25% of our efforts are dedicated to time-honoured tactics like hosting events, public relations, and entering information into directories. Still, we’ve managed to assimilate these seamlessly into our e-marketing strategy: the most frequently-consulted directories are now online, we livetweet all our events, and our PR is mostly digitised.
Of all the work we do in the digital sphere, our focus on data has the biggest impact on decision-making. With automation software making it easier than ever to gather useful information and identify patterns in customer behaviour, we’re able to resolve questions that would have previously required a considerable investment of time, effort, and money – or gone unanswered entirely. What were the results of a campaign we undertook, relative to the work we did on it? Is our new website performing as well as we’d hoped? These are the kind of questions we can now answer easily.
Good data grounds your strategy in statistical truth and provides a foundation that you can use to improve your company’s performance. It’s the driving force of our multichannel marketing – without it, we’re left with pure guesswork.