No two customer journeys are the same anymore.
From mobile commerce to social shoppers and beyond, buyers today are constantly bouncing between platforms and devices.
But what does that mean for up-and-coming merchants like yourself?
You can’t focus all of your marketing efforts on a single channel.
Instead, consider how you can build marketing campaigns that make touchpoints with buyers regardless of where they’re coming from.
Email. Social media. Search engines. Ads. You name it, customers are there.
Enter the era of cross-channel marketing.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What cross-channel marketing is (and which channels you should focus on)
- How to master multichannel marketing without burning out yourself (or your budget)
- Low-hanging cross-channel marketing tactics to streamline and drive more sales
What is cross-channel marketing (and why does it matter)?
Let’s kick things off with a definition.
Cross-channel marketing is the alignment of your brand’s promotions and messaging across multiple channels. Marketing across channels results in a more consistent customer experience and a more comprehensive understanding of your audience.
Chances are you’ve engaged with cross-channel marketing yourself as a consumer.
Ever browse a store online and then get an Instagram ad for the same shop the next day?
Or maybe you’ve stumbled onto a new brand through a Facebook ad and did some Googling to figure out if they were legit?
That’s multichannel marketing in action.
Food for thought: conventional wisdom says it takes an average of eight interactions with a prospect before they’re ready to buy. This speaks to the importance of brands “covering their ground” when it comes to marketing channels.
Here are some multichannel marketing statistics to highlight how different consumers discover products:
- 65% of all eCommerce traffic comes from mobile devices.
- 57% of consumers following brands explicitly to learn about and research new products.
- A staggering 63% of B2C product searches begin on Amazon (followed by 48% via search engines like Google and 33% on other retail websites).
The takeaway? Online shopping is anything but a linear process. Covering multiple channels and tracking your customers as they bounce from Point A to Point B is a must-do as shopping becomes more complex.
Which marketing channels are most important for eCommerce?
Whether you’re an up-and-coming merchant or have an established eCommerce presence, below is a quick breakdown of your priority marketing channels.
No surprises here. Your website presents the main hub of your business and where you’ll be funneling your traffic to score sales. Having an attractive site with eye-catching product imagery and easy navigation is a huge point in your favor.
And for the sake of your cross-channel marketing strategy, don’t neglect how your product pages and site functions via mobile.
Your email marketing campaigns
We’re all about email here at Sendlane, but can you blame us?
Through email marketing, you can regularly engage eager subscribers and sell to them over and over. Growing your email list is crucial to the long-term growth of your business and goes hand in hand with having a stellar website.
Meanwhile, your email list itself serves as the primary channel to keep customers in the loop, get to know them, and hook them up with promos and deals.
Your SEO efforts
Love it or hate it, you can’t afford to ignore SEO. Beyond targeting keywords, your Google presence ultimately determines your online reputation and what prospects find when they look up your brand for the first time.
Your organic social media presence
There’s no denying the power of social media for eCommerce. The ability to promote customer photos, positive reviews, and hype your new products in one place means you can reach former and prospective buyers alike in the same channel.
Your paid social media campaigns
The effectiveness of social ads is well-documented, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Piggybacking on the point above, ads represent a way to introduce yourself to new customers or make touch points with leads that didn’t complete a purchase in the past.
Your SMS and mobile marketing
Again, mobile matters. Incorporating SMS into your cross-channel marketing makes it easier to reach past buyers and customers on the go.
8 multichannel marketing strategies that actually work
Here’s the deal, though: simply having a presence on all of the channels above isn’t enough.
You need an actual cross-channel marketing strategy that aligns your campaigns and engages customers in a meaningful way.
And if you’re overwhelmed: we get it. There’s a lot of ground to cover.
But don’t panic! Below are eight actionable steps to getting on board with cross-channel marketing.
1. Automate interactions and touch points with your customers (email, SMS, social and more)
First thing’s first: you need to do everything in your power to connect your marketing campaigns.
Think about the various marketing tasks you’re responsible for on a regular basis. For example, you might:
- Send email marketing campaigns every week
- Blog about product features and updates on the regular
- Post on social media daily
- Monitor comparison engines to see where your product currently stands
And that just scratches the surface.
Manually juggling all of your marketing tasks and the data associated with them just isn’t an option. Doing so is a recipe for burnout, poor performance, and inconsistency.
That’s why we’re big advocates of automating as many tasks as possible.
Automation empowers you to save time and get more done. Not to mention, you’ll be able to reach customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey at any given moment.
Consider how you can automate your email marketing, SMS, and retargeting ads.
Automating your email marketing
Tools like Sendlane’s Shopify integration offer behavior tracking so you can personalize and automate your email marketing efforts. For example, you can track your customers’ actions and behaviors on your online store – from the day they visit your store to when they become a customer (and long after that!) – to send perfectly-timed and targeted messages.
And it’s all quite simple, really! All you have to do is:
- Set up your tracking pixel (here’s a handy tutorial to do that).
- Map out your customer’s journey (from your landing page to their shopping cart), collecting behavioral data along the way.
- Track conversions, ROI, and analytics within Sendlane and fine-tune your marketing!
With Sendlane, you’ll be sending out laser-targeted marketing messages and converting prospects into paying customers in no time.
Automating Your Retargeting & SMS
Leveraging behavior-based tracking allows you to send emails to customers based on their interactions with your emails or store and retarget them when they leave without a purchase. Here’s what that process looks like in Sendlane:
By tracking your website’s events, you can find out who viewed your products, pricing plans, and product reviews. Then, you can create automations personalized to each customers’ journey.
For instance, say we have three different customers:
- Customer A just purchased $50 worth of products.
- Customer B clicked through an email to view a page but didn’t add it to a cart.
- Customer C added products to the cart but abandoned it.
You need to ensure that your messaging changes for each customer while reaching them at the right time. For example:
- Customer A would get order confirmation emails plus a new sequence of messaging that included product recommendations.
- Customer B could be retargeted with ads on Facebook or Instagram or SMS notification.
- Customer C would trigger an abandoned cart email sequence that included an SMS message with images of what’s in the cart.
And the best part? All of the above can be automated while generating revenue!
If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some actionable tips to put your cross-channel marketing on autopilot:
- Leverage real-time data to reach customers with personalized content that will keep them engaged in the buying process.
- Set up automated abandoned cart sequences. This could involve email, SMS messages or retargeting ads to help you to regain revenue in case someone abandons their shopping cart without purchasing anything
2. Integrate your marketing apps to give yourself the most comprehensive view of your customers
It’s no secret that your business collects a ton of information on your customers.
This is typically done using a variety of marketing tools such as shopping carts, social media, blog posts, and (of course) email opt-ins.
But while collecting data is the easy part, bringing all these channels together isn’t always so simple.
That’s where integrations come into play.
Because while all your channels might be flowing individually, the goal of true cross-channel marketing is to bring those channels together by seamlessly connecting the apps, tools, and web services you use every day.
Here are just a few examples of ways you can leverage integrations to bring your channels together.
- Deep-Data Shopping Cart: Whether you’re a Shopify, WooCommerce, ClickBank, or Miva user (whatever shopping cart you're using for your store), it’s essential to make sure it's connected with your ESP. Here at Sendlane, our deep-data integrations bring in 100+ points of data on each and every one of your customers. We then sync that live data from your eCommerce platform to understand how customers interact on your site and turn that into marketing automations designed to generate more revenue!
- Facebook Custom Audiences: This tool allows you to create and save audiences to reach the people who matter to your business. Integrating Facebook Custom Audiences and with an email marketing solution like Sendlane enables you to implement automated, strategic targeting in your Facebook advertisements. Learn more about this integration right here.
- SMS Marketing: There are a variety of SMS tools out there that you can integrate into your email marketing strategy. However, here at Sendlane, as part of our platform, SMS messages can be sent as stand-alone campaigns or as messages that integrate and personalize to automated workflows! Learn more about our SMS feature right here.
- Livechat: The ability to go back and forth with customers is a game-changer for building trust and converting more leads. Linked with Sendlane, our Livechat integration gives you a more thorough understanding of your customers’ needs and past interactions with your brands. This results in the best service possible. You can learn more about the integration here.
3. Personalize experiences throughout your cross-channel marketing to make your brand more memorable
To get the most out of automation, you need to make interactions with customers feel tailor-made and personal.
The truth is, customers already know that businesses communicate with them as part of a much larger group. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want one-size-fits-all messages.
Personalized content and cross-channel marketing go hand in hand to help you deliver better customer experiences. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you have a former customer that lands on your site a second time. By setting up personalized product recommendations, you can suggest accessories and complementary items that match what they’ve purchased in the past.
Beauty brands do this all the time. If you buy a brow brush from the likes of Ulta or Glossier, you might get a follow-up email recommending a lipstick or cheek color. If you buy shampoo, you’ll get recommended a conditioner.
This sort of one-two punch of product recommendation emails shortly after landing on your shop means your messages will be fresh in their minds. Not only does this help you create a sense of familiarity with your customers, but it also encourages them to spend more.
How do you gather this info about your customers to figure out what they want, though?
With Sendlane’s deep-data integration with Shopify, you can gather insights based on your customers’ behavior and purchase history. Our integrations do the heavy lifting, allowing you to:
- Automatically track customer data to send ultra-targeted emails
- Create dynamic abandoned cart emails to win back customers who’ve bounced from your site
- Add Shopify products to personalize product emails, so they’re tailor-made for your customers
- Create targeted segments (such as VIPs and shoppers that need a nudge) to boost email engagement
Pretty cool, right?
Plus, you get loads of Shopify triggers for creating automations such as product purchase, customer abandoned checkout, order fulfillment completed, order payment successful, viewed product, and more!
4. Implement retargeting ads to win over more social customers
Retargeting ads are all the rage right now for a reason: they work brilliantly to win back would-be lost customers.
By implementing a Facebook Pixel, you can serve targeted messages to bounced traffic. This includes Facebook ads highlighting actual products they browsed or sales and codes to bring them back on-site. Below are two examples from Pura Vida:
This is a straightforward example of cross-channel marketing in action. Given how many customers research products via social media, running these campaigns serve as the perfect one-two punch to make a positive impression on prospects that might be on the fence.
5. Deliver consistent branding and messaging across marketing channels
Consistency is key when it comes to multichannel marketing. This rings true when we’re talking about:
- Branding, including your color scheme and company logo.
- Taglines, calls-to-action, and other promotional copy.
- Sales and offers (hint: what you’re selling via ads or email should match what’s on-site).
Check out this Instagram ad from oVertone and their home page (not the landing page from the ad). The messaging matches, as does the branding and call-to-action. The process of researching the brand based on the ad feels familiar and makes sense.
On the flip side, inconsistent messaging feels both un-targeted and jarring to potential customers. When putting together campaigns, take a close look at your assets and creatives to make sure they match.
6. Create marketing content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
Remember: cross-channel marketing means advertising not only to new customers but folks that are already familiar with you.
So it’s important not to leave any group out in the cool. This is why the customer’s journey matters so much.
But what does that actually look like? The buyer’s journey can be broken down into five distinct stages. For each stage, brands need to produce marketing content and copy that reaches customers at that respective stage. This includes:
- Awareness, reaching prospects who’ve never interacted with you before
- Consideration, for leads that are actively researching your products
- Purchase, for people in the process of actually making a purchasing decision
- Retention, for keeping buyers around for the long haul
- Advocacy, for encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences
For example, the oVertone ads we mentioned earlier are prime examples for reaching customers in the awareness and consideration stages. Meanwhile, educational and how-to content (like the YouTube video below) nurtures both potential customers and current ones.
Marketing messages such as promotional emails allow you to drive purchases for the same crowd...
...while channels such as social media provide a platform to engage with customers in the retention phase.
See how all of that works? Covering multiple channels and awareness stages means that you’re always creating opportunities for new business.
7. Run tests before ramping up your cross-channel marketing campaigns
We’re all about data here at Sendlane.
Whether investing in a marketing channel or running a new campaign, testing is an absolute must-do. Running tests help keep your budget under control and likewise highlight what’s working (and what’s not) for any given campaign.
For example, Facebook’s Experiments allow social marketers to test different ad groups and sets to figure out which ads perform the best against each other.
And similarly, multivariate testing in Sendlane can clue you in on which of your email marketing messages are winners. The ability to test calls-to-actions, subject lines, timing, and images for maximum engagement means you get a greater ROI for your campaigns.
8. Figure out your priority channels and marketing campaigns via analytics
Finally, it’s important to note that not all of your marketing channels are going to be equal in terms of performance.
Not by a long shot.
We’ve seen firsthand how some eCommerce brands totally transform their businesses via email. Others might prioritize influencers or social ads to see similar results.
Either way, keeping a close eye on your analytics and performance data will let you know where your dollars should go. The easier it is to tie your data to revenue, the better.
This speaks to the importance of having comprehensive, in-depth data related to your campaigns. With Sendlane analytics, you can directly see how much money you’re bringing in and the top revenue sources per campaign. You can then compare these numbers to your other marketing channels (Facebook ads, SEO, affiliates) and allocate your sources accordingly.
Is your business on board with cross-channel marketing?
Cross-channel marketing should be a top priority for any eCommerce brand.
Because tackling multiple channels is essential to your business’ growth. With so many places to engage shoppers, you need to make sure your bases are covered. Sticking to the tips above and implementing a conscious cross-channel marketing strategy can open you up to so many new opportunities to win customers.
And if you haven’t already, make sure to give Sendlane a try. Our platform is perfect for eCommerce marketers looking to automate their cross-channel efforts and scale their businesses via email marketing.