How to Create a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

There are so many forms of marketing it can be easy to feel lost when figuring out what to do where. Marketing is like a big jigsaw puzzle with each channel or form of marketing representing a different piece. You can leave some pieces out and still see what the picture is meant to look like but leave too many gaps and you lose the detail.

That doesn’t mean you have to do every form of marketing that’s out there to get a fully working strategy for your business, but it does mean you need to understand what the complete picture looks like for you, and how each piece of the puzzle contributes to that, i.e., each form of marketing.

In this blog, I want to discuss how to create a multi-channel marketing strategy and how to get the most out of your marketing for your business.

It’s all about the marketing plans

Picture of a phone, marketing data and two hands on a wooden tableYes, I said plans plural.

I’ve talked about having a marketing plan before, you can read that blog here.

And it’s the bigger picture – your goals, budget, and intentions. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the detail, and so you need to create a mini-marketing plan for each form of marketing and every channel you use that feeds into this overall strategy.

If your marketing plan says use FaceBook and Twitter to reach your audience, you need a plan for FaceBook and a plan for Twitter. But you also need to consider how they compliment and contrast with each other – some of your audience will use both channels, some will use only one. So how can you ensure that you meet the needs of both audience types?

Your social media marketing will feed into your SEO and your website, as will printed advertising, pay per click advertising and any media advertising you do. Each channel, each piece of puzzle, relies on other puzzle pieces to complete the picture.

So, make a list now of the different marketing types and channels you use, and any you want to use in the future. Think about how they interact with each other. You’ll find natural clusters like social media, SEO and your website, printed advertising and media but they will all have links with each other back and forth.

You might have a printed press campaign that encourages readers to find you on Instagram, and your Instagram might direct users to FaceBook or Twitter to find out more information and they in turn direct your audience to your website to make the sale, for example.

Understanding how it all fits together is crucial for a successful marketing campaign. If you’re feeling lost and struggling to figure it out, consider hiring a marketing consultant to work with you on this. It’s an investment that will ensure your marketing activities are aligned with each other as well as you and your business to get best results.

Being consistent is key with a multi-channel marketing strategy

As everything is linked together it’s important that your marketing is consistent across all channels and types that you use. The topics, language style, tone, imagery, core message in each post etc should all be aligned with each other. If all your social media marketing talks about website design, for example, but your website only talks about copywriting; your target audience are going to be very confused about what you do! If you offer multiple services, then you need to talk about them all across all of your marketing.

One way you can achieve this is by using content clusters. Pick a theme or topics, such as a service you offer, and write posts for every channel you use – social media posts, blogs, advertorials, video scripts, etc. Batch writing helps you save time, but it also ensures you’re being consistent across your entire marketing efforts.

A good approach is to write a blog first and then tweak that written content into a video script and social media posts suitable for each channel. You can use the images for Instagram and add relevant hashtags, you can create several long Facebook posts from that blog and many shorter Tweets. And this content tends to be evergreen so you can re-use it in the future too.

Don’t just copy and paste chunks from your blog into your social media posts though, what works well on a website doesn’t work so well on social media. You need to understand your audience on each platform and tweak the content accordingly – this might be by rephrasing, focusing on different aspects of the message (the what, why, how, where, when is a good approach when repurposing blog content for social media) or using the content to address questions from your audience.

Create brand guidelines and stick to them

A booklet with brand identity on it next to an apple pcThis is elaborating further on the consistency point but is important enough to be a point in its own right.

How your brand is perceived through your marketing is important. So, creating guidelines about tone, voice, images, language used, etc is also important. This is especially the case if you outsource some aspects of your marketing but not others. It can be very obvious that you write the blogs but someone else writes your social media posts, for example.

Brand guidelines ensures that everyone is working to the same set of standards and understands what the message is, what it should like and how your target audience should perceive it.

Hiring a copywriter to write for all your marketing is the ideal. If that isn’t possible, consider hiring an editor to create briefing documents for writers and then edit them on submission to ensure consistency instead. You can do this yourself, but you’ll likely find that outsourcing to a professional will save you time and money in the long run!

Analyse, evaluate and update your multi-channel marketing strategy often

Things can change quickly in marketing. New approaches, channel changes, Google algorithm updates, etc can all mean that a marketing strategy working well at the start of the year might be a less effective six months later.

Data is so important in marketing.

Data about your target audience, data about your customers, and data about the performance of each and every aspect of your marketing too. From how many posts are clicked on to which type perform better, to which channel performs best overall.

It’s by analysing and understanding this data that you can figure out what works best for your target audience and where to focus your efforts, but it also highlights potential issues when things change. If video posts perform best on FaceBook but then a new video-based channel comes along and your audience go there instead, you need to understand that your videos on Facebook probably won’t work so well anymore.

Don’t be afraid to change your strategy, jump on to new channels and opportunities and try things out. It’s only by consistently reworking your marketing strategy to suit your audience that you’ll get the top results you’re looking for.

I hope you’ve found this blog useful in understanding how channels work together and how you can create a multi-channel marketing strategy that encompasses this. If you have any questions or comments about this, I’d love to hear them!

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