5 High Value Cross-platform eCommerce Marketing Tips
“Deliver the right message at the right time.” is a phrase oft-repeated as a mantra for any marketing campaign to succeed. However, marketers these days have another crucial aspect to take care of when it comes to reaching out effectively to their customers: the platform.
Today’s customers no longer connect with your brand using just one platform. Instead, they keep switching between their desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablet devices depending on whether they are home, at their workplace or on-the-go. For instance, in the UK, 40% of all online adults start an activity on one device and finish it on another. And this number is likely to increase in proportion to the amount of devices owned. What this implies is a necessity to customize your message based on the user’s location, device and the time of day, in order to make it contextual for your existing and potential customers.
However, just as the popularity of connected devices like smartphones and tablets are rising at an exponential rate, marketers are resorting to building siloed marketing strategies for each platform. Imagine a customer searching for a party dress on their smartphone and finding a discount coupon of 40% displayed as an ad, but switching to their desktop soon after to see that the same discount coupon is now 25%. This is the kind of disconnect that can make a company lose a customer.
Because of such disconnects between platforms, marketers have to blend their individual marketing approaches designed for websites, email, smartphones, and tablets into a single, holistic approach. This has to encompass every possible avenue within the multi-device environment.
The Keys to Effective Cross-Channel Marketing for E-Commerce
Communicating with cross-device frequent shoppers is essential for maintaining and possibly increasing your target conversions. There are multiple ways for you to reach out to your audience, which include content marketing in the form of blogs or webinars, email, website, mobile apps, and telemarketing among others. The most critical part is to strike a balance among all these different channels. That’s also the trickiest part — one that most businesses struggle with.
“While most (78%) companies believe [cross-channel marketing is] important or very important, more than half (51%) still believe their current marketing efforts fall short due to a lack of analytics that provide cross-channel data.”
There’s no magic formula that comprehensively integrates all the solutions out there. Nothing that easily allows marketers to manage all those avenues in a balanced and streamlined manner. Rather, it is a matter of experimenting with multiple ingredients and observing what works out the best for your organization at the end of the day. The best way to go about this is to embark on a journey one-step-at-a-time. Let me explain:
1. Define your objectives and get buy-in
Despite the increase in the number of communication vehicles in the digital age, the fundamentals of understanding your objectives, target audience, and brand messaging still remain the same as it was in the analog age. The high level objectives can be defined as leads, revenues, or building brand awareness. You just need to start by asking fundamental questions such as:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Who is your target audience and what do you want them to do?
- How will you differentiate from your competition?
- How will you measure the success of the multi-platform strategy?
If your organization has been using a siloed approach to marketing, it will require a considerable amount of work and patience to see an integrated marketing plan up and running. You will need to make sure that all stakeholders commit to the cross-platform marketing strategy and risks are mitigated.
2. Understand your customers by bridging the silos
- Who are they?
- Do you know your target customer’s demographics?
- How do they use technology in their daily lives?
- When are they active?
- How do they interact with your company and through which channels?
- How could their experience be improved?
Understanding your customer is extremely important when it comes to engaging people online. It is also crucial to recognize that the same customer will behave differently on different devices, at various times. But, the bigger question would be: can you recognize the customer as he switches from one platform to another? This requires having an integrated view of data across all channels.
If your channels are owned and managed separately and each team uses a different set of tools to manage the customer data, you need to start bridging these gaps. The end result is real-time aggregation of customer data across all platforms, followed by unification of data into individual personas for each customer. Apart from tools integration and seamless access to customer data, it is also imperative that concerned team members managing each channel work in a coordinated way to make multi-platform marketing work for you.
3. Focus on consistency, but optimize for each platform
Once you have done the groundwork, the next step would be to understand the communication strategy that you want to adopt for cross-platform marketing to work. Focus on keeping the branding, promotions, and content style consistent across all channels. It is so important that your customers know that all interactions are from the same organization.
At the same time, while branding needs to be consistent, the content needs to be optimized for each platform. Particularly, when you are running cross-platform campaigns, it is important that the content shared on a specific platform is reflective of the kind of content that the user consumes from that platform. For example, while running a festival campaign; you might have a blog post on your website that will also be promoted from your Facebook account. However, you need visual content related to the campaign in order to appeal to users on your Instagram channel.
4. Make Retargeting integral for cross-platform marketing
Today’s customers have short attention spans. Retargeting, aka remarketing, helps you subtly provide reminders tocustomers to revisit your website or app and complete the purchase. Imagine if a customer checks a speaker set he always wanted to buy on your website, but gets distracted because of some impending work as depicted in the figure below. By retargeting, you can show the customer the same ad on Facebook followed by a reminder notification on the mobile app to complete the purchase today and receive a 10% discount on the price.
There is no foolproof way of gauging success of cross-platform marketing. However, there are several tools available to help you track each individual channel and the click-through or conversion rates. Keep an eye on the outcomes achieved from each individual channel as well as the overall campaign. You can then check progress against objectives and target metrics in order to further improve and optimize the communication strategy across platforms.
So, there you have it. 5 of the most essential steps that can help you get started with your cross-channel marketing endeavors. The real magic is when you can pick up cues from customer activity on any of the platforms and enable a consistent and coordinated communication strategy across all of them. For example, during the summer time, many of your customers are on vacation with their families or friends.
While most of your channels aren’t aware of it, the customer’s mobile app location indicates that the customer is away from his city and in a tourist location. Using this information, you can think of a coordinated strategy whereby you can use mobile as the primary platform for communication during this period and provide relevant messages such as ‘Since you are in Hawaii, how about visiting our store which is just 1 mile from your current location?’
As you learn more about your customers and get a sense of what is working, you can think of a number of creative ways to market to them more effectively. In the end, it all comes down to the impression you build on your customers.
Over To You
We hope you found the above helpful. Do you have comments on the article or any tips around cross-channel marketing that you’d like to pass on? Please share with us, below.
About the Author: Shiju Mathew is the VP of Mobile Products at Vizury, a company that provides a robust platform for mobile marketing automation and push notifications. He has over 13 years of rich experience in Product Management and Strategic Marketing in the digital world and has worked with companies such as Honeywell, Syncapse, Bosch prior to Vizury. He is passionate about trends in Internet technology and is a mobile marketing enthusiast.
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