In today’s world, tactics are constantly changing, and virtually every business we have ever seen succeed over a sustained period had a multichannel approach.
In today’s world, most purchases, no matter your industry or your product, typically require multiple touchpoints across multiple channels - online and offline. The Online Marketing Institute states it takes at least seven to thirteen touchpoints to deliver a qualified sales lead.
You therefore need an effective multichannel strategy. It’s not easy to juggle paid search, paid social, email marketing, display advertising and offline opportunities, but your prospective customers are making their buyer journey across multiple channels, and you need to be present.
We’ll often get contacted by businesses wanting us to work in a single channel for them. Individual channels like SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Email can all be highly effective, but we get very worried for clients who are putting all their faith in just a single channel.
Time and again we have examples where clients remove a seemingly poor-performing channel from their marketing mix, only to see unrelated channels drop in performance. For example, a prospect might ‘discover’ you in social, but much later turn to search to further explore your industry. If you’re not there, you will generally be forgotten. Likewise, the client who comes across you via organic search and downloads a content piece from your website. However, your lack of email automation or remarketing means you never remind them of your existence again and you are quickly forgotten.
In addition to helping individual channels perform better, a multichannel strategy ensures you aren’t putting all your eggs in one basket. There is a very real risk any channel you rely on today could change tomorrow, for reasons completely out of your control.
At present, you might be succeeding in one or two channels and be tempted to continue focussing just on these areas. This can be risky. We’ve seen businesses take massive hits, and even be wiped out overnight when major channels make changes to the way users or advertisers can use their platforms.
We have seen successful businesses built on the back of aggressive SEO campaigns go broke overnight after a Google algorithm update. Similarly, many businesses depend entirely on paid search. The problem here is that cost per click is going up every single year. If competitors pour into your niche, it’s not impossible you’ll be paying two to three times the amount you did previously to get the same return. We’ve also seen industries strangled overnight by Google making a policy change to their advertising guidelines.
For all these reasons, you need to ask yourself if you are over-reliant on a certain channel. What would happen to your business if your number one channel changed tomorrow without warning? What would happen if this channel simply ceased to exist for you in terms of delivering prospects at an affordable rate?
Plan ahead by diversifying. If you’re doing well in Google paid search, continue to put a significant part of your money there, but reserve some of your budget for organic search or your social strategy. You don’t have to put the same effort into each channel or invest in unsuitable channels, but you never want to have to start from scratch when you are forced to change tack.
To mitigate risk effectively, understand what your ‘ROI channels’ are and what your supporting channels are. ROI channels clearly generate conversion—either leads or sales. You need ROI channels, but you also need supporting channels, those channels that further convince someone of your credibility, remind them of who you are, or bring them to your ROI channels.
There’s a basic principle of psychology behind a multichannel approach: people typically need to be reminded of something many times before deciding to act. In your own marketing efforts, you want to take every opportunity you can to remind your prospects about you and to connect with them emotionally.
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