The holidays are fast approaching, and you'll need to optimise every component of your multichannel marketing strategy to bring in as many customers and as much revenue as possible. Potential buyers are constantly bombarded by ads, your competitors are working as hard as they can to catch their attention, and the old, in-your-face style of advertising just doesn't work well on today's savvy consumers. What's more, the still-shaky economy is reducing the amounts customers are willing to buy, making it even harder to grab a sizable piece of the holiday pie. If you want your business to thrive this holiday season, follow these tips for creating a successful multichannel marketing strategy!
Channels to Consider
The more channels through which you can reach your customers, the better! While any single strategy may seem limited in its ROI, a combination of channels – including those that don't seem to have much effect on their own – will yield the best results. Here are some of the top channels to incorporate into your strategy.
Email. If customers view your content online, and you don't collect their email addresses, you may as well have lost them. Sure, they may come across your ads or site again – and they'll hopefully get to know your business through other channels – but snagging an email address is the best way to keep a customer's attention. Use your list to your advantage during the holidays by emailing coupons, promotional deals and information on seasonal discounts. Make sure you mix in some informative content, too, or your customers will begin to ignore your constant sales pitches.
Your website. For regular website visitors and even first-time viewers, your page's promotionals can have a huge impact on sales. Your website is also a great place to promote educational and entertaining content, especially if you're marketing to an audience of hobbyists or professionals.
Direct mail. Paper-based mail may seem old-fashioned, but holding a hard copy ad, postcard or newsletter can spur people to act, especially if they've already come into contact with your business through other channels. And, while people throw out mail all the time, it's still harder to pitch a paper ad than it is to hit the delete button on an email.
Mobile marketing. Given the ubiquity of smart phones, you're sacrificing business if you're not marketing to mobile users. Don't just assume anyone with a smart phone will visit your site, either. It pays to invest in a responsive site optimised for smaller form factors and touchscreens. In fact, if mobile turns out to be a big source of business, you may even want to invest in a custom app for your customers who shop or view your informational content on their phones.
Pay-per-click ads. You can't depend on potential customers to search for your store if they're not already fans, nor can you expect your pages to pop up for every relevant search term. What you can do, however, is purchase pay-per-click ads for search phrases associated with popular items. If you're at the top of the ad list for searches for specific products, you might make sales then and there. You'll also introduce those customers to your site, perhaps capture their emails and continue to market to them in the future.
Aside from selecting the right channels, you'll need to optimise the ways you use those channels. Here are a few tips for making the most of your marketing efforts.
Bundle deals. People have a lot of items to buy but not as much cash to spend. One way to entice customers is to bundle complementary items together in a package that costs less than buying those items individually. Advertise these deals online, in-store, via email and through every other channel at your disposal.
Free shipping. Shipping can be a big expense for both customers and merchants, but you can satisfy buyers and cut down on your own overhead by offering free shipping for orders that exceed a minimum amount. As long as you exclude heavy items from the offer, your customers' larger basket sizes should more than offset your additional costs. You might even be able to get a deal worked out with your shipper for the large volumes you'll be selling during the holidays.
Online- and Store-only deals. To encourage customers to shop at your online and in-store outlets, promote deals that only apply to one or the other. They'll see your different channels as different “places” to buy, but all the revenue will be flowing your way!
Search engine optimisation. Finally, while pay-per-click and other paid ads can certainly generate revenue for specific items, you absolutely want to optimise your page to appear in search engines' organic results. Don't go the spam-ridden route with tons of useless, keyword-laden content, though. You've got to build up your SEO over time. Don't expect your efforts to bear fruit right away, but start adding quality content now, and you'll be amased at how much business you bring in through your site in holiday seasons to come.
To learn more about optimising your multichannel marketing strategy for this holiday season and beyond, check out our free guide today! It includes information on how to better understand your customers, how to choose the best channels and how to manage your marketing assets once you've created them – all critical skills in today's retail economy.