A multichannel approach to getting your message out is essential in this ever-changing marketplace. What should you be doing to guarantee the future of your manufacturing business?
Why is multichannel marketing important?
Multichannel marketing is when brands use different ways to talk to their customers. This can be through email, social media, flyers, chatbots, blogs, vlogs, face-to-face, video conferencing and more. Without a multichannel marketing strategy, manufacturers can potentially harm their business. The reasons for this are simple...
We've changed the way we do business
We're only beginning to realise the impact that Covid-19 has had on our economy. Companies had to adapt quickly to find new ways for their customers to build a working relationship with them.
Video-conferencing platforms like Zoom are becoming an increasingly popular way for companies to talk to their clients, and manufacturing firms who are able to successfully incorporate this into their workflow will make sure that their business doesn't skip a beat.
Your customers want all of the control
It's not unreasonable for your customers to want to talk to you on their terms – and you should be willing to support this. In a crowded marketplace, it makes sense to give your customers greater flexibility over how you chat. They want to access your services at a time that suits them, and if this happens to be outside of business hours, you should provide a way for these customers to find what they need.
Your competitors are already doing it
Does answering the phone fill you with dread? You could be one of a quarter of the UK’s mobile phone users who make fewer than five calls a month. No matter how convenient phone calls are to you, you need to provide other ways for potential clients to get in touch. After all, do you really want to lose a customer to a competitor who is already well-aboard the chatbot train?
Which platforms should you use for multichannel marketing?
To become a successful multichannel company, you need to provide more than one way for your customers to get in touch. Here are some of the most popular ways B2B customers like to reach out:
Providing a phone number, and having call-centre hours, is still an important way for your clients to stay in touch. In fact, by including a telephone number in a noticeable location on your website, you can actually improve conversions.
Email is at the very heart of multichannel marketing. It allows your customers to start their relationship with your firm when they feel ready to do so, on their terms and within their desired character-count.
A chatbot is a program on your website that helps and nurtures your clients while staff are unable to, like in the middle of the night or on public holidays. Seamless, professional and reliable, chatbots offer that personal touch that clients look for, in an entirely automated way.
Platforms like LinkedIn are an important way for manufacturers and other B2B companies to make connections. 89% of sales people credit social media for helping them to close deals.
Having a website that not just optimised for mobile, but built for it is key to multichannel marketing. According to The Guardian, we’re spending an average of five days a year on our phones and this time is mostly spent on social media. The likes of Apple Pay and PayPal make purchasing for individuals and companies easier than it’s ever been before.
Forms are a convenient way for you to lead the conversation with a customer, helping you to get to the root of what's actually needed. Try to make things simple for your customer by keeping the required fields to a minimum – so, ideally, name and email only – or use an auto-fill form like those offered by Lusha. Remember, your customer wants to speak to you on their terms and if they have to leave a phone number, it's likely that they'll abandon the form completely.
Multichannel challenges and how to solve them
There could be many reasons why brands aren’t using a multichannel strategy for their business. Here are some issues they could be facing and some ideas for solving them:
Challenge: Many businesses don’t have the knowledge or experience to carry out a successful multichannel strategy.
Solution: An inbound marketing agency, like FINALLY would be able to help. They can fill the knowledge gaps and add value where time or people are scarce.
Challenge: Some businesses traditionally worked a certain way, like travel agents. In the good ol’ days, you’d stroll down to your local branch and book a package deal. This is no longer the case, especially among younger generations who prefer to sort it themselves, often saving money in the process.
A good example of a limited multichannel strategy is Monarch’s former MD, Tim Jeans, who spoke to the BBC about the failure of Thomas Cook, stating that it had "an analogue business model in a digital world".
Solution: Meet your customer on their buying journey quickly and don’t wait to be found. Thriving companies are responding quickly to customer needs and adapting accordingly. A strong inbound marketing plan will anticipate your customer’s needs and present them with solutions to their challenges.
Challenge: There are two types of people in life: those who go to the till and those who go to self-checkout. Your business needs to appreciate that some customers are very happy not to deal with you – especially in a post-Covid-19 world. In fact, they often prefer it and will find a solution that is convenient for them, even if it means going to a competitor.
Solution: Yes, dealing with a person is always nice… for some, but not for everyone – and not at every stage of your customer’s journey. According to HubSpot, if you push human interaction too soon, you may end up losing your customer completely. As tempting as it is to jump onto that hot new lead, remember to take a step back and let your customer drive the conversation.
Summary: How to build a multichannel business?
The solution is simple. Listen to your customers and see what your competitors are doing. If you’re meeting them and their demands you’re on to a winner. Here’s our advice on best practice for multichannel marketing:
Avoid the hard sell
Customers do not want to be hounded with cold calls. Instead, lead a trail of breadcrumbs. Regular, useful content in their social feeds or inbox will subliminally build a rapport between you both.
Know what works best
Do you have a large email database? Are your followers on social media engaged and talkative? Are your phone lines overwhelmed with customer queries? Good solutions would be interactive posts, regular emails that provide useful information and valid offers, and a chatbot or instant messenger service to take the pressure away from your phone lines.
Less is more
We’ve all heard the expression ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ and this is true of multichannel marketing. Identify where your opportunities are and focus on one or two of the most popular. It’s better to do fewer channels excellently, rather than struggling to meet all of your demands and annoying your customers with less-than-perfect service.
If you’re reading this and want to know more about multichannel marketing strategies, FINALLY can help. Get in touch and we’ll see what we can do for you.