Your business needs a multichannel strategy
Multichannel marketing is vital for your business' success, especially in this ever-changing environment. What should you be doing to guarantee the future of your business?
What is multichannel marketing?
Multichannel marketing is when brands use different ways to talk to their customers. This can be both, directly and indirectly, using emails, social media, flyers, chat-bots, blogs, vlogs, face-to-face and more. Neglecting to have a multichannel marketing strategy is potentially harmful to your business and here’s why…
Imagine a world without multichannel marketing
Hands up if answering the phone fills 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. Well, picture this…
It’s been a long day. You’re in bed with a herbal tea and snuggled up with your smart device about to book a theatre break. You know exactly what show you want to see, you’ve found an amazing hotel and the dates are perfect – you’ve spent ages shopping around and this website has the best deal going. Your credit card in hand, you’re set to book and… the website prompts you to phone them to complete your purchase.
Urgh. Talk to someone!? It’s bedtime. No way.
What an anti-climax. The only thing worse would’ve been to fill out a form and wait for the provider to get back to you. It feels so pointless. You wanted to book there and then. Even if you do take the time to fill the form in, you know you’ll just continuously keep missing the calls during work hours until the tickets sell out.
Why you should be multichannel
There are many problems with this scenario. For one, the customer is shopping out of hours and can’t be expected to contact the retailer at that time and two, they’re just about to go to sleep and probably can’t be bothered. Chances are, they’ll go back to Google and find a competitor who’s willing to meet their needs on their terms, even if it’s not the best deal, just to be able to call it a night. This customer had one aim: to book that theatre break. The initial retailer couldn’t fulfil their customer's needs and drove them to buy elsewhere.
This is why businesses need to adopt multichannel marketing. This purchase was dictated by the retailer’s convenience and not the buyer’s. The limited number of channels presented the buyer with only one option to book their break, which ultimately disrupted their buying momentum. Even if the customer wasn’t scared of phoning, the business likely lost them as a customer. Forever.
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 that go to the till and those that go to self-checkout. Your business needs to appreciate that some customers are very happy not to deal with you. 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 everyone. Your business needs to anticipate this with a valuable alternative that is helpful and useful. For example, in the case of the theatre break provider, a chatbot might have taken the customer’s details or an updated booking system would remove the need for staff interaction completely and allowed the customer to book with ease.
Make it convenient
Convenience is one thing but times have changed, and so have the ways we interact with brands, retailers and websites in general. Again, look down your local high street and next to empty travel agents are soon-to-close Debenhams stores – another example where business models have failed to adapt or keep up with customer demands. At one time, it was convenient to have all those departments under one roof. Now, we call it Amazon and we can shop ‘til we drop, without ever leaving the house.
Mobile 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 solely spent on social media. The likes of Apple Pay and PayPal make purchasing easier than it’s ever been.
You don’t even have to provide an online service. If your business relies on footfall, know that a good SEO strategy can help drive people to your premises. According to Google data, 50% of people who make a local search on their phone went into a physical store within one day.
Summary: What you need to do
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 might alleviate 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.