In my last post I emphasised the importance of giving your customers the choice between choosing paper and viewing documents online or what I call a multi channel service.
More than 42 years have passed since the first mobile phone call was made by a motorola employee, Martin Cooper in the USA.
Since then, the sale of smartphones has reached dizzying heights and has become the staple business tool for many of us.
Connecting and transacting business on a daily basis is now commonplace from emails, shopping, banking online; it would be hard to imagine a life without a smartphone.
72% of us own a smartphone.
Generation Y those aged between 25-30 are the most likely to own a mobile phone (89%) and Generation Z, 16-24 year olds follow closely with smartphone ownership at 85%.
This group are most happy to use apps for shopping online. 54% of 54-65 year olds own a smartphone.
Mobile websites and having the ability to interact and communicate important information to your customers via mobile is increasingly important.
Offering a multichannel service to deliver and communicate with your customers is key to customer retention.
Mobile technology is rapidly becoming the most popular channel for people to be able to access information and being able to adapt your delivery processes to ensure that customers have access to the information online, on mobile and in paper format is crucial to ensuring customer longevity.
By providing a seamless experience to the customer irrespective of the channel they choose – telephone, online, mobile phone, they are made to feel like they are dealing with one company.
How they receive and interact with the information is important for long term customer relationships.
It is no longer about sending paper communications, customers need to have the choice how they interact with the information they receive from you and as the above statistics show mobile adaptation for businesses must be considered part of the marketing process.
Businesses need to embrace mobile technology and adapt their services to fit with the needs of their customers.
Presenting documents online can be costly and time consuming firstly there is the need for:-
developing an app(s)
They also need to be mobile responsive which means that the document needs to emulate the layout and content of the paper document and respond to the size of screen it is viewed on.
Multichannel communication is about presenting documents online so that customers can view information anytime and anywhere.
Part of the multichannel service experience is about driving up customer engagement and organisations need to understand how customers use mobile technology in their personal lives – for shopping, banking and connecting on social media driven to use their smartphones more readily to access their documents when they are on the move.
Viewing customer information is not solely for the smartphone, it needs to be viewable on PC’s, laptops, tablets and in paper format.
A multichannel service allows your customers to choose how they prefer to view the information you send them without forcing them to take up an option they are not happy with.
For more information about multichannel distribution of electronic documents and online viewing. Please feel free to call us here.
Multi channel marketing interacts with the customer using a combination of indirect and direct communications channels that include social media, websites, catalogues, direct mail, phone, SMS/text, email, television and radio.
Channels can be used in combination or independently to deliver a branded message enabling the customer to take action in response to buy your product or service using their preferred channel.
Multi channel marketing and communications is about delivering information to your customers in a way that will engage them quickly, whenever and wherever they are.
With so many different channels available it gives the customer choice over the buying process.
Here are 5 things to consider when considering multi channel marketing.
1. Create visibility You must be where your customers are and this means you have to provide them with the opportunity to engage on all channels, which gives them the freedom to choose what information they want and on what platform, at their convenience.
Customers today have more buying power than ever before and no matter what your brand or company marketing message says, customers have the power to decide when they want to buy and who from.
They have to be able to interact with you at all stages of the buying journey and on whatever channel suits them. So making sure your message gets seen and heard is the key to making sure you are at the front of the queue when they are ready to buy.
All sounds very easy, right?
There are numerous pitfalls and one of the obvious is ‘I’m going to send out a mass email and newsletter to see what happens?’ Irrelevant messaging is guaranteed to be deleted even before the strap-line is read by the recipient.
The right message delivered to the right audience is not enough.
Each campaign or message has to be fine tuned across each channel so that the message isn’t distilled making it meaningful for the customer and trustworthy.
Customers need to be able to view your message, be attentive and receptive before they take action.
With so many mobile devices, smartphones and media channels, businesses must be able to develop well coordinated campaigns that use different touch points so that the customer can jump onto his preferred platform.
2. How do I know which channel(s) to use?
Understanding the profile of your customer is a good starting point. Having a single view of your ideal customer then helps you identify where they are likely to hang out.
Measuring the success of the campaign is easier if you send a direct mail or email marketing campaign because the responses are directly associated with the campaign and can be measured in click throughs and responses.
However, managing a coordinated campaign across different channels is more of a challenge.
Your website analytics will show you where the customer entered the website, which landing pages and what channel they jumped onto.
But the sequence of touch points that lead to the customer taking action is not so quantifiable.
Having loads of data is great fun but knowing what to do with it is another.
Having this data on a customer database and understanding which route your customers came from i.e. email sign ups, YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers is a useful starting point.
In our case our target audiences can be found on Linkedin, limited exposure on G+ and FB and some on twitter, this makes it easier for us to talk about what we do, who for and where to target the message.
Providing email sign ups and accessibility to information on your website in the way of downloadable PDFs and newsletters is a great way to attract your audience and keep them coming back for more.
At the same time you can encourage them to join you on their social media channel of choice.
3. Be consistent Maintain your consistency across all the platforms you intend to deliver your content and message that way the customer learns to associate you and your brand to the message.
From paper to digital keep it the same. I’ve been in print and communications for 25+ years and I’m still surprised when I see companies using different forms of advertising from paper to digital.
If your marketing messages are mixed it can give the wrong impression a high bounce rate on your website might indicate that your landing pages aren’t delivering what the customer was looking for.
Every digital marketing channel used must have a clearly defined objective and goal and keep in mind the end goal, what is the purpose of the campaign, what are my business objectives, who are my customers.
Having a precise set of goals will lead to a better marketing experience.
Ensure that any single campaign deployed gives the customer the same experience on all channels.
Your customers experience your brand in different ways so if they have a negative experience for example in your retail store then there is no value in having a positive online experience. So keeping it consistent and positive and treating each channel differently helps the customer experience.
4. Transform your data
Treat your raw customer data as gold dust. It can be used to deliver targeted and personalised information to your audience.
By having a data collection point and establishing where your audience hang out online (see point 2) helps you build a presence there.
Converting prospects into customers is the real end game and not about how many facebook likes, G+’s, followers, all vanity and not reality.
How many subscribed to your newsletter, read your e-books, downloaded a free trial you were offering.
Focussing on conversions, sales, sign ups and building customer relationships is key for business development.
5. Be mobile, Be digital
Following my Google seminar being mobile and being a digital business has to be part of the game plan. It’s not good enough being mobile friendly, your business has to be accessible via smartphones and easily shareable. It has to be digital.
Multi channel is not limited to goods and sales it is about developing interaction, including communication.
Customers want to consume content on different channels – email, mobile, online and print depending on the context and convenience.
It is impossible to predict which channel will be used when and so the only approach is to make your content, message, brand available on all channels.
Being a digital business and delivering your marketing efforts across multi channels is key to developing and keeping customers.
Customers are demanding faster and better information which has traditionally been delivered by direct sales and marketing planning.
Being able to interact with customers through multi-media channels is necessary for brands, companies and organisations to get their message out there by developing strong personal relationships with long term customers.
Creating a successful multi-media channel experience can seem beyond the capabilities of most organisations not only in time and internal resources but also cost and ROI.
Creating your own brand or imagery and being able to interact on a variety of multi-media channels is key to long term success.
A brand is not just the name of a business, a product or service it’s about establishing an emotional connection with the customer.
Your company or persona is more than just a company name on the top of your letter-heading it is about the identity of the people in your organisation and it’s personality.
The old adage that people buy people rings true. People buy your services based on emotion and the honesty they perceive in your brand or company.
By creating an identity and personality for your company the customers buying decision is easier because they are able to identify with the company, product, or service through association.
Increasing recognition by building an online presence are integral to making your brand and organisation credible.
How do I build my brand identity using multi-media channels?
Whether you use the more traditional methods of marketing like direct mail, emailing, product launch events, blogs and video campaigns.
Whatever strategies your business employs says a lot about you and the personality of the organisation or brand.
The key is making sure you stay in front of your audience so that when they are ready to buy they call or contact you.
Multi-media channel interaction is pretty much expected through all types of customer interactions including communication.
Customers want to be able to view documents on different media, from email, mobile, online and print depending on context and convenience.
This makes it impossible to predict which media channel will be used when, where and by whom, content has to be available on all platforms.
Organisations need to be transparent, honest and flexible so that the customer sees similar information on all media platforms this in turn creates consistency and continuity and creates familiarity which the prospective customer can identify with when they are ready to buy.
In the world of online, choice is easier for customers and an organisation that gives customers easy access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself.
Knowing your audience and interpreting the data from the various multi-media channel touch points provides more opportunity to gather information about customers.
Complicated registration web forms which look more like A-level science questions than the simple sign up forms enable your customers to sign up and register easily without the customer being made to feel they are giving too much away and makes the process easier to collate information.
Using a sign up form that is connected to anyone of their social media accounts identifies the registrant with a social profile. They are more likely to enter their personal information onto an online registration form than offering it to a call centre.
By having that information available across all the platforms the organisation has more opportunities to capture the information making it more effective and usable when identifying niche audiences.
If an organisation can track how a customer is consuming information on what device and where, will make targeted marketing messages easier.
As long as all channels are communicating than a customer should only have to enter their data once.
Every social media channel has its own unique set of challenges but there are some best practices that should be observed:
Be consistent, by this I mean any information, documentation and communication across all the multi-media channels should have the same imagery, look and feel so the customer is familiar with your brand or company.
Creating a single document that has the same imagery, logos, branding like an online marketing piece, advert etc. make sure there is an individual strategy to deploy it across all channels. The message doesn’t have to be identical but it does need to relate to the other marketing messages on other channels.
Provide a value-add on by making sure that at each touch point the customer can engage. Make an offer, provide useful information, offer a benefit.
Security – consumers are well aware of issues of data security and misused information. They are also aware that to receive something they need to sign up or fill in a web form for accessibility. The customer wants to know how the information is collected and how it will be used so tell them. In return, the customer expects to receive value. They’ve parted with their personal details and expect something useful in return, in other words there has to be a benefit.
Engagement on multi-media channel platforms requires commitment, time, money and resources. A clear defined strategy for each platform will help determine ROI and profitability.
All stakeholders have to be involved in the overall strategy for future customer acquisition and retention with clearly defined marketing plans for each bit of communication across each platform.
Multi-media channel engagement is a long haul process, in much the same way as when you started promoting on social media platforms. A little bit like firing in the dark, until you can measure which platform works best for your audience.
It requires much needed thought and a set of measurable objectives – and an end plan, what is/are your main goal(s).
The most important aspect is to take into account the needs and expectations of your audience.
Setting key objectives will determine the success of your brand and organisation.
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