When it comes to communication, I like to stay as flexible as possible.
Multi-channel marketing is the only way to reach more consumers, add more touchpoints to increase sales, react to consumer needs and communication preferences, and test which channels work best for your brand.
Those are key factors in successful campaigns and nurturing sequences that aren’t possible when using just one channel.
Maybe one channel worked years ago, but today, utilizing only one (when there are many other options) doesn’t give you the ability to customize the experience for your consumers.
Today, if we want a high response rate and to give consumers a personalized experience, we recommend using a multi-channel campaign.
Just so we’re on the same page, a multi-channel campaign means using several channels (email, text, phone calls, direct mail) across a single campaign.
Multi-channel campaigns are incredibly valuable to both your brand and your consumer.
For your brand:
1. You can cast a wider net
Not everyone is on the same channel. Some prefer texts over emails, and some prefer calls over direct mail. Consider demographic differences and the specific needs of with whom you’re communicating. For example, in healthcare marketing, a campaign strategy must include variations based on disease states. And within the same multi-channel campaign, different communication has to go to caregivers and patients to address demographic differences.
2. Your consumer will be more responsive.
When the people on the other end receive your communication on the platforms they prefer, they’re more likely to respond and interact with your messages. It’s possible that consumers want the communication you’re sending them, but it’s not shared on the platforms they use most often.
3. You have the ability to test.
With multi-channel marketing, we have the opportunity to test one channel against the others to determine the most effective strategy. We can begin a campaign with the strongest channel first, and then test and roll out additional channels to see if they have a good ROI compared to the foundational channel. Testing is the best way to figure out what works (and what doesn’t). That’s why we incorporated A/B testing into Springboard so you can easily visualize each test and keep tweaking your strategy based on results.
For the consumer:
1. Consumers get to choose.
When consumers get a chance to receive messages based on their preference of channel (email vs text vs phone calls), they feel like they’re in control. Your messages are less likely to annoy and more likely to engage.
2. Consumers feel like their needs are met
Today, our inboxes are full of promotions in the form of email blasts that have little to no personalization. A well-thought-out multi-channel campaign lets consumers feel like they’re having a 1:1 conversation with brands instead of being a part of mass marketing.
Are your messages being seen seven times?
You’ve probably heard the old marketing maxim that someone has to see a message at least seven times before taking action. The rule of seven was developed almost 100 years ago, so can you imagine how many touch points marketers need today to achieve the same results?
This can’t be accomplished efficiently without a multi-channel campaign. Plus, it’s been proven many times that multi-channel campaigns convert better than single-channel ones.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies that use several channels to communicate with customers and potential customers see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in revenue. Compare that to just 3.4% for companies that have weaker multi-channel marketing campaigns.
That’s just one of many examples and statistics to support the value of multi-channel marketing. We even tested it ourselves.
Years ago, we conducted a study to determine if a multi-channel marketing campaign in healthcare delivered a better ROI than a uni-channel campaign. We sent one group of patients just email, one group just direct mail, and one group got both.
It turned out the group of patients who got both email and direct mail had a response rate twice as high as the other groups.
So, if multi-channel marketing allows marketers the opportunity to connect with more consumers and delivers higher response rates, why aren’t more healthcare marketers investing in the approach?
What’s familiar will probably not work anymore.
Fear of the unknown is a major barrier that, in our experience, marketers face when switching to a new campaign-creation process or strategy. Yes, creating a multi-channel campaign requires more work than a single-channel one, but the ROI is much larger.
Normally, when companies (especially in healthcare) take their first steps in building a campaign, they say “let’s start simply.” They never move on from the simple, single-channel campaigns they started with. Their ROI ultimately suffers.
While it is important to take small steps to get a marketing strategy off the ground, it’s even more important to keep going.
Our best suggestion is to have steps or a roadmap in mind. Phase one is email. Next is SMS. Then, use direct mail. Tackle each one at a time to get good at all channels instead of great at just one.
Of course, many companies do finally pick up other channels in their marketing strategy, but the next common mistake to avoid is deploying uncoordinated messages across different channels.
Your visual branding, core messaging, and brand voice should be consistent through each channel. Otherwise, your communication will confuse consumers. Confused consumers never take action!
Our mapping tool, Springboard, is one of the few marketing tools out there to help healthcare marketers avoid confusion and create cohesive multi-channel campaign strategies.
Lastly, budget can also be a barrier to creating multi-channel campaigns. There are many platforms out there that focus on one channel but don’t give marketers easy access to others. Marketers have to pay more to access other channels to add to their campaigns.
Oftentimes, companies use several different service providers and software platforms to deploy each channel, making the process even messier.
That’s also why we created Keystone, a marketing cloud platform created specifically for healthcare marketers. It provides the ability to deploy messages via email, SMS, push, social media, direct mail, and phone calls with analytics consolidated all in one place. Not many affordable platforms exist out there with the same features.
Moves you can make toward a successful multi-channel campaign today:
If you’re ready to create multi-channel campaigns (there’s no better time than now!) here are some steps you can take.
- Start collecting other access points. If you only collect email addresses, update opt-in forms to also collect cell phone numbers and postal addresses. You may not be ready to integrate more channels into your campaign, but collecting this data now means your list is robust and ready.
- If you have an app, think of that as a channel to add to the mix. You can incorporate push messages into your campaigns nicely among other channels.
- Start mapping with our free platform, Springboard, which makes it easy to visualize multi-channel campaigns, create tests to see which channels have higher ROI, and keep the strategy behind it all in one place.
Still not sure whether to make the leap to multi-channel marketing? Keep in mind a higher response rate means more business. Consumers are much more likely to respond to an offer that comes to them via a multi-channel marketing campaign. Plus, your relationship with them will only get stronger.
Think about it. To convert readers into customers, you need to send the right message at the right moment. It’s easier to do that with more than one channel.
Not sure where to start with mapping out a multi-channel campaign? Read our post here about contact strategy, which is one of the first steps to successful multi-channel marketing.