By Jenny Servis
In the wake of the rapidly changing digital age, the customer journey is more complex than ever. Customers are making buying decisions differently. Their path to purchase usually starts online, window-shopping on websites for products they need or desire. They hear about promotions through email while on the go with their smartphones or tablets, and their purchasing decisions (what, where and when to buy) are influenced by their peers on social media. To effectively reach your customers where they are these days, you need an integrated marketing strategy. In fact, you can’t afford to operate without one.
If you were to Google the words “Integrated Marketing,” you would find a plethora of conflicting definitions laced with marketing buzzwords. Over the years, various thought leaders within the marketing industry have attempted to define and redefine this term. At SnapRetail, we have simplified it and removed the jargon. Integrated Marketing is the practice of combining your marketing channels together to achieve a specific objective more efficiently and effectively than by using any one channel alone.
To put it more bluntly, integrated marketing is nothing more than a tool you use to get more out of your marketing. As an independent retailer, getting more out of your marketing is crucial, due to the staunch competition for your customers’ attention and share of wallet. How do I get more, you ask? Frequency. The key is to reach your customers more frequently, and to achieve this by using multiple channels. Each marketing channel provides a unique opportunity for you to build awareness, and engage and influence purchasing decisions.
So how do you get started with integrated marketing? Here are five simple and easy-to-implement tips:
- Keep your branding consistent across channels, so your customers can easily recognize it is you. Branding refers to the style, voice and visual elements within your marketing. When your customers are deciding what purchase to make, you want them to remember you. Repeated brand recognition has been proven to increase sales.
- Treat your website like a destination. Not only is it your online storefront, but it can also be effectively used as a landing page for your emails and social posts, to further engage with customers. According to Gartner Inc., engaged customers are usually better advocates of the brand and are more loyal and more profitable. Be sure your website has fresh content that is relevant, timely and inspires action. In other words, do not have messaging about summer product arrivals on your website when the holiday season is approaching!
- Ideally, your social media followers will also be on your email list and vice versa. Place a simple email list signup form on your Facebook page, so your followers can stay up to date with your promotions. Be sure to include links to your social profiles in all of your emails. By doing these simple tasks, you will double your exposure.
- Store events are the perfect opportunity to utilize an integrated marketing approach. Leverage all of your marketing channels to create buzz and get the word out about your event. Tease with email, provide all details about the event and an RSVP option on your website, and help your customers spread the word on social media with a special event #hashtag.
- Create marketing content that can be easily adapted across different marketing channels. For example, when promoting a new product line, take a series of photos with a similar look and feel; essentially, a product gallery. Create consistent messaging that can be used each time you share the photos in your email newsletter, via a custom gallery page on your website, in your Instagram account, on your Pinterest boards and other social networks. These days, it can take up to five impressions before a consumer is driven to take action. Consistent use of all of your marketing channels will lead to greater results.