By Natalie Howells, SpiderGroup (www.spidergroup.com)
There have never been so many ways to engage with your audience, and the vast majority of these are now online.With a cross-platform audience, chances are you need to be both fluent and confident in content, email, and social media to reach your audience effectively.
The marketing channels you choose to use need to help your business achieve its goals, and need to be in the same spaces as your tar- get market. Not surprisingly, they need to be working together in order to best achieve whatever goals you have.
Integrated marketing is the process of arranging your different marketing channels to work in tandem to promote your products or services, typically through a strategic campaign. Integrated marketing also works to align the primary brand message that’s being delivered through your marketing channels and assets.
CONNECTING YOUR MARKETING CHANNELS
First of all you need to look at all the marketing channels you currently use.These can be your website, SEO, social media, email marketing, advertising, offline marketing (such as print), and PR.
Now you have a list of the channels you use, ask yourselves the following questions:
Which of these channels are already working together? Not solely the channels themselves but also their strategies.
Does your marketing strategy have a section on how these channels can benefit each other and connect for maximum reach?
How about your data? Can you track your marketing channels from start to finish, and identify how each element contributes to lead generation and customer acquisition?
What we see pretty often is companies with numerous systems – Unbounce for landing pages, Mailchimp for emails, Hootsuite for social scheduling or various social channels with their own logins and analytics, PPC accounts on Google and Facebook, and plenty of other systems and processes in place. Often, this results in disconnected marketing.The social channels don’t necessarily follow the same strategy as the emails, content is promoted across various social channels with a mish-mash of messages, and landing pages have a different agenda again.
On top of all of this, each channel has its own analytics. So you can see traffic or follower increases, open rates and click-throughs, or conversion and form fills, but you can’t see them all together, and you can’t easily identify how many touches a particular individual has had before converting.
CONNECTING YOUR STRATEGY
Instead of having individual strategies for each channel or platform, it’s time to get connected.
Here are my tips of how to best do this:
Start with your overall business goals
Forget about things like Twitter followers, likes, traffic, and everything we usually look at in marketing. Look at what your business wants to achieve – the bottom line.What are your growth targets?
Look at your audience
Where are they? Who are they? What matters to them?
These two elements form the core of your strategy.When you start making a plan, every step of it should be checked back against whether it contributes to your goals and whether it appeals to your audience.
Create your content
Build some content that’s designed to attract and engage your audience – base it on what their pain points are, rather than what you’re trying to promote.
Start planning how you’ll use that content – for an inbound marketing strategy, you’ll want to have high-value content. A pillar piece of content that you can ask for people’s email address to access will give you inbound leads that you can nurture.This is generally done by creating a specific landing page where your content can be downloaded. Supplementary content will continue to attract and engage your target audience.
Identify your promotion channels
This pillar content, and any supplementary content, needs to be promoted – you can’t rely only on people finding it organically.The channels you use should be based on your audience research.Use email to share the content with your existing database provided it’s of interest to them, use the relevant social channels where your audience will be, and consider paid search or paid social
Measure your campaign
When you’re running any type of marketing campaign, you want to know how successful it has been.Which means you need your data to be connected so you can track every action.
At a minimum, if you have multiple disparate systems, you need to bring all of that information into one place so you can assess it.A reporting system like Google Data Studio can draw in data from some of those places, but you need to be collecting more data still.
Spreadsheets are usually the way people try to connect all of this information, but it’s time-consuming to add everything, and it’s still difficult, if not impossible, to attribute the final outcome (customers) to the various actions that contributed to them. It’s worth investigating tools which can help you bring everything together in one place. For example, we use HubSpot as it is designed to connect all a company’s marketing together and integrate all the data in one place.
Planning an integrated approach is key for marketing success, as is communication between all team members who may be working on a project so that everyone is clear on what their part in the project is.The strategy and organisation of these campaigns takes careful thought, but it is time well spent as ultimately integrated marketing approaches are proven to create competitive advantages and to boost sales.