“OK,” you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What can I possibly do to make sure all of those disparate initiatives are working for the betterment of my company and not getting in the way of each other?” You’re right to be concerned about this issue, because if you institute these programs in a vacuum you run the risk of various tactics competing with one another and diluting your messaging.
This can be particularly damaging to your brand identity because customer brand perceptions greatly depend upon consistency and specificity. Thankfully there are proactive steps you can take to solidify your marketing integration across diverse channels and manage the complex mechanisms necessary to grow your company sufficiently.
Focus your resources on the channels that make sense for your company
We covered a lot of ground in the marketing tactics section of this piece, but it’s important to remember that not all tools and strategies will be appropriate for every Ecommerce company. If a particular social media channel is yielding lukewarm interest and no conversions, investigate why that might be. It’s possible your strategy for engaging shoppers on that site needs refining, but it could just as easily be happening because said outlet’s attributes are not aligned with your operational objectives.
In a basic sense you have to hang out where you expect your customers will be.
If you sell home medical equipment for seniors, it might not be worth your time or money to invest in creative Snapchat content, even if it were to go viral.
Once you’ve confirmed you can reasonably expect to reach your customers through a particular channel, you need to evaluate its unique characteristics to ensure they serve your overall goals. Don’t worry about retreating from a channel if it’s not working for you; by allocating your resources wisely you can strengthen the outlets that align with your ambitions and maximize their revenue and traffic contribution. Just be sure to practice patience too since organic social media campaigns seldom provide quick results; analysis should be done over the span of at least two weeks before you can gather enough information to confidently decide as to whether or not your earlier approach is worth pursuing long term.
Develop a crystal clear picture of your target customer
If you’re hoping to find channels where your customers live, it makes sense that you need to know who those customers are. Proper customer segmentation is a necessary component of an effective marketing program. If you haven’t accurately identified this audience, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to create clear and value-added messaging that speaks to their pain points and engages them appropriately.
It’s preferable to sketch your customer profiles with as much detail as possible to give yourself a head start on creating your messaging and choosing your channels. Ask yourself an exhaustive list of questions about the demographics, behaviors, preferences, and technological abilities of your hypothetical customers. Spend seven minutes reviewing this tutorial on “How To Build Buyer Personas For Better Marketing” from Shopify.
Ensure your messaging is consistent across channels and compatible with your overall brand image
Perhaps the easiest way to sink your marketing plan’s potential is to present your prospects and customers with inconsistent messaging across your various channels. Mixed signals may cloud the customer’s perception of your brand, as well as dilute the strength of your brand image.
The most common reason for this disconnect is because some Ecommerce leaders allow their marketing teams to independently own the messaging for a specific channel. If one team is responsible for developing an independent social media strategy and they never collaborate with their peers running organic search marketing and PR, it’s impossible for all these mediums to have content that doesn’t conflict in some way. Even if the differences are minor, customers will recognize this disconnect and it will adversely affect your relationship with them. An effective two-step process to follow is:
Think about your customer’s journey from introduction until post-purchase.
Map out the different messages and make sure they are seeing messaging and brand consistency.
Develop procedures for effective internal communication
Bear in mind that the goals of your marketing strategy are to provide value for customers and drive relevant traffic to your website, and every internal communication should reflect these ambitions accordingly.
Train your teams to understand the purpose and function of the marketing effort as a whole, and encourage them to participate in the process and give feedback through the appropriate channels. The entire marketing department (and the entire organization, really) is directly responsible for top-level brand management, and they must act to protect the health of the broader business.
Track your results to flag instances of misalignment early
Let’s say you discover that, after a period of steady redemption, your email coupons are now being consistently opened but customers fail to redeem them. Or, perhaps your PR pieces gain a high number of shares without corresponding website traffic increases. At that point, it is clear you’re no longer reaching your target customers, or that your PR-directed content no longer bears a strong connection to the brand itself.
Issues such as these can absolutely be corrected, but you have to know they exist in the first place. Only when you’re diligently tracking the right metrics for each marketing solution and constantly comparing your progress can you quickly note when a channel is misaligned and begin to correct the problem before it causes lasting damage.