Right now, a percentage of your consumers are online, willing to be engaged. Much of what they see they’ll automatically discard. Some they’ll store away for later. Then, they’ll respond to a very small percentage of what they encounter on email, social media apps, through voice technology or other sources. How you approach them on multiple fronts makes all the difference. Cross-channel brand consistency makes your message impactful and communication seamless.
What’s Cross-Channel Marketing?
You’re saying, “I think I know what you’re talking about, but let’s make sure we’re on the same page.” Your company website is hugely important, but it’s not the only place you interact with consumers. There are a lot of other possibilities.
Most brands also engage through their Facebook page, online advertising, on YouTube and so on. You might also reach out through direct mail, radio and television. When you reach out through multiple channels and you prioritize consistent communication, that’s cross-channel marketing.
For example, a consumer might scroll past a post you boosted on Facebook, but it catches their eye and introduces what you stand for. Later, they see someone from an online group engaging with one of your brand’s posts, and that strengthens their positive impression.
They visit your website and see more consistency, so they subscribe to your email list. The brand experience is seamless there as well. Eventually, they become a customer. That’s cross-channel marketing at its best.
How Staying Consistent Improves Success
Think about last time you researched a new car brand. Before you started, the brand wasn’t even on your radar. Now suddenly they’re everywhere.
That brand jumps out at you on the road, in magazines, in the news and through online advertising. You make a judgment at every encounter that either strengthens or weakens your perception of that brand.
If what you see is consistent, your interest grows. You start to refine your opinion on what color you like, what additional features add value and whether that brand fits your lifestyle. Consistency in cross-channel marketing gives your customers the same experience, and you benefit.
Research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) shows when consumers have a consistent experience across a variety of channels, it can improve their purchase intent by 90 percent. Plus, it improves brand perception by up to 68 percent. Consistent cross-channel marketing accomplishes all that by doing the following.
If you focus on just email marketing, you’re betting everyone interested in your brand reads email. Put all your investment in your Instagram feed and you lose users who aren’t comfortable with social media. Cross-channel marketing gives people more opportunities to engage. You can speak to your specific audience but cast a wider net.
Consumer behavior has changed. Most tend to use multiple channels when making a purchasing decision. They might start with search, check out your website and read reviews, but they don’t always stop there. They’ll also scroll through your social media, blog posts and mobile channels. Each one gives you an opportunity to tell them a little more about why you’re the best.
Encouraging Customer Loyalty
Sure, you never get a second chance to make that first impression, but all communication counts. When you’re consistent, you build trust.
Think of your own experience when you first meet someone or evaluate a brand. You have that initial gut reaction, but after that, you’re constantly reevaluating. If you see discrepancies, a little alarm goes off somewhere in your brain. If you don’t, you gradually relax. Familiarity gradually gives way to loyalty.
When your brand has the same tone and messaging at every touchpoint, the same thing happens. People experience increased satisfaction. They’re more likely to interact, engage and keep coming back.
Providing Consistent Data
When you offer the same message on all channels, the data you gather is more accurate. When you put the pieces of the puzzle together you can see where your audiences are most active and what conversations spark the most engagement. Then refine that for the next round to see even more success.
Why Consistency Is So Hard
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. For most brands, there are a lot of roadblocks. One of the biggest is manpower. It’s tough for one individual to create all the social media, blog article, website and email content your brand needs. You need a team, and that creates the potential for discrepancies.
Images and tone should be consistent. Your brand also needs a set of KPIs for measuring everyone agrees on. If your team is fractured or each member works in isolation, silos develop.
Consistency is also tough because technology changes constantly, but at different rates. It takes regular training to keep the whole team ahead of the curve.
It’s hard, but not impossible. If your marketing has been all over the place, that’s something you can change. Gather your team and make changes to start experiencing better results.
Steps to Cross-Channel Brand Consistency
Make consistency a main goal of your overall marketing strategy. When we work with clients, we provide them with tools for doing just that. Whether we provide their web design, email marketing, branding or anything else, we help create a cohesive brand identity. Then when they create blog posts, ebooks, videos or images, they have a style guide to work from. If you haven’t already settled on branding elements, that’s where you should start.
Sometimes businesses come to us with a hodgepodge of marketing materials created over the years. Other times, startups experienced blazing, sudden success and haven’t had time to think through branding. Before you establish consistency, you need to decide on what logo, color schemes, fonts, textures and tone you want for your business. You’ll use those elements on everything from your website design to your business card.
Create a Style Guide
If you don’t have one, create a guide all employees are required to use. Big brands like WalMart and Mozilla spell out how to use their logo in print, on the web, on merchandise and everywhere else it appears. They set standards for what fonts are appropriate, what resources are acceptable for images and how to use icons and taglines. Before you start creating that resource for your business, take time to jump-start your thought process by looking at what other successful brands have done.
Use your style guide to make templates for each channel you’re going to use. Online resources like Canva have templates you can use for your social media banners and images, blog post graphics, email campaigns and social media posts. If your team already uses tools like Photoshop or Illustrator, find templates online for those as well. Save those to your library, then teams just add your images, colors and fonts. The guess-work goes away, your team saves hours and messages are consistent.
Check Your Website
If you’re just starting to focus on consistency and you have an existing website, make sure it fits with the rest. What’s in your style guide should be visible in your web design. If you need to change fonts, colors, buttons, forms, spacing and animations, do so now.
Hash Out the Details for Social Media
On social media, people are attracted by transparency and openness. They also like what’s live or recent. You want to be able to offer fresh, relevant material that’s still in character with your brand. A social media brand style guide might clarify guidelines in these areas:
- Brand voice – Are you friendly, trendy, sarcastic, formal, cheerful or something else?
- Grammar style – When do you use exclamation points, and how many do you use at once? Do you use an Oxford or serial comma? When do you use emoji and what punctuation follows?
- Formatting – How many words should posts include for each channel? When do you use hashtags and what’s the max? How should links be included? What photo sizes display correctly? Are there filters to avoid?
- Visuals – Spell out guidelines for photos, graphics and video. You might also need a separate set of guidelines for banners or profile images.
- Client and competitor interactions – How will you respond to comments and reviews and remain consistent to brand values and guidelines? What are different customer persona’s your targeting and how will you respond to each?
- Industry regulation concerns – Some industries have to watch what they say on social or they might end up in hot water. If that’s you, put it in your social media style guide and train extensively.
Keep in mind you’re creating living documents. You and your employees will update them as your audience and offerings change over time.
How We Can Help
When you work with our team, you eliminate the guesswork. You don’t waste time trying to choose a course. You don’t have to talk your employees into the benefits of coming up with a plan. You and your team don’t have to waste an ounce of unnecessary brain energy to go back over data or try and figure out what resonates. We do all that for you.
We help our clients stand out, achieve their goals and grow their business. We’ll help ensure your content, logo and website design sends the same, winning message on every platform. We’ll also keep your design simple and timeless enough you’ll be as happy with it a decade from now as you are in the beginning. To get started, call us at (888)412-3128 or get in touch online.
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