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Creating Multi-Channel Funnels: Expanding Your Reach and Impact

Monday, October 16, 2023

Expanding Your Reach and Impact

For those of you familiar with my work, you know I've always advocated for direct response marketing. The principles have remained steadfast over the years: clarity, simplicity, and a focus on results.

However, in today's marketplace, the platforms and methods have evolved.

First, let's define a multi-channel funnel. Simply put, it's the multiple paths or channels a customer can take before they make a purchase or complete a desired action. Think of it as the modern-day customer's journey, which now spans across multiple devices, platforms, and touchpoints.

So, why is this important?

In a single word: adaptability. We live in a world where consumers are overwhelmed with choices. It's not just about the TV or the mailbox anymore. It's also about Facebook, Instagram, podcasts, emails, websites, webinars, and more. The more channels you have, the more opportunities you have to catch and retain your customers' attention, and the more complex it becomes to utilize the proper channels.

Selecting Your Multi-Channel Funnels

Selecting Your Multi-Channel Funnels

Now if you’re wondering “which channel should I be using?”, it all depends on your audience and what you’re selling.

I’ve gone ahead and taken the burden of giving you a few ideas, principles, and strategies you can utilize in your business, as well as give you more principles on how to set up your multi-channel funnels.

  • ​Retail Store + Ecommerce + Email Marketing: Imagine a retail clothing store. A customer walks in and makes a purchase. At checkout, they're asked for their email address and are added to the store's email list. Later, they receive emails about online-exclusive sales, which prompt them to visit the retailer's e-commerce website and make another purchase. In this scenario, the in-store experience, e-commerce website, and email marketing all work together to drive sales.
  • ​Seminar + Social Media + Webinar: A financial advisor hosts a local seminar on retirement planning. Attendees are encouraged to follow the advisor's professional Facebook page for more tips and resources. Through Facebook, they learn about an upcoming webinar on a specialized topic. The seminar, social media touchpoint, and webinar all function as different channels leading the prospect closer to becoming a client.
  • ​Podcast + Blog + Newsletter: An author runs a podcast discussing topics from their latest book. At the end of each episode, listeners are directed to a detailed blog post for more information. On the blog, visitors are prompted to sign up for a newsletter, which offers exclusive content and updates on upcoming book tours or releases. Here, the podcast, blog, and newsletter act as distinct channels guiding the listener/reader towards deeper engagement.
  • ​Direct Mail + Landing Page + Retargeting Ads: A company sends out direct mail postcards with a special offer, leading recipients to a specific landing page. Some visitors might not purchase immediately but are then targeted with digital retargeting ads, reminding them of the offer and prompting them to complete their purchase.
  • ​QR Codes + Mobile App + Push Notifications: At a cafe, table tents have QR codes that, when scanned, prompt the customer to download the cafe's loyalty app. Once downloaded, the user gets push notifications about special deals or reminders to revisit. In this case, the QR code in the physical location, mobile app, and push notifications each play a role in the customer's journey.
  • ​Trade Show + Follow-Up Calls + Webinars: A software company showcases its product at a trade show. Interested attendees provide their contact details. Post-event, the sales team makes follow-up calls. Those showing further interest are invited to participate in product demo webinars. The trade show, follow-up calls, and webinars collectively work to convert attendees into customers.

The objective of multi-channel funnels is to interact with potential customers at multiple touchpoints, providing them with value and leading them towards the desired action. By analyzing the customer's journey, businesses can find out which channels are most effective and where there's room for improvement.

Multi-Channel Funnel Fundementals

And, as promised, here are some principles and steps to consider when setting up a multi-channel funnel:

​Understand Your Audience: Before creating multiple channels, understand who your audience is, where they hang out, and how they consume information. One size does not fit all.

1. ​Be Consistent: Regardless of the number of channels you use, your message should be consistent across all of them. Your brand voice, value proposition, and core message should resonate the same, whether it's an email, a Facebook ad, or a podcast.

2. Centralized Database: The most successful multi-channel funnels use a centralized database. This helps in tracking a consumer's journey and interactions across channels. Tools like CRMs can be invaluable here.

3. ​Seamless Experience: The transition from one channel to another should be seamless. If a potential customer starts on Facebook and moves to your website, the experience should be intuitive and smooth.

Seamless Experience

4. Testing and Analytics: This is crucial. Each channel will have its own set of metrics. Dive into them. Understand what's working and what's not. Modify your strategy based on data-driven decisions.

5. Integrate Offline and Online: Remember, while we are in a digital age, offline channels like direct mail, events, or even telemarketing can still be effective. Find ways to integrate and complement these with your online strategies.

6. Nurture and Follow-up: It's not enough to just create touchpoints. You need to nurture leads through each stage of the funnel. Follow-ups are crucial, whether they are through emails, retargeting ads, or phone calls.

7. Never Ignore Feedback: Your customers and their feedback are the best resources you have. They will tell you what's working, what's not, and where you should be focusing more.

While the concept of marketing has remained largely unchanged, the methods and channels have evolved. Embracing a multi-channel funnel approach allows us to meet our potential customers where they are, providing them with value, and leading them on a journey that, we hope, culminates in a successful transaction or desired action.

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