You’re promoting killer new Instagram stories, cleaned up your SEO, and hit that sweet mid-funnel mark with your latest potential customers.

Buyers are on your site. What now?

Suddenly I’m back in my high school history classroom. Projected on the wall is a drawing of a hand with each finger reminding us to consider Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Whether trying to understand the concept of historiography or multi-channel marketing, “Consider Your Source” is a great place to start.

Not too long ago, e-comm stores would count on a checkout opt-in to shepherd customers to an email newsletter, maybe a low-profile sign-up box to capture especially enthusiastic visitors. These relatively high-intent visitors could receive periodic email updates about sales and new product launches.

That worked, so we added registration pop-ups, more sales, and in-between-sale merchandising. These additional hooks—and more sophisticated hooks, with more and better rewards—captured more visitors, adding conversions from the more mid-funnel, moderate-intent crowd.

This worked too, but within limits.

The Importance of Multichannel Marketing

In 2019, all ecommerce professionals understand the risk of exhausting customers and exhausting discounts. Behold the current era of lifecycle marketing. Now, any broadcast-style campaign calendar is complemented by a much more tailored flow of behavior-based messaging.

Note I deliberately use the word “messaging” here rather than “emails,” because our choice of outreach tools has only continued to grow. So not only are we tailoring the content and timing of what we’re saying to prospects, but also the medium.

And medium makes a difference. Your average prospect easily receives 100+ emails per day. But to quote Facebook, “the average American uses eight different apps to communicate with their friends and stay in touch with people.” So while personalizing content and optimizing timing go a long way toward getting that click, other channels can work in tandem with email to cut through the noise and meet your prospects where they are.

ESPs themselves are acknowledging this: email and other message formats are not a conflict, but a complement. Many email platforms now include capabilities to send SMS directly from your ESP, even weaving texting into behavior-triggered flows, and we’re helping an increasing number of clients test those waters.

What might this look like in the real world? The boundaries of our current “transactional or informational but non-commercial” regulations are surprisingly unique to each business.

One obvious and useful example for transactional SMS is package delivery notifications. Recently, I received a clever variation of this on my phone: a reminder of when and where to pick up my race number for an event next weekend. Or another: a text from a third-party app to confirm a group restaurant reservation.

sms reminder

While some DTC ecommerce stores are bringing their email nurture chops to the texting game—Summersalt, for example, swimsuits made by women for women, sends a unique “welcome series” via SMS to confirm opt-ins and incentivize first purchases with free shipping—texting is necessarily and appropriately going to be limited to information exchange, with more open-ended, creative merchandising corralled to other platforms.

Which is where channels like Facebook Messenger come in. Using this tool means cross-channeling in a new way, with the visibility of text and the permissiveness of email. Circling back to “Consider Your Source,” Messenger is another tool for tapping into those mid-funnel, interested-but-not-quite leads in the same direction that we have for on-site email leads.

FB-ads-connect with shoppers

But the questioning of history, and of apps, never quite fits on one hand. Let’s not forget about How we’re executing all of this. My core advice as you grow your ecommerce brand via multi-channel is a variation of the aforementioned mantra: Consider Your Apps.

When Metric Digital’s email team brings on a new client, one of our favorite and most revealing questions is, what email are you sending? Seems obvious, but once you take a look beyond the immediate ESP, you may be surprised.

Are you fully aware of every platform you’re sending triggered messages from? What are those triggers, and what do those messages look like? Do the offers, incentives, and terms agree? If you register on one channel, are you added to another? What is that journey like?

Even within your ESP: are you aware of which flows are live, what’s triggering them, and when they’re sending? How does that map against even automated transactional notifications from Shopify, for example?

This may sound like the easiest step, but as busy small businesses grow fast and act on entrepreneurial curiosity, it’s an easy one to forget. And besides visibility, there are some shared gains here: cross-channel sign-ups, and also the potential to share learnings and test results from one platform to another. Optimization can be shared, and is actually really necessary as we continue to multiply multi-channel.

Metric Digital powers marketing for the best, most disruptive D2C ecommerce brands. They’ve helped companies drive sustainable growth that helped fuel their acquisition, IPO, or next funding round, and many of their clients are on the IAB 250 list. They’re also the authors of Badvertising: How Big Agencies Are Screwing Big Companies Out of Big Money, And How To Stop It

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