Put simply, multi-channel marketing is getting the message out about your products and services through many different methods. The goal of multi-channel marketing is to get the information into the hands of as many of your audience as possible. How many channels you use will depend on the ways in which you sell your products as well as where your audience is located.
The different ways you can market and sell products today include:
* Web paged
* Social media
* Mobile commerce
* Call centers
* Catalogs (online and off)
* And more…
The benefits of multi-channel marketing are many, the main one being that your audience can interact with and buy from you in numerous ways depending on where they are when they choose to buy. In order to take advantage of the many ways to sell something, it’s important that you inform your consumer through many different ways, as well as sell to them in many different ways.
Getting the message to your audience requires a multi-pronged effort using various marketing channels.
You may want to use a combination of:
* Mobile advertising
* Website advertising
* Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
* Content marketing (SEM)
* Newsletter ads
* Social Media ads
* Email marketing
* TV ads
* Print ads
* And more…
For example, the process might look like this:
A lead sees a PPC advertisement on Facebook regarding a free webinar that you’re having in the next seven days regarding a topic they’re interested in. They click through and sign up for the free webinar. This triggers your email marketing software to send them pre-formatted and created information on a periodic basis, as well as signs them up to come to the free webinar.
Via email they learn about all the different products you offer, and are reminded to attend the webinar. At the webinar they listen to the information you promised and are given a link to buy the promotional items you mention in the webinar. They click through to buy, and are then prompted to give more information such as their snail mail address, email address or whatever other information you’d like to be able to contact them through. Each step pushes/pulls your lead, then customer, through your product funnel - one thing leading to the next.
But, you have other entry points too, not just the Facebook advertisement. You keep your blog populated with regular and informative articles and information about your niche in which the calls to action point to your products and/or services and, of course, prompts them to sign up for your email newsletter. In addition, perhaps you guest blog post regularly too. The link within your bio at the end of the blog posts points your audience to more information.
Each thing works with the other and independently as well, thus forming many different channels that all lead to the same or variations of the information you want your audience to know about.
An in-demand job or work-at-home career, the social media consultant might be known under different names such as social media specialist, social media manager, and others. However, typically consultants will tell a business what they need to do rather than perform the tasks themselves. A social media consultant might also have a staff that works with them to do the tasks that need to be done.
Skills a Social Media Consultant Needs
* Good organization skills – If you work for several clients, you’ll need a system in place to help you keep everything organized. Consider using a system like Basecamp to help you keep each client as well as contractors organized.
* Excellent communicators – The ability to communicate with a wide variety of people from your clients who may not speak “social media” to contractors that you hire to do the work, will be necessary to make everything run smoothly.
* Understanding of social media technology – It's imperative to stay on the cutting edge of social media technology in terms of social media itself, as well as the apps that make it easier to use. Plus, understanding the intricacies of each network helps, too.
* Knowledge of online marketing – While a general knowledge of marketing is essential to success as a social media consultant, having a particular understanding of social media marketing will get you far.
* Experience in creating or having created SEO content – Content makes the internet go round, and it’s no different for social media marketing. In fact, a good social media consultant understands that website content is crucial to social media marketing.
* Superior leadership skills – A consultant typically does not perform much of the work themselves. Instead they design, organize, systemize and lead others to do the work necessary to run social media campaigns.
* A good understanding of marketing metrics – There are many tools that need to be used in order to test whether or not the strategy you’re using is working. You will need to be able to prove to your clients that what you want to do is working.
* Cross-channel marketing knowledge – Social media marketing is about using many different channels to get the message out about a business. Learning about different channels, including new ones, will keep you on the cutting edge of social media marketing.
How to Get Started as a Social Media Consultant
If you have some or all of these skills, you can get started by setting up a website to promote your new business. Set a good example of how good your business knowledge is by being an example of what a social media marketing consultant does. Perform social media marketing consulting with your own business first.
* Set up a website – If you can’t do it yourself, have a professional set up one for you. Your website is your calling card and a demonstration of how good you are at the job you want to do for others.
* Set up your social media accounts – Once again, your social media accounts are necessary to demonstrate to everyone how great you are at social media consultations. If your accounts and information aren’t top-notch, they won’t realize how much they need you.
* Create awesome social media content – The content you create is essential to your social media presence. Create, or have created, content for your social media accounts that get you noticed by the people you want to hire you.
* Develop great images that go with content – Locate or have created images that go with the social media content that will enhance your message. Today, people are very visual and will be more likely to contact you for business if your message is clear.
* Find an internship or education – You’ll need experience, and sometimes you might have to do some free work or low-cost work to make a name for yourself. Contact local non-profits that you want to help with their social media campaigns.
* Gather testimonials from satisfied people – As you work with people as an intern, volunteer or for low fees, collect testimonials to add to your website so that you can attract the high value clients you need to make this business work.
If you set up your systems and everything in such a way as to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of social media marketing and what a social media consultant can do for someone, you will be in high demand.
One the best ways to give your own business a boost is to check out your competition. Your competition, even if your business is more popular, can give you a lot of insight to your audience and how you can improve to make your business even more profitable. One way to do that is to analyze your competition’s social media efforts. Here's how.
* Follow Them on All Social Media Accounts – See how they are using each social media account to give information to their audience and how they get more followers. Does it appear that they are using automation software?
* Sign Up for Their Email List – Email lists are a really good way to check out your competition and see how they’re using their email in conjunction with social media to market their products and services.
* Read Their Blog Often – Set up their blog on RSS feed so that you can keep track of the type of information they’re disseminating to their audience. Do they ask their audience to share blog posts? Do they make it easy to share?
* What Do They Share Using Social Media? – What does their goal seem to be using social media? Do they try to lead you back to their email list, blog, other social media accounts, or something else?
* How Do They Get People to Like or Follow Them? – Did they incentivize their audience to like or follow them on multiple social media accounts? If so, are they giving new or the same information on each account?
* How Often Do They Send Out Updates? – Track how often your competition sends out updates.
* Track What Time Your Competition Sends Updates – What time is the most common time that your competition sends out updates?
* What Is the Reaction of the Audience? – Is the audience engaging with your competition based on their updates?
As you ask these questions, you will need to keep track of the answers. Some good ways to do so are to:
* Create a Spreadsheet – Enter the information you collect into a spreadsheet in order to keep track of the questions you have about how each of your competition uses social media.
* Use Evernote – This is a great way to keep track of different things that you would like to try that your competition is doing. Make a note of it, and then put it into practice on your own.
* Write a Report – Taking each of your competition separately, write a report with the information so that you can easily look at it for future reference.
Tracking what your competition is doing, as well as how your audience responds to the competition, will help you know what to do more of in your own social media marketing efforts.