How to meet your customers where they are using cross-channel engagement
Engaging with customers across channels can be transformative for marketing results, but you need to know which combination of channels to use and when.
Today’s marketers are accountable for every customer engagement campaign, tactic and strategy. And it’s not just leadership that expects marketing to get things right – customers do, too. That’s why leading brands are prioritising a marketing strategy that has the power to deliver incredible results in terms of customer activation, monetisation and retention: cross-channel engagement.
‘Cross-channel’ isn’t just about sending messages to customers on multiple channels; you need to be thoughtful about how your brand interacts with each recipient. That means finding the right mix of channels to deliver value to the customer, based on their individual journey, behaviour and preferences.
Marketers that successfully use cross-channel engagement know that it makes it possible to engage with customers in a complementary, cohesive way. But making that happen means moving beyond traditional, channel-based marketing – think SMS campaigns sent using a text message marketing platform, or email campaigns sent via an email marketing platform – where every single subscriber receives the same cookie-cutter messaging.
The impact of cross-channel engagement can be transformative. In fact, Braze research has found that, compared to users who receive messages only in a single channel, when brands embrace multiple channels, they can increase:
- Customer lifetimes by 76%
- Customer lifetime value by 4.2 times
- Customer purchase likelihood by 73%
The case for cross-channel engagement is clear. Now let’s dive into best practices for getting started – with real-life examples and advice from leading brands like Fiverr, upday, and Gorillas.
How to build your cross-channel engagement strategy
1. Consider your channels across in-product and out-of-product messages
Today’s key customer messaging channels fall into two distinct categories:
- In-product messages: These keep customers engaged while they’re already using your company’s app or website.
- Out-of-product messages: These draw users in to engage with your brand when they’re not already engaging with your company’s platforms or channels directly.
Aiste Juknaite, director of growth at Gorillas, shared her first-hand experience of delivering growth by expanding her company’s messaging channels at the Braze Forge Berlin 2021 event. “More is more. When you add more, you typically get more engagement, more return, more value,” she said.
“However, you don’t have to start using every channel all at once,” she added. “You have to start from somewhere. At Gorillas, we started from push notifications. And then, as we added more people to the team, we added email. We saw a larger ROI. We started adding in-app [messages]. We’re going to add more on top,” she explained.
It’s also important to know the strengths and weaknesses of each channel, Carlos Jader Filho, head of user experience and retention at upday, told the audience. For instance, push notifications and SMS are great for sending short, urgent messages, while in-app and email allow brands to add more context.
2. Tailor your campaigns to the individual customer journey
Effective cross-channel engagement requires more than adding more channels to your current messaging mix. It also takes a co-ordinated approach to delivering these campaigns across channels in a cohesive way.
True lifecycle marketing should be the “ultimate goal of your campaigns,” says Filho. While you may still send one-off campaigns, such as around major events like Black Friday, it’s important to fold larger messaging into your customers’ regular journeys based on their preferences.
3. Use control groups and testing
Continued customer engagement success is built on a foundation of ongoing testing and iteration. That was the goal of global freelance services marketplace, Fiverr, when it teamed up with Braze to leverage our natively cross-channel customer journey management feature, Canvas.
When Fiverr began exploring which messaging channels to add to their cross-channel campaigns to bolster the odds that a new customer made an initial purchase, they used control groups to create baseline data. After experimenting, they found out that their best-performing campaign incorporated email, web messaging, and mobile channels like push and in-app messages. This winning combination delivered an impressive 20.9% increase in revenue over the control group.
4. Reach your customer via the right channels at the right time with the right messages
Speeding up time-to-insight, to understand which campaign variants were the most successful at encouraging customers to take action, has helped Fiverr achieve standout results. In addition to boosting revenue connected with the brand’s winning campaign variant, the variant that Fiverr identified also saw an uplift in:
- The number of purchases made within three days by 8.8%
- The average order value associated with those purchases by 10.1%
The Braze Intelligence Suite, which can automatically detect which send time, channel and messaging variant will perform best for customers at the one-to-one individual level, is one tool that Fiverr used to help ensure relevance and drive stronger customer engagement results.
5. Align your messaging mix to your goals
Knowing that you need the right messaging mix for your customers is one thing; figuring out what the mix actually looks like is something altogether different. To help out, Braze looked at customer engagement data associated with 770 global brands across the US, APAC and EMEA, and uncovered a handful of powerful channel combinations that deliver significant results. Here are some of the unique channel pairings we discovered that work well in supporting these top customer engagement goals.
If you want to boost customer activity, try…
If you want to boost customer purchases, try…
These findings are based on data gathered from 1 January to 31 December 2020, and include insights from over 5 billion user profiles and 56 sub-industries. (For more winning combinations, get your copy of our ‘Cross-Channel Marketing Difference‘ report.)
How leading brands are delivering personalised experiences at scale with cross-channel engagement
Check out on-demand sessions from Braze Forge City x City: Berlin and London and hear why cross-channel engagement is such a priority for leading brands like Bloom & Wild, Gorillas, upday, and more, and how these companies are building out their customer data strategies, customer engagement stacks, and cross-channel efforts to positively impact revenue.
Mary Kearl is a journalist and marketing consultant.