Multichannel marketing: Crafting an effective narrative

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Bonnie Meyer

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6 minutes


December 22, 2021


    On an average day, a person will likely get a couple of marketing emails, scroll through ads on Instagram, pass by posters on the sidewalk, and sift through some physical mail. If your organization wants to make it in this modern marketing world, you need to be present on multiple platforms and channels to reach all of your audience.

    This is where multichannel marketing comes in. 

    However, juggling multiple strategies on different platforms with unique content types and media forms is not easy. Crafting an effective narrative and ensuring that all of your marketing channels tell the same story is an ongoing process that you’ll have to master. 

    We at Meyer Partners are a nonprofit marketing agency and have seen firsthand how multichannel strategies can take an organization’s fundraising and donor engagement to the next level. In this guide, we’ll be diving deep into successful multichannel marketing as seen through the lens of a nonprofit organization. However, the main ideas and trends can apply to any organization—you’ll just need to adapt them to your unique goals and audience.

    Ready to begin? Let’s start with an overview of multichannel marketing. 

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    What is Multichannel Marketing?

    Multichannel marketing is a strategy that organizations use to spread the word about their products and services to wide audiences through the use of multiple communication channels. The goal of this strategy is to reach as many different audience segments at multiple touchpoints and then to funnel them towards deeper engagement. At the end, your audience should be ready to convert, or take a specific target action. 

    Nonprofit multichannel fundraising is particularly valuable because it helps your organization reach a larger audience, increase fundraising, and further your mission. For nonprofits, the target action of a multichannel campaign might be for readers to make a donation or sign up for an event.

    In contrast, taking a limited approach to marketing has its drawbacks. Let’s say your organization has a pretty strong email marketing strategy with a consistent fundraising newsletter that is sent out to your entire supporter base: 

    • While email is one of the most widely used platforms, about 14% of nonprofit emails are sent to a supporters’ spam, and their open rates tend to be around only 25.95%. If you only use email to connect with supporters, you could be missing out on a big chunk of potential engagement simply because recipients don’t open them for one reason or another. 
    • But that doesn’t mean you should just switch to another platform. For instance, you might think that social media is the way to go. However, each Facebook post by nonprofits only effectively reaches 4% of their supporters. 

    It’s clear that only using one platform leaves engagement (and potentially fundraising dollars) on the table. But with a multichannel strategy, if someone tends to not check their email and is consistently missing out on those nonprofit communications, they will still see updates from social media or another platform that they frequent more. No person is the same and the way they respond to different content will vary, so this way you cover way more bases.

    These same concepts can be applied to all types of industries. All you need to do is figure out where your audience is most active and the types of communications that they prefer to receive and will respond to the best. From there, you’ll need to define your campaign’s target action and build a strategy that will reach and funnel your readers towards it.

    Tips for Launching a Multichannel Marketing Campaign

    So, now that you know the value of a multichannel marketing campaign, what are the common obstacles you might run into? We discussed this briefly before, but a huge challenge is ensuring that your narratives on the different platforms align. 

    You shouldn’t have completely separate strategies for each channel. Instead, they should work together to tell a core story and push your audience towards a specific action. This may be to sign up for a service or consume a product, but for nonprofit organizations it’s typically to get that completed donation. 

    In order to launch a successful multichannel marketing campaign and craft an effective narrative, follow these tips:

    • Figure out your SMART goal for the campaign. What do you want out of your marketing campaign? To reach a fundraising goal? Secure more event signups? Increase brand awareness? If you have a specific goal in mind, make sure to use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) method to ensure they’re achievable. 
    • Choose the most valuable marketing channels and avoid spreading yourself too thin on all of them. Just because this is a multichannel marketing campaign does not mean that you use every channel you can think of. It’s way more valuable to focus on a few core engagement sites where your organization is already active. To find out which channels your nonprofit should choose, look to your management software or CRM. Common channels for nonprofits include:Direct mail – This is beneficial for your supporters that aren’t as technologically savvy or who you want to develop a deeper relationship with. Physical mail brings a more human touch than an email. 
      • Email newsletters – If you have consistent announcements for your donors, using an email newsletter is a valuable idea. Just make sure to not flood their inbox! 
      • Text fundraising – Texting is not only a great way to communicate with your supporters but it also is a convenient way for them to give on the go. 
      • Social media marketing – Connecting with donors on social media is a key way to slowly build your relationship with them and also meet new prospects. 
      • Nonprofit website – Your website is the center of all of your online nonprofit engagements and is also the perfect place to post any upcoming events or major announcements. 
      • Microsites – This is a dedicated site separate from your main website that is still branded to your organization but is focused on a specific event, campaign, or service your nonprofit provides.
    • Make your mission clear throughout all marketing communications. You don’t want your nonprofit’s goal to get buried under all of the different platforms and engagements—it’s a lot to juggle. Announce your organization’s accomplishments and emphasize that it’s your donors who made it all possible. This not only reminds them of your mission but shows donors that their support is also genuinely making a difference. 
    • Keep branding consistent. To ensure that donors on different channels still know that all of your marketing content leads back to your organization, you need to have consistent branding. This can include specific colors, graphic styles, and tone of voice. This way, if a supporter sees your content on a platform that they don’t engage with frequently, they’ll still be confident that it is your brand. This is especially important whenever you’re asking donors to provide sensitive payment information.
    • Connect your marketing channels. Your different tools should work together in one cohesive multichannel marketing strategy. To do so, create easy and intuitive connections between them. For instance, your nonprofit website is likely the center of many of your online engagements. Make sure it has buttons directing visitors to your social media pages as well as a way to opt-into fundraising emails. In your other marketing content, you should include direct links to your website and donation pages as needed. For physical mail, including a QR code is an easy way to move their engagement online. Whenever creating a new piece of marketing content, answer the question, “Where do I want readers to go next?” Then, link them straight to it.
    • Track data. If you want to ensure your multichannel marketing strategy is a success, the best way to do so is to track its progress. Look at your nonprofit management solution and set some key performance indicators and other metrics. Depending on the specifics of your campaign, you might choose to track follows, search engine or social impressions, clickthroughs, your email open rate, and more. If you see a trend start to falter, you know to rework that channel’s strategy. 

    While the tips above are focused on nonprofit multichannel marketing, don’t let that stop you from using them for your own business. Choosing the best channels and having a cohesive narrative is always a good practice for any type of organization’s marketing efforts. Make sure that no matter what you have a SMART goal to work towards and that you track its progress effectively. 

    Sometimes, you might need some extra help when it comes to taking your marketing strategy to the next level. Professional consultants and marketing experts are always there to help and can work closely with your organization to curate a strategy that aligns with your goals and your audience’s needs. 

    If you’re a nonprofit leader, we have an easy list of professional fundraising consultants that you can refer to. Good luck!

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