As more brands look to enhance their channel marketing programs with “last mile” digital marketing solutions for their dealers or distributors, a key to successfully delivering desired outcomes is having a holistic and integrated offering that addresses all phases of the path to purchase within the sales funnel.
While data insights and analytics allow marketers to understand the distinct characteristics of a brand’s purchase path, that path typically passes through a sales funnel that addresses awareness, consideration, intention, purchase and retention. For dealers and distributors, having access to a channel program that aligns and delivers the right tactical elements within each phase of the sales funnel is critical.
At the top of the sales funnel, creating awareness for a brand’s products and services in support of a dealer and distributor’s sales efforts is the first step in the purchase path. A cornerstone tactical element for establishing awareness for a dealer or distributor is online reputation management and directory listings. Having access to an online reputation management solution allows dealers and distributors to protect their brand and improve overall ratings by quickly responding to reviews and comments. Similarly, ensuring local business directory listings are accurate and accessible across multiple networks like Yelp, Google My Business, Maps and yellow pages sites, for example, ensures potential customers have access to reliable information about a dealer or distributor’s business.
Social content is another foundational program element for generating awareness. Creating meaningful conversations that engage with and grow a dealer or distributor’s audience is an organic growth engine. Creating custom, not syndicated, content allows dealers and distributors to connect with potential and existing customers in meaningful ways across channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Social media advertising works hand-in-hand with social content to drive traffic to a dealer or distributor’s location. Social advertising provides the ability to highlight promotions, launches and exclusive brand programs by introducing consumers to premium content, while allowing dealers and distributors to get more hyper targeted based on location, demographics, job titles, and even interests their targets have.
Streaming radio advertising is another key tactic for creating awareness for dealers and distributors. This includes advertising on networks like Spotify, Pandora and iHeart Radio. These types of ads allow a more traditional approach to marketing through the audio platforms where consumers listen the most, while combining a visual “clickable” banner ad when a user is listening online. This adds an additional element that’s not available from traditional, terrestrial radio advertising.
When descending to the next phase of the sales funnel, consideration, brands should be looking to provide their dealers or distributors with a hyper-integrated offering of direct mail and digital advertising, as well as content marketing to support search engine optimization efforts. When a postal mailer is sent its response rate is boosted and reinforced by delivering ads to the same audience. By combining the power of a traditional direct mail campaign and IP targeting technology, dealers and distributors are able to boost response rates, achieving results that traditional direct mail campaigns can’t achieve on their own.
In the consideration phase, consumers are conducting research (usually online) to find the best product for their investment. Establishing dealers or distributors as thought leaders in their local market by creating blog content is an excellent way to enhance a website’s SEO value and, in turn, improve both organic and paid search results. This is an important part of boosting organic results so dealers or distributors and brands alike, can eventually reduce paid advertising spend.
As consumers move from awareness and consideration to intention, dealers and distributors can’t ignore digital advertising to support this part of the path to purchase. Search engine marketing helps consumers who are lower in the funnel, with a strong intent to purchase to find a dealer or distributor’s products and services online.
Programmatic advertising complements paid search and utilizes online display ads to target consumers that are most likely ready to purchase. Coordinated campaign landing pages help drive increased conversions for SEM and programmatic ad campaigns. Whether it’s a B2C or B2B market, these tailored web pages drive ROI on SEM and programmatic advertising by motivating consumers to take the next step in the sales funnel. That could be to brick and mortar locations to complete a purchase or getting them to interact with a sales representative for B2B products.
Promotions and retargeting campaigns help move consumers from intention to purchase in the sales funnel. By creating a promotional calendar and corresponding variety of offers, dealers and distributors are able to chart their promotions and push consumers to complete a purchase at key times of the year, whether that’s a holiday, product launch or special occasion, for example.
Retargeting campaigns focus on consumers who have visited a dealer or distributor’s website. Since they’re consumers who’ve already shown an interest in a product on a dealer or distributor’s website, these types of ads (often found on Google or Facebook) help motivate consumers to move to the bottom of the funnel and complete a purchase.
Once consumers have purchased a product or service from a brand’s dealer or distributor, establishing ongoing communications with those consumers will keep them coming back for additional products or services. Utilizing email marketing for these communications allows dealers or distributors to communicate service reminders, new product introductions and special offers for existing customers, to keep them coming back. After all, it’s less expensive to drive repeat customers compared to acquiring new ones.
As brands look to support their dealer or distribution networks from a channel marketing perspective, providing program elements that support each step of the sales process is critical, especially with the unique purchase paths consumers take for different types of products. Understanding that purchase path and developing a comprehensive and integrated offering will help drive desired outcomes for brands and their channel partners alike.
About Channel Fusion
For nearly 20 years, Channel Fusion has provided brands and their channel partners with a wide variety of solutions and industry expertise. Part of our offering is Digital Fusion, a turnkey offering and dedicated team of “Fusers” who are focused exclusively on the development, delivery, management and reporting of digital marketing programs for brands’ channel partners. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we deliver digital marketing outcomes.