When it comes to marketing your store, there are many avenues to explore. Whether you’re hoping to lure more shoppers through your doors or draw more eyeballs to your e-commerce site, today’s retailers have a smorgasbord of options when promoting their products.

And retail marketers are taking advantage of many of the marketing channels available to them. According to one 2016 eMarketer study, the U.S. retail industry is expected to spend upwards of $23.04 billion annually on digital ads by 2020.

As retailers and entrepreneurs make use of an increasing number of promotion mediums, it becomes more important to have a cohesive marketing plan that encompasses all the channels you use.

Why you need a cohesive marketing strategy

Sure, you have an active presence on all the right social media channels. You may have built a robust subscriber list for email marketing initiatives, and perhaps you’ve run some successful Google AdWords campaigns. But were all these efforts coordinated?

For your marketing initiatives to be most effective, you’ll need to ensure your website, social media channels, email marketing campaigns, and any other digital or traditional marketing channels are in sync. That means campaigns should promote the same message and have a cohesive visual look no matter where your current and potential customers interact with your brand.

A cohesive marketing strategy that aligns all your marketing channels will drive home your message, as studies show that repetition improves its efficacy.

Ready to start building a more cohesive strategy? Let’s explore some of the initial steps you’ll need to tackle.

Host a planning session

Because the new year is just beginning, this is the ideal time for retailers to re-examine and tweak their marketing strategy for 2017.

To begin to build your high-level (and high-impact) strategy, sit down with your team for a planning session. Look at the year ahead: Are there important industry events, holidays, or high sales seasons that would warrant promoting?

Use these notes to compile a marketing calendar. Then begin building holistic campaigns with messages that can be deployed across all your preferred marketing channels. On your calendar, include overarching themes for the campaign, deadlines for all assets (images, content, etc.), and launch dates. This kind of at-a-glance view of your upcoming initiatives will help you keep your sanity as you deploy assets across all your marketing mediums.

To get started with your marketing calendar, try one of the following free templates:

CoSchedule’s editorial calendar
Content Marketing Institute’s Excel calendar
CrackerJack Marketing Google Doc calendar

For each campaign, work with your team to set tangible objectives. What is your desired outcome for each campaign, and then for each channel? Are you hoping to drive traffic back to your e-commerce site to boost sales? Or perhaps boost customer lifetime value by encouraging previous customers to return for additional purchases? Whatever your goal, define them clearly and attach them to your future campaigns.

Get employee buy-in

When you’re building and launching more cohesive campaigns across channels, it’s essential to earn buy-in from your employees. That means including them into your initiatives from the beginning stages (see above), so they are clear about their role in deploying each campaign across channels.

Staffers also need to collaborate to create these cohesive campaigns. For example, that means your social media manager must work closely with your email marketer. Running a social media giveaway? You can promote in emails to your customers with robust tools like Campaign Monitor for Retail. Drive traffic from your social giveaway back to your blog or a landing page on your e-commerce site. Then encourage your retail employees to promote your giveaway in your physical storefront (if applicable) to capture the interest of your in-person customers.

Define each campaign message

During the planning stage, it’s also essential to plan out your overarching messages for your marketing initiatives. Every published post on your brand’s Facebook page or email to your subscriber list is an opportunity to communicate with your target audience — so make it count. Planning ahead means retailers will have more time to prepare iterations of your campaign content for each channel you use.

Although each channel deserves expertly crafted content tailored to the medium, the main campaign message should be consistent.This consistency can strengthen your audience’s understanding of your business and what problem your products solve for them. And that kind of understanding can ease their journey down the marketing funnel toward sales.

Wrap up

The new year brings fresh opportunities to increase the impact of your marketing efforts. And aligning your efforts across channels can go a long way toward helping you achieve all your retail business goals.