The goal of marketing has always been to send the right message to the right person at the right time. With today’s technology and the concept of omnichannel marketing, the opportunity (and challenge) to do that is now greater than ever before.
As a small business owner or marketer developing an omnichannel marketing strategy for the first time, it should be eye opening that Gartner research shows that by 2025 consumers’ multichannel buying behavior will drive 60% of B2C brands to move toward functional, rather than channel-based, organization.
This means that, as businesses continue to unify their marketing efforts, the lines will become more and more blurred between marketing channels. With so many similar channels available to reach a business, customers will expect a seamless experience anywhere they’re able to make a purchase, or they may go elsewhere.
Is your business prepared for this future? Read on for seven steps to craft your own successful omnichannel marketing strategy to earn you new customers in the long run and delight the ones you already have.
Omnichannel marketing is the integration of multiple marketing channels and consumer touchpoints to create a seamless customer experience. These touchpoints can be both online and offline, including websites, social media, email marketing, in-store experiences, and even experiential marketing.
A successful omnichannel strategy is characterized by a consistent brand voice across channels, personalized messaging, and intelligent content based on a person’s current stage in the buyer journey.
What this looks like as a deliverable is a living document that includes all the necessary information about your brand to be shared across channels. Things like your mission statement and values, your catalog of products and services, primary and secondary channels (both online and offline), as well as details about brand elements such as high-quality logos and RGB values for your brand’s colors.
An important aspect is to have this information in one place so, from a logistical perspective, there are no barriers to sharing it across teams. Aside from these concrete details, there are some more intangible elements covered below that also contribute to a solid omnichannel strategy.
Our first step involves gaining a true understanding of your target audience. This could look like personalizing messaging on your strongest channels (which we’ll get to later), but for now the key is to map out as many details about your ideal customer as possible.
These details can include:
Who they are
Where they’re located
How they spend their time online
The content that resonates with them
And their wants, needs, and pain points when it comes to your product or service
There are several ways to do this, including conducting email surveys, reading product reviews, and utilizing social listening software designed to capture customer feedback in its most unadulterated form.
The main goal is to gather as much information as possible to create specific buyer personas that represent real people in your target audience.
Establish as specific of a buyer persona as possible. And it’s ok to have multiple. These will guide everything you do since the main crux of a strong omnichannel marketing strategy is all about your customer—meeting them where they are and personalizing content to speak directly to them.
After you’ve gotten to know your customer, it’s time to see where your current channel strategy lies. If you’re crafting an omnichannel marketing strategy, odds are you already operate on multiple channels, including places like your website, social media, email marketing, or a physical store.
The idea behind this step is to take a critical eye to each of the places you’re active to see if the information you’re sharing is both accurate and in line with your business goals. This includes everything from the accuracy of your marketing copy to things like phone numbers, addresses, and logos.
Leave no stone unturned, and correct any inconsistencies you find during this step. Update all business information across your active digital channels, including graphical assets, and sit down with your marketing and product teams to ensure you achieve a consistent tone and voice in your business’s messaging.
You may never have taken a holistic look at your business’s tone and voice, and that’s ok. This step may take several conversations with key stakeholders, and you may discover new things about how you want to portray your brand.
This tip may sound odd at first considering the goal is to have a consistent experience across all channels (it’s right there in the name after all) but it turns out we can have our cake and eat it too.
What we mean by prioritizing your strongest channels is that—after you’ve audited for things like informational accuracy, consistent tone and messaging, and branded visuals—you can really hone in on the ones you discovered as customer favorites in Step #1.
For example, if you have a strong email subscriber base with a solid read rate, you may want to focus on timely messages related to new products or sales flows that remind people of items abandoned in their shopping carts.
Another example would be leveraging a particularly strong social media channel to share special promotions, contests, or calls to action for user-generated content. These tactics serve to not only engage users in a fun way but also share information about your business and drive traffic to your website or other sales channels.
Determine where your customers are active, and optimize content for those channels first. Once you’ve built a solid foundation of regularly scheduled content that’s tailored to a single channel, use that same thinking on other platforms with the newfound knowledge of what resonates with your audience.
Armed with specific buyer personas targeting your most desired omnichannel customers, you can work to personalize messaging and product recommendations based on the buying and browsing habits you’ve collected.
This information coupled with an omnichannel marketing approach allows you to personalize a customer’s shopping experience across platforms. Some examples include serving a product as a suggestion or paid ad to someone who’s engaged with social media content around it or cross-selling products or services with related items at checkout.
Incentivize consumers to increase their average purchase value by sharing targeted products and services with them based on their customer profile, offering free shipping at a predefined purchase threshold, or following up completed purchases with messages about related items.
Devising, executing, and monitoring an omnichannel marketing strategy can be a complicated affair. With the right tools in place, however, your small business stands to not only take better advantage of the data you collect, but you can also further improve the seamless experience you’re creating for your customers.
Before you consider adopting new tools, however, take stock of your current tech stack to identify what functionalities needed for a successful omnichannel strategy are already well covered. This will also help you identify gaps that you can work to fill, potentially with new software.
There may also be opportunities to integrate your existing tools with new solutions (if you need them), making the process of filling in gaps in functionality easier.
Some of the types of software that might help you manage your omnichannel marketing efforts include:
Customer relationship management (CRM): CRM software helps you map out and track the customer journey you’re creating for your customers. CRMs aid in collecting contact info, managing leads, and communicating directly with omnichannel shoppers on various channels.
Marketing automation: Marketing automation software can help you manage repetitive tasks to save you time while also maintaining consistency in execution on different marketing channels.
Social media management: Much of today’s marketing activities take place on social media. Having a good social media management tool is a great way to stay organized and engage with your followers where they spend most of their time.
Email marketing software: Email marketing software is used to connect the dots between email campaigns, send and manage messaging with customers, and—when integrated with a CRM platform—can also serve as a tool to track and manage leads in your sales pipeline.
After you take stock of your current tech, visit the GetApp software directory to view a wealth of options in a variety of software categories, including the Category Leaders section showing the highest rated options, customer reviews from small business owners just like you, and options sorted by Ease of Use and Value.
After you’ve completed the first five steps, you’ll have a solid understanding of your target audience and how your current multichannel marketing strategy performs. Now it’s time to present any changes you plan to make, or new technology you’d like onboard, to your leadership.
This step involves proofreading your living document and involving any key stakeholders to create a presentation that both demonstrates the value of embracing omnichannel and how you plan to get there. You’ll be well-equipped with customer information, a cohesive brand story to tell, and suggestions for software integrations (should they be needed).
The goal here is to get everyone on the same page about what you’re trying to accomplish with your new strategy and to get executive buy-in, especially for areas like your marketing budget or expectations around the overall scope of any proposed changes.
Schedule a core team meeting to go over the proposed changes and polish your strategy document. Make sure to include members of your marketing team as well as social, email, and sales so you can be sure you’re aligned on operational details before presenting to your leadership. Bonus points for trying to anticipate potential questions that may arise when you present.
Perhaps the most important part of any successful marketing initiative is tracking the results. Not only does this help you avoid pitfalls in the future like pursuing suboptimal messaging or repeating a less-than-stellar omnichannel campaign, but it also shows you what’s working in the moment so you can continue leveraging your strengths while lessening the impact of your weaknesses.
Marketing analytics software is a useful tool to help your business unify and manage marketing data across platforms. At face value, you can view key performance indicators (KPIs), track return on investment (ROI) for your efforts, and store necessary information in a centralized repository.
Campaign management software is another excellent option for drilling down to the individual initiative level. Create, manage, and track campaigns on multiple channels, test out individual tactics, and see what works well on one platform before extending it to others.
Select KPIs that represent your goals and devise a system of tracking and continuously improving them. Make note of what works and what doesn’t, and let your decisions be guided by both quantitative and qualitative data. Always try to ladder your day-to-day marketing choices back up to your overarching goals, and be specific when making strategic changes.
Following these tips will undoubtedly help you lay a solid foundation as you grow your business. Getting to know your customers will allow you to reach them on the channels they prefer with messaging that speaks to them on a personal level. The power of this cannot be overstated.
Investing in the right tools to track your progress will also ensure you’re learning and making smarter decisions that are guided by your customers. When you act with a customer-first mindset, you can’t help but win.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating a stellar customer experience, check out the resources below and always keep your eye on the GetApp blog for new digital marketing content:
Explore by topic