When it comes to reaching your customers, one channel simply doesn't cut it anymore. Consumers are researching brands through search, mobile, email, social media, in-store and a lot more, so it's necessary for you to build an omnichannel marketing strategy that engages them across all platforms.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is an extension of multichannel marketing. While multichannel marketing focuses on distributing content across various print and digital channels, omnichannel marketing focuses on creating a cohesive experience as a visitor moves from one channel to the next.
Benefits of omnichannel marketing
Not convinced? Here are more reasons to incorporate omnichannel marketing, both online and off, in your marketing plan.
1. Repetition reinforces your brand message
A consumer sees an ad for your product on Facebook. She clicks it to visit your site but doesn't make a purchase. She signs up for your emails while she's there and clicks to follow your brand on Instagram.
In a few days, she gets an email inviting her to save 20% if she signs up for your text messages, so she does. Once she gets that offer via text, she makes her first purchase.
As you can see, the path to a sale isn't always a straight line. If it had been, this person would have made a purchase at the first point of contact when she saw your ad. But, it took a few different messages on multiple channels to convince her to buy from you.
Being where your customers are online means you drive your marketing message home.
2. Creative consistency is key
You can't simply plaster your message across a dozen marketing channels; you also have to be consistent in what you communicate. That means your brand logo and tone of voice need to be the same everywhere so that consumers recognize your brand and can let that message seep in.
There is one caveat: You don't want to give identical offers or promotions on all marketing channels—it dilutes their effectiveness. You need to give people a reason to sign up for your emails, subscribe to text messages and follow you on social media, so make each offer exclusive to that channel.
3. All channels should lead back to your website
If you worry about confusing people with so many marketing channels, keep in mind your end goal: driving traffic back to your website so you can make a sale if you sell online. Your social media updates should include a link to the product that you're promoting. Your emails should contain one link and one call-to-action each so that customers know exactly what you want them to do. Online ads should link back to your site.
The great thing about omnichannel marketing is that it's so easily tracked, both online and off. You can look at your website analytics to see which channels sent traffic to your site and step up your investment on those channels or pull back from ones that aren't getting results.
Offline, you can measure redemption of text message offers or coupons you post on coupon sites by using unique offer codes that you track through your point-of-sale system.
When you know what's driving traffic and sales, you can tweak your marketing plan to give even better results with channels and types of offers that are appealing to your customers.
4. It's great for new businesses
Omnichannel marketing isn't just for well-established retail brands with giant marketing budgets. If you're a new business, spreading the love across marketing channels can establish a foothold for your brand identity.
You may even get to know your customers better as you pay attention to how they respond to your messages on different marketing channels. Let's say you start using Instagram to market your product, which is geared toward baby boomers. You might quickly learn that not many boomers use Instagram, and branded content targeting this demographic on Facebook gets you much better engagement.
5. You can reach different customer segments
You may market to different types of customers, who more than likely have different habits when it comes to interacting with brands online. The more channels you use to reach these disparate groups, the more successful you will be.
You can reach Gen Z through mobile and Gen X through social media at the same time. You can help boomers find you with print or online ads. You can appeal to moms, teens and outdoor types... all through slightly different marketing strategies that don't exclude the others.
The more granular you are in marketing directly to a slice of a customer segment, the more successful you will be, because they feel like you are speaking directly to them with your message.
6. You get instant results
A few years ago, when print coupons were more popular, it would take you months to know whether a coupon campaign was successful or not. The same went for print advertising or TV spots.
But now, digital marketing has revolutionized the way we launch, modify and analyze marketing campaigns. You can see the results of your efforts in real time. If, after a few days, your social media ad isn't moving the needle, you can easily modify the copy or the offer to see if you can improve results.
Mobile coupons are great for instant analysis, too. Your mobile marketing dashboard will inform you how many redemptions a given offer has had. You can use that data to decide whether you want to offer something similar in the future or test out a different offer.
The instantaneous benefit applies to connecting with customers in real time, too. If someone has a question about your brand, they can ask it on your Facebook page's Messenger. You (or your handy chatbot) can answer the question immediately, delighting the customer with your prompt response.
7. You can build loyalty
One of the best ways to boost your business is by creating a loyalty program that encourages customers to shop with you more to earn points they can use on free products or get personalized discounts.
Omnichannel marketing works well with loyalty programs: Shoppers can sign up in seconds at the point-of-sale using their mobile wallet, get offers via push notifications or email, and check their balance online or on their phones.
Marketing has certainly changed over the years. The key is rolling with those changes and diversifying where you try to connect with your audience. With so many wonderful channels to do so, you can customize your approach to maximize results.