Omnichannel marketing is the customer-centric approach that can amplify your results.

As a quality customer experience becomes the cornerstone of growth-minded brands, getting to the top of your industry requires you to focus on putting buyers first. With a strong omnichannel marketing strategy, you can give your customers the care they want, while taking a big leap toward your long-term goals.

So what exactly makes this type of marketing more than a buzzword? We’ll break down why omnichannel marketing works and how you can implement it below.

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is a type of strategy that uses both online and offline channels to offer a seamless experience to your customers. When you choose to employ an omnichannel strategy, your job is to be wherever your customers want you to be, from the first stage of the customer journey to the final sale.

At the heart of it, omnichannel marketing is a shift toward customer-centric marketing. Companies are no longer sending out messages that are only driven by what they want to say. Instead, they’re creating a comprehensive user experience by considering what shoppers want to hear, where they’re going to learn about a product, and what device they’re using. Using this omnichannel approach, you’ll be better able to optimize a consistent core message for every possible touchpoint. This leads your target audience to hear and care about what you have to say.

This complete shopping experience can drive real results for brick-and-mortar stores. A Harvard Business Review study found that the majority of buyers are omnichannel customers—few being solely committed to either e-commerce or in-store experiences. The study further showed that checking in throughout the buyer’s journey led to 13% higher in-store spending and 23% more repeat spending.

Touching base at the right times and right places can lead to increased customer engagement and decreased cart abandonment. Over the long term, when you go beyond single-channel marketing, you help drive up your profits and your customer loyalty.

Omnichannel marketing vs. multichannel marketing

While the two terms are easily confused, there are key differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing. To break them down, let’s look at what each word means.

“Multi” is a suffix that means “more than one.” On the other hand, “omni” as a suffix means “all things.” The core of multichannel marketing is sending out a message through a variety of marketing channels (such as social media, Google, and SMS). Omnichannel marketing goes beyond this and asks what other factors affect the user experience.

An omnichannel experience acknowledges that shoppers are not only using different channels when buying products, but they’re also using different devices—think smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It also recognizes that consumers use different channels in different orders and may even use some simultaneously. For example, an online user may consult a mobile device when they’re in a physical store. Your job is to make sure a message is available and optimized for all points of view.

The trend toward omnichannel marketing is closely aligned with the trend toward inbound marketing. Consumers no longer want to get marketing pushed to them. Instead, they want to get the answers they need when and where they’re looking for them. Omnichannel marketing helps you progress from outdated outbound strategies and give shoppers the power instead.

Building your omnichannel marketing strategy

Now that you know an omnichannel marketing strategy is in your best interest, the next step is to build one out. In this section, we’ll give you three examples of steps you can take to build an omnichannel experience your customers will love.

1. Collect and analyze customer data

When your goal is to create an experience that’s built for your customers, your first step should be getting to know your current and prospective buyers. You need to get the full picture of their shopping behavior, from what channels and devices they’re using to what messages they’re responding to.

A few resources you can use to collect customer data include:

  • Your CRM tool:  Your customer relationship management (CRM) software provides incredibly rich data. If you have one in place, you can use it to learn about where your leads enter the sales funnel, how they’re interacting with a marketing campaign, and much more.
  • Surveys: Sending out an online survey or even asking for survey responses in-store can help you gather insights about buying preferences, brand perception, and shopping behavior.
  • Podium Feedback: Feedback helps you automatically collect clear, measurable data about your customer experience, at any touchpoint you want. These touchpoints may occur after a buyer’s initial signup, first customer support call, or first purchase.

Once you collect a sizable amount of customer data, sit down and create a few buyer personas. (Buyer personas are made-up characters with unique names, traits, and lifestyles, each character representing a segment of your audience.) This will help you envision the different types of people in your audience and segment them in your final strategy.

2. Keep your team looped in

To provide a consistent experience across all channels, it’s crucial to communicate with your team as you build out your strategy. This way, everyone from your marketing team to your customer support staff can present a consistent message to shoppers.

In addition to sharing a consistent message, your team should know who your customers are. Make sure they get to know the buyer personas you create, so they can cater their messaging to the specific group they’re targeting.

Using communication tools like Podium Teamchat can further help your team get on the same page by making internal communication and collaboration easy—even in the moment while a conversation with a customer is happening.

3. Personalize and optimize

In order for your marketing to truly take an omnichannel approach, you need to take action with what you’ve learned from your customer data. Omnichannel marketers must update their offline and digital marketing strategies to reflect current consumer behavior.

You may start by considering what channels you need to meet each buyer persona. Be sure to consider where your buyers will be at each point in the customer journey. Then go beyond this multichannel approach by finding opportunities to personalize, optimize, and even retarget your message on each of these channels. For example, you may:

  • Send an email reminder to complete a purchase a day after a shopper left an item in their online cart.
  • Offer a discount on a customer’s next in-store purchase via SMS, immediately after they check out from an online order with in-store pickup selected.
  • Send a push notification from your mobile app about relevant discounts when a shopper walks into your store. Be sure to have attractive signs highlighting the same sale inside the store.

Elevate your marketing with Podium

As you begin to execute your omnichannel marketing strategy, your customers and leads will start interacting with your brand more and more, across many different channels. This is a great sign your strategy is working—though it doesn’t mean you can just sit back and put your marketing on autopilot.

In order for your shoppers to make their way through the sales funnel, you need to be there for them when they reach out for human support. This requires careful management of your incoming messages from every channel your company is active on.

Integrating the Podium Messaging Platform with your strategy lets you streamline messages from all your digital channels, so you never leave a customer or employee hanging. When a team member needs help with an in-store interaction or a customer needs an answer from 100 miles away, they can chat with you on-the-go and stay connected to provide the most consistent experience possible.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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