Today, it’s essential for all businesses to take the omnichannel marketing approach. It’s no longer feasible for companies to rely on just retail for in-person sales, even if they have brick-and-mortar stores. This encompasses marketing tactics that are used for both traditional in-person sales, social media marketing as well as ecommerce marketing for online sales. This helps to provide consumers with a better, seamless experience across a range of marketing channels. It also, allows for multi-touch / multichannel reinforcement of the messaging for the product or service.
This omnichannel approach will include a range of tactics including brick and mortar sales and traditional marketing, email marketing, ecommerce sales and marketing, in-app sales, and even social media marketing for making sales.
Table of Contents
- Why is Omnichannel Marketing so Important Today?
- Learn More About Your Buyers
- Using Social Media for Omnichannel Marketing
- Consider All of Your Touchpoints
- Mobile is Critical for Omnichannel Marketing
According to a study, around 75% of Americans have tried a new shopping behavior in the past year or so because of the pandemic. They changed the way they shopped during the height of the pandemic, but many of them have opted to continue with their new shopping patterns. Companies need to recognize the changes in consumer behavior and find ways to better meet their needs and expectations. By engaging customers across a range of channels, it can help to provide you with a stronger overall position, so you can continue to make sales. Without the omnichannel approach, you could fall behind.
Some of the most successful companies in the world have adopted omnichannel marketing with great effect. This includes Disney, Bank of America, REI, Starbucks, Sephora, and Walgreens, for example. They have marketing for their brick and mortar locations, online marketing tools through apps, a strong social media presence, and more. They understand their customers and how to market to them across channels.
According to Moengage.com, 86% of shoppers utilize at least two channels when shopping. Businesses are starting to realize that the omnichannel strategy is essential for their business to succeed. A 14-month study from the Harvard Business Review and a large retail company found that 7% of shoppers were online-only shoppers, while 20% were in-store shoppers. However, 73% used multiple channels.
This helps to prove that companies today can no longer rely on just one channel for their marketing. They need to embrace multiple channels. Of course, this often means changing up the marketing approach for businesses that had only relied on one type of marketing in the past. It’s time to learn more about the various ways that you can improve your omnichannel marketing for 2021 and beyond. Let’s look at the best ways you can start doing that.
When it comes to any type of marketing strategy, you need to have a solid understanding of who your ideal customers will be. What does a potential customer look like for your business? What is it that they want?
You will want to start researching the best buyer personas for your business before you can start to market to them. The buyer persona is a hypothetical ideal customer. These are the people who will respond best to your marketing efforts. You should review your customer database and start looking at the demographics of your customers. Where do they tend to live? What is their age? How often do they shop and how much do they spend? Learn as much as possible about the customers, including which channels they tend to use the most when interacting with and purchasing from your store.
When you are searching for your ideal buyers, you should also examine your products/services. Consider the cost, the quality, and the purpose of what you have to offer. Understanding what you have to offer helps you better determine which types of customers would be a good fit for your business. You can then focus on targeting those potential buyers through various channels.
You will find that omnichannel marketing tends to be about proper message targeting and customer segmentation. By putting your subscribers and customers into different categories based on your data regarding those customers, it can help you to create marketing messages that are ideal for each group. You can personalize the messages, as well. Customers tend to be more responsive to personalized messages, whether it’s through an email or traditional mail.
According to an article on Forbes, customers today want personalization. Naturally, you will want to make sure your marketing is personalized whenever possible. Automation can help to make this easier. However, you need to have the right data and you need to know your customers, so you can do this properly.
Social media is an important tool that no company can afford to skip today. It’s great as a way to reach out to your audience with relative ease. You can use social media for paid ads to reach your demographic. You can place ads on your own posts, as well, which is what most companies will do. This ensures that the marketing gets to an audience that is already interested in the company. It’s a good, cost-effective option.
You can and should do more than just push ads on your social media platforms, though. Regardless of the platform, you will want to make sure that you are putting up relatable quality content and that it will make your brand more accessible. Good content and communications through these channels will help with your marketing.
Social media posts can help you connect with your followers in a range of ways, and it is interactive. Your social media team can respond to customers through social media to answer questions and to provide customer support if needed. Being active on social media can be a great way to head off any potential problems, as well.
Social listening is another tool that can be used. Social networks can be an ideal way to learn more about your customers and what they want, as well as what they may not like about your business or products right now. You can use social media to expand your reach and connect with more people, making it easier to market to them through social media later.
With omnichannel marketing, you have multiple ways of reaching your potential customers. This includes some of the more common and well-known methods, as well as areas that you might not have considered before. For example, you can market through your email contact with customers. This doesn’t have to be the focus of the email, but all of your emails should have some type of call to action toward the end. These CTAs might ask someone to sign up for your newsletter or to a loyalty program, or even to follow your company on social media. This helps your customers to find other channels where they can engage with your company.
In addition to marketing through all of your email contact with consumers, consider marketing through customer support. Even if the customer has a problem with the product or service, this can be turned into an opportunity for you. If they want to make a return or are calling to complain, you might want to provide them with an incentive to use your business again, or even a discount. Providing some sort of incentive, such as a coupon, will make them more likely to return to your store later to purchase more. This can make them have a more favorable opinion of your store.
Think about all of the other areas where you might be connecting with the customer. Remember that omnichannel strategies also include the interactions that happen within your store. Everything from the way the store is set up, the location of sale items and signs, and how your staff interacts with the customers will be important. All of it must work together with your online efforts, too.
Take a moment to consider how customers are shopping and searching for things online. While some are still using their desktops, you will find that most people are using their mobile devices instead. According to Statista, the use of mobile has risen significantly over the past 10 years, and more and more people are using their phones for making a purchase. By 2022, it’s estimated that mobile commerce sales through smartphones in the U.S. will be more than $432 billion. Compare this to what it was in 2018—just $148 billion. It’s easy to see how the importance of ecommerce via mobile has increased in just the span of a few years.
Consider some of the ways that you’ve likely used your phone to make purchases in the past. You might have ordered food, gotten a ride, made a fast payment to a friend, or made a purchase through a retailer. Phones make things easier, and they provide people with near-instant access to shopping.
What does this mean for your business? You need to take advantage of the mobile space. It means you need to think about mobile across all of your channels and how you can improve the customer experience, and how you can market to them. You need to be sure that you have a website that looks and functions on mobile devices just like it does on a desktop. From learning about the product, adding an item to the cart, checking out, and paying, it all needs to be easy for the buyer to make a purchase.
One of the options is to create a mobile app. Many larger companies do this, but it’s becoming more affordable for smaller companies to create apps, as well. The app should be easy to use, it should provide all of the same types of functions as the desktop site, and it should be secure.
The app should provide a welcome for new users that can walk them through how to use the app’s various features. It should also keep them engaged and offer push notifications. Perhaps you can offer a discount to the shopper through the app when they are in your brick-and-mortar store. There are countless possibilities of what you can do with the apps.
You should also market through the app. Maybe there is an incentive for making purchases, such as a loyalty or rewards program. The 7-Eleven app, for example, provides you with points for every purchase that you make in the store. Once you collect a certain number of points, you can then use those points for a discount or a free product. They also connect gas rewards and delivery through the app.
While not all companies will be positioned to offer these types of services through their app, there are multiple options. You can develop an app to market to your customers and better serve their needs. Of course, if you don’t have the capability to develop an app, you aren’t out of luck entirely. As long as you have a website that is designed with mobile in mind, customers can navigate to your site and it will look just as good on their phone or tablet.
As you start to implement more omnichannel marketing, you need to collect data, test, analyze the results, and make an effort to improve. This is true for all of the channels that you are using for marketing. Continue to learn more about your audience, how to best segment your customers, the types of messages you are using, the types of ads, etc. Learn about new channels that could be implemented, but make sure that they are right for your particular business and customers. Continue to learn and improve on your marketing efforts.
It’s a lot of work, and it’s a job that doesn’t really have an “end” because marketing changes all the time. There will be new channels that arise, older channels that fade from relevancy, and new ways to target your customers. You must make it a point to stay on top of your omnichannel marketing strategy if you hope to stay ahead of the competition. This might mean hiring more staff for the marketing team or even outsourcing some of the marketing.
About the Author
For over 25 years, Jay Sung has been a passionate leader in driving sustainable growth through direct-to-consumer, e-commerce, and customer acquisition strategies. Mr. Sung oversees corporate branding and growth initiatives utilizing a continuously evolving toolkit of digital marketing strategies and technologies to drive innovative direct marketing programs for portfolio companies – from startups to Fortune 500 organizations.
Previously, Mr. Sung served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Guthy-Renker, a $1.3 billion industry leader in the direct-to-consumer health and beauty market. He is best known for developing consumer acquisition and marketing strategies for leading brands such as Meaningful Beauty® with Cindy Crawford, Wen® Haircare by Chaz Dean, IT Cosmetics™, and many others. In addition, he served as the CEO of such well-known brands as The Proactiv Company and Lot18.
Mr. Sung lives in Los Angeles, enjoying all Southern California has to offer. You’ll frequently find him reading the latest business journal, cooking, or practicing the piano to relax. Mr. Sung earned his Bachelor of Science degree in economics with a double concentration in marketing and accounting from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.