If you have a small business and are looking to scale upwards, you’ll want to have a fully integrated online and brick-and-mortar strategy. This can mean you are able to attract new customers from across a range of channels, helping your business to grow.
As well, customers expect their experience to be consistent, whether they’re using your website, interacting with your social media channels, or visiting you in person. Such an experience increases customer retention.
This is where omnichannel marketing comes in. Adopting an integrated marketing approach enables you to reach customers across channels. In fact, omnichannel campaigns can have a 494% higher order rate than single-channel campaigns – so it’s crucial you take advantage of all the digital platforms on offer.
In this article, we’ll explain what omnichannel marketing is, how it can help you scale your business, and how to implement a robust omnichannel strategy.
What is omnichannel marketing?
The world has moved on from solely physical ways of conducting business. For instance, an online fax service for Canadian businesses merges digital and physical parts of communication. Omnichannel marketing is similar: it enables businesses to reach out to prospective customers in-person and across online channels to promote their products or services.
In the past, businesses might have focused on one single in-person channel when interacting with customers. This would have been a brick-and-mortar store and clients would have engaged with your brand only when they were at your shop.
Today, however, there are far more channels through which customers can order products, talk with employees, and form opinions about your brand. They might see a product in a physical store and order it later through your website or check out your pages on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
Most customers won’t continue shopping with a company if they have a bad experience with them online. This means you need to be aware of how your brand is presented across all of your channels. If you are trying to grow your business, you can’t afford to have a weak social media presence even if you have an effective website.
Omnichannel marketing recognizes customers want to use all of the available channels when engaging with your business. What makes omnichannel marketing so useful for small businesses is it produces a truly effective and integrated customer experience. It’s about creating an integrated and connected customer experience and ensuring your marketing strategy works across all of these different channels.
Some businesses might think they already have a good brand reach across different channels. However, you shouldn’t confuse multichannel marketing with omnichannel marketing.
This means a good omnichannel marketing strategy is perfectly suited to meeting customers’ needs throughout the buying journey, from ordering a product in-store, for example, to receiving delivery notifications or other messages through text or email.
What are the benefits of omnichannel marketing?
Small businesses can see some of the biggest benefits of omnichannel marketing. If you want to scale your business, an effective and modern marketing strategy is the best way to achieve this. Here are some of the specific benefits of omnichannel marketing:
1. Improve sales
One of the best ways to improve sales is by making it easier for customers to buy your products or services. Omnichannel marketing will mean there will be a smoother process for customers, removing some of the common drop-off points.
In addition, a good omnichannel strategy includes a very strong social media presence. Social media lead generation is a well-known source of sales for businesses of all sizes.
LinkedIn prospecting enables marketing teams to complete all aspects of nurturing potential sales, such as identifying new prospects and cold outreach, all within the same platform.
2. Increase customer retention
All businesses want to attract new customers. However, customer retention is equally as important as winning new customers, if you want your company to grow. With a consistent brand message across all of your platforms, you’ll be more memorable and trustworthy for customers.
Producing a unified strategy across different channels can also help you when running remarketing and retargeting campaings. This is when you target prospective customers who visited your website without making a purchase, prompting existing customers to return to your website or physical store.
3. Have a better insight into your customers
Retail analytics tools are as effective as ever and can be a great way to tailor marketing to your customers, enabling you to scale your business more quickly. A good omnichannel strategy will open up new sources of data for this analysis.
By engaging with customers on multiple different social media platforms, as well as your own website, you’ll increase the amount of information you can gather and store about your customers.
This target audience research will mean you can improve your marketing and focus your brand image on what suits your customers, helping your business to grow, as it attracts more customers from your target audience.
Practical tips to help you implement an omnichannel marketing strategy
Implementing omnichannel marketing can be achieved through some simple and straightforward steps:
1. Create a unified vision of your brand
Imagine you want to purchase a phone system. You might search for ‘virtual number Canada’ and find a website you like. However, you choose to look for the company on Twitter first and find a different logo or brand image. This will most likely make you think the company is unprofessional and you’ll take your business elsewhere.
Having a cohesive image across all of your channels is incredibly important. This means you should try to build a unified vision for your brand across all of your employees and customer touchpoints.
Just because one team might work on your website and another on social media, each team doesn’t have to be isolated. Encourage communication and collaboration through email and live chat apps and ensure each employee knows what your company’s brand fundamentals are.
2. Know your customers
Just like any marketing strategy, omnichannel marketing works best when it is specifically tailored to your customers. If you want to be accessing incremental and scalable audiences and drive more sales to your brand, you should begin by researching your audience: what channels do they use the most and what is most important to them when shopping online?
You need to consider how your company’s user experience is unified across all of your channels. At the heart of a good omnichannel experience is the ability to access your brand from different devices. So ensure your website is optimized for mobile as well as desktop PCs.
Therefore, if you know your customers mainly interact with your company through smartphones, make sure you prioritize how your website looks and works on mobile devices.
Social media is now an integral part of all customer-facing businesses. As well as interacting with your social media accounts when researching your products, clients will often access customer services through social media after they’ve purchased a product.
This means you should use all of the available social media platforms and each one should be constantly updated and monitored. Integrate them with other online platforms, such as your website by providing accessible follow and share buttons.
You can improve your management of social media accounts by using a social media inbox or monitoring and engagement tool, which will enable you to keep track of all social media in one place.
4. Use technology in brick-and-mortar stores
Omnichannel marketing isn’t solely about your online presence. Many businesses continue to have hugely important physical stores and any good omnichannel strategy will include these. One example of how you can integrate your online presence into your brick-and-mortar stores is through the use of QR codes.
Products on shelves could be labelled with QR codes that send users to your website. This can then be linked to email automation, sending customers automated emails after they have signed up, reminding them about the product or sending offers.
Omnichannel marketing is about making the most of all of the channels through which customers engage with your company and traditional stores are still one of these important channels.
5. Assess the impact
Finally, you should test the impact of the different parts of your omnichannel marketing strategy. This way you can focus your resources where you need to improve the most and repeat successful techniques.
One way to start assessing impact is to look at your digital presence. If you have a virtual phone business, for instance, you can perform searches for ‘toll free numbers Canada’ and assess how your brand appears throughout this search. This will enableyou to see how your brand appears before and after you’ve implemented an omnichannel strategy.
As well, you should use data to produce a more precise picture of the effects of your omnichannel strategy. By collecting and consolidating data at each point in the process of implementing an omnichannel strategy, you’ll be able to break down the impact of omnichannel marketing on business growth.
This will mean you can continue to establish your omnichannel marketing, locating the parts generating traffic and lead conversion, while replacing the strategies that aren’t as effective.
You may wish to consider seasonal marketing, if your business is likely to benefit from a push at key times of the year. Depending on the type of business you are involved with, Christmas or perhaps summer, may be the times when your omnichannel marketing will have the biggest impact.
Omnichannel marketing: an easy way to grow your business
You should now know exactly what omnichannel marketing is and how it can help you to scale your business. By having a wide-ranging and integrated approach to all of the channels through which clients interact with your company, you can build a marketing strategy truly suited for the modern world.
Author: Jenna Bunnell – Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives using Dialpad Canada’s cloud-hosted PBX.