Every entrepreneur has heard the adage, “The customer is always right.” An omnichannel marketing strategy approaches customer service differently. It’s not about who’s right — it’s about always being available to help.
An omnichannel marketing plan provides a comprehensive solution to offering service, no matter which platform your customers use to approach you. You can provide a core message that’s available any time of day on all active media platforms.
That’s not to say the customer shouldn’t be right. Omnichannel plans still prioritize the customer experience by building the strategy around the customer rather than using the company as the central focus. This can make for a challenging paradigm shift, but it’s necessary if you want to stand out from the competition.
You probably already know the power of customer service. A 2021 Khoros survey found that 83% of customers are more loyal to brands that respond to their complaints. In fact, 65% of surveyed customers said they switched to a different brand specifically because of a poor experience.
What makes a good customer experience? This guide will lay out the steps to begin a customer-focused marketing strategy to build your business.
Ready to do more business with email marketing?Start your free 60-day trial today.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Let’s start with a direct answer to this simple question: This strategy is a planned system of creating an integrated and seamless shopping experience for customers that unifies your brand and message among all communication channels.
The qualities that set an omnichannel marketing strategy apart from traditional methods are:
At the heart of all marketing plans is a desire to deeply understand and “speak the language” of your customers. To begin this process, you need to create a clear concept of who your customer is and use that information to improve their experience.
For example, let’s look at those times when customers abandon their carts before the final purchase. These cart abandonment rates have increased over the past 15 years, with 76 out of 100 shoppers walking away from their purchases, according to a survey by OptInMonster.
The solution? A personalized email can help. Shopify store owners can connect through a service provider like Constant Contact to automatically send an email encouraging a shopper to complete their purchase. This is one example of moving from one channel (your store) to another (their inbox).
This quality demonstrates the direct difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel continues the same personalized advertising effort with customers regardless of what channel they’re on, whereas multichannel marketing customizes the message depending on what channel is being used.
This means everything is connected. If a customer sees a story in an Instagram post and clicks to see more, they’ll automatically receive a pop-up message offering a discount via SMS or email. What if they don’t complete a purchase? You can use their information to trigger a retargeting ad on Google. When they do finalize their order, you can send them updates about the status of their shipment.
In this case, the channels include social media, search engines, email, your website, and text messaging. Each platform provides a different opportunity to connect directly with the customer with a message that speaks specifically to their interaction with your brand.
What is omnichannel marketing? It goes beyond a fast response time. Yes, it’s essential to create systems for online chats that work on mobile devices as well as desktop machines. But that’s the beginning.
Customers never want to feel like a company is wasting their time. If a customer sends an email about a problem or tags your business on social media, the representative who reaches out on the phone should have the latest on what’s going on.
4 steps for building an effective omnichannel marketing strategy
Now that you understand what sets omnichannel initiatives apart from the old-fashioned customer service methods, it’s time to start implementing strategies to create a system that increases sales and offers satisfaction to every customer. Here are four steps for success:
1. Learn the pain points of your customers
When you’re in the beginning stages of creating an omnichannel marketing campaign, the first step is understanding exactly what your customers want and need. How do you do this? With a customer survey, of course.
Send your current customers a mix of open-ended and multiple-choice questions in an email. Include a discount code for everyone who completes the survey as a token of your gratitude — as well as an invitation to get them to purchase something soon.
Once you know your customers’ frustrations, you can create content on a variety of platforms to meet their specific needs.
2. Make sure your digital presence is strong
Before kicking off any marketing campaign, make sure your infrastructure is ready. This means reviewing and refining the following:
- Digital advertising campaigns, including social media outreach
- A mobile-optimized website for your business
- Active and branded social media channels
- Organized, active, and growing email marketing
- SMS marketing capabilities
- Partnership with local retailers and resellers
Get comfortable operating from a variety of platforms before you create a plan to integrate all of them for the benefit of your customers.
3. Collaborate internally among your departments
Perhaps your operations are small, making it easier for the sales, marketing, product development, public relations, and customer service teams to work together. Of course, being small presents its own challenges, which I’ll address next.
If your company is scaling upward, you’ll need to create a company communications model that doesn’t have each department operating in a silo. Work together to address customer service needs quickly.
4. Invest in technology
If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of being available and consistent on every channel your customers might use, you’re not alone. That’s why technology can be your friend. The more automated your process is, the easier it is to make it work.
Consider Sephora, the makeup giant that excels with interactive makeovers in its brick-and-mortar stores. When the need to sharpen the focus on online sales became clear in 2020, the company shifted the in-store experience to a digital one with the help of technology. Its website includes video tutorials, a loyalty program, and information on best-selling products.
Your omnichannel marketing strategy needs to make the customer journey and experience consistent, no matter where the customer finds you. Investments in an email service provider, customer relationship management software, and content management solutions will pay for themselves in the long run through gained loyalty.
Omnichannel marketing: Connecting in a modern way
Retaining valuable customers is every business owner’s goal, and an omnichannel marketing strategy can help make this a reality. By putting the individual at the center of every campaign, you’ll be able to personalize your content to meet your customers’ needs and offer the service they demand.
Start by creating an inventory of your current marketing strategies and outreach platforms. List all the places (both in-person and digitally) where you connect with your customers and see where you can provide a better experience.
Once your infrastructure is in place, you’ll be able to move forward with a dedicated omnichannel campaign that makes customers feel good about their interactions with your company on every channel.