Have you ever been around a group of people who are gushing over a movie you’ve never seen, only to ask them what it’s about and they reply with, “I can’t really explain it, but it’s really good”? Enter the industry’s new buzzword, omnichannel marketing. Everyone’s talking about it. Everyone says it’s a good idea. But few people can actually explain what it is. Lucky for you, we dove deep into this trend and developed “The Simple Guide to Omnichannel Marketing”.
Let’s begin by rewinding the clock. Traditionally, marketers had one goal: brand awareness. They identified available marketing channels, picked their audiences, and blasted the airways with countless, unrelated messages. Did it work? Sometimes. Did it increase sales? Not often. In today’s world, drawing attention to your brand is tough. Content is EVERYWHERE. You can’t watch a YouTube video or scroll through Instagram without being interrupted and forced to lay eyes on a product you’ll never want or need in your life. So how do you break through the noise and connect with your audience in an impactful and effective way? You guessed it, omnichannel marketing.
An omnichannel marketing strategy focuses on the customer and builds a personalized communication pathway that takes them through your marketing funnel, from awareness to action. Instead of sending broad unrelated messages spontaneously, an omnichannel strategy helps you send connected, intentional messages to specific audiences on the right channels at the right time. So, let’s get into how it’s done.
Step 1: Build a Customer Profile
You need to understand who your ideal customer is so you can develop communications that will resonate with them. You can talk to your internal team, survey your existing customers, and conduct market research to create a customer profile that includes the following data:
- Geographics (state, city, zip code)
- Demographics (age, gender, race, occupation, income, education)
- Psychographics (lifestyle, activities/interests, values, attitudes/beliefs, purchasing habits)
- What products/services do they want and/or need?
- How do they want to be talked to?
- Where (what channels) and how are they making their purchase decisions?
Step 2: Optimize Your Channels
Once you’ve identified which channels your audience prefers, you need to invest in those channels. If you’re using social media platforms, make sure you complete the about you section and include contact information and a link to your website. Since you know people will frequent your page, you can use the header image slot to promote your current marketing campaigns. If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, consider hiring one full-time or on a freelance basis to ensure the graphics you use on social media and in e-blasts and newsletters stand out. Finally, don’t skimp on quality if you’re focusing on video, podcasts, or commercials. In the marketing world, the book is almost always judged by the cover.
Step 3: Develop Stellar Content
Now that you’ve learned about your customer and prepared your marketing channels, it’s time to focus on the star of the show, your content.
- Start by asking what your audience wants to know about your brand and what YOU want them to know about your brand. The answers to those questions form your overall communication strategy. Then, develop key messages for this strategy. Make sure your content is solutions-based and communicates how you can help your audience achieve THEIR goals.
- Your content should be frequent, conversational, and connected—guiding audiences through your marketing funnel from awareness to action. For example, you can send them an email with specific details and special offers, followed by an attention-grabbing social media post, followed by a text with immediate response links.
- Reference your customer profile and communication strategy, as well as current trends, to ensure you’re sending the right content, at the right time, on the right channels.
- One of the key aspects of an omnichannel strategy is sending connected messages across all channels. However, the content style should vary from channel to channel. For example, a key message can be communicated in a story-filled blog post on your website, an explanation video on YouTube, a testimonial podcast interview, and an infographic on social media.
Step 4: Measure Your Success
Create a guide for your team that includes your customer profile, marketing channels, communication goals and key messages, and content calendar. This will help keep everyone on track with measuring and documenting your omnichannel strategy. Before you launch your campaign, identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you will use to track your successes and reveal opportunities for improvement.
Though newer, omnichannel marketing builds on the traditional, multichannel marketing approach, adding an emphasis on customer interests and meaningful, connected messages. Mega companies such as Apple, Disney, and Nike provide great evidence of omnichannel customer experience success. Consider gleaning from their example and putting it into practice for your company and your customers’ benefit.