To provide your customers with the easiest and most seamless shopping experience, you will need to implement an omnichannel marketing plan. The steps and best practices in this article can guide you.
Hearing or reading the words “omnichannel marketing” makes the concept more complicated than it actually is. It’s also often confused with “multi-channel marketing” – and for good reason.
Omnichannel marketing focuses on the customer, while with multichannel marketing, the focus is on the channels through which you market.
Further, in the marketing vs advertising conversation, marketing is the process of making your product desirable while advertising is the act of making your product known. When implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy, think of the customer first and always.
Overview: What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Essentially, omnichannel marketing uses multiple marketing channels to create a seamless shopping experience for your customer. Whether they’re viewing your store on their laptop, phone, or other mobile device, or visiting a physical location, their experience should be the same. They need to feel the same, see the same brand image, and be able to switch between channels seamlessly.
How to Create an Omnichannel Marketing Campaign
Creating an omnichannel marketing campaign isn’t just about making sure you’re using all the right channels. That’s part of it, but it’s mostly about using all the right channels in all the right ways with the end goal of creating the best and most seamless shopping experience for your customers.
Keep reading to learn the best tips for creating an omnichannel marketing campaign.
Step 1: Know your customers
To better serve your customers, you need to know who they are, what they like and dislike, and how they buy. Creating buyer personas for your customers will be crucial to the success of your omnichannel marketing campaign.
Don’t be afraid to be specific, because the more specific you are, the more likely you are to succeed. Check out the graphic below for a plethora of sample questions to ask when creating a buyer persona.
You’ll use buyer personas to identify your target audience and determine their needs, wants, and pain points in the buying experience so you can work to fill the gaps.
Step 2: Plan your design
Since your customers will see the same design across multiple channels, it’s important that your app, website, and store look good on the eye. (Brand recognition is detailed below, and it’s actually a separate step even though they seem very related.)
This one is all about the different color palettes, font sizes and styles, backgrounds, and more. You can even create a discussion group to get honest feedback before rolling out your designs.
Step 3: personalize customer contact
Now that you’ve defined your customer details, you can start tailoring your messaging specifically to them. With most email marketing tools, you can send emails using the subscriber’s name so they get a personal approach. But however you customize your messaging, make sure it’s the same for a customer’s account on your website and for any associated rewards or loyalty programs.
Step 4: Implement your designs
Your marketing attributes to brand creation and recognition, so take all the feedback you’ve received so far and put it into action. You will now be more familiar with your customers, so you will know what wording you should use and how to address them.
Whether through email, social media, in-store, or on your website, the design should look the same, or at least have the same theme, and be clearly recognizable to new and existing customers.
Step 5: Use the right tools
One tool you’ll want in your arsenal is CRM software to collect and organize information about current and potential customers to better help you understand your customers.
Another is an automated email marketing tool, such as Constant Contact. These provide pop-ups on websites asking if you would like to receive emails for exclusive offers, promotions or general communications. They collect your name and contact details, which are then added to email marketing materials.
The last of the trio of tools you should have is a way to track your progress and success, or return on investment (ROI). With automated marketing software, which can be simple math or actual software, you’ll be able to see which efforts are really working for you and which aren’t delivering results.
3 omnichannel marketing best practices
It’s important to make sure you’re doing omnichannel marketing correctly because you don’t want to waste time on too much trial and error. Follow the three tips below to get the most out of your omnichannel marketing strategy.
1. Pay attention to your marketing pitch
For omnichannel marketing to work, your customers need to feel the same regardless of how they access your business and whether or not they receive a match through direct marketing.
For example, if they add something to their cart on their laptop and then switch to their phone, will those items still be there or will they have to start over? If they open your website and then go looking for emails, will they be able to tell that the email is from your company?
2. Think of yourself as the customer
The best way to ensure your customers get the best experience is to think about what you would want as a customer. If you’re buying something from a store, you’ll probably want to be able to access that store’s website as well and see your purchase in your online account. Knowing what you would like will help you create an experience that your customers will also want.
3. Be responsive
If you find that customers are unsubscribing from your marketing emails, unfollowing you on social media, or haven’t purchased from you in a while, send a survey or make one optional on your website when they decide to come back. Find out what went wrong and do your best to fix it so they continue to have the best customer experience through your omnichannel marketing efforts.
3 examples of omnichannel marketing that work
Below are some concrete examples of companies that have mastered omnichannel marketing and made the shopping experience seamless for their customers.
1. Starbucks Loyalty Program
Whether you have the mobile app or a physical loyalty card, your points — or stars, as Starbucks calls them — are tracked and stored the same way. If you have the card and want to switch to the app, you enter the card information into the app and your points are transferred.
You can now order and pay through the app, or do it in store with the barcode. All of the company’s marketing channels also look the same, with the Starbucks green signature prominently displayed.
2. Amazon Website, App and Alexa
With Amazon, you can shop online through the app on your phone or smartwatch and even through Alexa, the company’s cloud-based voice service. Amazon has made it so that wherever you are, you can shop and have the same experience.
3. Target app
Omnichannel marketing for retail is nearly perfected with Target. When you buy something in a physical store, online, or through the app, those purchases will show up in your Target account. From here, you can view your receipts, purchase history, and any points or rewards you’ve earned.
It’s easy to walk into a Target store, show up to customer service with a product you want to return, ask them to scan the barcode on your app, and you’re done. Best of all, you can process returns directly through the app without having to set foot in the store.
Omnichannel marketing is about making sure your customers get the same shopping experience whether they buy online, in your store, or through your app, if you have one. It’s an approach companies like Starbucks, Amazon, Target, and even banks are using to streamline the customer experience.