As technology evolves, so does the way we use it. Increasingly, people are using technology in ways that blur the lines between online and offline experiences. This shift in behavior has caused businesses to rethink how they interact with their customers.
In order to provide a seamless customer experience, businesses will need to pursue an omni-channel marketing approach that allows customers to interact with them however they want, whenever they want.
Multi-channel, cross-channel and omnichannel
Multi-channel, cross-channel, and omnichannel, these three terms cannot be opposed. Brands should consider them as strategic moves in the global promise they make regarding their customers’ experiences.
Multi-Channel: Multiple But Separate
Multi-channel describes how customers interact with your business through different channels, including physical stores, smartphones, tablets, live chats, emails, social media, and so on. However, with a multichannel approach, each channel works independently – there‘s no integration from a communications or customer experience perspective.
This is an easy way to make your brand more accessible to your customers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for digital transformation quick wins. It means you have an online presence across multiple channels. But, if you keep growing, it can lead to an inconsistent customer experience. For example, customer service representatives cannot easily see if someone has already submitted an email when they call in. This can create frustration for customers who have to repeat their queries as they jump between different channels.
Cross-Channel: Multiple And Connected
Cross-channel marketing is the next step up from multiple-channel marketing. It means you offer a range of touchpoints across various stages of the customer journey – with each channel designed to provide a smoother customer experience.
For example, this might mean deploying a single chatbot that works across all communication channels. That way, it recognizes customers’ previous interactions as they move between different touchpoints. You eliminate that frustration by using a voice chatbot that can see previous conversations from WebChat.
It also means you’re able to coordinate cross-channel campaigns based on which ones will drive the most engagement. One campaign can include communication in an iterative approach across email, SMS text messages, WhatsApp, push notifications, and social media – from one management platform and with integrated analytics.
Omni-Channel: Multiple And Interactive
Omni-channel goes one step further. It accounts for the fact that customer journeys aren’t linear and recognize that people engage with different platforms simultaneously. For example, using a mobile phone when shopping in a physical store. An omni-channel customer experience breaks the barriers between the online and offline worlds.
With Omni-Channel you use geolocation data to push special offers to customers walking past your stores. Employees can access a customer’s online wish list to help find items in the branch. You integrate your app with smart speakers, so people can verbally add items to their shopping list. You can offer a loyalty program that collates points and tailors offers from purchases on any channel.
These interactive and integrated customer experiences give customers more flexibility and personalization than ever before, which makes them feel more connected to your brand.
Omnichannel is the Next Frontier
Omni-channel marketing is not a new concept, but it has become increasingly important as technology has advanced. Omnichannel experiences are becoming the norm for customers, who expect to be able to interact with businesses in a variety of ways. In order to meet these expectations, businesses need to adopt an omnichannel approach to customer experience.
There are a few key components of an omni-channel approach:
- A focus on the customer, not the channel: The customer should always be at the center of your marketing efforts. This means understanding their needs and desires and creating experiences that meet them where they are.
- Consistency across channels: Customers should have a consistent experience, regardless of the channel they’re using. This means that your messaging, branding, and overall customer experience should be the same across all channels.
- Seamless integration: All of your channels should work together seamlessly to provide a cohesive experience for customers. This includes everything from your website to your social media channels to your offline store if you have one.
Omni-channel marketing is the future of customer experience. By adopting an omni-channel approach, businesses can provide a seamless, consistent experience for their customers that meets them where they are. With technology continuing to evolve, now is the time to start thinking about how you can provide an omnichannel experience for your customers.
How to Create an Omnichannel Campaign
Omni-channel marketing is a type of marketing strategy that uses consistent messaging, visuals, and positioning statements across all channels, platforms, and devices. It ensures that your brand is presented consistently across different platforms.
Omni-channel marketing campaigns not only help your sales department but also your customer service department. If you show customers that you’ve got them covered on every channel and platform they’re on — whether it’s email, social media, mobile apps, etc. — they’ll know that they’ll get a similar experience when they shop and interact with your company online.
1. Start By Focusing on Your Website and Social Media Channels
It takes time to create an omni-channel customer experience. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time; you’ll get there eventually. Start with your website, then move on to your social media channels, and finally move on to other platforms. Make sure that you post regularly and engage with users who contact you through those channels.
Being present on multiple platforms is key to maintaining a professional brand. If you focus too much on one thing and ignore the other, people will notice and your brand will be seen as inconsistent.
2. If You Need an App, Create One
If you work in industries like consumer product sales or software-as-a-service (SaaS), creating a mobile app could really benefit you.
If you’re a small business and want to engage potential customers with an app, you can hire a freelancer. Keep in mind that you should have a solid rationale for having an app before taking this step, and think through all the functions it will need to perform.
3. Solve Your Customers’ Problems
When you add a channel to your omnichannel strategy, do it to help your customers at every step of their journey.
Omni-channel isn’t just for your company to gain more visibility or for you to make more sales. Those are definitely tangible benefits of having an omnichannel strategy. But it’s also about creating a seamless customer experience. Your goal should be to solve your customers’ needs in each channel and the ways you engage with them on those channels.
4. Use the Same Messaging for Each Channel, But Be Careful Not to Use the Same Content for Every Channel
Keep your message consistent throughout all channels for a cohesive user experience. If you’re advertising on multiple social media platforms, make sure the messaging is similar if not exactly the same. You can switch up the verbiage as long as the overall meaning remains consistent.
Avoid using too much boilerplate content. If you duplicate content, search engine crawlers and social media platforms may penalize you. Refrain from copying and pasting everything from one site to another. Inconsistency can break any good brand. By maintaining a consistent voice across all platforms, you will be able to better connect with your audience and build trust.
5. Make Sure Your CTA Is Appropriate for the Device and Platform You’re Using
Every time you engage customers on certain channels, whether it’s through paid ads, organic posts, private messages, phone calls, or emails, you should end the engagement by providing a clear call to action. That CTA should be device- and platform–appropriate.
Your ad campaign on social media, for example, should lead prospects to your mobile website rather than your desktop site. You should end your email with a link that leads to a calendar invite for a meeting, not a link that automatically downloads an app. As your customer may not be checking their email on a mobile device.
Make sure that the CTA doesn’t disrupt the user’s experience and only extends the seamless one you’ve already provided.
Omni-Channel Marketing Platforms Help Companies
With the right platform, your omnichannel marketing efforts will yield results. But you just need to spread your resources across each platform in an efficient way, so they’re truly beneficial for your business. Omni-channel platforms will help your business operations across multiple channels. These three platforms below were specifically designed for that purpose.
1. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot’s CRM system is an all-inclusive marketing automation solution. It’s easy to use and flexible enough to fit your business needs Whether your focus is growing sales, increasing leads, improving customer service, or building a website, HubSpot CRM can do it all—across each platform. The HubSpot software has five specific hubs to aid various business processes: marketing, service, content, sales, and operations. All of these sections have tools available to help your company prosper!
Shopify isn’t just a great eCommerce platform–it’s also useful for omnichannel marketing. It also helps you to create powerful e-mail and social media ads. Moreover, it covers engagement at every stage of the customer journey. Personalization is key for any business that wants to maintain a modern edge. With Shopify, you can create personalized experiences for your audiences, increase profits and conversions, as well as measure the impact marketing campaigns make.
ActiveCampaign enables you to create stellar experiences for your business and audience by combining a number of automation, marketing, and CRM tools. The features are divided into four goals: Reach, Nurturing, Conversion, and Growth. This platform also offers free online training so you’ll be able to use it to the fullest extent possible.
Omni-channel retailing means selling your products or services through several channels and platforms to grow your customer base, reduce buyer friction, and improve sales.
A multi-channel retail experience includes physical stores, app-based shopping experiences, and online platforms.
For example, a clothing brand might offer its apparel through various channels such as its app, website, Instagram storefront, Amazon, or physical stores.
Omni-channel retail applies to B2C industries such as clothing, food and beverages, and others. To provide prospects with a cohesive omni-channel customer journey, B2B companies should allow for demo requests, quote requests, and consultations via various channels.
For example, you can make a mobile app that gives people the ability to virtually tour your products on their phones by adding a “Request Consultation” button or utilizing Messenger for quick quotes. By doing this you are providing potential clients with convenience which may enable you to score the sale.
Integrated omni-channel retailing with an omni-channnel marketing strategy is the most potent combination for any business model–whether in a B2B or B2C environment.
Companies that want to better their customer’s experience use an omni-channel approach so that their messaging and goals are aligned no matter the channel or device.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, offer an unforgettable experience for your customers, and become an industry leader in technology, then it’s worth investing in omni-channel marketing to achieve these goals.
This type of marketing has become increasingly popular among consumers, who demand total transparency and accessibility when shopping online.
Regardless of whether you embrace multi-channel marketing, cross-channel marketing, or omni-channel, the most important thing for you is to put your customer experience at the forefront of your marketing plan. Making the buying process as easy as possible is the key to making your marketing stand out from the crowd.