Given the nature of an omnichannel strategy, you should not be trying to go about everything manually.
Thankfully, there are lots of tools and softwares available to help you manage all of your marketing activities. Here we’ll cover the basics you need to get started.
Each channel will have benefits and drawbacks that you’ll have to balance.
Don’t forget to refer to your buyer persona, which will help you discern where you’ll have the most success engaging your consumers.
Your own website is one of the most flexible channels you can own. Depending on your business, a website can be used as a shop, a portfolio, a blog, a lead funnel, or all four.
A website is also one of the best ways to establish your brand identity, as you have full control over the UX design and web copy.
If you don’t already have your own website, there are tons of services available online that streamline the process for you. Some even integrate marketing and e-commerce functions, which we discuss in-depth later.
One drawback of a website is that you need to undertake adjacent activities to draw attention to it. You can use the other channels discussed below, or you can also work on SEO and SEM to rank higher on search engine results.
Email is the traditional method of digital outbound messaging.
Like a website, email is highly flexible and can accomplish a variety of goals. You should also learn to design emails that match the aesthetics of your brand identity.
One drawback of email marketing is that it’s quite over-used and done incorrectly. People usually can’t be bothered to open promotional-based emails so you’ll want to strike a solid balance between sending emails that contain valuable content with sales-based campaigns.
There are also other common pitfalls. Email too often and you’ll be marked as spam. Don’t email enough and you’ll be forgotten. Email on the wrong day and you’ll be competing with ten other businesses in someone’s inbox.
It’s a complicated landscape to navigate, but if you stick to a strategy, target your messaging, and focus on delivering value, your performance will improve over time.
SMS messaging is a faster alternative to email. While getting phone numbers and consent to send messages can be challenging, text messages have high open rates and are opened quickly. These are a great option for time-based campaigns like clearance sales or special events.
Social Media Platforms
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Broadly speaking, social media is similar to search engine marketing. So, like a website, you can pay to have certain posts put on people’s feeds, or you can rank on keywords to appear there organically.
Social media marketing is a popular choice because once you gather momentum, your ROI can snowball exponentially. This is because the algorithm generates leads for you by exposing your brand to people who match your target audience and are just passively scrolling.
For an omnichannel strategy, actions taken on social media should carry over to other channels.
For example, customers that visit your website through a milestone post on your social media are shown a webpage with a special offer related to the milestone.
But you probably already know that social media is insanely competitive. Far more than any other channel out there. If you pursue social media marketing as part of your omnichannel strategy, focus your efforts on the platforms your buyer persona uses the most.
You may have noticed in the section on examples of omnichannel strategies that all of those companies offered mobile apps. For B2C companies with physical channels, mobile apps are the most effective way to bridge digital and physical.
However, developing a mobile app is incredibly expensive and complicated.
A study by McKinsey found that only 0.01% of apps are financially successful. Before you start putting money into an app, you should seriously consider what the purpose of your app is and if it can be accomplished with a more cost-effective alternative like a website or web-based application.
Customer segmentation tools automate the segmentation process. Generally, they integrate with your channels, pull data from them, present the data in a readable way for strategic use, and organize individuals into customer segments.
Some tools specialize in things like eCommerce or email marketing.
A good tool will keep your data organized in a way that you can navigate so that you have a clear picture of who’s in your CRM. You should be able to compare different data points to identify recurring patterns amongst your segments.
Marketing Automation Tools
With your customer segments automated and updating in real-time, the next step is to connect a marketing automation tool so that messages get sent out automatically. Like segmentation tools, there are several options available.
Most tools work similarly and require little coding knowledge. You’ll connect all of your channels first.
Then when you plan an event, usually called an “automation” or “workflow”, the software uses a drag and drop flowchart to represent the code.
An example of a workflow would be sending a welcome email when someone signs up for your newsletter or sending an email when someone abandons their cart.
Some services offer templates of workflows, which is why it can feel like e-commerce stores operate similarly.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have much data available, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel!
As long as you’re prioritizing your customer’s job-to-be-done over the sale, you’ll be interacting with them in a meaningful way that helps keep you top-of-mind.
Data Dashboards and Reports
All of your channels and tools will have some kind of analytics, but when you’re straddling multiple platforms that bring in thousands of data points, things can get overwhelming.
It’s worth investing in a reporting tool that is compatible with all of your channels and tools.
A good data reporting software will pull data from all your integrations, and present it in a real-time dashboard that you can customize to show the most important metrics for your business.