20 Oct A Quick Guide to Omnichannel Marketing
Today the world abounds in ways to reach your customer. In addition to brick and mortar stores, you likely have your own website and social media channels, and you may feature your products or services through other larger websites like Etsy or Amazon. And in the course of a single day, you might interact with one customer over any number of these channels.
Omnichannel marketing is the practice of combining all of these channels to create a single streamlined experience for your customers, no matter how they reach out to you. The benefit of omnichannel marketing is that it allows for a completely seamless experience for your customers. It also allows you to deepen your understanding of your customers and create custom offerings that anticipate their needs. Today we’ll take a look at omnichannel marketing and how you can use it to create new opportunities for your crafty business.
Omnichannel versus Multichannel Marketing
Let’s talk a little bit about what omnichannel marketing is and how it is different from multichannel marketing. As we said in the introduction, you are likely available to your customers on multiple platforms already (both traditional and digital). If you have a marketing program in place, you are likely already creating content for many of these channels (adding updates to your website, posting to your social media channels, sending emails to your newsletter list, etc.) What you are already doing is likely multichannel marketing; that is, you are creating mostly brand-focused static content that you are sharing across channels. Omnichannel marketing differs in that it is customer-focused and tailors each message to your ever-changing relationship with your customer.
For example, you have just created a project kit for the holidays that you want to share with your customers. Using multichannel marketing, you might create posts for Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest that are largely similar: sharing that the project kit is available, what it includes, and why your customer won’t want to miss out on the holiday fun. You’ll use a few images in your posts, formatted appropriately for each platform, but generally the same. You might include the project in your monthly newsletter using the same descriptive language and the same photos. While you will certainly respond to comments and engage with your customers, you’ll more or less communicate the same message across platforms.
In omnichannel marketing, you’ll offer the project kit for sale on your website, but also on other channels (i.e. through an Instagram shoppable post, your Facebook store, and your Pinterest catalog). If a customer sends you a message on Facebook, you can respond easily to their question. If the same customer then engages with you on your Instagram post, you’ll pick up the conversation where you left off in your previous exchanges and perhaps you’ll suggest other notions they’ll need to complete the project kit. In this model you’re having a continuous interaction with your customer, offering personalization at each step, and engaging on whatever platform your customer chooses.
Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing
As we’ve already discussed, omnichannel marketing provides a great experience for your customers, allowing them to interact with you whenever and however they choose. But it sounds complicated for you to enact. Is it worth the effort?
In short, yes. Omnichannel marketing offers you greater reach, giving customers browsing on multiple platforms the opportunity to purchase your products and interact with you without needing to leave the platform (for instance, with Instagram shoppable posts, they no longer need to visit your website to complete a transaction). Increased reach, and increased ease of purchase creates the potential for increased profits. And don’t underestimate the value of the customer experience. Customers who interact easily with you through all of your channels and receive personalized service are more likely to become loyal customers who will come back for repeat purchases, increasing their lifetime value.
“Omnichannel shoppers spend somewhere between 50 and 300% more than traditional shoppers, according to Worldpay research. The purchase rate of omnichannel campaigns is 287% higher than single-channel campaigns. And businesses that use omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-on-year customer retention.” (Forbes)
Getting Started with Omnichannel Marketing
So how do you get started with omnichannel marketing? The first answer is technology. You’ll need a point of sale system that can integrate commerce across a variety of sales channels. Many of our clients already use Shopify, and small businesses may also want to consider Square. Both platforms integrate with many of the existing sales channels (Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, etc.) as well as include features like integrated email marketing, analytics, and more. These services will also give you a more holistic view of how your customers are interacting with you across platforms and sales channels. This allows you to create automated communications like abandoned cart messages, special offers on birthdays or other special holidays, or a customer loyalty program to reward customers for repeat purchases. Both services have optional customer relationship management software so you can track and maintain more information about your customers and use it to your advantage.
When you start with omnichannel marketing, start small. Before you make your products and services available on every channel, start with the few you frequent the most. Do you generate most of your customer interest from your Facebook group? Then start by optimizing your Facebook store, and creating content that works for your Facebook audience. Gradually add additional channels as you feel comfortable with the ones you already have in place. This isn’t a race, it’s a journey!
Finally, make time to review your results. Shopify and Square, or whatever system you choose, will yield lots of data. Review these results periodically and observe what works best with your customers, and what doesn’t work as well. Concentrate your efforts in the areas where you get the best results. Or conversely, pick an area that isn’t performing well and focus on it, experimenting with improvements and analyzing again after a short period of time.
We hope we’ve given you a brief primer on omnichannel marketing. If you’d like to explore how omnichannel marketing can help you grow your crafty business, contact us today to get started!