Omnichannel your way: Tips for SMB Marketing
Creating an omnichannel experience isn’t just for big companies with big budgets. It’s possible for small and medium-sized businesses too. Without trying to build an entirely new system, there are still plenty of opportunities to create engaging and seamless customer experiences across different channels. By exploring the many touchpoints both offline and online and experimenting with innovative marketing strategies, SMBs can create a strong omnichannel marketing strategy to redefine their customer engagement.
1. Evaluate your existing customer engagement plan
Creating an omnichannel experience requires much more than simply offering multiple sales channels. It’s also about how you engage with your customers across different channels at different points in the customer lifecycle.
The first step in becoming omnichannel is to thoroughly evaluate your existing customer engagement plan. It’s critical to know as precisely as possible where and when your customers interact with your brand. Devote some time to learning what channels are available to them, which ones align more closely with your brand, and which ones they prefer.
Beyond knowing which channels fit your brand and customers, it is also important to determine HOW you want your customers to interact with your brand. Today’s customers follow a messy path to purchase. One multichannel pathway to purchase could go like this:
- Julia, an existing customer of your fragrance brand, is looking for a new scent>
- She opens up your latest email advertisement about your newly released fragrance and makes a mental note to take a sniff the next time she goes to a mall.
- The following weekend, she walks into the mall and sees a poster promoting your new perfume and recalls seeing the email ad.
- However, even after testing the scent, Julia remains undecided and holds off on her purchase.
- Later, when she returns home, she searches for other reviews of your fragrance.
- She goes to your online store and places the fragrance into the cart, but decides to hold off on purchasing it as she is uncertain about the price point.
- You send her an email, offering her a personalized discount coupon of 20% off a minimum purchase of $80.
- Pleased that she can get the perfume at a discount, she returns to your website, keys in her coupon, and finally makes the purchase.
By ensuring that the right information is available to Julia across all the channels through which she chooses to engage with you, following her customer journey, and triggering the right communications, you’ve been able to target her effectively, connect with her, and build a seamless omnichannel experience that motivates her to make the purchase.
2. Defining your target audiences through data
As you incorporate new channels, you’ll no doubt discover new sources of customer data, and not just demographic information, but more sophisticated attributes such as their purchasing patterns, browsing behavior, and psychographic data. With a robust audience data management system, you can consolidate this expanding pool of data to achieve a unified view of your customers.
These attributes, now consolidated, will also set the stage for defining your customers with greater specificity, especially through dynamically created personas.
If Julia, for example, has a history of purchasing skincare and makeup from you, over time you would have gathered more data on her that would help build her persona profile. If you knew that she only purchased products for oily skin, you could include her for marketing campaigns for product types aimed at her skin type but exclude her from products catered to people with dehydrated or dry skin. This would not only provide Julia with promotions she actually wants, but also optimize your beauty marketing spend.
3. Tailor your messaging to your audience
Delivering meaningful, individualized communications involves much more than creating specialized content. You need to communicate an impactful message that is consistent across channels and resonates with your target customers. For example, many fragrance brands target age-specific demographics. In 2017, when Lancome launched a fragrance targeted at women in their 40s to 70s, their pick for its ambassador was Julia Roberts, an iconic movie star influential among and relatable to women in their target demographic.
Another way of targeting your message beyond just the general audience is to determine your customer’s stage of awareness. If you’re targeting an audience still unaware of your product, getting them to take notice should be the focal point of your message. On the other hand, if your customer is at a point where they are ready to purchase, sending them information they already know of your product would be irrelevant. Rather, just as Julia was given a discount coupon, your message should provide an incentive or motivation to purchase now.
4. Meet your customers where they are
A key part of omnichannel is knowing what channels, online or not, your customers frequent and developing interactions in those channels accordingly. While 80 percent of retailers ranked email marketing and 51 percent ranked social media marketing among the top few methods of driving customer acquisition , those two are far from the only channels where you can engage your customers in relevant conversations about your brand.
Consider other channels, such as influencer marketing, blogging, or even running events to incorporate into your marketing campaign. In fact, many prefer researching products on these emerging channels before making up their minds on what works best for their business.
5. Leverage influencer marketing
As in the case of Julia, one of the many new ways that businesses can reach today’s customer is through influencers. Influencer marketing has been on the rise lately, particularly because of its success in the B2C market. According to Marketingprofs, 94 percent of marketers who use influencer marketing find it effective. The research also noted that only 3 percent of customers said they would buy a product endorsed by a celebrity, while over 30 percent said they would if it were endorsed by a non-celebrity influencer.
Knowing the right influencer to engage boils down to monitoring who your customers follow on social media, what topics pique their interest, and which influencers they find relatable. For example, a running trend in the fashion and beauty industry is getting YouTube influencers to review their cosmetics or fashion line.
If you’re a B2B company, you may think that influencer marketing does not apply to you, but think again. Experts and industry influencers with a strong social media following can definitely have an impact on the market for your B2B services. Running collaborative webinars, inviting influencers as a guest speaker at an event, or even asking them to contribute a guest blog on your site are a few of the many ways that influencer marketing can work in the B2B marketing space.
Omnichannel marketing may not always be easy, but it doesn’t have to be costly. Think about your customers’ journeys. Identify the pain points, the interactions that “click,” and the right integrated technology to resolve the challenges in one go. If you need help getting an omnichannel marketing strategy in place, contact us to see what Resulticks can do.