Businesses today connect with customers and prospects over more channels than ever. There’s voice, text, and email, Increasingly, AI-driven channels are also used to improve outreach and streamline processes with IVA and chatbots.
Driving growth for sales and lead generation operations isn’t just a matter of employing multiple channels. Today’s businesses need marketing strategies built around integrated connections between their marketing channels.
That’s where omnichannel comes in. In this article you’ll find everything from the basics to essential omnichannel marketing best practices, more than enough to get you started on a better way to do business.
In this guide to building a winning omnichannel marketing strategy, we’ll cover:
- A basic definition of omnichannel
- The benefits of implementing omnichannel
- The essentials elements for creating an omnichannel marketing strategy
- Common omnichannel challenges and mistakes
- Why lead gen and outbound sales teams should make the switch to omnichannel
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is the use of various channels to deliver a consistent, personalized experience to consumers and prospects. Omnichannel relies on all its channels working together to deliver a unified experience and seamless messaging.
Ultimately, that’s what separates omnichannel marketing from multichannel marketing. With omnichannel, the various channels and touchpoints for customer engagement—from the physical storefront to opt-in forms on a website—are not independent from one another as they are in multichannel marketing. Instead, they’re fully interconnected and backed by customer data; the insights gained through each channel informs the use of the others. Done right, all these connections deliver more opportunities for contact, conversion, and retention.
Examples of Omnichannel Marketing in Action
Many examples of effective omnichannel marketing are all around us. Consider the contemporary customer experience at a business like Starbucks: Loyal customers can utilize an app or order their special drink online, only to find it waiting for them when they arrive in-store. These digital channels and the in-store experience are unified by consistent customer data. Customers can accumulate rewards, explore the menu, and even see what song is playing inside their local store. And Starbucks branding and messaging is found at each step of the way, as the brand uses personalized push notifications, texts, and emails to keep in touch and boost engagement.
Omnichannel’s reach extends to outbound sales and lead gen teams, too. Gone are the days of just dialing away until you (hopefully) get someone on the other end. Today’s omnichannel-driven contact centers combine autodialing and voice with text, email, and even online chat capabilities to drive connections where and when their customers and leads prefer to be contacted.
The Benefits of Using an Omnichannel Strategy
Omnichannel marketing strategies are at the core of outreach and sales efforts for companies in a wide array of industries. A Harvard Business Review study determined that 73% of shoppers used multiple channels during their path to purchase. Meanwhile, though it’s often associated with a retail-type experience, omnichannel isn’t just for B2C organizations anymore.
Recent data from McKinsey suggests that omnichannel is the new normal in B2B sales as well. In the B2B sphere, omnichannel selling isn’t just replacing old ways though, it’s bettering them: eight in ten B2B leaders say that omnichannel is as or more effective than traditional marketing methods.
But to consider only the top-line growth in omnichannel adoption and effectiveness would be to overlook the many underlying benefits that have driven its widespread success. These include:
Unified Brand Identity
Executed correctly, an omnichannel marketing strategy presents customers with a unified image of your brand. With the ability to manage and sync experiences across channels, you can offer customers consistent services, value propositions, and much more.
Improved User Experience
Along with this consistency, you can deliver the personalized experience that customers prefer—and that delivers results. According to an e-tailing Group survey, 53 percent of consumers say that it’s important retailers recognize them as the same person across channels. Moreover, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when they’re offered a personalized experience.
More Revenue Opportunities
It’s not just personalization that increases purchases, though. When businesses offer more touchpoints for engagement, they’re more likely to connect with customers in the way they prefer. And the data is clear: with outreach and engagement, customers tend to spend more money.
Greater Lifetime Customer Value
The most effective omnichannel marketing strategies also include ways to reach and support customers after their initial purchase. With this coverage throughout the sales cycle, omnichannel tends to drive better retention and increased lifetime value.
Better Data Sources and Customer Insights
All the while, each of a business’s omnichannel touchpoints is enriching the company with more and more data on its interactions—its successes and failures. The insights gained only give businesses more opportunities to improve.
How to Develop an Omnichannel Strategy
Now that you have an idea of the what and why of omnichannel marketing, what about the how? Here are the key ingredients in any recipe for omnichannel success.
Deploy the Right Technology
Technology is the beating heart of any omnichannel marketing strategy. For outbound sales and lead generation teams, cloud-based contact center software that supports outreach via voice, text, and email is essential. All the better if it includes its own built-in CRM or supports third-party integrations.
Connect with Customer Data
These CRM features are critical because continuous access to customer data facilitates connections between channels and fuels a consistent customer experience (CX). Robust data is also foundational for planning omnichannel CX. This data ultimately paints a picture of customers’ behavior. And by understanding this behavior, teams can build an experience that suits customers’ needs, eases friction, and accelerates conversions.
Personalize with Audience Segmentation
Identifying behavioral patterns is critical, but it’s also important that audiences can be segmented based on these patterns or a given customer’s place in the sales funnel. By separating prospects and existing customers into a range of distinct groups, businesses can develop targeted (or, better yet, personalized) messaging, automated outreach workflows, and appropriate retention strategies.
Improve with Effective Measurement
The best omnichannel strategies include one more crucial element: the ability to iterate and improve. And this all comes down to proper measurement: omnichannel marketing requires selecting the right KPIs for profitability and implementing powerful performance reporting tools. Together, these features give marketing and sales decision-makers the direction and insights they need to make their experiences more and more effective over time.
Three Omnichannel Marketing Best Practices
As an omnichannel marketing strategy is developed, there are a few key points businesses need to keep in mind throughout the process:
1. Always Put Your Customers First
Although omnichannel can bolster bottom lines with increased revenue, it’s important not to lose sight of why that’s so. Omnichannel marketing derives its power from its customer-centric approach to delivering seamless experiences. When designing an omnichannel strategy, prioritize successful outcomes for customers first—and desired business outcomes will be more likely to follow.
2. Focus Only on the Right Channels
It’s a common misconception that omnichannel is synonymous with all channels. At the end of the day, an omnichannel approach should be developed around only the channels that fit an operation and its customers’ particular needs. In the contact center world, for example, inbound and blended operations may need to expand well beyond traditional voice to include channels like text, live chat, self-service, video, and more. In contrast, many outbound contact center teams can find success with a leaner set of connected channels, often just voice, text, and email.
3. Keep Tech Up-to-Date
Advances in technology come fast. Capabilities like artificial intelligence are pushing the bounds of what’s possible, from the call center to the brick-and-mortar store. Staying on top of these changes and updating your omnichannel experience along with them can be the difference between beating your competition and falling behind.
4 Omnichannel Marketing Challenges and Mistakes
So what trips businesses up as they make the shift to omnichannel? These common hurdles often stand in the way of omnichannel success.
Insufficient Customer Data
In today’s digital world, businesses that lack effective data collection and utilization strategies risk falling behind. That’s because they’ll struggle to offer the coherent experiences across channels that today’s customers expect. Whether it’s the CX of a small-time retailer or a large blended call center, there’s customer data to be found—and leveraged—wherever businesses interact with customers.
Lack of Connection Between In-Person and Online
Although so much of day-to-day life is driven by digital experiences, it’s a mistake to not incorporate physical, in-person experiences into an omnichannel strategy. In-office employees and sales reps out in the field can also utilize customer data to deliver much-improved, winning experiences. Hear more about these possibilities from expert Heather Griffin, who previously discussed connecting marketing targets with on-the-ground reps availability in solar industry sales.
Poor Content Strategy or Misguided Messaging
Customers and prospects expect personalization. That means that the content and messaging you use to inform and attract them needs to meet their personal needs. Build content, advertising, and winning sales scripts that are highly relevant by building customer personas based on real data.
Failing to Support Compliance
With state-level privacy legislation on the rise and outbound calling restrictions always in flux, omnichannel marketers should keep compliance concerns front and center. Misuse of customer data, overdoing outreach to leads, and other misguided actions don’t just carry a huge financial risk. They also pose huge risks to brand reputation.
Using Omnichannel for Lead Gen and Outbound Sales
Upgrading your marketing approach to include omnichannel has the power to boost business in any industry. Lead gen and outbound sales teams in particular can use omnichannel marketing to increase contact rates, derisk their strategy, and drive conversions.
With call blocking and flagging issues plaguing contact centers everywhere, incorporating solutions like outbound and two-way SMS can give lead gen teams a way to maintain higher contact rates. When effectively combined with voice and email, the results can be downright jaw-dropping. Omnisend research found that campaigns involving SMS were 47.7% more likely to end in conversion.
The Right Technology to Drive Growth
Of course, seeing these kinds of results requires partnering with the right technology partners. See for yourself how Convoso’s powerful predictive dialer and automation-driven suite of tools can maximize connections and multiply sales for your business.
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