It doesn’t matter whether your business is a giant multinational with thousands of employees or you operate as a single trader, operating your business from home. Embracing an omnichannel marketing strategy can be one of the surest ways to strengthen the perception of your business and drive growth.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how small businesses can make the most of the multiple channels for marketing available to them and deliver powerful brand messaging while doing so.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is marketing that operates across multiple channels, that is, in multiple different media. It incorporates both online and offline marketing and is a way to describe the multifaceted way that your customers are likely to encounter your brand.

More than that—as nothing we’ve said so far differs from multichannel marketing—omnichannel marketing also focuses on creating seamless messaging across all touchpoints via every channel to tell the right story about your business.

Each business will, of course, have its favorite means of advertising, and only you will know what works best for your company. Does a door-to-door flyer campaign never fail to bring in customers? Or has introducing marketing materials through your CCaaS platform given you the best return on investment (ROI) in the past?

Omnichannel does not mean sacrificing a marketing strategy that works. And neither does it mean placing equal emphasis on all channels. It is simply a methodology that seeks to unify your marketing efforts so that they can best complement each other and reach as many of your target audience as possible.

Whether potential customers encounter your brand on their laptop, their phone, in a print publication, or through visiting a physical location, their experience should be continuous. This means messaging needs to be consistent, and there should be as little friction as possible as they move from channel to channel.

5 Tips for Creating an Omnichannel Strategy 

There’s no shortcut to perfect omnichannel marketing, but the following tips will help you get started on the right foot.

1. Finetune Your Branding

Branding is the art of establishing your company as an authentic, reputable, and recognizable brand. From advertisements to in-store communications, the key to good branding—and omnichannel marketing—is to maintain a continuous narrative across multiple touchpoints. 

Good branding first requires that you have a clear idea of what kind of buyer your company is targeting. Use a buyer persona that represents a typical consumer of your product or service when designing your brand messaging. Remember to carry out research to best understand the kind of narrative that will most appeal to your persona.

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Brand messaging should tell a consistent story that is tailored to your target audience. The same story should then be reinforced at each stage of the customer journey, no matter the channel. 

To create consistent and impactful brand messaging, focus on design and stick to a single overarching brand plan that covers website design, advertisements, social media, events, influencer marketing campaigns, and the in-store experience.

2. Enlist the Right Help

If you work in a small business, you will know that resources are finite. Advertising budgets are typically already overstretched, and marketing departments can’t afford to spread themselves too thin by dividing up into different teams for billboarding, social media, and events, etc. 

Outsourcing—the process of hiring an external third-party who specializes in something your organization needs—can be a simple and effective marketing tool for small businesses. There are many ways you can outsource certain marketing processes in order to optimize your omnichannel presence. 

For example, outsourcing a call center is an affordable and efficient way to increase your reach and generate new leads. You still get to write the script and maintain overall control over the telemarketing process, but by outsourcing, you save on having to employ extra staff for what can be a time-consuming part of your omnichannel marketing plan.

Of course, there are important decisions to be made when it comes to choosing your contractors. Luckily, there is a range of dedicated companies providing call center solutions for small businesses.

3. Integrate Your Online and Offline Presence

Thanks to smartphones, these days, most of us are never far from an internet-connected device. And technologies like virtual faxing are knitting together people’s experience of the online and offline world like never before.

Consequently, although a cross-channel approach to marketing is important, omnichannel doesn’t just mean coordinating the different digital experiences of your brand. A proper omnichannel approach should also incorporate your offline brand presence and make sure it aligns with your online marketing.

A great way to integrate your online and offline marketing is to create or take part in live events that are digitally accessible.

One way to do this is through social media, using a platform like Facebook Live, Instagram’s IGTV, or Twitch to live stream directly to your audience. A good live event appeals to new customers but also has something to offer to your pre-existing customer base. Incorporate calls to action within your broadcast and encourage people to get involved, either during the event or to make contact via alternative channels.

As well as one-to-many, broadcast-style events, more interactive, conference-style online events can also be a great avenue for engaging with your customers. With the right set-up, you can even facilitate conference call dial-in opportunities for in-location events, maximizing your reach across physical and digital channels.

4. Align Marketing With Other Business Processes

Between websites, paid advertisements, reviews, social media, in-store experiences, real-world, and virtual events, there’s plenty to think about when it comes to making sure all your marketing efforts are aligned. 

But marketing is not the be-all and end-all of engaging with your customers, and as the overall customer experience becomes increasingly omnichannel, it also becomes harder to define what counts as marketing and what doesn’t.

While the border zone between marketing and public relations has always been difficult to define, in the omnichannel age, the question of what is and isn’t marketing extends to other areas of the customer journey, setup as after-sales and customer support.

For example, managing a business’s Facebook page might be thought of as falling under the responsibility of the marketing department. But many people now use social media as their first port of call when they have questions that are better answered by customer support teams.

Rather than thinking of marketing as a specialized business process, try to incorporate marketing goals into a broader strategy for an omnichannel customer experience that includes all the different ways people might engage with your brand.

The best way to ensure that your marketing objectives line up with the rest of your business needs is to have regular and open communication surrounding what these are. Use a cloud communications platform to get your whole team on board with your marketing plan, even if you can’t all be in the same place for a meeting.

5. Use Customer Data

Collecting customer data is essential to creating the ultimate omnichannel brand experience.

On the digital front, you can connect eCommerce browsing data to your email marketing campaign. You should also use digital means of communication to remind people of in-store opportunities.

In the other direction, when customers do visit your physical business location, take the opportunity to sign them up for a mailing list, encourage them to leave a review, or connect with them on social media, so that they can become involved in future digital marketing initiatives. 

You can also use location data to direct website visitors to their nearest store. To really integrate marketing and the shopping experience, enable purchase options that allow your customers to pay digitally and collect in-store (or vice versa). If your company has an associated app, you can even target your customers with notifications on their mobile devices when they are near your business’s physical location.

If you’re worried you may not have the technical know-how to follow a data-centric approach to sales and marketing, remember that you can always use a free eCommerce platform to make the process easier.

Avoiding the Multichannel Approach

A final point has to be made on the distinction between omnichannel and multichannel methods. 

In marketing, multichannel refers to an approach that simply enlists multiple different channels for reaching your customers. Omnichannel, on the other hand, is the methodology that has been described in this guide, in which multiple different channels are mobilized in such a way that they complement one another seamlessly.

If you take one thing away from this guide, it should be that today a multichannel approach is just not enough, and not going fully omnichannel is a wasted opportunity to create a seamless experience for your customer.

By following the tips laid out here, you will have the basic tools to ensure your marketing channels are synced up. So why leave it for the big players to reap all the rewards of multimedia commerce? Start planning your new omnichannel marketing strategy today!

Author Bio

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that makes virtual meetings and remote collaboration possible. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.