The omni-channel approach ensures your brand message is seen everywhere at once. It's about making sure that people see your brand in the places they are most likely to need or want it, when they are in the buying mood, and on all their devices—online, offline, mobile. The goal of omni-channel is to fulfill all consumer expectations so what you get from a brand is consistent across all channels, at any point in time.
This approach involves integrating the customer experience across every possible touchpoint so that it's easy for your audience to move seamlessly from one channel to another and back again. On Facebook for example, you might see an ad on the right side of your screen followed by a friend recommendation on top of it.
This type of "surround sound" approach can be beneficial for your business if done correctly, but there are some risks involved. A big issue with omni-channel is that it's difficult to control which messages will show up in which place at any given time—and when you have competing messages across different channels, it can lead to confusion.
One company that has successfully used omni-channel is Uber, which by definition requires integration across all data sources—from the website to phone apps and physical locations. By creating a consistent experience across these channels, Uber ensures that customers get whatever information they need in whatever format they want. They can use an app for location purposes, call a local number if they want to speak with someone directly, or use the main website for general information.
The company also uses omni-channel in relation to their messaging. If you start out on the website and click "get a car," you'll be taken to an Uber page which will offer up a button that will take you to a phone app if you're on a mobile device. This seamless transition ensures that the customer is never getting an inconsistent message across different channels, and it keeps them engaged with Uber as much as possible.
The risk of omni-channel marketing is twofold: if your strategy isn't consistent across all channels, then your message will be diluted or even confusing to customers, and if you try to do too much at once without the proper strategy in mind, you could actually turn off potential prospects. When it comes to marketing, less can sometimes be more.
So how do you get started? Where should you begin with omni-channel marketing? We may not be able to give you all the answers, but we can help you get started.
Regardless of which channels you ultimately choose to include in your omni-channel approach (offline, online, mobile), it's important that you begin by understanding who your customers are and what they need from you.
Before you begin integrating all of these channels, it's important that you have goals in mind to guide your approach. What are you trying to accomplish? How will success be measured? Setting clear goals will allow you to develop effective strategies for both customer engagement and omni-channel marketing from the beginning.
No strategy can be effective if you don't have the resources to carry it out effectively—so determine what your budget will allow before you begin working on anything else. How much time/resources are you willing to dedicate? What channels do you want to include (and which will fall by the wayside)?
There are an infinite number of ways you can integrate different channels, so start by making a list of what all is available to you and decide which ones will best fit your goals and budget—and just as important, which won't.
Finally, once all the options have been evaluated, it's time to actually put your plan into action. This is where you'll begin integrating channels in a way that benefits both your business and customers—and the tricky part is to do so strategically. If you're not careful, omni-channel marketing can turn into an online mess , which no one wants.
So what happens when you develop your omni-channel marketing strategy?
You should start to see patterns in the data and responses you get from customers, even if it seems like there's no rhyme or reason for it at first. Keep an ear out for phrases, words, or patterns that customers use over and over again.
After a while, you'll start to see which channels are working for your company—and which ones aren't worth the effort anymore. Your best bet is to utilize the most successful of these channels in an even bigger way, while letting go of the rest.
Constantly evaluate your omni-channel marketing strategy, and be open to making changes when necessary. Customers are always changing their habits, so it's important that you're doing the same thing in order to keep up with them.
When customers start to recognize you as an omni-channel company, they'll understand that consistency is your M.O. The more channels you use for marketing purposes, the more likely it is that your reputation will precede you—which can ultimately help draw in new customers.
People love consistency, but they also value convenience. Developing an omni-channel marketing strategy is a great way to wow customers and show that you're always thinking of new ways to make their experience as seamless as possible—which will ultimately help contribute to customer loyalty over time.
Every business owner wants to see a positive return on investment, but in order to get there you actually need a strategy in place. Omni-channel marketing helps companies find new and innovative ways of getting their message out there while also finding opportunities for engagement.
Rather than going into a campaign without a plan or proper strategy, you'll be poised and ready to come out on top thanks to omni-channel marketing.
The beauty of omni-channels is that they give you access to more information about your customers than ever before—which makes it easier to actually use the data you gather. By implementing a strategy, you'll be able to make omni-channel marketing work for your business in a way that generates real results down the line.
This is big because it means you can get your message out to more people on a larger scale. Marketing becomes easier, faster, and less costly.
By integrating strategies into one cohesive whole that's based around your customers' needs—rather than what you think they may need—you end up with a positive sentiment of appreciation for your brand within the minds of your customers. And that's something you want to make sure you never lose.