“Omnichannel is what consumers expect, but hardly anyone in the market provides smoothly. Those who succeed first will own the future.”
Achim Himmelreich, Director of Digital Transformation at Capgemini and Vice President of the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW)
Omnichannel marketing means reaching your users personally across all channels and offering them a consistent customer experience on each of them. Whether on your website, app, Facebook, LinkedIn or newsletter. Your users want to change channels at will and on top of that expect the same customer experience everywhere.
Not an easy task. With the right strategy, however, no rocket science. Read which success factors decisively increase the effectiveness of your own omnichannel marketing.
Tip #1: Know your users inside out
In order to address your users with an optimal customer experience, you should know your target groups very well. Please, please do not underestimate this point. Classic surveys are still a very suitable method. But much more important is the continuous analysis and evaluation of your own collected user data.
Start by asking your employees from various departments for relevant information about your users. Place particular value on your main target group. In other words, the target group that is already purchasing your products or services. Of course, structured and prepared data will help you the most. However, interviews and personal insights sometimes also give you a very good first overview.
In a second step, you compile all available user data from the various sources. This includes information from Google Analytics, social media insights of your different platforms and user data from your CRM. If your company uses other tools, get this data as well. With all your collected data, you can now create detailed marketing personas for your primary target audience. The more accurate your image of your ideal user is, the better it will be for you.
With your marketing personas at hand, you are now able to address your users as personally as possible. And not only that, ideally you also have an accurate picture of the pain points of your main target group. If this is the case, it’s now your goal to offer attractive solutions through different content.
Again: your top goal should always be to create an extraordinary customer experience for your users. And with that, according to the consulting firm McKinsey, you gain a great advantage over your competition: “Companies that create exceptional customer experiences can set themselves apart from their competitors”. I say: “Very true.”
Tip #2: Centralise your content
In order to publish scalable content, it is imperative that you centralise all your content from different corners of your company.
The chances are very good that many departments of your company already produce excellent content, which you can ideally use for your own purposes. These could be, for example, presentations from your product team, insights from the last conference or HR videos of new employees.
It is best to define clear responsibilities and workflows with the individual departments once. In addition, you should give your colleagues as much information as possible about what kind of content you are interested in as well as what you are not interested in. Once this is achieved, you don’t have to ask weekly if there is content for your target audience in each team.
With regular updates from the different areas of your company, you can now plan and work much more efficiently. When done correctly, this is omnichannel marketing at its best.
Tip #3: Rely on the right channels
If you have analysed your target groups on the basis of my first tip, you should know by now which channels your users are using and which not. In addition, you should also have found out how your users actually use the relevant channels.
For example, is a large number of your target group active in certain LinkedIn groups? Or do your users like to post photos of your products on Instagram? All this would be invaluable knowledge.
In a nutshell, this means you only engage on those platforms your users are active on. This is why it’s so crucial to evaluate your data and analyse which channels your target groups actually spend their time on.
Of course, it sounds tempting to be equally present on all channels. But it doesn’t just make sense to be on Pinterest when you’re selling HR software and your customers aren’t there.
Once you start building your omnichannel marketing strategy, it’s important to focus on your users’ favorite channels only. After that, you can still review and optimize your marketing strategy and add more channels as needed.
Once you’ve established a solid foundation, you can start investing a small portion of your time and financial resources in alternative channels and trends. This way you can test how your target group reacts. Possible exciting options nowadays would be Voice Assistant, Content Hubs or News Aggregators, e.g. from Google and Apple.
By the way, in case you want to learn how to put together a great omnichannel marketing strategy that works in 6 steps, then read my other blog here.
Tip #4: Plan your content precisely
So far, we have already looked at your user data and the favourite channels of your users. Now let’s take a look at the heart of your omnichannel marketing strategy: your content.
In the previous step, you have already defined the relevant touchpoints and channels of your target groups. For example, this could mainly be your website, email and newsletter.
Then you look at the different phases of your users’ customer journeys. What problems do your users face in each phase? What questions do your users have? Your next task is to create solution-oriented content for each step of the customer journey in order to accompany the potential customer in your funnel.
There are many great tools that can assist you to find the right topics. My personal favorites are Buzzsumo, Quora, Answer The Public, Moz Keyword Explorer and Hubspot Blog Ideas Generator.
In this context, a content plan is also indispensable. There, you can now merge the relevant touchpoints with the individual phases of the customer journey.
Another hint: it is also important to keep the temporal aspect of publishing in mind. Your users will probably not use the different channels at the same periods of time. You should take this into account when planning your content. After you have already analysed your user data, you know how your users behave and at which times they prefer to use relevant channels. Don’t just serve your users the right content. But the right content at the right time. This way you can exploit the full potential of your effort.
After you have created a main content piece, you should prepare your content channel-specifically. If you also want to work efficiently here, it is of great importance that you create structured content, meaning channel-neutral content.
This means, for example, that there should be clear assignments of individual blocks (title, subheading, text, image, quote, video, embedded Twitter post, etc.) at editor level. This is the only way that a software is able to automatically adapt your content to the conditions of the individual channels. If you do not pay attention to this point, a smooth publication of your content on all channels is unfortunately not possible.
One more thing regarding the reuse of content. Make it easy for yourself and use your content multiple times. For example, turn a case study into a whitepaper. Or create an infographic from an already held webinar.
However, not every content is suitable for every format. It is important that your customers, no matter which channel they use, receive a uniform customer experience. Using a content marketing pyramid can also help you achieve the necessary quantity of content.
Tip #5: Ensure a uniform brand presence
It just doesn’t exist. The one and only typical Customer Journey. Usually, your customers do not want to commit themselves and instead want to change channels as they like.
With omnichannel marketing, you can address this and offer your customer a consistent brand experience across all channels. Because familiarity creates trust. So as soon as your customer changes channels, for example from LinkedIn to your website, they should have the same brand experience with the structure he is already familiar with. This allows your customers to make seamless transitions and therefore creates an environment in which they are already comfortable.
Therefore, you better make sure that all formats of your content, be it text, images or graphics, correspond to your corporate design.
Tip #6: Tell your stories
A study by the consulting firm Walker showed that the customer experience will have replaced the price and the product as a differentiating feature by 2020.
This outlook shows that it’s becoming more important than ever to excite customers for one’s own brand and brand experience. But how do you do this? With storytelling. Because stories make it possible to transform dry information into emotions. Also stories increase your credibility because they are more memorable than facts. Furthermore, stories arouse curiosity and captivate attention.
But finding a good story is not always easy. Good stories require extraordinary products, surprising encounters or fascinating service. Go on a search! Why? Because exciting stories can often be easily found within your company itself, e.g. in conversations with your own employees or colleagues, through special projects, or with your best customers (see Tip 2).
For example, you could create a fascinating content piece around a specific success one of your customer has already achieved with your services. It can be very effective to let the customers speak for themselves. The stories told by them in their own words are usually more credible than those, which you bring into circulation yourself.
Like any other content, you prepare your stories media-specifically. For example, you tell the complete story on your website and on social media you spread interesting bits and pieces of your story over several posts that link back to your website.
Tip #7: Rely on the right software
Companies that want to offer their users an end-to-end customer experience across all channels face a few critical digital challenges. They must deliver high-quality, personalized content and publish it promptly to multiple channels – with a few clicks and without much extra effort.
A suitable publishing platform makes your work much easier and is definitely worth every penny. With a great platform, and this is crucial, you can create and manage your content channel-neutrally. This allows you to quickly and efficiently adapt your content to various channels by adding additional assets, interactions and animations.
The development in content creation is clearly moving in the direction of holistic thinking and action. Nonetheless, in this framework one question is becoming increasingly difficult to answer: How and where can I best reach my users?
Without the support of a professional platform that brings your entire content process together in one central location, this is almost impossible. From efficient creation of structured content, via quick distribution to numerous channels, to intelligent optimisation using data-based analysis tools. Nowadays, no one can implement all these steps in an economically viable manner without software support.
In a nutshell: For efficient omnichannel marketing a high quality of your content and its management on a central platform is essential.
Companies that rely on the right content, the right channels and the right platform for their omnichannel marketing strategy, will be wowed by efficiency they never thought possible. And therefore gain a huge competitive advantage.
Finally, I’d like to close with a statement about omnichannel strategy in general, which sometimes flies below the radar due to all the efficiency gains and the benefits such a strategy brings. The statement goes like this: correctly implemented, an omnichannel strategy leads to a significantly better customer experience, which in turn leads to much stronger customer loyalty as well as customer acquisition and ultimately to more revenue for your company. So all in all, you’ll be both more efficient and more successful.