Imagine this: It’s 8 am, you’re on your way to grab your favorite morning joe when you see that a different coffee house has posted a link to a free-coffee coupon on Facebook. Sweet! When you arrive at the store, you click the link on Facebook and reveal your coupon code from the website. The barista scans it, and you receive your free cup of coffee. Since you saved on the coffee, you decide it’s finally time to try that breakfast sandwich you’ve been eyeing…

This is a great example of how a small business can utilize omnichannel marketing—a strategy of messaging and consumer interactions that span both the digital and physical world. With audiences viewing a multitude of media channels, businesses have far more opportunities to advertise to their audience. With a thoughtful omnichannel marketing strategy, businesses can capture their audience’s attention and create a fluid journey to purchase.

While many companies have large-scale omnichannel campaigns, omnichannel marketing is a great option for small to mid-sized businesses as well. In this blog, we’ll show you the ins-and-outs of how an omnichannel approach can benefit any business.

What Is It?

Establishing the difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing is key to understanding exactly how it works. While there’s a thin line between the two, omnichannel marketing takes the multichannel approach to the next level.

Multichannel marketing simply means using multiple types of media (TV, email, digital advertising, etc) to advertise a business. The concept of multichannel marketing is nothing new, in fact, many businesses currently utilize a multichannel marketing strategy such as a mix of billboards, social media, and word of mouth. The advent of technology has brought new channels to advertise on, giving businesses a better chance to reach an audience in more than one place.

Hubspot defines omnichannel marketing as:

“…a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out.”

The key difference in omnichannel marketing is the use of a business’ multiple channels to create a seamless consumer journey, providing value to a new or existing customer at each touch point— nudging and reminding them to engage with the business.

Why You Should Use It

Think of an omnichannel marketing approach as a “culture” for your marketing efforts — all the components abide by a mission statement and work synergistically toward a common vision.

Small to mid-sized businesses have an incredible opportunity to attract new customers, build strong relationships, and achieve fiscal goals with a cohesive message. The total number of channels, as well as the addition of new, free channels (like social media), make the approach easier to implement With the popularity of smart devices and social media continuing to rise, the popularity of omnichannel campaigns will likely follow.

Creating Your Own

Before implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy, it’s smart to take a look at your previous efforts and develop a strategy from the most successful channel. For example, an e-commerce store will have a significantly different strategy than a bakery. Once you’ve established your main point of customer entry, work backward to establish different touch points with your audience. Follow the data:

  • How often do your customers shop?
  • What channel do most purchases come from?
  • Where is the best impression ROI?
  • Where does Google Analytics show your traffic coming from?

The key to establishing a cohesive omnichannel presence or campaign is keeping the flow of the consumer’s journey as smooth as possible. This means eliminating any unnecessary speedbumps or barriers on the journey to purchase. Once you’ve figured out a sales funnel to nurture your customers, you can begin to implement.

Here’s an example of how you can turn a multichannel flop into an omnichannel win:

A local bank has a multichannel marketing mix consisting of a brick and mortar store, a website, a phone line, and a billboard downtown. The bank puts out a new billboard offering a free service if new customers call the office number, prominently shown. Unfortunately, most customers will see the ad in their car, prompting them to wait until they’ve parked to engage. When they search for the bank, they come to a website that has not been updated to advertise the free service. When trying to make an appointment, they cannot register online but must call the bank directly, adding another unnecessary step to the process of engaging with the bank.

An omnichannel marketing strategy would use the billboard to advertise the free service and the bank’s website on the billboard (rather than the phone number). Once searched, the home page of the website would have a clear and direct path to sign up for the free service. Finally, rather than the customer calling for an appointment, the bank offers the option to sign-up to be contacted directly by the bank, letting the customer choose a time frame that works for them.

As demonstrated, an omnichannel strategy uses almost no extra budget or time, yet creates a fluid experience with every touch point the consumer has with the business. Whether it’s a website, a commercial, a store, an email, or a direct mailer coupon — an omnichannel marketing strategy ensures that the messaging and engagement are cohesive and complementary.

If you’re interested in an omnichannel marketing approach for your business, Equivity’s Marketing Strategists can help figure out the perfect consumer journey.