Four ways you can create an omni-channel marketing strategy

Want to reach and convert more customers? You need an omni-channel marketing strategy. Here are four ways to create one. 

If you’ve only just wrestled with the concept of getting a basic marketing plan for your small business, the idea that you now need to know what an ‘omn-ichannel’ marketing strategy is, let alone have one may fill you with dread.

But don’t worry. An omni-channel marketing strategy just means providing potential customers with a seamless experience, wherever they engage with, or are exposed to your business. It means seeing your business through your customer’s eyes and making sure all your communications connect so you’re where they expect to see you, saying the same kind of things.

To help you create an omni-channel experience for your customers, here are four things you can do.

1) Adopt a seamless approach

You can reach potential customers through more channels than ever before, and to survive (let alone thrive) in a competitive market, your business needs to be active across as many of these as possible.

From a brick-and-mortar in-store experience to your online presence (both desktop and mobile), there needs to be consistent look and feel across them all.

This can be as simple as using the same colours, and making sure that offers and event promotions are displayed prominently wherever your prospective customer may come across your brand. Remember, consistency is key – and in order for your business to be instantly recognisable, nailing your branding is crucial. 

This is precisely why nailing your brand identity and look and feel is so important. Wherever people find you, they need to see the same messaging, and you need to look like the same company.

On a very basic (but essential) level, you also need to know why your business exists, and what your vision is. Because if you don’t, how will your customers?

Here’s some advice on creating a strong brand:

2) Be where your customer is 

Of course, it’s easy to say that you need to ‘be everywhere’, but if you’re a small business how do you do this? You only have a limited amount of time, money and people to help you, and it’s impossible to be on everywhere at once and run your business.

The real secret is not to be everywhere, but to be everywhere your customers are. Take, for example, social media. It’s likely that your customers will tend to favour one or two social channels. So rather than spread your energy across all of them, you simply need to work out which ones have the most potential customers on, and focus on those.

As a general rule, we recommend small businesses focus on a maximum of two social channels, and learn how to use them as efficiently as possible (mixing scheduling with genuine, real live engagement).

One emerging trend over the past few years is influencer marketing. And if there’s an influencer that your audience really connect with, you may consider exploring that. (They don’t need to be huge to have an impact; micro influencers are cheaper and usually have a smaller but more loyal audience.)

You can also look at partnering up with complementary brands in your space, to connect with each other’s audiences, and leverage each other’s reputation and loyalty with them.

Here’s some more advice to help you ‘be everywhere’ when you’re a small business:

3) Use email marketing effectively

A few years ago, your email marketing strategy may just have consisted of sending out a monthly newsletter. But times have changed, and these days you need to be more savvy and sophisticated with your communications.

Today, the average office worker sends and receives 128 emails a day. And as a consumer, they send and receive 117 a day. That’s a LOT of email traffic. If you sent and received the combined total (245) and spent five minutes each, you’d spend over 20 hours a day emailing.

That just isn’t realistic.

So no wonder we have email fatigue today, and barely give the newsletters we have opted to receive any attention. Who has time to read a newsletter anyway, when we can follow a brand’s news on coal media?

That’s not to say that email marketing is dead. Far from it. But you do need to be more clever about your strategy, and make sure you give people a reason to notice and open your emails. And this comes down to being relevant, offering value, and knowing how to write great emails and newsletters.

Here’s some advice to help you achieve this:

4) Create an in-store experiential journey 

Its not just online that you have an opportunity to connect with and convert customers. If your business has a bricks and mortar element, think about how you can bring this to life and excite your customers, to ensure their experience makes them remember, love and return to you. Plus purchase while they’re there!

So how do you do that? There are so many ways you can improve your in-store customer experience – from thoughtful decor, easy to find products, and great service. Don’t overlook technology either; modern point of sale systems can streamline the purchasing experience for customers, and update your stock levels so you don’t run out of products.

If you have a cafe, again great decor and service are essential. As are thoughtful touches like the wording on your menu and table decorations. Anything you can do to make a diner’s experience special can help give your business a mini boost – and leave them more likely to give a great review, return and recommend your business.

Whatever bells and whistles you decide to throw at the real world experience of your business, it’s essential you remember your brand values, and ensure that they match.

So, for example, if your brand values include the word ‘friendly’, you need to make sure customers get a genuine, warm welcome. Or if you’re ‘professional’ you’re not still mopping the floor when customers arrive, or consistently open late. Basically, you need to live and breathe the same values your customers see on your website, on social media and in emails.

You can read more about creating a great in-store experience here:

Anna Emmett is the owner of Henryka Jewellery, specialising in hand-crafted, unique silver, amber and gemstone jewellery that’s inspired by the natural world.

Photo by Kristaps Grundsteins