Recently the concept of multichannel and omnichannel sales has been a trending topic on social media. Maybe you’re still confused about the difference between the two, and are wondering why everybody seems to be going crazy over it and whether you should too. And if you’re a small to mid-sized online business, the answer ought to be a resounding “Yes”.

In this post we’ll clear up the definitions of multi and omnichannel marketing and list several benefits that come hand in hand with integrating omnichannel tactics into your business strategy.

Multichannel 

This strategy is focused on driving sales in each channel separately. The overall brand or campaign message is meant to be spread as fast as possible and thus may not be consistent across all the channels used. Email or social media marketing may communicate a different content in order to meet individual goals and don’t always follow common mission.

Omnichannel 

This strategy is an advanced stage of multi-channeling. Thanks in part to a consistent and balanced approach the message is delivered across the inter-linked channels, and the customer is then provided with the same message in the channel they choose. This boosts the feel of familiarity with the brand and starts building a healthy rapport with your customers.

No matter what channel the customer chooses to interact with a brand, the information should be centrally stored and delivered via any other channel.

In omnichannel the delivered message flows across all channels, both online and offline.

Customer Case Study Using Via Omnichannel

If an omnichannel strategy is about viewing the shopping from the customer’s point of view, let’s imagine your own purchase behavior when you want a new bike.

Since a bicycle is a long-term consumption product, you naturally want to choose the best possible option in terms of quality. Probably your journey would look like this:

  • you spend a few days considering and start with Google searching the type of bike you’re interested in via your own PC. When you find one that meets your criteria, you head to their website to get a closer look at their products.
  • you might want to discuss the options with your friend so you head back to the website on your tablet or mobile.
  • finally, you want to see the bikes in person, so you use the “Find In Store” feature on the website to locate the one nearest to you. But at the same time you may also search for reviews on social media, to see what other people with similar tastes have purchased. If all your questions and doubts are put to rest, you’ll probably feel confident buying the bike.
  • additionally you might find you need some accessories like a light or bike lock, and you end up returning yet again to their online store for another purchase. And it’s highly probable you’ll get a discount via email.

As this illustrates, there are many touch-points a customer passes these days to complete a purchase.

This is what we call seamless communication and is an example of the kind of good customer experience that an omnichannel strategy ensures.

The Benefits Of An Omnichannel Strategy

Instant Revenue Growth

Omnichannel shoppers actually spend 4 % more, on average, during in-store shopping trips and 10 % more online than customers who only used a single channel.

The average omnichannel customer also spent more in the future: 17 percent more, on average, with the retailer over the next six months, and they even purchased 15 % more items, as compared to those who used just one channel. These facts and figures are good reasons to invest into an omnichannel strategy that will pay for itself dozens, if not hundreds, of times over.

High Customer Retention

Winning a consumer’s attention and loyalty in a competitive market full of other merchants is not an easy undertaking. And keeping them is even harder. Omnichannel marketing can help you manage customer relationships across all channels and influence their loyalty to your brand. For customers it’s nice to be distinguished and greeted in each channel they use.

Seamless flow on customers’ journey empowers them to interact with the company in a natural way, and the familiar environment of the brand and ability to respond to a consumer’s demand in desired way increases overall customer satisfaction. 

Easily Personalized Offer

Luckily for merchants, consumers are becoming more willing to share personal data if they see a tangible benefit in exchange. They also expect to be able to earn points on their accounts regardless of the channel they use. Hence, this allows you the opportunity to personalize your offers to them. Their shopping experience is rising when they can shop whenever and however they like in the way that reflects their specific needs.

In the sense of rewarding with coupons, there is a growing tendency to accept digital forms of vouchers received via mobile instead of traditional printed forms. That personalization creates loyal customers who spend a lot on the brands they love.

Importance of All Channels

To confirm our case study above, we should mention that 67% of retail customers start shopping on one device and finish on another or complete their purchase in a physical store. Shoppers tend to use around 10 sources of information to make a purchasing decision. This should motivate you to take full advantage of all your channels and look for more if your customers use them.

The ability to use digital technology at home, on the go, or in-store — to research products, compare brands, read reviews, check product availability, and pay for items — enables the seamless experience many shoppers now demand to complete their purchases.

Cross-Channel Insights

Multiple channels of communication create different streams of information and you need to be able to control and understand these metrics. With a good omnichannel analytics tool you can interact with customer data no matter where it is generated from and cross-reference it with other data generated from similar customers across platforms. With this overview you get a better picture about the effects of your business efforts.

Customer Self-Service

According to a survey by Nuance Enterprise customers consider self-service as a very convenient alternative in their shopping habits. New channels create new touch-points and new opportunities to engage with customers.

Thanks to digital assistants, customers are more ready than they’ve ever been to embrace a self-service which makes them feel more independent; at the same time, it also allows you to keep in touch and receive feedback from them. The catch is that the systems in place usually require an integrated or attractive way to meet the needs of more sophisticated customers.

If customers can get answers to their questions without taking up your time and resources, it increases your efficiency and their satisfaction.

“91% said they would use an online knowledge base (such as FAQ) if it was tailored to their needs.”

As a result, we see omnichannel marketing as an influential and key component in the future of eCommerce. The sooner online businesses adapt to this strategy, their bigger their competitive advantage will be down the road. Conversely, those that fail to upgrade or employ omnichannels as part of their business model may find themselves struggling to keep up.

Some Advice To Keep In Mind when beginning to integrate omnichannels: 

TIP #1: Make our customer experience seamless

With consistent branding, design and prices across all your channels. Deliver the same message across all channels.

TIP #2: Make Your Customer Experience Frictionless

Make the customer’s journey even smoother by limiting the amount of clicks it takes to make a purchase — from browsing to buying, always try to simplify! 

TIP #3: Use Right Platforms For Easier Integration

Shopping platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce or Lightspeed strongly support omnichannel policy and help you set everything right.

TIP #4: Know Your Customer Journey Before You Get Started

When designing an omnichannel experience, spend time digging into your data to get insight on how users interact with your digital properties. Consider how your audience currently interacts with your brand or other brands within your industry. Do they take time to read longer blog posts, or do they prefer small hints such as those on Instagram or Snapchat? Work to position your brand as an influencer on channels designed to deliver the types of content in which your audience shows the most interest.

What’s Your Next Step?

If you use multichannel sales now you’re definitely on track. If you want to ensure a successful future and interesting life for your business, think about switching to omnichannels, or adopting it to some element of your online business. In the end, can you really put a price on customer satisfaction and streamlined efficiency?

Analytics plugins and apps are the missing piece you need to boost your store, increase revenues, and build stronger customer relationships.

Ask a marketer or business owner what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll probably tell you “more customers.” What often comes after customers on a business’ wish list? More traffic to their site.

Advertise

This one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, social media advertising and display advertising are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before you reach for your credit card.

If you’re hoping that more traffic to your site will also result in more sales, you’ll need to target high commercial intent keywords as part of your paid search strategies. Yes, competition for these search terms can be fierce (and expensive), but the payoffs can be worth it.

Get Social

It’s not enough to produce great content and hope that people find it – you have to be proactive. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use social media channels to promote your content. Twitter is ideal for short, snappy (and tempting) links, whereas Google+ promotion can help your site show up in personalized search results and seems especially effective in B2B niches. If you’re a B2C product company, you might find great traction with image-heavy social sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Here’s more advice on making the most of social media marketing.

Mix It Up

There is no magic formula for content marketing success, despite what some would have you believe. For this reason, vary the length and format of your content to make it as appealing as possible to different kinds of readers. Intersperse shorter, news-based blog posts with long-form content as well as video, infographics and data-driven pieces for maximum impact.

Write Irresistible Headlines

Headlines are one of the most important parts of your content. Without a compelling headline, even the most comprehensive blog post will go unread. Master the art of headline writing. For example, the writers at BuzzFeed and Upworthy often write upward of twenty different headlines before finally settling on the one that will drive the most traffic, so think carefully about your headline before you hit “publish.”

Pay Attention to On-Page SEO

Think SEO is dead? Think again. Optimizing your content for search engines is still a valuable and worthwhile practice. Are you making the most of image alt text? Are you creating internal links to new content? What about meta descriptions? Optimizing for on-page SEO doesn’t have to take ages, and it could help boost your organic traffic.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

Got your high-intent keyword and popular keyword bases covered? Then it’s time to target long-tail keywords, too. Long-tail keywords account for a majority of web searches, meaning that if you’re not targeting them as part of your paid search or SEO efforts, you’re missing out.

Start Guest Blogging

Before you say it – no, true guest blogging isn’t dead, despite what you may have heard. Securing a guest post on a reputable site can increase blog traffic to your website and help build your brand into the bargain. Be warned, though – standards for guest blogging have changed radically during the past eighteen months, and spammy tactics could result in stiff penalties. Proceed with caution.

Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site

Guest blogging is a two-way street. In addition to posting content to other blogs, invite people in your niche to blog on your own site. They’re likely to share and link to their guest article, which could bring new readers to your site. Just be sure that you only post high-quality, original content without spammy links, because Google is cracking way down on low-quality guest blogging.

Go After Referral Traffic

Rather than trying to persuade other sites to link back to you (a tedious and time-intensive process), create content that just begs to be linked to.

When Larry wrote about the kick in the proverbial teeth that eBay took from Google’s Panda update, we managed to secure a link from Ars Technica in the Editor’s Pick section alongside links to The New York Times and National Geographic. Not too shabby – and neither was the resulting spike in referral traffic. Learn what types of links send lots of referral traffic, and how to get them, in this post.

Link Internally

The strength of your link profile isn’t solely determined by how many sites link back to you – it can also be affected by your internal linking structure. When creating and publishing content, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for internal links. This not only helps with SEO, but also results in a better, more useful experience for the user – the cornerstone of increasing traffic to your website.

Don’t Neglect Email Marketing

So many businesses are focused on attracting new customers through content marketing that they forget about more traditional methods. Email marketing can be a powerful tool, and even a moderately successful email blast can result in a significant uptick in traffic. Just be careful not to bombard people with relentless emails about every single update in your business. Also, don’t overlook the power of word-of-mouth marketing, especially from people who are already enjoying your products or services.

A friendly email reminder about a new service or product can help you boost your traffic, too.  Email marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your site or your blog, and to promote any offers, but it also means that you need a list to market to. Create a lead magnet and build a sales funnel immediately if you haven’t already done so, in order to build up a list that you can eventually market (not spam) any of your offers to.

Make Sure Your Site is Responsive

The days when internet browsing was done exclusively on desktop PCs are long gone. Today, more people than ever before are using mobile devices to access the web, and if you force your visitors to pinch and scroll their way around your site, you’re basically telling them to go elsewhere. Ensure that your website is accessible and comfortably viewable across a range of devices, including smaller smartphones.

Make Sure Your Site is Fast

Ever found yourself waiting thirty seconds for a webpage to load? Me neither. If your site takes forever to load, your bounce rate will be sky high. Make sure that your pages are as technically optimized as possible, including image file sizes, page structure and the functionality of third-party plugins. The faster your site loads, the better.

Research the Competition

If you haven’t used software like BuzzSumo to check out what your competitors are up to, you’re at a huge disadvantage. These services aggregate the social performance of specific sites and content to provide you with an at-a-glance view of what topics are resonating with readers and, most importantly, making the rounds on social media. Find out what people are reading (and talking about), and emulate that kind of content to bring traffic to your website.

Organic Traffic Methods

Want the skinny on how you can drive traffic to your website? The following traffic-driving strategies are organic in nature. You won’t have to pay a single dollar for traffic that falls under this bucket. But you will have to trade your time. And since time is more valuable than money, in that it can only be used once then it’s gone forever, there’s still a significant cost involved depending on your skill level.

Implement Good Search Engine Optimization

Today, if you don’t understand SEO, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Discover the nuances about SEO so that you’re engaging in the right type of traffic delivery strategies. You don’t want to bend or break the rules. Plus, by really having an understanding of SEO, you could quite literally supercharge your results. Find a good course or audiobook about SEO and learn like the wind.

Write Insatiable Content

Content is king. As long as you create insatiable content on your site or blog, you’ll keep the visitors coming back for more and more. Also, the better your content is, the more engaged your visitors will be. They will share your content for you, helping to promote your site on autopilot.

Answer Questions on Quora

Quora is a great medium for driving traffic to your site. Answer questions on this platform and link the right keywords to anchor content on your site or blog. However, don’t use this platform to spam. Ensure that your answers are detailed and that you know what you’re talking about.

Update “Expired” Content On Your Website

Historical refreshes of content is a good thing, especially if some of your content has expired. Note, this does not mean re-doing your content; simply refreshing it to bring it current if it isn’t already evergreen content. Look at ways you can update outdated content on your site to drive more traffic through visibility on search engines like Google.

Create And Share High-Quality Infographics

Building high-quality infographics is simply one form of clickbait. There are loads of clickbait examples that you can utilize, but not all of them are created equal. However, if you can build a great infographic that many people will link to, you can essentially create an automated marketing machine for your site. Ensure you hire a great designer to do this.

Focus On Mobile Usability 

Serious about driving traffic? Then you need to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Use Google’s Page Insights Tool to check the friendliness of your mobile layout and see if it conforms to guidelines. You should also make sure that all your posts and content are AMP-specification ready.

Post Useful Content On Reddit

Another great way to drive traffic to your site is to use Reddit. Reddit is a wildly-popular platform where you can share useful information and engage in conversations with millions of people from across the planet. The domain is extremely popular, making any link from the site extremely useful for boosting your visibility across the web.

Paid Traffic Methods

Clearly, paying for ads and other initiatives is always one method to drive traffic to your site or blog. If you have a small budget, and you track things properly, you can come up with a cost-per acquisition (CPA). If your CPA is high enough, you can comfortably scale your advertising revenues. Be sure to implement things like Facebook and Google tracking pixels to determine the effectiveness of your ads. 

Purchase Ads Through Facebook

Want access to the global populous? Clearly, you can advertise on a platform like Facebook. As long as your offer is enticing enough, and you can convert that traffic into sales with a great sales page or free offer, then you can scale this marketing initiative out infinitely to drive nearly unlimited sales.

Leverage Google Re-Targeting Ads

Google re-targeting ads are a terrific way to get more traffic to your website. But not just any traffic. Re-targeting ads focus on people who’ve already visited your site and have left for whatever reason without completing a sale. This involves the usage of a conversion pixel for purchases and it’s a great way to reach people who’ve already been to your site and aggressively market to them on Google’s search engine shortly after they’ve left.

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