Omnichannel marketing (also referred to as cross-channel marketing) is focused on delivering a consistent, branded, and personalized customer experience across multiple channels, including the in-store experience for those with brick and mortar locations.
By using an omnichannel marketing strategy, your business can put ads in front of people for products that are relevant to their interests and purchase history and shorten business to business sales processes. Matching potential customers with the right products and offers makes conversions more likely and increases the efficiency of your advertising spend.
How is omnichannel marketing different from multichannel marketing?
You’re probably already using multiple channels in your marketing strategy. If you’re still relying on single channel campaigns, your first task will be to begin using more channels.
Multichannel marketing is different from an omnichannel approach in the way your channels integrate and work together to deliver a consistent and seamless experience, no matter where someone is in the customer journey.
With multichannel marketing, each channel may be functioning independent of the others. You might have a separate marketing department for each channel and calculate the ROIs of each one individually. Campaigns may be more disconnected campaigns each with their own unique customer journeys. A customer could engage with each of these channels and be treated as if it’s the first time they’ve interacted with you.
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing refers to the integration and blending of your marketing strategies across multiple channels that results in a better customer experience.
With a successful omnichannel strategy, a customer who begins their buyer’s journey through a PPC ad, but doesn’t make a purchase after visiting your online store, will be engaged through other channels based on their initial level of interaction and will have a consistent experience.
That could mean seeing display or social media ads that are relevant to a first-time buyer, push notifications when they return to your site, targeted video ads, or in-store specials relevant to them.
Most of us have experienced examples of omnichannel marketing in some way.
Suppose you click on a social media ad, then sign up for a coupon on the store’s website via a pop-up. If you don’t buy the product, you might get an abandoned cart email with a discount offer or you might continue to see display ads for the product on other digital channels.
If you decide to make a purchase, you’ll probably get an email with suggestions for related products and get future sale announcements. You may even get a postcard or catalog in the mail inviting you to make an in-store purchase if the store has brick and mortar locations.
That is an omnichannel experience. It can involve a blend of online and offline marketing, and it involves multiple touchpoints.
Sound complicated? The good news is that you don’t have to spend big money or dedicate a whole team to create a lean, yet effective, omnichannel marketing strategy for your store.
Benefits of omnichannel marketing for businesses and customers
An omnichannel strategy for marketing offers several advantages over multichannel marketing — for your business and for your customers. Here are the main ones:
It’s more cost efficient
For the business, omnichannel marketing saves money because it’s more efficient. Instead of creating individual campaigns for email, social media, direct mail, and PPC, you can create just one and use it across your various offline and online channels.
But more than just another campaign, you’ll be employing responsive marketing automation that reacts based on how existing and potential customers interact with your marketing.
Instead of having to keep creating new campaigns, an omnichannel approach looks to create an array of possible offers depending on the situation.
Imagine two potential customers who see the same display ad. One of them buys, and your marketing automation sends them a first-time buyer special offer, in hopes of turning them into a repeat customer.
The other person doesn’t buy, but their behavior indicates that they have a lot of interest. They receive marketing messages that attempt to get them to come back and make the purchase.
You only have to create these sorts of omnichannel marketing tools once, and then your automation system will use them depending on where someone is in their customer journey. The setup takes work, but once it’s running, an omnichannel strategy is a major time-saver.
It results in better customer experiences
When a customer feels known, and not like a stranger, your marketing automation tools connect with where they are in the buyer’s journey. An omnichannel experience is more relevant and timely, and it aligns with customer expectations.
This saves the customer time, helps them make faster decisions, and reduces confusion.
It helps you provide better customer service
When customers need help, an omnichannel approach enables your customer service team to know more about each person so they don’t have to talk to them like everyone else. They can get up to speed faster, not waste so much time starting from scratch, and have a more relevant and intelligent conversation.
How to create your omnichannel marketing strategy
The following is a step-by-step guide to developing an omnichannel marketing strategy that won’t break your budget.
Integrate one channel at a time
There’s no way to start doing everything all at once, and thankfully, you don’t need to. Omnichannel marketing is about reaching your customer base with a consistent message in more than one place.
Begin with your most dominant channel, and then identify the first channel you want it to integrate with. As you add more channels, acquire the marketing automation tools you need that will help your customer relationship management (CRM) software communicate with all your online and offline channels, including a brick and mortar store.
Target your marketing messages
Targeting your ads to audience segments who are the most likely to buy your products is an important part of developing a good omnichannel marketing strategy.
If you’ve been running your store for a while and already have a list of customers, you can find out more about them by distributing a survey. If your customers have left reviews, you can read through them to gather demographic details and get an idea of how customers use your products. You can also use email addresses to create similar audience segments on a variety of advertising platforms. Read more about expanding your audience by learning from existing customer data.
Prioritize marketing throughout the customer journey
The customer journey starts when someone first discovers your business and ends in lifelong loyalty. Below are the five stages of the customer lifecycle and some popular methods for reaching shoppers at each one using omnichannel marketing processes.
Here, a shopper is searching for a particular product or a solution to a problem. This is an opportune time for you to make that shopper aware of your brand. A customer may be comparing products, reading reviews, or just trying to find out more information about whether a product is the right fit for them.
Ways that you can reach the customer during this stage include search engine optimization (SEO), Google Shopping listings, paid search advertising, and social media marketing. Based on how the shopper engages with these channels, you can begin delivering omnichannel customer experiences.
Acquisition happens when someone visits your website, signs up for your newsletter, interacts with your chatbot, reaches out to your company by phone or email, or visits a brick and mortar store. They haven’t made a purchase yet, but are checking your business out and gathering more information.
During the acquisition phase, you have the chance to continue collecting customer data and use it to begin delivering an omnichannel experience for each segment of your target audience.
A key marketing tool for this is the tracking tag on your website, which enables you to remarket to them across your various channels, customizing your ads based on the products they viewed and other on-site behavior. Some ways you can use remarketing are through social media advertising, display ads, and abandoned cart emails.
When someone buys while shopping online or makes an in-store purchase, they’ve “converted” to being your customer. An omnichannel customer experience will make them feel valued and known. This may involve emails, push notifications, or more in-store opportunities if you have a physical store.
You want to keep your customers coming back again and again to make more purchases. Omnichannel marketing will increase your success with retention and enlarge your customer base.
Not only does retention deliver a better ROI, but cultivating repeat customers builds brand loyalty — and your loyal customers will be your biggest advocates through their reviews and telling their friends and family about your products.
At this step in the customer journey, you should use your growing customer data to build on the conversion experience. You might market to your customers using follow-up emails with other product recommendations or special discounts relevant to their shopping history, send them a request for a review or a feedback survey, offer a loyalty program, and provide excellent customer support.
Customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty. But you can’t just set it and forget it.
To further cement allegiance to your brand, you might consider what you can offer your highest-value customers. With the WooCommerce Memberships extension, you can allow your VIP customers access to special benefits the rest do not. Offer them free products, special invites to in-store or online events, and free expedited shipping with every purchase.
As your business grows, it’s important to make sure your website is keeping pace. With Woo, high-volume stores may qualify for Woo Enterprise, a program designed for business at scale. It offers unique benefits including dedicated support and discounted extensions. Get in touch with our team to learn more about Woo Enterprise.
Determine which advertising platforms are right for your omnichannel strategy
If you’re working with a small budget, you may want to be selective about which marketing platforms to focus on as you build your omnichannel marketing plan. Select low-cost advertising methods first, then expand into more costly advertising platforms as your budget grows.
The goal is to make multiple touchpoints across multiple channels that deliver a consistent customer experience.
Low-cost marketing methods include:
Focus on your site’s SEO. Your goal is to optimize your site so your most engaging pages, product pages, and blog posts rank well in search results so it’s easier for customers to find you. If you’re doing this work yourself, the only cost is your time.
Then, use the customer data you acquire from Google Analytics and other marketing tools to enhance your omnichannel marketing efforts.
Google Shopping is another great opportunity to show up when people are looking for you. Google Shopping listings are free, so there’s no reason not to list your products. Although paid Google Shopping ads will display above free listings, showing up in the organic Shopping results can still be a big sales driver.
You can set up your Google product feed manually or you can install the Google Listings & Ads extension.
If you already have an existing list of subscribed customers, you can market directly to them via email. One great option is MailPoet, which was built with WooCommerce stores in mind and has the added benefit of including automated emails at the free level.
With services like MailPoet, you can send a welcome email series to new subscribers, product recommendations based on past purchases, abandoned cart emails to people who left items in their cart, sales announcements, and other omnichannel marketing strategies.
Encourage customers to buy more with a rewards program. With the WooCommerce Points & Rewards extension, you can set how many points customers can earn for each dollar they spend and how many points are required to get a reward.
These customers can then receive an omnichannel marketing campaign tailored to them, even across other channels and multiple devices. Imagine a rewards member seeing a display ad that tells them how many points they have and suggests ways to use them. That’s an example of an omnichannel experience.
Every touchpoint with customers is a marketing opportunity. Instead of looking at customer service as simply managing questions and complaints, think of it as an opportunity to create loyal fans.
With an omnichannel marketing approach, your customer service team will be able to see a customer’s history of engagement and purchases, as well as past interactions with your team. And when you take this to its fullest potential, you can deliver a seamless experience regardless of which customer service channel they use, be it SMS, chatbots, phone, email, or even in-store at a brick and mortar location.
Using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Jetpack CRM can help make customer service smooth and easy. Set up a support portal, track and manage tickets, and more, right from your WooCommerce store. There’s no need to log into a third-party CRM site to manage your customers — you can do it all from within your WordPress admin area.
Organic social media
It can be difficult to get organic attention on social media with so many competing voices, but there are a few good options for free marketing that can be quite effective. You can:
- Create a Facebook group for your business
- Post and interact regularly on all your social media channels
- Do an AMA on Reddit using the Ask Me Anything subreddit
Higher-cost marketing methods include:
If you want to show up above the organic search results or generate immediate traffic while you improve your SEO, paid search ads are the way to go. You should also ensure that your product’s landing page is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and reflects the content of your ad copy.
With remarketing tools, paid search can become a valuable source of customer data you can use to implement your omnichannel marketing strategy.
Paid Google Shopping
Like with Search, you can pay for better placement in Google Shopping results. Your sponsored ads will appear on the sidebar or in the top shopping carousel of Google Search and will also be listed at the top of the Google Shopping page. Paid shopping ads also get the benefit of being listed on Google Search Partner websites and being included in the Google Display Network (YouTube, Gmail, and Google Discover).
Google Display Network is the most popular display ad platform in the world due to its wide reach. If you’re already taking advantage of paid search ads and Google Shopping ads, you might already be participating to some degree in the Google Display Network.
Social media ads
Marketing to people on social media is a great way to get new customers because they can directly share your ads with their friends. You can market to people by demographic data, perceived interests, customer preferences, or by uploading a customer email list to create a lookalike audience of people with similar profiles to your current customer base. And you can execute an omnichannel marketing approach on social media once you integrate these channels with your CRM.
Facebook and Instagram are the easiest and most popular social media platforms for advertising. The first thing you’ll want to do is install the Facebook pixel and conversion API on your site and connect your online store to your Facebook and Instagram accounts. The easiest way to do this is by installing the free Facebook for WooCommerce extension.
Facebook for WooCommerce connects your store’s product catalog to Facebook and Instagram so you can ensure a unified customer experience. You can also purchase ads directly through your WooCommerce dashboard.
With the advent of online platforms like YouTube and more affordable video production equipment and editing tools, video advertising doesn’t have to be out of reach for small businesses.
If you want to use video as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, make sure you create videos that can be used across a variety of platforms. Repurpose clips for your social media marketing, blog, and product pages to maximize these marketing assets.
While the most popular advertising platform for video is YouTube, other options include:
- Social video platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat
- Video live streaming services such as Twitch and Vimeo
- On-demand video streaming networks like Amazon Prime and Hulu
Depending on your demographic and the products you offer, print advertising may be a great way to complement your digital marketing efforts and blend your online and offline marketing strategies. Consider taking out an ad in a magazine, mailing a printed catalog, sending postcards with special offers, or using front-door marketing techniques like door hangers and product samples.
Just like with digital marketing, you can track the impact of your offline and in-store efforts. Again — omnichannel marketing depends on having a steady stream of accurate customer data that’s personalized to each customer.
Here are the key marketing tools for offline marketing data collection and an omnichannel in-store experience:
- QR codes with tracking links. You can create special tracking-enabled links for your QR codes. Include these codes on your printed marketing materials, and when a customer uses it to visit your store, you’ll know exactly which printed piece influenced that customer to make a visit.
- Special landing page links. As a QR code alternative, you can create custom landing pages with unique links and include the URL in your printed ads. Just be sure you keep these URLs short since customers have to type them in.
- Unique coupon codes. If you include a coupon code that’s unique to a particular print ad campaign, you can track its use in your online store. Try WooCommerce Smart Coupons for advanced coupon management.
Create ad copy and artwork that can be used across multiple platforms
Omnichannel marketing is all about being consistent and efficient. Not only does crafting your images, video, and ad copy with multiple uses in mind save you money on creative assets, it also helps provide a unified, branded customer experience for shoppers across all platforms.
Make sure you film videos and photos designed for multiple advertising platforms. Different platforms use different aspect ratios, so you’ll need to film and edit videos and photos with this in mind. Common aspect ratios include:
- Horizontal 16:9
- Square 1:1
- Vertical 4:5 and 2:3
- Full Portrait 9:16
Create your video and images at the highest resolution possible and export to lower resolution versions.
High-resolution photos are important for print advertising and even some website applications (although always make sure to optimize your images for web display). Lower resolution images are required for things like display ads.
Analyze and leverage your customer data
Regularly reviewing the results of your omnichannel marketing campaigns across all your channels is critical. If an ad campaign is underperforming, you may want to make changes before continuing to spend money on it. Looking at your analytics will help you understand which ads are working and which aren’t.
Google Analytics is probably the most comprehensive tool for tracking activity on your website. You can look at referral sources to see which sites your visitors are coming from, get an idea of the effectiveness of search and display ad campaigns, and get demographic data on your site visitors.
If you aren’t sure how to integrate your site with Google Analytics, the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension will help, and this will let you see basic customer data like sessions, users, and events.
By integrating this data with your CRM, your other marketing channels can use it to deliver a consistent experience for your customers.
You can also see marketing data in each platform or in WooCommerce Analytics. Learn more about tracking your marketing processes with advanced analytics.
Empower your marketing team
With omnichannel marketing, your team will be able to raise their game by tailoring efforts based on customer behaviors.
And if you employ sales teams, they’ll be much more effective at engaging each customer individually when they can see the data showing previous purchases, interactions, emails, clicks, shares, reviews, and other customer data resulting from the omnichannel experience.
Update your ad strategy based on your key performance indicators (KPIs)
After reviewing the performance of your omnichannel marketing campaigns, you can update your strategy. For most companies, ad campaigns with low CPAs and high ROIs should be given additional ad spend while campaigns with high CPAs and low ROIs should be retired. But you may have other performance indicators that are important to your company.
If you’re running ads that don’t result in direct sales but that regularly correlate with higher organic search traffic or lead generation, it may mean that ad is very effective at engaging with shoppers in the earlier stages of the customer journey.
Experiment with turning certain underperforming ads on and off for periods of time to see if they have any effect on other metrics.
For customer retention and loyalty campaigns, if you notice that few customers are taking advantage of their rewards points or aren’t redeeming certain coupons, you might consider tweaking your offer or adjusting the number of points required for redemption. Just because one strategy in your omnichannel campaign is currently underperforming doesn’t mean that it can’t be upgraded to produce more sales for your business.
Watch your business grow
By being strategic in selecting your marketing platforms and marketing automation tools, crafting evergreen and repurposable creative assets, and constantly reviewing and adjusting your omnichannel marketing strategy based on performance, you will see your revenue grow.
Like anything worth doing, it will take time to optimize. By starting out with just a few marketing channels and growing from there based on the data from your past efforts, you’ll develop solid long-term omnichannel marketing strategies that work to build revenue for your business.
That said, the weight of scaling your business doesn’t have to fall on your shoulders alone. Hire a certified WooExpert agency to stay ahead of customer needs and take full advantage of all the flexibility Woo has to offer.