Omnichannel Marketing: Merging Channels For Your Marketing
There is a whole host of new marketing and advertising opportunities that website owners can explore.
However, before you start investing time or resources into marketing channels, you need to get the basics right.
This means ensuring that you have an active website, ensuring that your branding is on point and that you have the resources in place to manage your omnichannel marketing efforts effectively.
Branding will be used in all of your design, marketing, and advertising efforts.
It isn’t enough that you just design an attractive logo.
Although your logo design is part of your branding effort, it is only a small part.
Branding is the perception of your business by others, which means that everything from the tone of your blogs to the colour of your Call To Action buttons can be considered a part of your brand management campaign.
All good digital marketing and much offline marketing start with effective website development.
Incorporate your branding, ensure that the site is user-friendly, offers easy access to products and services, and can be shared between visitors.
Simply having a website isn’t enough and managing your site shouldn’t be considered marketing.
However, a functional website is an essential first step to your multichannel or omnichannel marketing.
Your website can incorporate social media.
Not only can you link out to Facebook and Twitter, but you can embed videos from YouTube, incorporate your Facebook chats into relevant pages and posts, and add Facebook reviews and testimonials.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the use of on-page and off-page optimisation techniques to push your site up search engine rankings.
While social media has increased in popularity, people still use search engines like Google to search for information, compare products, and to start the purchasing process.
As with most previous years, much SEO will be driven by content marketing.
This includes the text on your pages, but also images, videos, apps, and even your social media content.
Voice search and video search are also changing the SEO landscape because they are directly affecting the way that users interact with Google.
Content needs to be conversational, informational, and insightful, to get the best results.
Social media combines very effectively with other omnichannel marketing techniques.
Consider the TV ads and TV campaigns that include social media hashtags in their advertising, or print ads with QR codes that direct users to Facebook pages.
Ensure that you own your brands on social media pages.
Consider how you can use Twitter to keep customers informed of updates, or how you can use Facebook to manage your customer services.
YouTube can be used for sharing instructional video tutorials; Pinterest can highlight your latest products.
Social media should be social, which means getting your customers involved.
Like, love, and share posts from your followers, encourage them to disseminate your content for you, and hold competitions and incentivised shares to really gain social media traction.
Another benefit of owning social media accounts is that it enables you to own the entire front page of branded search results.
When potential customers search for you, they should find your website first, and then other assets like your Wikipedia page and any other sites you own.
Your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Medium, Quora, and other social media pages should also be found here.
Video is often used as part of a social media campaign, but it can also escalate your SEO efforts and even be used to forge a brand new marketing campaign.
Video marketing relies on the use of video sharing sites like YouTube, but as most social media websites like Facebook, also allow for the uploading and sharing of videos, many channels can benefit from your video clips.
Video doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be effective, but if you don’t have the capability of creating clips yourself, consider having them built professionally.
Animations can work for some businesses, and some popular video clips are really nothing more than a slideshow.
You can even try and encourage your customers and clients to create the videos for you, although this does require very effective branding in the first place.
Encourage your customers to create a video of how they use your products, and they will naturally share the footage themselves, saving you a lot of the effort.
Email marketing gets a bad reputation, but when it is done well, it offers a direct route to your potential customers’ eyes.
Email marketing should incorporate your brand message, it can utilise social media and website assets, and it should be done ethically and sympathetically.
Always offer an easy route to opt-out of messages, ensure that you have permission before you email any list member, but don’t be afraid to follow up on messages after a reasonable amount of time.
SEO offers a way to get your brand to the top of relevant, organic search engine result pages.
However, it can take time, and there are no guarantees that you will reach the top spot for competitive keywords.
Pay Per Click or PPC, ads are placed above organic results, and you can guarantee placement, although this shouldn’t come at the cost of affordability or a positive Return On Investment.
You can target branded keywords, as well as relevant search terms, and some businesses pay for top ad placement on search pages where they already own the top few organic search results.
Print Media Advertising
While more and more people are reading news online, newspapers continue to sell.
For B2C businesses, newspaper advertising can still prove highly popular.
Trade magazines, specific interest publications, and even local papers and press all have advertising options that you can benefit from.
Print media is an excellent example of how companies combine offline and online into a universal omnichannel marketing mix.
Include your website URL, encourage readers to search for terms where you appear at the top of search engines, and add your social media accounts too.
In the same way that email marketing is a maligned form of online advertising, direct mail and cold calling are treated the same way in physical marketing, but they can both prove highly effective – that’s why companies still invest millions in these types of campaigns.
Some people naturally dislike direct mail, and will probably throw away anything that looks like direct mail, but others read and digest the information they receive.
It can help retain customers and convenient potential customers.
As well as business cards, you can have letterheaded paper printed that includes your company details including logo and tagline, and contact details.
You can also print compliment slips, brochures and flyers, and a host of other promotional material.
If you sell and ship products, you can include vouchers to attract repeat business.
You can add catalogues to upsell products to your existing clients, too.
If you’re setting up a direct marketing campaign, a letterheaded paper should be considered an absolute minimum.
Physical networking is an age-old business marketing method.
It can mean going to business networking meetings, managing stands in trade exhibitions, and it can even include the visit of physical sales staff to potential clients.
Much physical networking requires the use of supporting and additional omnichannel marketing and branding materials.
Print flyers, business cards, and even vouchers, all of which should be branded to your business and you personally.
Take them with you when networking and hand them out to anybody that’s interested.
Whether you’re planning a giveaway of promotional items, or want to develop your branding during exhibitions and expos, you can create branded products that include your business name, logo, and even your tagline.
These products should incorporate your branding; they should be suitable for the type of environment and conditions where they will be worn or given out.
Promotional items remain a powerful branding tool.
Standard items include pens, which are effective because the recipient sees your branding every time they pick up the pen to write.
Alternatively, you can brand items that are relevant to your business and useful to recipients.
Flash drives are ideal for omnichannel marketing companies or other digital companies – they can even include a presentation or video on the drive.
Having an exhibition stand is a great way to gain exposure with potential customers and clients that would not otherwise see your brand.
You can offer samples of your products and demonstrations of your services.
Branding is an essential aspect of these events, which means having branded stand displays, giving away your promotional items, and ensuring that your employees are also branded.
Offering branded t-shirts to your staff is not only more convenient for them, but it means that they will stand out among the crowds, and visitors to your stand will be exposed to your brand, improving recognition and increasing positive results.
TV And Radio
TV advertising is often considered prohibitively expensive, but it is also highly pervasive and obvious.
Costs can be reduced by avoiding mainstream channels, and by advertising during off-peak and low-peak times.
Radio advertising costs less and, in some respects, is more effective because many listeners only listen to the radio when driving and concentrate on what is on at the time.
TV ads often incorporate social media channels, as well as website addresses, and modern ad campaigns also combine with social media hashtags to create an omnichannel marketing campaign.
Combining your omnichannel marketing efforts can help enhance results.
However, you need to ensure that you’re not adopting a multichannel campaign just for the sake of it.
Combine your efforts seamlessly and conveniently and don’t consider them as separate campaigns but as a single, unified omnichannel campaign, to enjoy the best results.