A few months back, in a previous article, we promised to follow up on omnichannel and all of its possibilities, so here we go again.
This piece was inspired by Dave Chaffey, the co-founder and content director of Smart Insights. Smart Insights is a learning platform that helps businesses increase sales through strategies and action plan templates.
Our team attended his talk on the 27th of September at the Ecommerce Expo 2018 in London. His talk was about the importance of omnichannel, of the different ways Smart Insights’ templates can help your business and about all eCommerce marketing efforts and new possibilities ahead.
Before I start, I’d like to briefly pay attention to the meaning of omnichannel. It’s a term that means your ability to view the experience you provide through your own customers’ eyes. Dave Chaffey put it in a very good way: “Omnichannel is orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent.”
Omnichannel is actually providing your customers with the ability to move from one channel to another and it should come as something they’re fluent in doing.
Grasp the meaning of omnichannel here.
While giving his presentation, Dave Chaffey was referring a lot to Smart Insights and how they work and help eCommerce owners. I’ll try and keep to his talk but a lot of the following words will also be my own thoughts on the matter.
The Marketing Funnel and Some Considerations on Your Part
How Smart Insights create the right omnichannel experience is through base planning frameworks. They make businesses start off with a digital strategy. They think that success comes from looking really closely into areas such as reaching, acting, converting and engaging. These are all part of the marketing funnel and according to Dave, it isn’t yet dead like some people claim. On the contrary, he says that it’s very much alive and kicking.
This made us look closely into the areas mentioned above and explain each and every one of them but through an omnichannel perspective.
Before you start with a marketing funnel, you, as the owner of your store’s brand, should look through all kinds of channels and you should know the types of audience you want to reach. Process all of your brand’s touch points and think about whether where you invest actually converts.
It’s likely that you’re using numerous channels but ask yourself this: Do any of them actually work? This is the part where we tell you to test first. Yes, do A/B testings, they matter.
The Awareness Phase
Or reach like Dave Chaffey called it because of the new practical framework they’ve introduced called RACE (reach, act, convert, engage).
This is the phase where you build awareness of your brand and build traffic using different media – paid or not.
The techniques, which you can implement for the Awareness phase the following:
- boosting organic visibility through SEO and social media
- cost-effective paid promotion
- integrated content campaigns
During this stage of your marketing strategy, it’s most important to review and plan. The key success measurements here are the unique visitors you get, the inbound links you have all over the net, and the fans you gather on Facebook or Twitter.
During this phase, it’s important that you
- review media effectiveness
- make your influencer outreach plans
- think about your search engine marketing
- schedule all activities for paid media
- create an acquisition and campaign plan
Make sure to include a digital media budget here because you wouldn’t want to end up without a budget for all your planned digital campaigns.
And now onto the way omnichannel intertwines in your Awareness phase… As we’ve already mentioned, omnichannel is all about viewing the customers’ experience through their own eyes. In this phase of your marketing activities, you need to get inside the mind of your customers by using tools such as Google Ads and Google Keyword Planner to see what reflects your website visitors and what they react to.
Ditch banners that don’t work and include more of what gets you clicks and website visitors. Using tools like the ones we mentioned above can open your eyes as to what is important for your campaigns. For example, these days all marketers notice the importance of mobile experience. What Google has been working on the past couple of years is accelerated mobile project pages. Dave Chaffey says that this was originally for publishers but now it’s more and more for eCommerce websites and their mobile performance.
If you’ve thought about your search marketing, you might have also thought about Google Shopping. This new possibility is important when people search. If you’ve got your keywords right and the right product images to draw people’s attention, this could be the very first brand touch point for a new website visitor.
What Dave Chaffey also shared with the audience, which according to us is an extremely valuable piece of information, is that Amazon is looking into ways of expanding their ads within the platform. Our advice is to hop on that train if you still haven’t (and if you have an Amazon marketplace, of course).
“Sponsored products on Amazon continue to account for the vast majority of Amazon Search Spend with Headline Search Ads and Product Display Ads accounting for just 12% of spend combined.”
The Interest/Desire Phases
This is the interaction phase where you actually start getting some traction to your website. The key success techniques here are to:
- get visitors on the right customer journeys
- improve the user experience, your navigation and persuasive messages across all platforms
- create an audience engagement strategy using content marketing
- develop content in order to fuel your lead generation
Here you run campaigns and create editorial calendars and you generate the demand of your customers, you showcase your brand, products, and your offers.
Content really is key here. Think about welcoming automation to your marketing strategy not just for this phase but in general. The content your customers get in touch with should be dynamic. Dave Chaffey suggests using a layered targeting email system that includes different activities such as a newsletter, featured emails, offers, and deals.
When including sale drivers in your emails, take the time to test their results. Notice how you manage to engage your audience, whether your page templates work, etc. And a good practice is to also test your competitors’ offers, too. It never hurts to know what works for the other person.
Digital value proposition
In the Interact phase, you need to start developing your digital value proposition. It is very much like your own brand’s value proposition but focused on what your online visitors will get from your online communication rather than using your products.
According to Dave Chaffey, your digital value proposition should look something like the following examples:
- help me buy (online or offline)
- help me use products
- help me do my job
- help me develop/learn
- make me look good (to colleagues, family)
- entertain me
Basically, your job in this phase is to pique your visitors’ interest with dynamic content and a good digital value proposition. Your goal? Get them to the next phase.
The Action/Convert Phase
This is the phase where you convince your customers to get to the next step, which will turn them into paying customers. If you’ve done everything right during the previous phases, you’ll be up for a good start when it comes to convincing your website visitors to buy.
Remember, the whole experience should feel fluid and seamless. The key success techniques are to send a personalized follow-up and nurture your audience to develop brand engagement. You can do this with the help of paid, owned or earned media.
So, this is where all of your omnichannel campaigns come to action. You should connect the customer with the best options to buy using multichannel sales. This can easily be done with chatbots. Extremely popular, nowadays messenger bots are a true and a fun savior for brands.
And then perhaps what you also need to do is to maximize your conversion rate with the help of an ongoing improvement. This can happen if you use structured testing.
Always ask yourself questions like these: Do you provide a good customer journey? Do all the experiences you create for your audience align with each other?
The Engage Phase
This is the phase where you create brand advocates. Here you build long-term relationships with your customers and you build loyalty.
You can do this by filling the satisfaction gap. You should communicate with your buyers, improve their experience and live up to their expectations.
Dave Chaffey repeatedly said that you need to develop a lifecycle marketing automation. You shouldn’t neglect the power of email because it often converts, especially if you follow our advice on dynamic content.
You can amplify the effect of your campaigns by encouraging advocacy and social sharing using social media.
Another way to engage your customers is by sending out free samples for your upcoming products. Nothing builds loyalty like making somebody feel unique and special. Remember that.
Omnichannel is multi-channel done right
All of the examples and techniques we mentioned above are just another way to involve your visitors in your brand journey. It’s important to create a continuous experience in everything you communicate. It’s important to have customers go from one channel to the next without even thinking about it. Once you’ve piqued their interest, the next thing is to convert.
But nobody’s born knowing. Test, test, and test again!
? Author’s Note: We’re starting an article where we will give you our advice on how to test if your digital strategies work and how to test general decisions like a price increase.