Omnichannel marketing is a business strategy that relies on different types of content distributed through various media to build brand awareness and generate revenue.
Small businesses are usually unaware of omnichannel marketing or are hesitant to adopt the strategy, fearing that the process is too complex or expensive to manage with a small team or without a dedicated marketing professional. Adding cost and complexity is the impressive array of tools traditional marketers use every day to create and manage their various campaigns.
By leveraging a comprehensive marketing platform, small businesses can significantly reduce the number of apps needed to enable an omnichannel strategy, while still gaining powerful customer insight and alignment of the marketing process.
Today, large and medium-sized enterprises are largely benefiting and achieving significant ROI from omnichannel marketing efforts, which puts small businesses at a competitive disadvantage, which should not and should not be the case.
By first understanding the mechanisms of this strategy, then following some basic practices and applying holistic marketing solutions, small business owners can use omnichannel to increase customer engagement and increase brand awareness without breaking their backs or the bank.
The right tool for the job
Small businesses seeking holistic technology solutions that are easy to use and consolidate workflows and customer data are best suited to an omnichannel marketing approach. Platforms, rather than individual apps, are more valuable to small businesses, especially companies like Zoho Marketing Platformthat allows users to create and manage email campaigns, social media, customer surveys, webinars, events, and other omnichannel activities from a single interface.
Brand assets, including videos, documents, or presentations, are stored in a single shared space, allowing automation capabilities, pre-built into the platform, to trigger the next step, such as automatically responding to a customer service request.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a platform approach to omnichannel marketing for small businesses is access to real-time, unified customer data. Business intelligence services, many of which are automated, allow small businesses to analyze how, when, and why customers are engaged with their brand. Based on these insights, companies can inform customers about a new product or upcoming event through a variety of channels, all personalized to their unique journey or area of interest.
This unified view of the customer is often lacking for small businesses. As long as businesses can deliver a steady stream of content and campaigns tailored to customers through data-driven insights, omnichannel marketing can work for all businesses, regardless of their marketing team size or budget. Admittedly, it’s a tall order for already stretched SMBs, but it can be done and it’s worth it.
Prioritize channels and start small
One way small businesses can be more cost and labor efficient is by integrating sales solutions, such as a CRM, with their marketing platform, so everyone has a better view of existing customers and ongoing business. For example, customers who have voiced a positive experience to a sales or support agent can become brand champions in the service of marketing when departments and data work together.
Those customers — boosted by loyalty programs or discounts or early access to new products — become an effective and inexpensive voice that can evangelize small businesses across multiple channels, whether they’re interviewees for earned media placements, advocates in advertising, or spokespersons at corporate events.
The key here is to start small, with two or three channels that have already proven successful for the business, be it social media advertising and a paid trade journal partnership or a monthly email campaign and SEO generating -contents. There are even more benefits to adding more channels. Chief among these is gaining a more complete view of customers from which companies can better personalize experiences for them.
The more channels added, the more effort it takes to produce content and campaigns and track those actions. That’s why platforms that can centralize customer data, automate actions, and simplify the entire marketing process for multiple stakeholders are fundamental to omnichannel. success, especially for small businesses.
Converting multichannel marketing to Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel differs from multichannel marketing in that a successful omnichannel strategy is one that unites several online and offline marketing actions so that campaigns complement each other rather than simply coexist.
A multichannel marketing strategy, on the other hand, requires dozens or more expensive applications — tools that are often siled and rely on extensive teams and departments to integrate to produce actionable insights from customer data. According to an Netskope Cloud Report 2017the average organization uses 91 different MarTech tools to manage their activities.
While multichannel marketing may sound like the domain of only large companies, most small businesses already engage customers across multiple channels, even though their systems and stakeholders are not aligned.
Ultimately, omnichannel is a way for small businesses to unify their existing multichannel marketing efforts through comprehensive marketing platforms to deliver a better customer experience and inform more effective future engagement.
With the right solutions and a coordinated approach, omnichannel marketing is not only available to small businesses, it is a means of sustainable growth through more efficient and diversified campaigns.
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