What is Omni Channel Marketing and Why You Need it in your Business

Data is becoming more and more important in our dream client’s buyer journey. In a recent study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR), stats showed that 7% of buyers are online only shoppers, 20% were brick and mortar shoppers, and an incredible 73% used multiple platforms before making their buying decision.

When you provide multiple touch points on 4+ channels, you can increase the time your dream clients spend in your “store” by up to 9%. The longer you can keep them in your store, the more you increase the likelihood of them making a purchase of your product or service.

If you want to scale your business in this new age of marketing, you can no longer rely on just one platform to get your message out. You need to create multiple touchpoints in your buyer’s journey to create a positive brand experience.

So, you may be wondering what omnichannel marketing is. Simply put it is utilizing different online mediums to reach your potential clients:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Aps
  • Email
  • SMS
  • WhatsApp

Creating a positive experience on all channels is crucial. The HVR’s study shows that 67% of potential buyers will jump ship if they have a negative experience. Once a customer has a bad experience it is really tough to win them back.

The Omnichannel marketing approach reduces friction in the buyer’s journey because you are showing up where your potential customers are looking for you. They feel comfortable with you and your brand because you have visibility and consistency on multiple platforms.

As an example, Starbucks recently added a pre-order ap to reduce the need to stand in line for a cup of coffee. Now their mobile app comprises 29% of their payment transactions. Not only did the ap make the customer experience seamless, it also increased revenue. 

In order to create a positive omnichannel experience for your buyer, you need to know them intimately. That’s why taking the time to build out a comprehensive profile for your dream customer is essential to success. This is where data can help you enhance your understanding of your customer’s pain points and buying habits.

You need to know which social platforms your clients visit regularly to shop, their purchasing habits, the obstacles they have to overcome in the buyer’s journey, what devices they use when they shop, and how they interact with your brand. This data will help you determine how you create your customized shopping experience and solutions to their problems.

Disney is a perfect example. They are known for high touch experiences for their guests. They have built their brand on doing things better than anyone in their industry. Over the years they have been committed to improving the customer experience at their theme parks. By using their website, mobile apps, Magicbrands, and cards, Disney has simplified the process to book their reservations, tickets, and confirm ride times without having to stand in long lines. Their strategy has proven beneficial because they looked at their processes through the eyes of their guests.

You too, can create a streamlined process to take the struggle out of making a purchase or getting customer support by:

  • Plan your buyer’s journey – Customize the experience you want your customers to have with your brand/company. What touchpoints do you need to include? What are your customer’s buying behaviors on all platforms? How can you simplify the process?
  • Use data to guide the process – Data is the most powerful tool in your marketing tool box. Audientum’s Connect™ precision curated audience can help you pinpoint your customer’s behaviors and save you time collecting data via your CRM, social listening, and online research. Audientum can provide more data points and allow you a deeper level of precision when it comes to understanding your customers buying patterns.
  • Segment your audience – Use multiple categories based on common behavior patterns to customize the buyer’s journey for each type of customer in your audience. Understanding where they are in the journey and nurturing them to the finish line will create higher revenue and loyal customers. 
  • Messaging is crucial –  Sending the right message at the right time to the right customer is essential for success. Again, the importance of understanding who your dream customer is, what their buying habits are, and how they engage on each channel will increase your engagement and revenue.
  • Automate for success – There are so many tools to help automate the posting process. See which one works for you to cut down on time needed to maintain visibility on the channels your customers use most.
  • Build your systems around your customers – This is the most important aspect of your strategy. Implement systems that make it easy to do business with you by simplifying processes and using their language.

Let’s cut through some confusion surrounding omnichannel marketing. I hear terms like multichannel and cross-channel marketing used interchangeably in the digital marketing space. While it’s true all three have the same goal in mind, using multiple platforms to reach your customers, there are some slight differences that are worth addressing.

In multichannel marketing all channels work independently to reach your customer. There is no connection between platforms. Cross-channel marketing connects selected platforms to share your messaging. Omnichannel strategy is more sophisticated in its approach to harmonize your interactions with your dream customer.

Like any strategy, there are advantages and disadvantages, so you may be asking which one is right for you. Let’s examine the pros and cons of each approach:

Multichannel approach:

  • Uses multiple channel independently
  • It helps raise visibility and grows your reach
  • No cohesiveness or transparency between platforms, can create an inconsistent buyer’s experience – delivers different messaging on each channel
  • Channels work in competition with each other
  • Company centric messaging
  • Incoherent customer experience

Cross-channel approach

  • Uses selected connected channels
  • Communications are recorded and communicated dependently between channels
  • Company/Customer centric based on needs
  • Delivers consistent message across chosen platforms
  • Accessibility and transparency based on channels used
  • Improves engagement
  • Selected channels with in sync with each other synthesizing the customer experience

Omnichannel approach:

  • Uses all channels that are interactively connected
  • Creates harmony and consistency between touchpoints by creating transparency between all channels
  • Customer centric
  • Delivers a consistent and unified message to the customer
  • Easily accessible on all channels
  • Transparent one-on-one personalized communication
  • Creates and easy flow for the customers buying experience

I bet you’re thinking that omnichannel marketing takes a lot of time and cash to implement.  And, you are right, it is an investment. Investing money in the right strategies and tactics in your business is always a smart move. You can guarantee an ROI on your investment by creating consistent messaging through each stage of your buyer’s journey, improving the customer experience by incorporating multiple touchpoints, and delivering continuation in your communications on all channels. And, most importantly, using data to understand your customers needs will allow you to engage with them in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. 

What is social listening and why you need to use it

What is Social Listening and Why You Need to Use It

Simply put, social listening is monitoring social media channels for conversations about your brand, your competitors, and your product or service. It allows brands to track and analyze conversations about them on social platforms.

Pretend that you own a boutique clothings shop.  You’re behind the counter  and you overhear a conversation between two customers.

One says, “I like the selection of sundresses here…especially the ones with big bright prints.”

“Yeah, those are nice,” the other one replies. “But I’m not digging the tube tops, they are way too 80s for me.”

You begin to ponder what you overheard. Does everyone feel this way about the tube tops?

You start to ask other customers when they come into your boutique. You start to listen in to conversations that are organically happening in your store. And, based on what you hear, you strat to make changes that are in alignment with what you hear people like.

It’s working. Your sales are going up because you are listening to what your customers actually want, not second guessing what you think they want.

So you might be thinking, but I run an online business, how can I listen into what people are saying about  my business or brand…

It’s a simple two-step process:

  1. Monitor social platforms for conversations about your brand, keywords you use in your business, as well as your competitors.
  2. Analyze the data for ways that you can put what you discover into action. 

Social monitoring and social listening on the surface look like the same thing, but social monitoring focuses in on the metrics like:

  • Brand mentions
  • Pertinent hashtags
  • Competitor chatter
  • Trends in your niche/industry

Social monitoring is beneficial for tracking your ROI or A/B testing your ad campaigns. Looking at engagements and mentions is beneficial for the bottom line, but social listening goes much deeper and considers the mood behind the data.

Understanding your data can help you predict buying patterns and the overall feeling toward your brand. It is a powerful tool for you to use to pivot and take action to connect with your potential and existing customers on a deeper level.

Imagine a positivity scale to measure how your brand is perceived and using the data to guide your daily strategy in running your business. It helps you gauge the problem you solve and how effectively you do that from your customer’s perspective.

If your customers really matter to you, and I’m sure they do, you will want to glean in on the insights they are leaving for you. There is a goldmine of information you can use to serve them on a deeper level.

For instance, if you’re hearing that you don’t have great customer service, you may choose to set up an account on FB to answer questions rather than using a ticket system. You may institute an “all tech” questions rule to answer all tech related questions within a 2 hour window so customers are left hanging with an issue that is holding them back, and perhaps costing them money.

Social listening allows you to see what is working in real time. You can see what posts are doing well and which posts are not resonating with your audience. But, you need to look even deeper. Why are they engaging? What is the emotional connection that is fueling the engagement? If you can pinpoint the answer to those two questions, can you create more powerful marketing campaigns in the future.

As you social listen, you may also uncover additional pain points. This information creates an opportunity to repackage an existing product/service or create something that will address that problem in a new way.

This new found knowledge allows you to nurture and build deeper relationships with your existing clientele and attract new potential clients with your messaging and social selling strategies. Set yourself apart by being known as the best resource for their unique buying decision.

Social listening also opens up opportunities for you to connect brand influencers and advocates. When you recognize your brand getting noticed by these types of people, make a connection and suggest possible ways to collaborate.

If you’re new to the concept of social listening, here is a list of keywords and topics you will want to start monitoring to get a feel for how your brand is being perceived:

  • Your brand name and handles
  • Your products/services, including common misspellings
  • Your competitors’ brand names, product names, and handles
  • Industry buzzwords
  • Your slogan and those of your competitors
  • Names of key people in your company and your competitors’ companies
  • Campaign names or keywords
  • Branded  and unbranded hashtags and those of your competitors

There are several tools out there to help you social listen:

  • AdvieW is designed for brands to social listen on FB and IG ads. You’ll be able to see analytics behind your ads to get more engagement.
  • ReviewTrackers makes it possible to see reviews on more than 50 review sites.
  • Talkwalker has listening features that analyze blogs, videos and more by drawing from 150 million sources for data.
  • Brandwatch monitors the impact and tone of conversations over 95 missions data sources for blogs, social networks, news and reviews. 
  • Mentionlytics tracks mentions, keywords and makes it easy to find influencers across social platforms. 

As we move into the new age of marketing harnessing the power of data will give you the competitive edge. The more you know about your existing customers and potential customers the more effective you will be at conveying the solution you offer to their most pressing problems.

Social Media Marketing Tools Every Business Owner Should Have

Guest post submitted by: Chantel Cervantes

Getting your business active on social media is a great way to build your audience and connect. It shows a more personable side to your brand and can help establish authority in your industry.

It’s also an opportunity to study the analytics side, showing you how successful your brand is with your audience. Get an inside look at how people are reacting to your posts- which ones make more of an impression, what gets shared most often. Plus, social media offers a closer view of your competition. Which areas they’re succeeding in and which areas they’re not doing so well with. 

It’s undeniable that there’s a multitude of benefits from using social media. But in order to maximize your social media marketing potential, you should have a few tools in your toolbox. Tools that will help you work smarter and more efficiently. Practice smart marketing with these must-haves:

Get the Word Out

The first step is to connect and get out information about your brand. Try to find where your target audience is, in the world of social media. Maybe they’re on certain platforms more than others. Join social media communities in your industry and make a presence there. When you know where to find your target audience, you can start learning more about them and creating a strategy for building a relationship with them. 

Tool #1: Business Cards

If you’re doing some in-person networking, you should have business cards on hand with your social media profile information. It’s a personable way to promote business and gain new followers. For a go-to, uncomplicated design resource, you need to add BusinessCards to your toolbox. This tool will not only save you on time, but also money because it’s completely FREE to use! 

Create Killer Content

After you’ve spent time studying your target audience, start working on some engaging content that will catch their attention. Use a combination of videos, written content, images, and interactive content. 

All of your posts should have two things in common. They represent your brand’s style and are visually appealing. This way you’re creating brand recognition while ensuring that your posts catch the eye of distracted social media scrollers. Here’s a couple of FREE content design tools for your toolbox:

Tools #2+3 Biteable and Easel.ly

Videos are no doubt the hottest trend when it comes to social media. Business owners are also jumping on the bandwagon with this one. Videos are quick to catch attention and are an engaging way to get a message across. They’re personal, authentic, and transparent- all qualities which are important to your audience. Plus, they’re faster and easier for the viewer to digest. 

To keep up with the competition, you need to have a video creation tool at hand. Biteable is another FREE tool that can help you create engaging videos for your audience. You can work with your own footage, or use the footage provided by Biteable. There’s even the option to create a fun, animated video. They also offer templates and customization tools so you can make sure your content is beautifully branded. 

For all other social media design projects, try out Easel.ly. This tool helps you add an element of design to anything you share online. Also FREE to use! Deck out your written content, edit photos, create infographics, and more. 

Analyze and Strategize

Once you’ve started actively engaging on social media, you’ll need some way to get organized. A strategy for planning, managing, and analyzing all of your social media interactions. Thankfully, there’s also a tool for this!

Tool #4 Buffer

This is an absolute must-have tool. Buffer helps you with scheduling your content releases, makes it easy to manage responses, and gives you a detailed analysis of your progress. With everything on one dashboard, nothing gets overlooked. FREE for the basic subscription which includes up to 3 social media accounts. 

Tips for Launching a Social Enterprise on a Tight Budget

Guest Blog submitted by: Lorna Wilkerson So, you’ve got an amazing business idea that you believe can help people. But what’s next? Starting a social enterprise can be hugely rewarding, especially when it’s a cause you feel passionately about. However, it can be challenging, especially if you’re on a budget.
If you’re trying to build a social enterprise with little or no funding, there are still plenty of ways to make your venture a success. Here are some of our top tips to help you make it work:

1. Use your time wisely

If you have limited funding, your time is your most important asset. Because of this, you should make sure you use your time wisely. After working out your budget, you should know exactly how much you have to spend – and you may find yourself having to do lots of tasks yourself.
Doing tasks yourself can save an enormous amount of money. Although it can be tiring, the results that this rule can bring are often well worth the extra effort.
It’s also important to remember that, just because you don’t have expertise in an area, it doesn’t mean you can’t complete the task to a high standard. For example, maybe you could do your own blog writing using WordPress, or your own design work using Weebly or LogoCreator.

2. Be realistic about costs

Once you know how much cash you have to have to invest, it’s important to be realistic about the costs of starting your enterprise so you can plan accordingly. You will need a budget that will cover a minimum of six months, including contingency plans where they are needed.
Then, work out how you plan to cut costs if your income predictions are wrong. For instance, could you move to a smaller premises or run your operations from home? Are there certain parts of your budget you can cut? When you’re on a budget, this can make all the difference.

3. Utilize the power of digital marketing

Digital marketing is an incredibly powerful tool that you need to take full advantage of. One of the biggest benefits of launching your business online is that it allows you to keep your costs very low whilst potentially reaching a large audience.
Some of the ways you can do this include posting on social media consistently using a combination of text, images, and videos, blogging, and asking for reviews and testimonials.
However, it’s important to factor the costs of setting up your online presence, such as domain, paid ads, and any paid tools you decide to use. Overall, though, most businesses find that these costs are well worth it in terms of the returns they see.

4. Ask the right people for help

If you’re trying to get funding and investments for your enterprise, or if you’re looking for other types of support, always ask people that are just as passionate about your cause. This will vastly improve the chances of them choosing to assist you.
When people care about what you’re doing, they will be much more willing to offer their time or money to help you – if you ask the wrong people, it won’t mean as much to them!

5. Start small if you need to

Lastly, don’t be afraid to start your social enterprise on a smaller scale if you need to. Working on your dream part-time can be an excellent solution for many people, as they can continue with paid employment, which provides financial security.
By following this tip, you can grow your enterprise gradually over time. For many entrepreneurs, this is the difference between success and failure, and it’s something worth considering.

3 Life Changes to Embrace During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Guest post submitted by : Kristin Louis

When the year began, your calendar for the next few months might have been filled with vacations, weddings, graduations, and holidays with family. Perhaps you were aiming for a promotion at your company, or maybe you were getting ready to head back to college. But whatever your calendar looked like back in January, there is a good chance that the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped the slate clean.

We have faced so many changes in such a short timeframe that you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. But with the right attitude, you can begin to look on the bright side and take advantage of the opportunities these circumstances have presented. These tips will help you embrace the changes you’re dealing with rather than trying to run from them.

Switching JobsWith so many drastic changes in the labor market, it’s perfectly understandable if you’re thinking about making a big career change. Nowadays, working from home is easier than ever, and after the events of the past couple of months, even more employers are open to the idea! This benefits everyone, but it’s an exceptionally important development for people with disabilities because it makes employment far more accessible.

If you want to work from home, you could start your own home-based business, apply for full-time remote positions at different companies, or check out freelance job boards for projects if you’d prefer to work as an independent contractor. What kind of work should you look into? Many brands are in need of editors for hire who can provide feedback on grammar, syntax, and structure, and you could offer assistance with everything from polishing up blog posts to revising novels. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to be an author and publish your own work (book a strategy session with Anza Goodbar to learn about self-publishing).

Gaining More IndependenceThe salon you normally go to for a haircut is currently closed. The restaurant where you eat every Friday night has also shut its doors. And your gym won’t be opening at least for another few weeks. The only solution? Learning how to recreate these services on your own!
After your first DIY haircut, you might be cringing at what you see in the mirror, and after your initial attempt at recreating a dish from your favorite restaurant, you may have found yourself counting down the days until you could order it off a menu. If you started a vegetable garden, you might be worried that you’ll never have a “green thumb.” But taking these steps toward independence and self-sufficiency can actually be quite rewarding if you stick with it. In another month or so, you’ll be shocked by how much you’ve improved!

Adopting a New PetIsolation can be tough on your mental health, and the need for companionship has led some people to adopt pets in need of loving homes. If you can’t stop checking out pictures of the pets at your local shelter, it might be time to take the plunge, but first, make sure that you’re thoroughly prepared!
It can be tempting to adopt the first adorable face you see at the shelter, but Hill’s recommends thinking about what kind of care you’re capable of providing first. Don’t bring home a husky if you live in a tiny studio apartment! When you bring your new pet home, Care suggests focusing on house training first and being patient as they get used to their new living situation.

No one expected to face the situation we are dealing with at the moment. It’s okay if you’ve found it difficult to cope with our current circumstances; after all, there was no way you could have prepared. But even if you feel like you were caught off guard, you can learn to adapt. If you can take the time to understand why these changes might be for the better, you’ll feel much more resilient and hopeful for the future.