Late last year I was quoted in an article Klaviyo wrote about the importance of omnichannel marketing for eCommerce businesses. And when they reached out for my input my mind went flooding back to my corporate days and the struggle we often had when trying to implement these marketing campaigns.
While being a small business as a one-person show or with only a small team can feel stressful and overwhelming, having larger teams with different people working in each department comes with its own set of challenges.
The biggest one we faced and what my role was (when I wasn’t being pulled in 1200 other directions) was bringing all the department initiatives together and disseminating that to our marketing channels for any given campaign.
So before we get into the details of what this looks like and how to implement it let’s talk about why this is even important, especially as we move into 2023.
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Why Omnichannel Marketing Matters
As we know, it takes a minimum of 7 touches (probably more now) for a customer to take action on something or purchase a product. And that’s why I teach you how to do the perfect product launch because it’s not just showing up on launch day asking someone to buy your stuff. We have to prep and prime them to buy way before we’re actually going to ask them for the sale.
The same is true for any marketing campaign you create in your eCommerce business. And the more intentional and dialed-in your strategy is, the more impactful it will be. When your customers are receiving cohesive messaging across all the different touchpoints they have with your brand – think of it like a pinball machine – they will get to those 7+ touchpoints a lot faster.
Once you couple that with the actual customer journey and you’re using data to drive that messaging, that’s when it becomes true omnichannel marketing and where the magic happens.
What is an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
So let me give you an example of what an omnichannel marketing strategy would look like in real life.
I pulled this example right from the Klaviyo blog post I was quoted in, so I’ll stick a link in the show notes if you want to check out the additional visuals to really bring this home.
This customer’s name is Casey. Her dog ate her reading glasses and she needs a new pair. She asks her friend at work where she got hers and decides to check out the brand.
She searches google and finds the brand’s website and starts browsing. She uses some of the filters on the website but doesn’t find anything she wants.
A week later, Casey sees an ad on Instagram from the brand but doesn’t really like the color of the glasses featured there so she doesn’t click on the ad.
A few days later Casey bumps into that co-worker who initially recommended the brand and while they didn’t talk about the brand at all it did remind her of the glasses so she goes and signs up for their email and SMS lists to get an offer.
She receives the offer but still isn’t sure which pair she wants so she keeps browsing the website. Eventually, she finds a pair she likes and adds them to her cart but wonders if she should buy glasses she hasn’t tried on even if she does have a discount.
Next, she starts receiving abandoned cart emails with a discount but it’s not quite enough to convince her to buy online. She considers going to this company’s brick-and-mortar location so she can try them on, but there isn’t a store in her neighborhood, she’s not sure if it’s worth the trip and figures she’ll just get something at a store local to her.
A few days later, Casey receives a direct-mail booklet from the brand that highlights the benefits of their glasses and lets her know they also carry contacts. This is intriguing enough that she decides she’ll take a trip to the store.
She has a great experience in the store, buys a pair of glasses, and the associate signs her up for a content lens subscription.
Then, a few weeks later, Casey receives an email about a promotion that’s happening and she decides to snag those sunglasses she’s had her eye on.
As you can see, Casey has had multiple touchpoints with the brand over multiple different channels. Word of mouth, the brand website, an Instagram ad, SMS & email, direct mail, in-person, and finally email again.
So there are a couple of things we should talk about here.
This is a very in-depth and intentional strategy with multiple touchpoints. And in practice is a bit easier to pull off because they basically only sell 2 products, glasses and contacts. They’re solving a problem the customer already knows they have.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement a simplified version of this and slowly add more channels, or that you can’t make it work if you have a wider assortment of products.
Let’s walk through another example from a client of mine.
Nicole and I have been teaming up to run her marketing and ads strategy. Her main customer touch points and marketing channels are her in-person spa, her website and blog, email, and Instagram. Ads are also happening but at the time of running this campaign was just focused on lead generation and maybe a smidge of remarketing.
For Q4 she decided to focus on selling her at-home LED light therapy products. These are a bit on the expensive side and since they’re not quite as mainstream as say a sheet mask, it requires a bit of education.
This campaign all started with a blog post about LED light therapy. This gave her the opportunity to educate people on the value and results of these products, to show her expertise, and gave us a place to send all of the website traffic we were creating for this campaign.
Then, a few weeks before her Black Friday promotion we started sending emails and creating content educating people on the power of LED light therapy and directing them back to the blog post. She also re-merchandised the products in her spa to feature these items and made them a focus of conversation for her employees.
And this content wasn’t all business. In fact, her blog post started with the sentence, I didn’t wear a Halloween Costume this year so I decided to wear my LED mask when I opened the door to trick-or-treaters.
She also created a simple Instagram reel of her wearing the mask and providing details about the power of red light therapy in the description.
This is a simplified version of the overall strategy, but you get the idea right? We started with one main goal and let that drive the rest of our efforts. We created this same sort of campaign for a few different high-priced, more education-needed products.
The result? She actually sold these products on her website and in her spa! Something that didn’t really happen all that often before. Now she’s just getting started with this type of intentionality so we were just scratching the surface to get her comfortable with the process and see how it all comes together.
A few other things to keep in mind is that she also has a skincare quiz for lead generation and her automated emails such as browse and checkout abandonment and post-purchase which all add to the experience for the customer.
Here’s an example of how that might look from their perspective:
She sends an email to her list talking about the benefits of red light therapy and goes to read the blog post. On that blog post, she dives deeper into the benefits and talks specifically about the product she sells and links the customer to that product. The customer is intrigued, so they click through to the product page to learn more about it.
The customer sees the price and hesitates, so they don’t take any action.
Then a couple of hours later she receives an email that reminds her about the red light mask. She’s still unsure so she doesn’t take any action.
Turns out she has an appointment to get her nails done at the spa the following week and when she walks in the door, one of the first things she sees is that Red Light Therapy mask sitting on the shelf behind the counter.
Now she has the opportunity to ask more questions and can buy it right there on the spot. Maybe she’s in a rush though and doesn’t have time to dive deeper right then and there or wants to do more of her own research.
Maybe she checks the website out again and ends up adding the item to her cart and ultimately converts when she gets the checkout abandonment emails.
How to Implement an Omnichannel Marketing Campaign in Your Own Business
When it comes to implementing this in your own business, how you approach it is going to depend a bit on what you sell and who you sell it to, but the overall concept is the same.
If you have a small product assortment like our first example, you can create a solid evergreen campaign and build out each of the touchpoints.
If you have lots of different products like our second example, then I recommend you create mini-campaigns throughout the year and focus on specific products or collections of products so you can create cohesive content across all of your marketing channels.
For instance, if you’re a clothing boutique you would want to line this up with the seasons and holidays. In January you’d focus your messaging around Valentine’s Day, In March and April you talk about a transitional wardrobe, like how to adapt those new spring pieces everyone wants while it’s still chilly outside. In summer you focus on travel and pool parties.
I worked with another client who sells a lot of gift items including crystals, astrological items, etc. She can create campaigns around the different astrological seasons, moon cycles, etc.
No matter what you sell there is usually an opportunity to do both. Set up your evergreen marketing but layer in those seasonal and holiday-relevant messages.
There’s no ONE right way to do this. And you don’t have to have all of the same touchpoints as someone else. In the glasses example, there was no blog touchpoint like we saw with my client example. And you can start with just a few and add more as you become more sophisticated with your marketing or start investing in things like ads and direct mail.
Let me give you an example from my previous gig. and this example is centered around Valentine’s Day which was as big, if not bigger season than Q4 for us – so it was a really important marketing campaign.
How to Create a Cohesive Omnichannel Marketing Campaign
At the top we have our main objective, create a marketing campaign around Valentine’s Day.
Pick a Handful of Products to Focus On
It all starts with what are the key products we’re going to push during this time. We’ll choose one or two novelty products and run a 3-for X dollar amount panty deal; Like they do at Victoria’s secret. And of course, there will be some other new gift items and things we bring in just for the holiday like you would with Christmas to encourage impulse buys and increase that AOV.
We’ll partner up with our vendors to either get better wholesale pricing for increased quantity purchases, to get approval for offering a discount on MAP pricing, possibly a co-op advertising deal where they foot some of the bill, or maybe we do a giveaway of their product and ask them to provide that product to us for free. There are lots of different ways to go about that.
Develop Creative That Supports the Omnichannel Campaign and Products
Then comes the creative and that starts with the seasonal photoshoot. Not only does it dictate the vibe of the visuals, but we’re also going to make sure that it supports our initiatives for the season and features the products we’re focused on selling or that it at least makes sense for those products.
Those are the images that we’re going to use across all of our marketing which includes our website, our store windows, direct mail, email, social, and even our billboards. So no matter where the customer sees it, or how many times they come in contact with it, it’s all cohesive and sends the same overarching message.
And we’re going to have a little fun with it, mix it up each year, and follow the current trends in the marketplace. When 50 shades was all the rage, you can be sure we leaned a bit more toward that vibe.
Okay, so now we’ve got all the high-level things in place so it’s time to plan out what that’s going to look like across the rest of the channels.
First comes visual merchandising, both in-store and online. That means store windows and entryways, departments, and even the impulse fixture by the cash register. Then on the site, we update the home page and create our gift guide which is going to be the main landing page for all of our marketing. Those products I mentioned earlier, the ones that we’re probably partnering with the vendor on, those are even getting pushed to the top of our generic collections to ensure they’re getting seen by our customers.
Use Content Marketing to Support Your Omnichannel Strategy
We create blog posts about helping people plan their perfect Valentine’s Day, picking the perfect lingerie, recipes for a sexy at-home dinner, etc. That content gets disseminated to our emails and social content along with product and promotional features and some evergreen content.
Promotions & Advertising
We also did things like radio ads and even direct mail to our local rewards customers encouraging them to visit our stores.
Surprise and Delight Your Customers
There are also a lot of small things you can do to amp up the experience and surprise and delight your customers.
We did things like offering a double-reward points weekend, had gift wrapping options, and included hang tags in the store to direct people to the hottest selling items, or staff picks. We offered educational workshops in-store that made a really great date night, which we eventually started offering virtually as well to better support the eCommerce division.
We even partnered with vendors to get samples of other products that we could stick in people’s eCommerce orders to encourage them to try something new – just like beauty brands do.
Unfortunately due to the nature of what we sold, we couldn’t do paid remarketing but that would have added another really valuable layer.
Are you seeing how this is all coming together? There really is no limit to how deep you can go. And remember, you don’t have to go this deep from day one. Just get in the habit of planning your content around your main initiative to start and then layer in more as you go.
Tips for Building an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
And look, I know you’re listening to this and thinking damn – that sounds like a lot of work. And it is. But the more you do it, the better you get at it and the more impactful it becomes.
And I share this with you not to overwhelm you, but to show you the importance of that internal structure and that it’s okay if you just cherry-pick a few items to get started and slowly build up to something so in-depth, but also what’s truly possible.
You HAVE to start somewhere. And here are a few tips and tricks to make it easier.
Start where you’re at
As I’ve already touched on you don’t have to come out of the gate with a full-fledged campaign that uses every single possible marketing channel available to you.
Get in the habit of showing up more cohesively and powerfully where you’re already at. As you get more practice and dial in the workload you can slowly start to expand to other channels and layer in more complex tactics.
Ramp Up Internal communication
As I mentioned in the beginning, having larger teams comes with its own set of challenges. Communication and staying on the same page are the number one.
Think about how many people were involved.
The buyers who managed the product piece and communication with the vendors. And there were different buyers for different departments.
Then you have the marketing team who managed the photoshoot concept, execution, and local paid advertising like radio and direct mail.
You had the visual merchandiser who had to create the window concept and in-store setup, then each store had to implement it.
You had me, who worked with the graphic designer to translate the vision to our digital properties and set up the website. I also planned and executed all the email marketing and social media content. We did eventually get a dedicated social person, but they reported directly to me.
And then you have the people at the top whose main concern is the bottom line.
There were A LOT of moving parts to this, a lot of people to keep coordinated, and on the same page. Not to mention the blog writers, paid ads agency, etc.
And that’s why internal communication and collaboration are SOOO important. That’s when being a small team really does pay off because there are fewer cooks in the kitchen and it’s easier to stay aligned.
Lean on Technology to Bring Your Data Together for a solid omnichannel strategy
Lucky for us our eCommerce website was on Shopify, but our brick-and-mortar stores were too sophisticated for Shopify’s POS system.
The good news is, we were able to integrate that data with Klaviyo and had a central customer system so we could see who was shopping where and when.
If you’re listening to this podcast I assume you don’t have 30+ brick-and-mortar locations, if you have any at all. The good news is, if you do have 1 or a handful of brick-and-mortar locations you can use Shopify’s POS system and a platform like Klaviyo to keep all that data centralized so that you can make sure you’re not bombarding people with emails who just made a purchase in your brick-and-mortar store the previous day.
The other great thing about platforms like Klaviyo is you can even use all the data you have about your customers to build custom audiences on Facebook and Google. This can be an amazing tool especially when it comes to your remarketing efforts.
I also recommend you try and utilize the SMS functionality in the email platform you use instead of using a separate platform. Even though all these SMS platforms say they integrate with the email platforms, in most cases, they only sync subscriber emails, not any of their associated data. So you don’t have insight into who did or didn’t engage with an email or an SMS and vice versa.
I also recommend you look at how you’re handling your customer service; especially if you have a high-volume of inquiries. Utilizing a tool such as Gorgias which integrates beautifully with Klaviyo will let you exclude anyone who might have an open support ticket from your current marketing campaign. No one wants to continue being sold to if they’re annoyed with you!
Segmentation is a word you hear a lot when it comes to email marketing, but there are other ways to utilize segmentation in your product-based businesses.
I also encourage you to think beyond the person who bought product A might be interested in product B type of segmentation and think in more customer-centric terms.
For instance. If you do have a brick-and-mortar store or local presence, use local segments to show different ads that encourage in-store visits, to show promotional pop-ups on your website to promote your buy online, pick up in-store options, or even to promote in-store exclusive deals or products.
You can also use segmentation to identify VIP customers or the most active reward members to offer them special perks.
Or maybe you go in the opposite direction and use segmentation to identify who hasn’t joined your rewards program yet and offer them a double-rewards event to encourage them to sign up.
One of my favorite ways to utilize segmentation is to identify who has been engaging with me but hasn’t made their first purchase with me yet. Then I can create a campaign specifically for them to encourage them to make their first purchase.
This would even let you ramp up specific channels for those people, say paid advertising and direct mail so you can increase your touch points with them and shorten their time to purchase.
There are so many ways you can slice and dice this. If you’re just getting started with this concept, start with the evergreen stuff.
Make sure you’ve got your email automation set up, get comfortable segmenting by the customer lifecycle, review your tech to make sure it’s set up to serve you, and consider potentially investing in some remarketing ads.
Once you have those basics in place then you can start creating this promotional marketing campaigns. Start off small and slowly add in more layers as you get the hang of it, have more data to work with, more people to help you, more bandwidth, etc.
And don’t be afraid to get help if you need it.
I’m always here through one-off strategy calls if you want to brainstorm what a campaign would look like for you. Or you can join the Lounge membership. That’s a great way to consistently get my brain on your business, get support from Nicole my co-host in the Lounge on ads strategy, and get support and encouragement from your peers.
Even if you don’t have a big internal team, which can be just as much of a curse as it is a blessing, you don’t have to go at this alone. And with so many awesome technology platforms that can help you automate so much of this, there’s a lot you can set up once and have it work on autopilot for you.