The importance of being omnichannel blog post image

The customer journey is no longer a linear path. Smart devices allow for constant access to the most recent and relevant information for all of your needs. When looking for businesses nearby, consumers may come across a Google My Business listing, visit a business’s website, find a local landing page or reach out to the business directly via social media. Thus highlighting the importance of being omnichannel.

In other words, consumers are accessing businesses from across multiple devices and touchpoints, and businesses must meet them where they are and with the right message. Your customer engagement marketing plan must place your consumer at the center–and because each consumer is unique, with different preferences and methods for finding goods and services, your approach must be multi-faceted and highly personalized.

Simply put, your business must embrace omnichannel marketing.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

The prefix “omni-” means “all-encompassing” or “of all things.” In this case, multichannel marketing simply means covering all of your bases, selling from every possible platform that can reach your consumers, both online and offline. 

Omnichannel also means putting the consumer at the center of all your active channels, guiding them along their path to find your brand and locations to eventually make a purchase. Each path will be unique, but they will all lead to the same place, whether virtually or physically, and deliver the same message, seamlessly.

The key to successful omnichannel marketing is optimizing consumer engagement. If your goal is to lead potential customers to your online or brick-and-mortar store, you must keep them engaged with your brand. 

Most people are already engaged with their local environment, so as a multi-location brand, you must pay close attention to each of your local markets. According to Google, 76% of consumers start their buying journey with local searches on smartphones, and half of in-store grocery sales are directly influenced by digital integration.

The Power of an Omnichannel Approach

Digital marketing, social media and online shopping access have all disrupted and changed the traditional retail landscape. But it is not all doom and gloom for brick-and-mortar businesses, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, where customers must shop online rather than in-person. 

Through an omnichannel approach to customer engagement marketing, traditional retail brands can actually get ahead of their online-only counterparts by leveraging the fact that consumer attention is largely focused in the online sphere.

The fact is, many customers still enjoy visiting local stores, whether it’s a mom-and-pop storefront or multi-location enterprises. A recent NPR/Marist poll shows that 56% of online shoppers would rather shop in person than online. And, according to the Aberdeen Group, companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.

Steve Dennis, a Forbes contributor and retail expert suggests “Harmonized Retail” is a better term than “omnichannel,” saying it has never been about being everywhere for everyone, but “showing up for the right customers, where it really matters, in remarkable ways.” 

Here are some ways local marketing and personalization play into crafting an optimal omnichannel strategy.

Local Marketing

The realm of online local marketing is multi-faceted and widespread. For a truly potent omnichannel approach, you must devote resources to all of these digital tendrils. Here are 6 of the most important areas to consider.

1. Local Search Engine Optimization

 

Many Google searches are aimed locally, so you want your brand to appear in as many relevant local search results pages as possible. Create local content, use local landing pages, and focus on local link building.

2. Social Media

Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have in many ways become the public square for both consumers and businesses. Customers are already engaged on these sites, making them prime sources for outreach, engagement and local marketing efforts. Be sure to include links to your social profiles on your website and GMB listings.

3. Website

Your brand’s website must appeal to both broad and local audiences. Utilize local landing pages to reach local audiences and bring them to your website. Make sure your site is easily navigable across devices and well-integrated with your other online profiles.

4. Local Listings

Maintaining accurate local listings will help you build trust with online search users and Google’s infrastructure itself, boosting your search rankings.

5. Consumer Reviews

Potential customers often rely on the testimonies of previous customers, especially those who have visited the business before. While reviews carry a lot of weight in informing purchasing decisions, local reviews carry the most weight when consumers are seeking a local business. Proper online review management is key for responding to all reviews, monitoring your brand’s digital presence and maintaining a stellar local reputation to get more foot traffic.

6. Directories

Some consumers, both online and offline, still use directories as their primary method for finding local businesses. If you want to be everywhere for all your markets, your location data management procedure must include major directories.

Personalization

Consumers make decisions based on their personal preferences. Your online customer engagement strategy, then, should reach out to potential customers on a personal level. 

Localization plays a big role in this effort, as it is directly tied to personalization. People naturally pay more attention to information and events taking place in their backyards, after all. And Google research indicates that compared to a year ago, smartphone users are significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.

Of course, localization is not the only form of omnichannel personalization. Consider the various demographics your brand appeals to, and use this information to inform the types of content and outreach programs you produce. Then, optimize these campaigns for each of your marketing channels. 

For instance, Instagram is optimized for visual content, so vibrant photos and engaging video content works well on this platform. Twitter is great for relaying quick messages and links to a wide audience, and communicating with customers both in public and private.

Setting up a multi-faceted mailing list is another way to personalize your outreach campaigns. Consumers interested in your offerings can choose which types of emails and content to receive from your brand. This empowers your customers to access your brand in the ways that best suit their interests, and gives you the ability to reach a wider audience with a sharper focus.

Local Reporting

The more you know about your current customers and their experience navigating your omnichannel presence, the more you can improve this journey from beginning to end. 

To gather these actionable insights, you need a reliable, centralized data analytics system. Such a system can measure your local brand performance across all channels, offering a detailed view into how your customers initially locate you, visit your site or store, and eventually make a purchase, all within a single comprehensive dashboard.

Get a Free Local Audit

Close the omnichannel loop with an open local platform. Rio SEO offers a singular, universal, and seamless reporting solution that will help you listen, adapt, and then inform future efforts based on the data collected across all channels. Contact us for a local presence audit to get started.