Omni-channel is a huge buzzword in marketing today—and with good reason. Consumers now engage with businesses across multiple channels and devices—often simultaneously—during the purchasing process, and marketers must measure and control that experience at each touch point (online, in-app, in-store, and over the phone) to truly drive and optimize conversions and customer acquisition.
But even though marketers throw the term “omni-channel” around, there is still much confusion over how to implement a successful omni-channel marketing strategy. I recently spoke on a webinar hosted by Chief Marketer entitled Omni-Channel Marketing: 8 Rules to Drive More Clicks, Calls, and Customers that provided best practices to follow for how to get up and running. But it’s just as important to make sure you avoid certain pitfalls if you want to be successful at omni-channel. Here are eight omni-channel pitfalls marketers should be aware of and avoid.
1. Not Thinking Mobile-First
Smartphones and mobile devices are at the heart of omni-channel, and marketers should take a mobile-first approach to be successful. Think of smartphones as the consumer’s omni-channel control tower: the always-there, always-connected device consumers reach for first to run searches for products and services, engage with social media, watch videos, read emails and contact businesses. Make sure your digital marketing is optimized for mobile, and that you measure and understand how consumers are interacting with your brand on mobile devices.
2. Not Putting a Phone Number Everywhere
According to BIA Kelsey, thanks to smartphones and click-to-call, digital marketing will drive over 100 billion calls to U.S. businesses in 2016, and that number will increase 62% in the next three years. Calls have become a critical touch point, and you need to ensure your phone number is displayed prominently on your website and landing pages, and explore advertising options like click-to-call ads.
3. Not Optimizing for Local Search
For consumers, search is the lifeblood of online research and, more often than not, those searches take place on smartphones and mobile devices. Marketers need to own these billions of monthly ‘I-need-it-now’ micro-moments from local search. That means making sure your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and paid search ad campaigns are optimized for local, which includes using call extensions and call-only ads, localizing the content, including incentives to call in your ad copy, using geo-targeting and fine-tuning your bidding strategy.
4. Not Owning the Call Channel
The call channel is the one channel marketers are most prone to ignore. Marketers often think of calls as part of the call center or as the domain of operations or IT – not marketing. But in our omni-channel world, our digital marketing ads are generating billions of customer calls a month. We need to own that experience. For starters, marketers must track and measure call conversions from their digital marketing the same way we do clicks and online interactions so you can optimize for what’s really working. Marketers must also analyze those customer conversations so we can better measure lead quality and learn from the way customers actually talk about their problems and our marketing solutions.
5. Not Capitalizing on an In-Store Audience
Consumers use their smartphones as an aid while shopping in-store. In fact, 58% said they would rather look up information on their smartphone than talk to an in-store employee. Brands that effectively blend this online and offline experience will drive more revenue from shoppers. For example, Target has signs in-store that instruct shoppers to send an SMS text to a number and receive extra discounts off their purchase.
6. Not Targeting Audiences Across Devices
The cookie-based tracking online won’t work in an omni-channel world—it’s not the kind of information that can follow people across every device they use. But unique identifiers like social media profiles, email addresses (have you checked out Google’s Customer Match feature?), and phone numbers can. Especially as smartphones are further integrated into our omni-channel customer journey.
7. Not Taking Advantage of New Channels, Devices and Technologies
According to Cisco, there will be over 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020. Marketers must understand how to use these technologies to our advantage and actively engage with consumers. Omni-channel marketing requires marketers to be present with consistent and personalized messaging at every point in the path to purchase, and innovations like beacons, wearables and mobile payments are the new tools in your marketing toolbox.
8. Not Understanding How Channels Work Together
In an omni-channel world, marketing channels work together to move customers down the path to purchase. You should never be able to evaluate any one channel’s success in a silo. Take a recent study from Facebook IQ on mobile social and search. Mobile search clicks saw a 6.3% increase from Facebook ad exposure. Even though social ad engagement may be low, it’s still an effective branding tool. Make marketing do more by using channels in tandem. Use social and display ads to fuel more branded searches. Use emails addresses from content marketing to better target consumers across digital channels.
Hopefully these landmines have already been sidestepped and implementing a successful omni-channel strategy is in the near future. If not, don’t worry: it’s not too late to make adjustments. And you can also learn more best practices for optimizing ROI from omni-channel marketing by watching the demand webinar hosted by Chief Marketer, Omni-Channel Marketing: 8 Rules to Drive More Clicks, Calls, and Customers.