Why Omnichannel Marketing is Critical for Small Business Success
You first view a pair of jeans through a Facebook ad on your phone and, interested, you look up the company’s website on your laptop later that night to browse through the available products. You see a pair you particularly like, but aren’t yet convinced to buy, so you don’t think about it for another week… until, when scrolling through Instagram one morning, you see a post by a celebrity you follow endorsing the jeans. Still, you file the product away in the back of your mind and don’t think about it again… until you receive a direct mail piece from the company promoting a jeans sale and a 20% discount code. Finally persuaded, you pull out your credit card and make the purchase online...
… and have knowingly or unknowingly experienced the seamless nature of omnichannel marketing, the phrase referring to a streamlined, intuitive consumer experience regardless of channel or device. It’s certainly a marketing buzzword, but it aptly sums up today’s communications landscape.
You may have heard of the term “multi-channel marketing” before -- the notion of brands interacting with consumers on multiple platforms. The difference between the two is that multi-channel marketing is about the method of delivery while omnichannel marketing is an ideology -- the holistic strategy of creating a streamlined customer experience across every channel. A brand can be present on multiple channels and still deliver a conflicting overall experience. Omnichannel marketers are diligent in ensuring messaging is consistent and unified, no matter the platform.
Companies with strong omnichannel strategies retain 89% of their customers. This relatively new way of thinking represents a marketing shift, as it’s now expected that customers are using multiple channels to connect. What makes one company stand out next to a competitor is the presence of an intuitive, streamlined and engaging customer experience across all of those channels.
Direct Mail in the OmniChannel Marketing Experience
Direct mail is all about garnering high response rates and building lasting brand/consumer relationships. It’s a valuable tool in any marketing strategy, but it’s an essential player for an impactful omnichannel marketing strategy.
Direct mail is great for creating interest that drives customers back to digital platforms, as people typically respond to direct mail more than any other form of marketing. Fom 2015 to 2016, the direct mail household response rate saw a tremendous leap, increasing by 43%, according to the Data and Marketing Association. In the same report, direct mail had a household response rate of 5.3%, which far surpassed all digital channels -- neither online display, email, social media or paid search cracked 1%. Direct mail resonates with consumers today even more so than it did several years ago, likely due to oversaturated inboxes and incessant digital advertisements. If you want customer engagement, direct mail is a tried-and-true way to get it.
Smooth integration with online channels is the best way to deliver a valuable customer experience when using direct mail. If you notice that customers aren’t taking a particular online action, like signing up for an email list or purchasing a specific product, consider sending out marketing postcards with an offer or discount to re-engage them. Similarly, if your online content isn’t garnering this visibility you’d like, include that content offer in your marketing postcards. High value content such as a whitepaper or exclusive look at a new product line up will work best.
However you choose to integrate direct mail and digital marketing, remember that the key to omnichannel marketing is to keep the message consistent throughout. Your mailer should have the same tone and look and feel as your website, social channels and more. Create a unified front for your brand, making the customer’s experience seamless and fuss-free, and you’ll reap the rewards in engaged customers with lifetime value.