With so many ways of connecting to people, merely sticking to one isn’t enough. Recent statistics report that the average household has 11 connected devices—phones, tablets, and everything else in between. Experts predict that number to increase once new technologies like 5G internet finally become more widespread.
Thus, businesses have expanded to cover more platforms, making sure customers receive a reply no matter what they use. This omnichannel approach is visible in any given business’s contact details—from its landline number to links to its social media accounts. By providing various channels, companies can enhance customer experience by making it easy for their customers to contact them anytime.
It’s also worth noting that such an approach uses both traditional and modern means. Face-to-face interactions still bring about their fair share of benefits, but now it is through video conferences, and landline brings its own as compared to mobile. Perhaps the most important of these benefits is bringing more customers into the brand’s fold and turning them into loyal patrons.
With an omnichannel strategy, a business can have a myriad of options at its disposal. It all comes down to getting creative with the choices it makes. Here are some great ideas to make the most out of the various platforms.
1. Personalized Text Messages
Text messages are among the most personalized platforms widely used in marketing. For one, they are sent directly to a customer’s phone instead of languishing in an inbox. They also require little setup, even when using specialized software—all you need to do is compose the message and hit Send. Despite the ease of use, this platform remains underutilized as compared to other marketing and communication channels, like email and social media.
A survey of 11,000 smartphone owners shows that the average time spent using their phones was more than three hours a day. While that use isn’t continuous, the hours accumulated over nearly 60 times of checking their phones throughout the day. Given these statistics, there’s a good chance that a text message from your business will catch people’s attention.
Specific forms of marketing and communication benefit the most from text messaging, such as:
- Appointment reminders
- Payment schedules
- Order confirmation
- Qualifying for contests
- Event and promo updates
- Coupon distribution
As SMS marketing involves sending promotions to groups of contacts, solutions like Drop Cowboy mass text allow businesses to do so with ease. Other than mass texting contacts, these suites allow adding contact details via keywords, schedule texts regularly, and set up automatic responses. They serve as a business’s extra pair of hands in marketing.
2. Predictive Dialing
As the term implies, predictive dialing employs an auto dialing system to make outbound calls and connect answered calls to agents. It works by gathering data from previous phone calls and creating an algorithm that predicts and dials active numbers. It saves you the trouble of waiting for potential contacts to call you back.
While efficient and time-saving, predictive dialing has come under scrutiny from a consumer rights perspective. Over the years, news outlets have reported cases of businesses repeatedly contacting customers to the point of harassment. Without a clear plan of using this technology, your business can face penalties for violating federal laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Avoid misusing the system by following best practices:
- Your pool of contacts should only consist of customers who have consented to your business contacting them. It also pays to look up their numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry.
- The purpose of using the system should only be to remind or update customers about their pending obligations or upcoming appointments.
- Consider predictive dialing when you have at least five agents. The system is less effective when the team handling the calls is too small.
- For calls not received by a live agent, send a prerecorded message that informs the person about the telemarketing effort.
Understanding the responsibility that comes with predictive dialing grants your business a versatile marketing platform. Systems created by companies like Call Cowboy will help make your business appear more prominent than it seems through integrated solutions. Aside from predictive dialing, some of these solutions include toll-free vanity numbers and compatibility with PC and mobile.
3. Free Samples
Enterprises in specific industries like food, beverage, health, and beauty can benefit from offering free samples of their products. From a scientific standpoint, it’s hard to compete with free.
According to Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University, free samples take advantage of the feeling of reciprocity—people tend to feel obligated to return a favor after receiving something good from others. In this case, customers can feel compelled to purchase a pack or two of sausages after being offered a bit of it.
In recent years, businesses have upped the ante by offering larger portions—perfume, for instance, now comes as a free small bottle instead of a piece of paper. Some strategies involve collaborating with other companies (usually not in direct competition) to offer free stuff. Despite the cost, a well-planned free sample campaign can result in a customer conversion rate of up to 30%.
The industries mentioned earlier aren’t the only ones offering free samples. Subscription services offering free premium services for a limited time are also a good example, with the added benefit of allowing customers to cancel anytime without surcharges.
To create an effective marketing plan using free samples, here are a few tips:
- Allocate an adequate amount of goods for the campaign.
- Focus on giving away free samples to your target market.
- Consider selling trial packs to help recoup marketing costs.
- Don’t shortchange customers on what you initially offered.
- Sponsor an event and take the opportunity to offer samples there.
- Consolidate your gains before proceeding any further.
4. Quality Content
Gone are the days of just stuffing articles and other content with keywords in hopes that your page appears at the top of search results. People prefer their content to help them make decisions and be aware of changing trends. Contributing information to the growing repository of knowledge known as the World Wide Web is an excellent way to spread awareness about your brand.
Google is largely responsible for the growth of quality content as a marketing tool. Their constant updates to their search algorithms, the latest being Pigeon, reward informative content and penalize practices like keyword stuffing. The search engine analyzes results based on over 200 factors and ranks the most relevant.
The challenge for businesses is coming up with content that will engage their visitors to their sites. Some try too hard to be relevant and end up losing the initiative in the competition. To help you out, here are three things you need to know about creating content:
- Content is not advertising. Don’t just create content with the goal of generating sales, but rather to engage visitors and build a relationship of trust in your expertise.
- Content shouldn’t just be about your business. Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes and provide content based on their interests and needs.
- Content on its own won’t generate leads—it needs an appropriate marketing plan to go with it.
Once you understand these guidelines, ideas should come naturally. Create a blog post or video that shows your passion for providing solutions to your customers. For videos, make them accessible to more potential customers by providing closed captioning or a copy of your script on your site or in the description of the video. Above all else, publish your content to various media to maximize its reach potential.
5. Topnotch Customer Service
Thanks to social media, news can spread fast. A good or bad experience with a business can reach a network of people easily as those who have that experience will tell their friends and relatives, who in turn will also tell their own friends and relatives. Gaining merits in the market is as easy as losing them.
Prioritizing quality customer service is generally good advice, more so if your customer base is still growing. Nurturing your relationship with the few, from their first call to aftersales support, also promotes your brand’s caring image. Every second an agent and customer spend talking is every opportunity to build a lasting reputation.
While an omnichannel approach will involve responding to various channels, providing topnotch customer service is hardly different across the board. Some rules are optional, but these rules below are obligatory.
- Treat every interaction as gold.
- Treat every mistake as an opportunity.
- Always give customers the benefit of the doubt.
- Never be in a hurry to switch to another customer.
- Treat your staff as you would treat your customer.
That last bit is by no means an exaggeration. As established earlier, people are hard-wired to return favors. After surveying 300 retail stores with 40–60 employees, researchers found that happy employees reciprocate the same feeling to customers. Not only did it increase customer satisfaction, but also the likelihood of a customer buying at the store again.
With so many ways to communicate with customers, this list is by no means exhaustive. Achieving the most results in the shortest time possible demands planning for every means of communication and taking action when the opportunity presents it. You wouldn’t want to miss out on one platform because you’re absorbed with the other.
Omnichannel marketing is more than just a trend—it’s now the norm. A mom-and-pop shop now has these new avenues to not only survive but also compete on more equal footing. Never stop trying out something new—it may just work.