Tracking customer journeys across channels isn’t always straightforward. But in doing so, you can collect rich data that can help you understand those customers better and ultimately increase conversions and revenue. By viewing each channel as a touchpoint that interacts with other channels, you can see how far-reaching the impact of a single asset is beyond the clicks it garners.
“Omnichannel marketing has the customer at the center of a seamless, unified experience.”
-Evaldus Mockus, Omnisend VP of Growth
The unified customer journey
Customers take increasingly fragmented journeys from the top of your sales funnel to the point of purchase. This can include:
- Spotting display ads on other sites
- Seeing your brick-and-mortar store promotions
- Noticing your ad in their Instagram or Facebook feed on their mobile devices
- Seeing your responsive search ads (RSAs) on Google or Bing searches on their computers
- Interacting with promotional materials on your website itself
By considering each of these elements as part of the same journey, you can begin to tighten your messaging and fill in the gaps so that each touchpoint makes potential customers feel a step closer to solving whatever problem your product solves for them.
As marketing gets savvier, so too do customers. It’s not enough to be present on all the platforms your audience uses. Customers now expect more from brands, and they want to see fresh, relevant content. More than ever, consumers have less patience for repetitive messaging. While this requires a certain degree of tracking and personalization, new potential customers also expect to be able to trust the brands that they choose to follow and shop.
Today, new technologies are making it possible for customers to experience advertising in entirely new ways. In many cases, that means there are a whole host of opportunities for your brand to make an impression.
A cohesive brand identity is the first step to a smooth customer journey
Work from a cohesive customer experience. Ensure that your brand vision is conveyed across all platforms. While it is true that building a recognizable brand identity does include elements such as colors, fonts, and logos, it goes much further. For example, the tone of voice can affect how users perceive your company.
All of your touchpoints should represent your brand and its ethos. Take some advice from the experts in your audience. Through market research or surveys, you can gather the data needed to then create a unified message across all your platforms. Whether your customers contact you by DM, email, or live chat, they should always expect to receive the same high level of customer service and attention. The same feelings should be evoked by all touchpoints, which is why it's essential to have a consistent brand vision. This will also increase customer satisfaction and build public trust in your company.
Personalize the online experience to each individual
Brands must use the real estate on their websites wisely so visitors can easily find what they're seeking. With extensive product catalogs, it leads to brands having to make tough choices and display only limited products that may or may not convert. Website personalization is excellent for engaging consumers with different content based on their interests, providing an improved shopping experience.
Brands can use predictive algorithms to automate personalized experience triggers on a customer's first visit. And the likelihood of return visits increases significantly when promotions or unique features are offered by the individuals’ unique interests, endowed with AI-gathered data on previous purchases or page views for each user. The technical side of setting this up varies by the CMS. Still, more and more content management systems are offering plugins or automation options built into the CMS infrastructure directly. Shopify, Magento, and WordPress, paired with a stout ecomm plug-in like WooCommerce, are leaders in these efforts to make the UX for each site visitor as unique as they are.
Create immersive experiences to make users interact with content on all platforms
Immersive content brings users into any content you're showcasing, and it uses elements such as exciting audio or moving visuals to give your audience a fully interactive experience. In a digital environment, immersive content tends to take over a screen the way interstitial ads do.
For example, video is one of the best types of content to create an immersive or interactive experience. This kind of media is one of the marketers’ best tools for driving engagement, as people tend to respond more readily when they feel they are part of the content. Interactive content has a higher probability of evoking an emotional response from the viewer as well, which is always a good thing when you’re looking to be set apart in a crowded market.
How to stand out from the crowd across all platforms
We’ve put together a list of customer pain points that arise from fragmented marketing and how you can avoid them, ultimately accelerating the customer journey to the end of the sale.
Customers want to see messaging that is relevant to their buying stage. Try to ensure you are targeting your ads to the correct part of your sales funnel – new leads might respond better to simple solution-focused messages. At the same time, existing customers don’t want to see prospect-oriented wording.
Overexposure and repetition
The exact words and images seen on multiple channels become boring and heighten awareness that your brand is ‘following’ them across platforms. Try to use variations on a theme and don’t oversaturate any media at a given time.
Customers increasingly want to be able to continue on one platform where they left off on another, and that includes their conversations with brands. By unifying their experience across platforms, you help them to stay connected with your brand across all touchpoints. This increases convenience and trust and encourages future engagement and sales.
There are also internal pain points that a joined-up strategy can help you to overcome.
Difficulty tracking attribution
When customers take a multi-channel journey, it can make it challenging to identify the asset that ultimately drove the conversion. This can mean that you either mistakenly attribute changes in conversion to the wrong assets or that you can’t make sense of the data at all. Properly implemented multichannel marketing gives you rich insights that help you identify that moment when a customer went from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘yes.’
Double counting conversions or using partial views of the customer journey can lead you to allocate your budget in the wrong places, reducing your ROI. With full-journey tracking in place, you can identify the root of each sale and properly allocate your budget to increase conversions while reducing your spending on ineffective assets.
Preparing for successful omnichannel marketing
So, you’re ready to join up your omnichannel marketing efforts – where do you start? Here are a few elements you need to get in place, followed by our top 10 approaches for unifying your customer experience.
Start out by setting goals using your existing data, but plan to review them once you have gathered additional insights from your new approach. You can set stretch goals to start with or more conservative ones and wait until you have those insights to help you allocate your budget more effectively to achieve stretch goals. A good general rule is to give your new approach two to three months to start generating enough meaningful data from which to work.
Preparing your digital infrastructure
Especially in today’s business world, technology plays a key role. In many industries, especially those in the digital space, tech is the single driving force behind progress.
At Marin, we focus on making it easier for companies to manage their digital advertising, improving operational efficiency, and making campaign management more streamlined in a multi-platform approach. Our tools also make budget automation more straightforward, which helps our clients become more financially stable while continuing to grow their business.
While Marin can help with marketing automation, we see many of our clients continue to struggle with their tech stack on the operations side. Doing a complete analysis of your end-to-end digital infrastructure is key for the company to function as smoothly as possible. Staying up-to-date with technology in all departments is an ongoing task that every company must prioritize.
Prepare for your next steps
Create a strategy that addresses what to do if you do not meet your goals within the initial period. It’s rare to get things 100% perfect the first time.
Ten approaches to unify your prospect-customer experience
Digital ad spend is expected to be 66.8% of all global advertising by 2023, according to Emarketer. Because digital advertising is taking a bigger and more significant portion of the marketing pie for most businesses, being strategic in how that budget is further divided by audience, platform, pillar, etc., is crucial to making the most of your investment.
By giving our users plenty of customization options, you can have as close of a view of your campaigns as you need while still seeing all campaigns for all platforms in one place. This makes budget allocation a lot easier. Our expert solutions team can help you create the perfect view for your business by directly integrating platform features like Customer Match and Custom Audiences into your dashboard. You can take advantage of features like Google’s Customer Match while having clear visibility of how that customer segment is running against other channel segments. Marin makes your financial decision-making more accessible and clear.
Once you have a clear view of where your budget may be performing or underperforming, MarinOne works behind the scenes to shift your budget automatically, ensuring you get the best possible ROI from every channel.
Create a coherent message for all channels. Choose simple wording that is effective when read in a variety of orders. If there is vital information, make sure it can be seen on all channels, but try to avoid complete repetition. For example, an ad headline will work in search advertising, but an image or video could share the same information on social media.
Consumers nowadays are asking for personalized storytelling from brands through every touchpoint. Marketers must tell a personal story with their brand narrative and provide opportunities for consumers to share the personal stories of their interactions with the brand. The best way to segment and rephrase the same message for several audiences is not to be presumptuous about your audience. Listen to audience responses both literally through comments and feedback, but also with key metrics like engagement or click-through rate. From there, you can continuously tailor your messaging to what will resonate with each segment.
Test and learn
The ultimate benefit of having richer, more accurate data is that it can be used for testing, which in turn drives consistent improvements in ROI – and a better customer experience.
Incrementality is a lesser-known form of testing that evaluates whether or not your advertising investment is leading to a profitable return. It can be tough to measure as the lines between organic traffic, and paid conversion can sometimes be unclear. Some people might discover that they're paying for new users who already would have been converted regardless, and that's why incremental testing is so important. You'll be able to filter out the noise and find out the value of what marketing efforts bring you business.
Measuring incremental performance is more complicated than just bypassing your paid media activity for a week to see the effects. Incrementality testing involves a group that is exposed to the ads and a second group whose exposure is controlled. This will help you see just how much impact your marketing campaigns have. Let’s talk through an example.
Antoni’s Pizzeria launches a new Chicago-style crust pizza and wants to find out how successful its advertising campaign is. They hand out coupons to people passing by on the street for a month. To determine if the coupon had an effect, they measured whether or not people used it. The owner found that there are significantly more Chicago-style pizzas purchased with a coupon than without.
The difference in sales between the group of customers who purchased with a coupon versus those who did not have a coupon is the incremental lift. While this example explains incrementality very simply in a traditional advertising method, the same methodology can be applied to your digital paid media.
Advertising on e-commerce platforms
Social commerce is becoming increasingly vital to successfully marketing on several social platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and a handful of others. Social media companies recognize that users are more likely to make purchases when they can do so without ever leaving the platform. In response to that user behavior, social storefronts, marketplaces, shoppable ads, and more are now an integral part of the marketing ecosystem.
As a brand owner, you must think through what this means for your business and how this changes how your target demo interacts with your company. While the website may still be your primary focus in terms of sales, diversifying your customers’ checkout options will increase your income overall. The tradeoff you may face in operational changes is well worth the value leaning into social commerce will bring to your company.
Optimize with search intent data
Understanding search intent is critical when optimizing paid campaigns. How frustrated would you be if you wanted to learn how to cook, but all your search results tried to sell you pots and pans instead? That erratic experience is what you’re trying to prevent by adding user intent into your paid media strategy.
Give your audience (or potential audience) the best possible experience with your brand by:
- Targeting phrases that align with your business goals and the interests of your audience.
- Creating content on topics that answer questions your potential customers might ask and ensure key information is near the top of the page.
- Ensure your keywords align with search engines and users. This will help your page rank higher.
While they often overlap, most user search intent falls into four basic categories:
- Informational intent: Trying to learn more about a topic (e.g., “What’s a good way to cook beans?”)
- Navigational intent: Trying to find a particular place (e.g., “Food Network website”)
- Commercial intent: Trying to learn more before making a purchase decision (e.g., “what is the best pot for cooking beans”)
- Transactional intent: Trying to fulfill a specific need or complete a particular action (e.g., “buy ceramic bean pot”)
Enhance social media engagement
Social media engagement refers to the number of comments, likes, and shares on your posts or pages. It also includes other content that you may have shared online. As a brand, of course, you want to increase your following as much as possible, but what matters more is that you have an engaged audience, not just a large one. Quality is important for any business, not just quantity.
Imagine you threw a party, and there were tons of people in attendance, but they were all just sitting silently. No small talk, no dancing, no conversations, nothing. Was the party a success? The RSVP list looks good, but are our guests happy and walked away wanting to come back?
Creating a good brand experience for customers requires that marketers intentionally use social platforms (such as LinkedIn or Facebook) to develop authentic and meaningful relationships with both current and future customers.
Some considerations that go into account optimization are:
- Use consistent branding and creative visuals (logos, fonts, hashtags, taglines, and slogans) on your social media platforms.
- Ensure you send the right visitors to your landing page with the appropriate link or call-to-action. It may be worth testing different variations to see which works best for you.
- Marketing messages should be written to connect with your target audience. Having the language match the promotions at that time is crucial for maximizing the impact of your marketing.
Follow up strong
One of the most efficient ways to generate more revenue is by improving customer lifetime value. With customer lifetime value, you can look at the engagement metrics and form a long-term strategy to strengthen your relationship with customers.
One way of doing this is via post-purchase communication, setting up email sequences tailored to the customer. Post-purchase emails to customers ensure they receive quality service and want to do business with you again.
Segmenting allows you to understand and focus on different customer groups so that you can allocate your resources accordingly—Dormant Customers (you may need to re-engage with), Active or Profitable Customers (you might need to upsell/cross-sell), and Very Profitable Customers (there's an opportunity for renewal).
Track and use your data
Using the tools provided by each marketing platform to measure engagement creates opportunities for double counting while using third-party tools (web analytics) are often not sophisticated enough to effectively value newer forms of engagement. So, what can you do to make the most of the vast amount of data at your fingertips?
With MarinOne’s analysis and data tracking tools, you can access all your data in one place, with customizable dashboards and completely personalized views. We can also help you get your data to the right place external to Marin software; data can be pushed to Excel or Google Sheets, onto BI platforms, or even into a data warehouse. Reports can be sent automatically or in recurring intervals, and automated alerts can be used to notify you if something looks off.
Measure success throughout the journey
Many marketers still rely on last click attribution when using multi-touch attribution analysis would be more accurate and effective. Last click attribution may not provide the accuracy you need, and it has a number of flaws as the customer journey becomes more complex.
A last-click attribution model can make you uncertain about the success of your branding and awareness efforts. This is because they only count visits after your direct marketing campaign has been completed (that is, the last visit). This means you might be tracking all of the other visitors but have no idea how many people have visited during or before your campaign.
A method of attributing touchpoints on the customer journey to a specific channel, multi-touch attribution can assign credit for each interaction so that marketers can see the value each channel plays in driving customers. There are many multi-touch attribution models out there, and there are pros and cons to each, so determining the most suitable model for your marketing campaigns can be tricky. But recently, the most utilized, and for many marketers most preferred attribution model is algorithmic attribution.
Algorithmic attribution, also called data-driven attribution, refers to attribution models that do not reveal how data is gathered or calculated and are in some way automated on the publishing platform. The advertising platforms measure the credit that different interactions provide and assign a fractional value. The downside is there is no standard for AI platforms and how they do business. It can sometimes be hard to determine which interactions are considered conversions or engagements within the algorithm. They also don't detail how much weight is given to each interaction. However, having responsive, personalized data for each user in many cases outweighs the concerns related to algorithmic attribution.
Choose the right metric for optimization
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a quantifiable measure, or metric that you can use to determine the success of your business. It allows you to understand how profitable your marketing campaign was and which methods have been more successful than others. KPIs are specific to all aspects of your company, such as the performance of employees or the revenues of your company. They allow you to assess and measure these metrics to make informed decisions that can have a positive impact on the rest of your business.
Determining the proper KPI to measure success, however, is not always cut and dry. Many variables affect the success of a campaign, including audience, product, current needs of the company, campaign objectives, and so on. To get you started, here are some of the most common metrics used to measure a campaign's success and when to use them.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
We need to track the CTR, or "clickthrough rate." The more people click on your ads, the more traffic you'll get. A high CTR could lower your CPC because you'll convert enough visits into customers.
The conversion rate is like your sales funnel, and it's the percentage of visitors who bought something or became leads. It's a general marketing number, but it can be applied to other topics if you want to track each separate channel. For example, you could track the "lead conversion rate" separately and compare content marketing channels with Facebook advertising lead conversions.
It's essential to track the return on investment from your paid advertising. CPC is one of the key performance indicators that help you do this.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The lifetime value of a customer is the amount of money your typical customer can generate. This can vary from a few days to years, depending on how long your customers typically stay with you and how many products or services you sell in the future.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Acquisition cost refers to the number of products or services you need to sell to acquire one customer. This might include things like ads, phone calls, or on-site demos.
Follower Growth Rate
You need a continuous stream of new followers from which you can generate new leads and customers. This KPI will measure the percentage rate of increase in the number of your followers over a set period.
This KPI will measure where your site ranks for your most valuable keywords and phrases. You can track changes in ranking over time to see what is working with your SEO efforts and what isn't.
Open rates show you how many of your contacts opened your email messages. This metric can be an indicator of how effective your subject lines are.
Return on Investment (ROI)
The ROI is a function of your customer acquisition expense and your revenue, and it tells you how much profit you generate from these two metrics.
Search traffic metrics measure all the people that visit your site and the number of pages they visited in a single session. You'll also find metrics related to your website visitors from specific search engines (Google) as well as other more minor aspects of traffic.
Social Media Conversions
To see the ROI of various marketing efforts, track both conversion numbers and traffic from each channel. For e-commerce brands particularly, social media has the potential to be a significant piece of the revenue pie.
- Look inwards
Expand your search for inspiration by analyzing internal plans. Look for promotions, new products/services, and other internal ‘red letter day’ events that could create moments of engagement on different channels.
As you have a range of platforms and customer journey stages to appeal to, almost anything positive that’s going on could provide another stepping stone on that journey. Video introductions of new hires who are experts in their field, behind-the-scenes information, sustainability awards – shout about what you’re doing to raise awareness and build trust. In turn, that will accelerate the journey to sales.
Getting started with an omnichannel strategy
There are many obstacles to creating a wholly unified, omnichannel marketing approach. Many organizations are set up in a way that artificially separates search, social, and e-commerce activities, both in terms of the employees working on them and the budget allocation. This can also lead to a lack of in-house experience in setting up cross-channel campaigns, as each department hosts experts in that field with little oversight of how the other areas work.
Allow Marin to help your teams get unified and optimize all areas of marketing at once. Work with our expert solutions team on streamlining workflows, creating efficiencies, allocating resources appropriately, and getting additional bandwidth as needed. We have digital marketing experts at the ready who can set up your entire Marin software integrations and data set for you. They will even steer the ship on optimization and campaign management until you are ready to take over. We will put all your advertising campaigns across publishers in one place, so you can make responsive decisions and get executive reporting on one platform.