An omnichannel approach to content strategy is now essential to provide a seamless experience across all the channels your customers use to engage with your business.
In 2017, the Harvard Business Review surveyed 46,000 consumers about their shopping behavior. While only 7% said they only shopped online and 20% said they only shopped in-store, 73% said they used multiple channels to make a purchase.
Since that study, we’ve seen an explosion in online channels and a pandemic that led to a dramatic shift toward online shopping.
According to Adobe Analytics, the number of orders purchased online and picked up in-store or curbside grew more than 200% during the pandemic. They estimated that e-commerce would account for 23 percent of all sales globally by the end of 2022.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand what an omnichannel content strategy entails and how to create one that’s effective.
Why Is an Omnichannel Strategy Important?
Before you begin to create an omnichannel content strategy, it’s important to know what omnichannel means and why it’s essential for a modern business.
Let’s say your dog destroys all his toys within minutes and you want to get him a new one that will last.
In the earlier days of e-commerce, you visited a website, looked at photos and read brief product descriptions and a review or two if you were lucky. You chose a toy and placed your order.
Now the journey looks much different.
You might still go to that same website, but you may also visit Facebook or Instagram to see what others are saying about the toy. You may use a promo code from a company’s marketing email to get a discount. You can order online but choose to pick up the item curbside at the local brick-and-mortar store.
Omnichannel marketing includes every one of those touchpoints operating in tandem to give the customer a seamless experience that feels personalized for them.
Here are a few facts you should know about this new customer journey and why a solid omnichannel strategy is essential for today’s businesses:
- In 2000, the average consumer used two touch points when making a purchase, and only 7 percent used at least four. Today, nearly 50 percent of consumers use more than four channels before making a decision.
- Companies that incorporate strong omnichannel marketing strategies retain an average of 89 percent of customers compared to 33 percent for those who don't.
- A 2019 study found that A 2019 study found that omnichannel campaigns saw an 18.96 percent engagement rate while single-channel efforts saw just 5.4 percent.
How to Get the Right Tools for Your Strategy
Each business’ content needs are unique, but there are things that every omnichannel strategy needs to succeed. The most important of those is an agile content management platform.
An effective omnichannel strategy includes a variety of functions including e-commerce, personalization and content production. Traditional, monolithic content management systems were designed for simpler, static websites. That’s why many businesses today are moving to MACH systems — that is, platforms using microservices, API connectivity, cloud nativity and headless infrastructure.
In a MACH content management platform, applications are in the form of microservices housed in a composable ecosystem where they can be added, rearranged and moved as needed. A headless system decouples presentation and logic, allowing developers and content teams to work simultaneously without affecting other functions. Cloud-native software is provided by an outside vendor. Together, the elements of MACH provide a system that offers unbeatable speed, security and scalability.
Here are some other benefits of using a headless content management platform to carry out your omnichannel content strategy:
One key to a successful omnichannel strategy is personalization. By integrating applications like customer relationship management, you can pull in data from your customers such as locations, behaviors and shopping preferences to create experiences tailored to tham.
With all of your assets in one place, there’s no more worrying about who owns what, where certain pieces might be and who needs to approve them. Working together saves time and stress by making sure everyone is working on the same article of content with workflows capable of keeping everyone on task.
A headless system allows you to easily create content and reuse it across channels without having to recreate it every time. Use that new piece of content on Facebook, Instagram and your email blast but found a typo? Fix it in one place and it filters out to all other instances.
Crafting Your Omnichannel Content Strategy in 6 Steps
Now that you know why you need omnichannel and the platform you’ll need to deliver seamless customer experiences across channels, how do you create a content strategy that will win the loyalty of your customers?
Here are six steps to a successful omnichannel content strategy:
- Set Your Goals
The first step in creating any plan is defining what success looks like. By identifying what your KPIs are and setting priorities, you can figure out what kind of content you should gravitate towards. Are you trying to increase sales? Gain followers? Just build general brand awareness? The goals of the campaign will help craft its appearance and allow you to have a solid vision of how to measure them.
2. Find Your Audience
Before you decide how to target your audience, you need to know exactly who they are. You want to know where they spend their money, where and how they shop online, what channels they use and other information that could help inform your approach. Once you know who your market is, create personas to show what their journeys might look like. Mapping out the customer experience can pay dividends in forming a strong strategy.
3. Craft a Consistent Voice
Now that you know who your customer is, tailor your brand persona to that demographic. Your company has a personality, and you should create a voice that conveys who you are as a brand. Be consistent with it. Consider creating a style guide that sets the standards for things like fonts, logos and images as well as phrases to use and things to avoid. Keeping your content consistent makes it easier for your customers to get to know you and allows for more seamless transitions as they travel across multiple channels.
4. Choose Your Channels Wisely
Sometimes it feels like there are a million distribution channels with more popping up every day. It can feel very overwhelming. Your customers are in a lot of places, but it’s unreasonable for you to be in all of them. By using analytics and customer research, find where you’re most likely to make an impact and invest there. If your customers seem to love videos, YouTube and TikTok might be for you. If they’re professionals looking for your organization’s latest white paper, it might be LinkedIn. Focusing on your most impactful channels will help you create the most impactful content.
5. Be Adaptive
Imagine one of your customers researching a product on their phone when they get distracted. Later, they’re on their laptop and remember they were looking at your product, so they go back to your website. When they arrive, the content they were looking for on their phone should adapt seamlessly to the device they’re now using. With that in mind, focus your content so it is highly targeted and meaningful on every channel.
6. Look to the Future
Using tools like analytics and personalization, you can not only discover current consumer behaviors but can begin to predict future trends. Being able to provide meaningful content that stays one step ahead of the customer is a sure-fire way to build brand loyalty and boost revenue.
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