Four Ways to Get Omnichannel Experiences to Work for Your Business
Curious to Know What “Omnichannel” Means and Why It’s Important for Your Professional Service Firm?
“Omnichannel” has become something of a buzzword on the internet. To an extent born out of necessity, with so many retail businesses moving their products online in addition to having brick-and-mortar locations, marketers developed this term to encapsulate the idea of connecting real-life experiences with those found online. Market researchers, writing for Routledge’s Young Consumer Behaviour, define omnichannel as “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
These days, while the term is more often seen in marketing discussions for businesses operating in the eCommerce sphere, the concept isn’t only applicable to those selling products online. Professional service firms should also have omnichannel considerations in mind when developing holistic marketing strategies.
Why It’s Important for Service Firms to Think About Omnichannel Opportunities
There are more available channels than ever through which you can market your services, and today’s customers have never had access to more information about you, your competitors, or your industry.
While the days of potential clients opening up the Yellowpages and selecting your HVAC company or pizzeria are more or less over, other opportunities have sprung up in their wake. Online directory listings, social media platforms, lead-generating landing pages, search engine listings, and more can all be leveraged to help get the good word out about your business.
The reality is that if you’re not taking full advantage of all these existing and emerging platforms, your competitors probably are. By using every opportunity to align your content across platforms—from your social media pages to your website’s office location pages and more—your professional service firm can not only deliver useful information to prospective and existing clients, this seamless experience, as delivered through consistent messaging and branding, will more likely make your client feel that your firm is trustworthy and professional.
According to studies, over one third of all potential clients or customers of a business will “often” research businesses online before walking through their doors—only 7.2 percent don’t do any online research first. Most customers want to be certain they are making the right choice by hiring you, and if they notice your website, social accounts, physical locations, etc. don’t offer similar experiences, they may question the attention to detail and consistency your team brings to its work.
At that point, it doesn’t matter how much you target them via Facebook ads or email blasts; once they’ve made up their mind about you, you’re going to have a hard time winning them back.
How to Make Omnichannel Experiences Work in Your Favor
1. Identify What Channels You Need to Be a Part of and Invest Time Maintaining Each
My teammate Tessa recently wrote about the best social media platforms for your business on the efelle blog. (Hint: Every business has different needs so do your research!)
Whatever platforms you choose to use for your company, make sure you’re keeping your feeds up to date and responding to user inquiries daily. This article on Buffer highlights all sorts of notable stats when it comes to the importance of regular account check ins. Here’s just one striking tidbit: “According to research commissioned by Twitter in 2016, 71% of their users expect a response within an hour.” If you wouldn’t let your office phones ring incessantly without answering them, don’t let your clients go ignored on your social accounts.
2. Align Your Online Strategy with Your “Real World” Presence
Our friends over at the HCMP law firm have done an excellent job of creating a website that well captures their office culture and “feel.” From the looped homepage masthead video of their main office wall to the hi-res photography employed throughout the site to their branded color story and typography, their brand immediately comes off as professional and modern. They only use two primary social platforms—Facebook and LinkedIn—and have ensured those pages are also branded and up to date.
If you’re looking for some quick wins for your digital marketing game, here are a few:
- Make sure that your logo is current and the same across all platforms.
- Nail down a color palette—with no more than two to four main colors—that best capture your brand and use them consistently across all platforms.
- Make sure the tone of copy on your website reflects the kind of tone you’d send in professional correspondence with clients and potential clients. Typically, your tone on social media can be somewhat more casual, but if you’re not sure where that line is, stick to a cohesive script.
And lastly—and most importantly—treat all clients and potential clients that contact you online with the same sense of urgency and priority as you would clients that walk through your front doors.
3. Take Advantage of Automation
Did you know you can automate tasks like email follow ups (if you find you’re sending the same kind of messages over and over) and social media responses (“Thanks for reaching out! We’ve got someone looking into your inquiry and will get back to you soon!”)? By taking some time upfront to assess where automation opportunities lie and setting them up with clean, branded messaging, you’ll give yourself and your customer service team some breathing room to source out the best possible answer for each question that comes in. Meanwhile, the inquiring party will have peace of mind that their message has been received (at least for a day or so).
Just don't go too far down the automation path. If every response you send to your clients and potential clients is canned, they'll know. And don't use automation as an excuse to take a holiday from your inbox—nothing irks potential clients more than feeling like they're talking to a robot. Limit automation to where it's most appropriate (usually initial messaging) and always make sure follow-up emails are sincere, tailored, and sent within a couple business days of the initial inquiry.
4. Make Sure Your Web Presence is Mobile Responsive
Remember the Routledge definition of omnichannel that I shared above? You’ll note that it mentions “different devices.” Back in May, we wrote on the efelle blog about the importance of mobile-responsive websites for law firms—and this information is true for basically any professional service firm. An important stat to note from that post is that “web traffic from mobile devices now accounts for more than 50% of total web traffic.”
As with any of the channels you’re marketing on, it’s important to make sure your website is consistently branded and attractive on both mobile and desktop systems. If your website is beautiful on desktop but is hard to access on mobile—whether because the text appears tiny or it takes too long to load on a less powerful engine or it doesn’t scroll properly—you’re setting yourself up to lose out on a lot of potential business. Mobile-responsive websites look good, are easy to use, and tell your smartphone-using clients and potential clients that you’re not afraid to invest in them.
Want to Do More Omnichannel Marketing but Aren’t Sure Where to Start?
At efelle creative, we’ve been marketing on the web since 2005. We’ve helped transform businesses operating in a huge variety of industries, and have the know-how to help you create an irresistible brand that gets you noticed online. If your online marketing game has gone stale, reach out to us today and let’s chat about how we can help. Call us at 206.384.4909 or hit us up via our online contact form.