Jul 15, 2022

What Is Omnichannel Marketing?

by Digital Marketing Institute

Omnichannel marketing has become a real buzzword in the world of digital marketing over the last few years. In his podcast on SEO and omnichannel marketing, Matt Santos gave the following concise explanation:

“A marketing tactic that is cohesive, first and foremost, between, traditional marketing tactics and digital marketing tactics and creating synergy between all of them” Matt Santos, Neil Patel Accel

Omnichannel marketing in brief

An omnichannel approach to marketing allows businesses to deliver a consistent and seamless customer experience (CX) across all the channels customers use to engage with their brand, both online and offline. It ensures customers have a positive experience on each channel, while acknowledging all their previous touchpoints with your brand.

The role of data

A successful omnichannel approach draws on data from the customer journey along different channels. You can use the available data to map out the different customer touchpoints to identify customer motivations and needs, and design a strategy to meet those needs.

This data can come from:

  •       CRM, CDP, and email platforms
  •       Website analytics
  •       Paid search
  •       SEO and keyword-tracking tools
  •       Social media
  •       Mobile app usage data (where applicable)
  •       Sales teams (where applicable)
  •       Customer feedback (research, surveys, and case studies)

Four pillars of an omnichannel strategy

Omnichannel marketing extends beyond purely digital marketing to all areas of the business, ensuring they work together:

  •       Marketing channels: You can use channels like email, social media, display and video, social media, SEO content, mobile apps, and PR to engage potential customers, generate demand for your products, and build your brand.
  •       Sales channels: You can use digital channels like PPC, SEO, email, social media, mobile apps, and retargeting to turn your potential customers into paying customers.
  •       Operations: You can streamline your back office in areas such as product, order, and inventory management, logistics, and fulfillment.
  •       Shipping and fulfillment: You can use either your own shipping methods and delivery software management tools to ensure your products reach customers on time and undamaged or enlist the help of a 3PL (third-party logistics) specialist company.

Executing an omnichannel strategy

A successful omnichannel marketing strategy involves the following key actions:

  •       Unify messaging: Align and coordinate all messaging across your sales and marketing channels.
  •       Identify user affinities: Identify how people perceive your brand or business across different channels, and give them the opportunity to engage.
  •       Segment customers: Segment your customers based on how they define themselves, how they behave, and what their characteristics are.
  •       Personalize experiences: Engage customers in real time with automated and personalized experiences.
  •       Reinforce messaging: Reinforce your message and proposition at every touchpoint and on all channels.

Key digital channels for omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing encompasses traditional channels, digital channels, physical, and online experiences, so let’s look at each of these in more detail.

  •       Website optimization
  •       Email marketing
  •       Social media
  •       Display advertising
  •       Video
  •       Remarketing
  •       Search marketing
  •       Affiliate marketing

Omnichannel marketing: website optimization

Website optimization is a crucial part of any omnichannel strategy because you typically drive people to your website when they click through from a digital marketing channel. Because your website is likely to be the last point of contact before someone buys, optimizing the website experience to match customer preferences is vital for sales success. And the actions that customers take on the website can become a valuable source of first-party data.

How might you optimize your website? If users log in with their email address, for example, you can personalize their experience on your site. Then you can give them recommendations for products they might like to buy, based on how you’ve profiled their buying habits.

Different customer expectations on different channels

When it comes to digital channels that drive traffic to your website, remember that these channels fall into two categories:

  •       Marketing channels drive consumer demand and build brand awareness.
  •       Sales channels close the deal and facilitate sales conversions.

When you drive people to your website from different channels, optimize the site with these expectations in mind. Using a data-driven, omnichannel approach, you can create the type of experiences, content, and messaging customers expect on each channel.

Omnichannel marketing: Email marketing

With effective email marketing, you can segment audiences based on various criteria, such as past purchases, which makes it perfectly suited to the omnichannel approach.

In addition, you can base all your communications with customers on a data-driven understanding of their past touchpoints with your brand. As a result, you can communicate in a personalized and direct way with different customer segments and continuously surprise and delight them, thus building customer loyalty.

How to segment email audiences

Here are some useful characteristics you can use to segment your email audiences:

  •       Recent purchasers
  •       Purchasers of certain product types
  •       Seasonal purchasers
  •       Cart abandoners
  •       High-value purchasers
  •       Lapsed purchasers
  •       Newsletter subscribers
  •       E-commerce account holders

Email best practices

And here are some best practices for deploying email in an omnichannel strategy:

  •       Segment your customers based on data.
  •       Identify the stages of the customer journey where email is most effective.
  •       Identify the types of messaging that can be used in emails at these various stages.
  •       Map out the other channels that typically bring people to various stages of the customer journey.
  •       Align email to these channels. Slot it effectively into the high-impact stages of the customer journey.
  •       Automate the process by identifying triggers based on channel use and other touchpoints and use them to send emails.

Omnichannel marketing: Social media

Social media interactions can influence the customer journey by helping the customer to develop their knowledge of your products, offerings, brand values, and customer service, all of which can influence their decision to proceed to the next stage of their buying journey. And once you know which social media platforms your customers are using, you can create content for those platforms.

The content you share on social media can have a direct impact on omnichannel performance. For example, you might upload a handy infographic or a high-quality image for potential customers just starting out on their journeys and a long-form demonstration video and website links to detailed product information for those further down the purchase funnel who are actively looking for information to help them decide to purchase.

When you know what people at different stages of the buyer's journey are looking for, you can share the most appropriate content with them to encourage them to convert and purchase. And with an effective social media strategy and carefully targeted content, you can build engaged social media communities that advocate for your brand.

How social media supports an omnichannel strategy

You can use social media to:

  •       Build awareness: Social media can make people aware of your products and encourage them to find out more about your brand. Consumers can see and read ads and engage with a rich variety of content formats on social channels.
  •       Drive sales: Thanks to social commerce, people can now buy directly from social media shops on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WeChat. Consumers can also use social channels to find out more information about your products and services before they commit to buying them.

Omnichannel marketing: Display advertising

A display ad is an online advertisement that targets shoppers whenever they are online and wherever they are browsing. You can use display ads to target shoppers even when they’re not actively searching for a specific product. They come in many different formats, including images, videos, and text.

Display advertising is a great way to increase awareness of your products and services among general consumers. You can also use it to target certain predefined segments. For example, you can display banner ads to segments of consumers you think might be interested in your product or offering, based on an analysis of their characteristics.

How display advertising supports an omnichannel strategy

You can use display advertising to:

  •       Build awareness: People can view banner ads multiple times. You hope that your message will cut through all the noise on the Internet and resonate with consumers, and that they’ll engage with the banner ad by clicking through to your website to find out more.
  •       Drive sales: You can use display advertising to reinforce your brand messaging and remind customers of upcoming promotions. This can help support and drive sales through other channels, like search, social, or email.

Omnichannel marketing: Video

Paid video advertising aims to engage consumers who might be interested in your product or service. Video content can help people decide which product to buy - and which business to buy from - by providing reviews, product demonstrations, endorsements, and immersive experiences with your business and products.

Incorporating YouTube into an omnichannel strategy

Video advertising has evolved and now consumers are increasingly using channels like YouTube as a search engine to find answers to their queries. As a medium, video can be very effective in explaining complex ideas or processes in a step-by-step, visual way. Consider using video to illustrate how your product works or to showcase its benefits.

To optimize YouTube for an omnichannel experience, be sure to do the following:

  • Keyword research: Alongside traditional keyword research, take note of YouTube-suggested searches and YouTube keywords in Google Ads dimensions reports.
  • Keyword placement: Title your videos according to the types of searches people carry out to find this content. Include additional keywords in video descriptions and video tags.
  • Add callouts and end screens: Add callouts and end screens to your videos and include links in your descriptions to drive traffic to your website.
  • Include transcripts: Embed videos and add video transcripts in your website pages to drive additional SEO traffic from your page content.

How video advertising supports an omnichannel strategy

You can use video advertising to:

  • Build awareness:  You can promote videos to target audiences on YouTube using paid tools like Google Ads. Your targeting can be based on criteria like search history.
  • Drive sales: Video may not be the channel that people click to make the final purchase, but it can influence their decision, by providing them with the information they need at key points in their purchase journey.

Omnichannel marketing: Remarketing

Remarketing involves showing ads or promoted content to people who have previously been on your website, or used your mobile app, or are a segment in your email database. It reminds them about your products and services after they leave your website. When used correctly, remarketing can help you:

  •       Engage with key audiences at precise times and provide them with the information they need to go to the next level of their purchase journey.
  •       Re-engage at key touchpoints using paid search, social, video, or banner advertising.

Different forms of remarketing

Key forms of remarketing include:

  •       Paid search remarketing
  •       Display and video remarketing
  •       Social media remarketing
  •       Email remarketing
  •       Push notifications
  •       SMS

How remarketing supports an omnichannel strategy

You can use remarketing to:

  •       Build awareness: By uploading email segments to your paid media channels like Google Ads, Meta, and other social networks, you can engage past buyers with new offers or create lookalike or similar audiences.
  •       Drive sales: By segmenting your email lists in different ways, such as by recent purchasers or people who spend a certain amount of money with your business, you can target those audience segments on ad platforms with remarketing ads and provide them with the information they need to buy again. You can also send cart abandonment emails to people who don't complete a purchase.

Omnichannel marketing: Search marketing

You can use search as both a sales and marketing channel. Think about how customers use search at various stages of their customer journey and what they expect from each stage. You can use keyword research in both paid and organic search campaigns to create synergy between both strategies.

  •       SEO keyword research inspires you to create content that helps people discover your products, learn more about them, and make the decision to buy.
  •       PPC keyword research is more concerned with purchase-based keywords. You can use these to create experiences for people who already know what they want and can easily search and buy. It's essential to keep your messaging consistent across your paid search ads, landing pages, and website content.

How search supports an omnichannel strategy

A well-thought-out search marketing campaign can help you to:

  •       Build awareness: While many people are first introduced to products and services via outbound advertising techniques like banner ads, video ads, and social media ads, other consumers discover products by using search engines. Typically, they’re looking for a product or service that will solve a particular need or problem they have. By identifying the types of needs these customers have - and how they can use your products to resolve those needs - you can use this information to create relevant and valuable website content.
  •       Drive sales: Many people buy after doing a search. To maximize sales opportunities, it’s important to be highly visible at the top of the SERP when people search. Depending on the keywords used by customers, both PPC and SEO can drive sales for a business. In fact, organic and PPC search channels can work side by side to drive sales and support other channels in your omnichannel strategy.

Omnichannel marketing: Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when businesses enter into an agreement with bloggers or other content publishers such as influencers. These bloggers or publishers are paid for any sales they drive on behalf of the business. This payment is usually a fee or commission for the sale. For example, if a blogger writes a review of your product or service, they might also include a link to your website

Common types of affiliates include websites that write reviews for travel, computer or tech, fashion, books, or other consumer goods. The opinion of the author can help influence the customer’s final decision.

Affiliate websites tend to be content-heavy, and they rely heavily on SEO to drive traffic. It’s a good idea to provide your affiliates with fresh content and updates for their websites regularly. This ensures they stay up to date on new and interesting aspects of your business, which they can share with their audiences.

How affiliate marketing supports an omnichannel strategy

You can use affiliate marketing to:

  •       Build awareness: People can discover your products on affiliate websites and read content that helps them decide whether to take an action. Third-party reviews and recommendations by influencers are seen as credible and impartial sources of information.
  •       Drive sales: From a sales perspective, affiliates are a low-risk channel for businesses, as you only ever pay when sales are generated. Affiliates are often considered to be sales channels, as they drive qualified traffic with high purchase intent to your business’s website.


Digital marketing is evolving all the time, and omnichannel marketing has become a key strategy for many brands. An effective omnichannel strategy can enable you to build awareness and drive sales across several digital marketing channels, including email, search, social media, and display advertising. By tracking the performance of the different channels, you can fine-tune the strategy to ensure the various channels complement each other and your marketing delivers the results you want.

To learn more about omnichannel marketing, check out our webinar: a straight talking guide on omnichannel marketing!

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