Consumers interact with countless digital channels. Some of them are owned and some of them are non-owned.
An owned channel is an online property that your marketing team has full control over. Think of websites, blogs, mobile applications, email and the like. Non-owned channels are the online properties you don't own. These are search engines, social media, reviews on sites like Yelp and other third-party platforms.
The modern consumer uses both owned and non-owned channels. They may search for your brand on Google (a non-owned channel), then land on your website (an owned channel). Then they might read reviews on another platform like Trustpilot (non-owned). Finally they are directed to the landing page for a free trial (owned).
The modern marketer knows that non-owned channels are just as important as owned channels. It's all part of the same journey.
Of course, every brand is different. Each audience is unique, just like the channels in your marketing strategy. Let's look at a few examples of important points in the omnichannel journey – and how your marketing strategy may need to adapt.
Example No. 1: The Initial Google Search
Think of the consumer above, searching for more information on Google. They're looking for the most relevant search results and assessing their options. In this case, you'll probably want to control how your brand appears in those third-party search results. Here, SEO plays a critical part in your omnichannel marketing strategy. As a result, you want to keep your listings with publishers optimised.
(What do we mean by optimised listings? A listing is an online profile, like your Google Business Profile. A publisher hosts the listing. For example, Apple publishes your Apple Business Connect listing. Most of the time, searchers see your listing before they see your website. That's why many marketers make listings management a key part of their omnichannel strategy.)
Your business listings are very intertwined with your search engine rankings. They can feature you higher in the search results. But without up-to-date listings, your business isn't prioritised in the same way.
Search engines want to serve the most accurate information to their users. The more information you have on your listings, the more questions you can answer about your business. Then, search engines like Google can verify your business and prioritise you in their search results. This ultimately helps you reach your audience at a pivotal moment in their buyer journey.
Example No. 2: Reading Reviews Before Purchasing
What do 97% of people do before making a purchase decision? They read online reviews.
Review platforms are very common on both owned and non-owned channels. They're important to manage, but there are also lots of them. The consumer reads reviews on your Google Business Profile listings, your Yelp account and even your Facebook profile.
Customers interact with reviews all throughout their customer journey. Sometimes these are on owned experiences, like the testimonials on your website. At other times, the reviews are on a non-owned experience, like Yelp.
Customers want to know what to expect when interacting with your business. It's important to manage your reviews anywhere people might be evaluating your products, services or people – whether that's on owned or non-owned touchpoints.
Consider this: companies that respond to at least 25% of their reviews earn 35% more than those who don't. Addressing consumer feedback is a vital part of omnichannel marketing and reputation management.
Example No. 3: Standing Out on Social Media
Maybe the consumer has already finished their Google search for your business, and they've already read your reviews. They then switch over to a social media platform, like LinkedIn or Instagram. They want to learn more about you through branded content.
Some of the content they could be interested in could be user-generated (UGC). Customer testimonials, product reviews and explainer videos on your social media accounts give the consumer additional context during their buying journey.
Can they explore your organisation on this channel? Do your social media accounts help the consumer educate themselves? An omnichannel marketing strategy needs a plan for cases like these, too.
Here's the TLDR: there are many ways to interact with your audience. The channels your marketing team is expected to manage increase all the time. A true omnichannel marketing strategy accounts for all channels, so consumers have great online experiences wherever they are.