As a marketer, you know that connecting with your target audience is key to building a brand and driving revenue. Using events to interact face-to-face with your target audience can help you achieve those goals and more. But when you combine events with other marketing channels, that's when you'll really see success. This is what's known as an omnichannel marketing strategy.
According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer, 71% of customers prefer different channels depending on context. The report also found that business buyers engage with companies across ten channels, while consumers use eight. Omnichannel marketing allows you to engage your audience wherever they are and on the platform of their choosing.
Read on to learn the benefits of omnichannel marketing, how to build a successful strategy, and why events are a crucial element to make it successful.
An omnichannel marketing strategy provides a cohesive, integrated brand experience across multiple channels and touchpoints. These touchpoints can include anything from social media and voice search to email and events.
Omnichannel experiences align with the way consumers behave today. With our lives becoming increasingly digital, there's an opportunity for brands to connect with their audience wherever they may be and create a cohesive brand experience online, offline, and across multiple channels. But here’s the caveat: Each channel should provide a consistent, unified experience.
In other words, your audience should feel like they're engaging with the same brand, regardless of which channel they use. By providing a seamless experience, you'll be able to build trust, boost customer loyalty, and, ultimately, drive more revenue.
While omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies help you engage with audiences across various channels, they’re not the same.
Multichannel marketing utilises various channels independently to reach an audience. In contrast, omnichannel marketing focuses on creating a unified and consistent customer experience across all of your marketing channels.
The omnichannel approach is more customer-centric and data-driven. It aims to provide a seamless and consistent customer journey, pulling audience data from many channels into one source. The strategy also respects the customer’s choice of channel, leading to stronger customer engagement and loyalty.
While multichannel marketing still offers multiple communication channels, it may not provide the same level of seamless integration, personalisation, or customer-centricity. Multichannel strategies might treat each channel as separate silos, with less emphasis on delivering a unified and cohesive experience.
There are numerous benefits of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy, including:
- Improved customer experience: Providing consistent brand messaging tailored to individual customer preferences across multiple channels makes your customers feel valued, improving their overall experience.
- Increased customer engagement and loyalty: When customers can transition between channels without interruption, it's easier for them to interact with you. According to Omnisend, omnichannel campaigns in 2020 achieved an 18.96% engagement rate, while those using single-channel campaigns saw a 5.4% engagement rate.
- Better data utilisation: Omnichannel strategies integrate data from various sources, which gives you a holistic view of your audience's behaviour and preferences. This data can then help you make more informed decisions.
- Optimised resource allocation: Understand which channels are most effective, and you can allocate resources more efficiently, maximising ROI. This prevents you from wasting money on underperforming channels.
- Competitive advantage: A well-executed omnichannel strategy sets you apart from competitors and makes you more memorable. It also allows you to remain agile in a rapidly evolving market.
- Enhanced customer support and service: Omnichannel marketing allows you to provide customer support over the phone, email, chat, and social media, meeting customers where they are most comfortable.
- Increased conversion rates: Personalised and relevant marketing messages are more likely to convert customers, leading to higher conversion rates. Omnisend reported in 2021 that omnichannel campaigns earned a 494% higher order rate than those using just one channel.
If your goal is to engage with your audience more effectively, increase return on investment (ROI), and earn more revenue, omnichannel may be for you.
Omnichannel strategies help you reach new audiences and reinforce your campaign with those who see it in multiple places. This has a compound effect on your marketing efforts, making them far more effective and helping you achieve much greater results.
Events play a critical role in any omnichannel marketing strategy. By their nature, events often require the use of multiple channels to both lead visitors up to event attendance and to reinforce messaging and follow-up after the event has taken place.
Here’s why events are a key element of any omnichannel approach:
1. Events drive the buyer's journey
No other marketing channel offers the same level of time, exposure and high-quality engagement potential as events.
Why? Because putting events into your omnichannel strategy gives you an opportunity to achieve always-on, year-round engagement.
Events allow you to carve out dedicated time with your audience and sustain that connection using digital components like mobile event apps and on-demand content when the event is over. This makes it easier to generate demand, build a strong brand, and drive revenue.
2. Events build engagement
Whether it's in-person or virtual, events provide a unique opportunity for you to engage with your audience in an interactive and immersive way.
They go beyond what most digital channels can provide, allowing your audience to experience your brand, its products or services, and its values firsthand.
This level of engagement builds strong bonds between brands and their audiences and can often be the defining factor in purchase decisions.
3. Events drive revenue
While some event attendees may well be new to the brand, for many, an event represents a point in the buying journey much closer to the end of the sales funnel. An omnichannel strategy provides coherent steps along that journey that guide prospects toward the end goal of becoming a customer.
4. Events complement other touchpoints
Events bridge the gap between physical and digital channels. They allow for a seamless transition from online to offline and vice versa, creating a holistic and consistent customer experience.
Also, content generated during events, such as presentations, videos, and user-generated content, can be repurposed. Share this content across digital channels like your website, social media, blogs, and email campaigns. This extends your event's impact and reach and saves you time.
5. Events provide a rich source of data
Data collected from your event can be integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Here are a few kinds of data your events help you collect:
- Attendee registration data: Events help you collect personal information like names, emails, addresses, and demographics, like age, gender, location, or job title. Use registration software to help you collect this information seamlessly when attendees arrive.
- Session and interaction data: Events allow you to collect information like session attendance, session duration, and what topics they enjoyed most. This might include poll or survey participation.
- Networking and engagement data: Attendee interactions and social media activity show you how engaged your audience is. You can collect data on how many meetings took place or how many people used your hashtag.
- Feedback and surveys: Feedback surveys administered after the event help you collect opinions, preferences, and suggestions from attendees. They give you a better understanding of what worked well and what can be improved.
6. Event data informs other touchpoints
This integrated data enhances your customer profiles, enabling more personalised and relevant communication across channels like:
- Email marketing: Event data, such as audience interests or session attendance, helps you personalise follow-up emails. Instead of sending out generic communication, now you can reference specific sessions or topics in which your audience took an interest.
- Social media: The data you collected on attendee interactions can guide your special media community-building efforts. Also, the most popular content could be repurposed and shared on social platforms.
- Website and content marketing: Event data, such as content downloads and session attendance, can inform content recommendations on your website.
- Customer support and engagement: Event data can be used by customer support teams to better understand attendee needs and preferences.
So, you’ve decided to include events in your omnichannel marketing strategy. Now, you need to make sure that the channels you’re using and the strategy surrounding them complement your event.
Take note of the following best practices, designed to enhance your audience engagement and increase the ROI of your events:
The omnichannel approach to targeted outreach
Targeted outreach is essential for driving event attendance and engagement. This involves segmenting your audience and reaching out to those who are likely to be interested in your event. Then, you can tailor your communication to their preferences.
Make the most of the different channels available to you. While you could opt for the classic email, consider sending out LinkedIn messages or even direct mail.
According to Twilio Segment, 56% of consumers say they will become repeat buyers after a personalised experience. Use this to your advantage with personalised event invitations. Take what you already know about your audience and highlight sessions and topics that align with their interests.
Personalising your outreach will lead to more sign-ups and a better omnichannel experience overall.
Getting creative with content marketing
Content marketing serves as the foundation for educating and engaging customers across various channels before, during, and after your event. A good content marketing strategy allows you to create and serve content like blog posts, webinars, videos, and social media teasers to create a consistent brand experience, no matter the channel.
In addition, you could repurpose your event content to squeeze the maximum value out of your event and increase your ROI and revenue. But what does this look like? Pre-written scripts, audio transcripts, on-demand videos, and other materials produced for the event all count as content. And all of it can be repurposed.
Engage through event apps
Use mobile event apps to enhance attendee engagement. This is one of the best ways to engage with your audience throughout your event. Mobile apps bring your audience closer to your event, allowing them to connect with you, other attendees, and your event content.
Enable features like live polling, session Q&A, chat and networking opportunities to maximise engagement during your event and deliver a richer, more personalised experience.
Livestream the event
Livestreaming your event, whether on social media or an attendee engagement engine, allows you to enhance the overall impact of your event and boost your omnichannel presence. It enhances accessibility, connects you with a broader, more diverse audience, and creates interactive experiences.
So, how can you do this most effectively? The Cvent Attendee Hub, for example, allows you to create multiple sessions for registrants to sign up to. Once the session goes live, prompt your virtual audience to join.
Add Q&A, polling, and chat to your live-streamed sessions to increase engagement and keep people interested.
Engage on social media
Don’t miss out on all the social media engagement opportunities available during your event—including livestreaming! Encourage attendees to share their experiences across different social media platforms using event-specific hashtags. Reshare this content on Instagram Stories, TikTok, or Facebook and respond to posts and comments.
Share live updates and behind-the-scenes content to engage both physical and virtual attendees. To do this effectively, consider what content you would like to create during the event and make a plan. Schedule customers or employees to be present for interviews and write scripts ahead of time.
Provide better customer experiences with omnichannel marketing
An omnichannel marketing strategy is about all of your channels working together to provide an integrated, seamless experience. Events offer a unique way to connect with your audience, bring them together, and create a brand experience to complement your other channels.
Want to learn more about maximising engagement at your events? Download our guide, Dialling Up Your Event Engagement.