Customers today expect personalized service on every channel where they connect with businesses. To provide this, businesses need a centralized data hub that helps every team understand the customer journey across channels.
This is what an omnichannel communication strategy provides—and email is a crucial component.
Email allows you to send personalized communication straight to customers’ inboxes, enhancing your omnichannel approach. So how do you make the most of this channel?
This post will go over how to use email marketing as part of your omnichannel strategy. But first, let’s discuss what omnichannel means and why it matters.
What is omnichannel engagement?
Omnichannel customer engagement means that every channel you use to communicate with customers is connected, with data flowing back and forth, so you can provide a consistent experience.
While often used interchangeably with multichannel, the term omnichannel doesn’t mean the same thing. A multichannel approach uses various channels to connect with customers, but these are not connected. This means employees can’t easily access customer data or the context of previous interactions to provide a personalized experience—like they can with an omnichannel approach.
With an omnichannel communication strategy, businesses can seamlessly connect with customers across channels including:
- Live chat
- And more
Most importantly, these channels integrate with the business’ customer relationship management software (CRM) and/or customer data platform (CDP). This allows agents, marketers, and other employees to access real-time data and switch between channels without losing context, enabling a seamless customer experience.
Why is omnichannel important?
Omnichannel communication breaks down data silos between different teams and channels, giving employees easy access to real-time customer data to provide a personalized experience every time.
Personalization is key because it directly ties to return on investment. In Twilio Segment’s State of Personalization Report, 49% of consumers said they’re likely to become repeat customers after a personalized shopping experience. Plus, 1 in 3 consumers said they’ll shop again with a brand that provides a good experience, even when there are cheaper and more convenient options available.
On the other hand, 62% of consumers say a brand will lose their loyalty if it provides an impersonalized experience. So a lack of personalization could ultimately hurt a business’ bottom line.
Want to learn more about the importance of an omnichannel communication strategy and how to achieve it? Download The Ultimate Guide to Omnichannel.
How to leverage email marketing for omnichannel engagement
Email continues to be one of customers’ preferred communication channels. In fact, in our 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report, 18% of respondents listed email in their top 3 channels, and 77% said they refresh their inboxes at least once a day, if not more.
Additionally, email is a permission-based channel, meaning customers need to opt in to receive your communications. So when you send an email, you know you’re targeting qualified leads because they’ve already expressed interest in your brand by subscribing to your email list.
Let’s look at how you can leverage these benefits of email marketing to create omnichannel customer engagement.
1. Gather and use customer data
Email and data have a symbiotic relationship—each benefiting the other.
To begin with, email is a great way to gather first-party data. For example, when a user signs up for your email list, you can ask for a few personal details to start building their profile. And once they subscribe, you can invite them to complete their user profile or update their email preferences, giving you more data.
Then, you can put this data (and other customer data you gather across channels) to good use by personalizing emails. For example, you can tailor the email content based on products the customer viewed on your website, their location, demographic data, and more.
So how do you make the most of this relationship between email and data? A great start is to integrate your email service provider with a CDP, like Segment, to facilitate the flow of data and allow team members to easily access customer profiles to create highly personalized email campaigns.
2. Send emails based on behavior on other channels
Having customer data from all your channels in a centralized place makes it easier to send automated emails triggered by customers’ actions on other channels. These automated emails can help boost customer engagement and drive sales. For example:
- When a customer adds an item to their cart and doesn’t check out after a certain time, send an abandoned cart email to nudge them toward completing the purchase.
- When a user connects with customer service via webchat to resolve an issue, send a follow-up email asking them to rate the service and share feedback on the interaction.
- When a customer makes a purchase on your website, follow up with an email including a discount off their next purchase.
3. Invite recipients to connect on other channels
If you’ve recently added new communication channels to your omnichannel strategy, customers might not be aware of them. So take advantage of the prevalence of email to invite subscribers to connect with you in new ways with the following strategies:
- Encourage customers to sign up for email and SMS at the same time to receive a discount. You can do this by updating your email sign-up form to include the option to provide a phone number.
- Invite email subscribers to download your app to access your rewards program and other perks.
- Include a link to live chat in your emails, so recipients who need timely assistance can easily get in touch with your customer support team.
Example of an omnichannel experience
Wonder what omnichannel customer engagement looks like in practice? Let’s look at an example of my recent journey with Domino’s.
First, I placed an order on the business’ website, entering my email address and phone number when I checked out. Next, the company sent me an email with my order details, including a link to track the progress of my order in real time on its website.
Then, when the delivery driver was close to my building, they called me to let me know they would be there soon. Finally, a few days after my order, the business sent me a marketing email with a coupon for my next order. (Bonus: the email included an engaging GIF.)
Across all these touchpoints (web, phone, and email), Domino’s maintained the context of my interactions, making the experience seamless for me as a customer. Plus, the company leveraged email marketing to encourage me to make another purchase, nudging me toward the retention phase of the customer journey.
Get started with omnichannel email marketing from Twilio SendGrid
Creating an omnichannel communication strategy requires a few tools working together seamlessly, so employees can personalize every interaction. Twilio has you covered with all the tools you need, including:
- Twilio SendGrid: Create and deliver engaging, personalized emails you can trust will reach the inbox.
- Twilio Segment: Unify customer data across channels to create a complete view of their journey.
- Twilio APIs: Engage customers on their preferred platforms, including SMS, webchat, voice, video, and more.
Ready to provide omnichannel customer engagement? Learn more about how to use these tools together in The Ultimate Guide to Omnichannel. Then, try SendGrid for free to start sending personalized emails.