In today’s marketing environment, the terms multichannel and omnichannel are often used interchangeably. But they don’t mean the same thing.
A multichannel marketing approach is simply the use of various channels (ILS, email, social media) to send out your messages. But, according to HubSpot, “You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, it’s not omnichannel.” While some multichannel approaches can be successful, an omnichannel approach more efficiently and effectively delivers an integrated message across your marketing channels.
It is also important to keep in mind that while there are different approaches to different marketing channels – Twitter calls for short bursts of text, emails are longer and cover more information – there still must be an overarching message shared between them all. You don’t want someone to find jarring inconsistencies in tone between channels.
First, you should determine your target market, identify the channels that are relevant to reaching your target, and establish a broad plan for your messaging goals. Then develop the tone you want to use to reach those prospects. Are you cool and casual or professional and polite?
In addition to the tone and messaging you use, make sure that any images you add to your messages are also consistent across platforms. For example, if you are promoting an upcoming on-site pool party and you are targeting millennials, you may want to use images from a previous party that include residents having fun at the pool. If you are looking to reach a more professional, older market, you may instead want to use staged photos of the pool. In each case, it’s important to be consistent with the main message you are trying to share.
Don’t forget to cross-promote to your website and your social media pages so you reach both current and future residents. Cross-posting gives you a boost in your search rankings, keeps your social media channels active, and makes a great impression on prospects who are looking for information on what it’s like to live at your community.
Are you offering a rent special in your email to prospects? Post that to your Facebook page. Are you inviting your residents to an on-site event? Tweet about it, and include a relevant hashtag to both engage your followers and increase your audience. But again, in all cases, be sure that your tone is the same no matter where or how you share the information.
In the end, the most carefully crafted email will confuse prospects if it has nothing in common with your Facebook posts. Today’s renters look at multiple channels to gather information about your property; the same person will gather information through your ILS listing, your website and your Instagram feed. Take a step back and consider this: Will that person be surprised to find different – and conflicting – information from channel to channel? If they get an email, will it tie into your social messaging, or will it be so different as to completely derail your progress?
Once you have your omnichannel approach in place, periodically take a step back and revisit your messaging strategy. Think about what a resident or prospect will be seeing. Above all, the goal should be consistency from channel to channel.