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Oisin Lunny
Oisin Lunny 8 September 2016

Opti-Channel Communications: Delivering the Right Messaging at the Right Time

Naturally, it would seem as if there were a direct correlation between the number of communication options and the simplicity of reaching customers. However, it seems as if there’s actually an indirect correlation in 2016.

With so many different modes of communication available, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to identify which ones to use and when to use them.

How to Develop a High Returning Opti-Channel Strategy

At the heart of effective marketing is the deliverance of the right message to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, not all customers are the same. If you have a one-channel communication strategy in place, you’re missing out on the opportunity to engage in meaningful interactions. The solution here is opti-channel communication.

Opti-channel communication is all about selecting the channel that’s optimal for each point in the customer journey for each type of customer. Whereas traditional communication strategies are like standard suits on a rack, opti-channel strategies are like tailored suits that are custom designed to fit the needs of the individual.

If you think about it, every type of communication has an optimal channel. Think about it in terms of your own personal life. If you have a question to ask someone, the mode of communication you use likely depends on the nature of the question. When you need an immediate answer, you’re most likely going to call the individual. When you have a question that isn’t necessarily time sensitive, a text message will usually do. When you have multiple questions that need in-depth answers, an email is often sufficient.

Choosing the Right Channel

The only way to effectively satisfy the needs of individual customers at specific points along the customer journey is by developing an opti-channel approach that takes a variety of mediums into account. With that being said, let’s check out a few of the best options and when they’re ideal.

  1. SMS

Let’s begin by discussing the value of SMS – a channel that business owners are familiar with in their personal lives, yet surprisingly unacquainted with in terms of marketing and customer service.

SMS is perfect for time-sensitive interactions in which the message needs to be read within a matter of minutes. Research shows that 95 percent of text messages are read within three minutes. Contrast this against email, which may not be read for hours or days, and you can see just how valuable it is.

SMS can be used throughout the entire customer journey and has a considerable amount of flexibility. From sales and marketing (coupon offers and purchase confirmations) to loyalty and advocacy (surveys and reviews), the options are virtually endless.

  1. Email

Never underestimate the value of email. While it pales in comparison to SMS in 2016, email still has tremendous potential. However, if you’re going to use it, you must understand what it’s suitable for.

Email is limited in its timeliness. If you have information that needs to be conveyed in a quick fashion, email is not the solution. As previously mentioned, SMS is ideal here. However, if you have basic information that isn’t time-sensitive, email works.

Good applications for email include order confirmations, monthly newsletters, coupon offers, long-form marketing content, and more. Every company should have an email marketing strategy, but the key is to only utilize it in the appropriate moments.

  1. Phone

Sometimes it’s helpful to actually engage in verbal one-on-one conversations with customers. These opportunities often arise immediately preceding purchase or right after purchase. Phone calls are also useful in terms of technical support and customer service.

“It is easy to underestimate the power of a live telephone call,” legal technology consultant Wells H. Anderson says. “You can communicate so much more with your voice than you can with your keyboard. Emphasis, urgency, humor, compassion, all are weakened or obscured when you communicate via the keyboard. And a phone call –versus a voice message – is interactive, allowing each participant to take the communication in new directions.”

  1. Social Media

For a while, businesses dismissed social media as a business trend that would eventually fade into obscurity. However, we’re now well into the second decade of mainstream social networking and it’s clear that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are more powerful than ever.

Social media is effective when you want to humanize your brand, reach a large number of customers, and drive traffic to website landing pages. The thing about social media is that it must be used with discretion. Too much self-promotional content can dissuade people from interacting with your brand. It’s important to maintain the right balance.

  1. Push Notifications

Finally, there are push notifications on native apps. The truth of the matter is the efficacy of apps is dwindling. As SMS and social media move to the forefront, the cumbersome nature of push notifications is becoming more apparent.

However, with that being said, there are times when push notifications can be used to deliver the right message. Generally speaking, they can be used to deliver personal information that cuts through the noise. Social media apps use these notifications to let users know when they have activity on their account. Email apps use push notifications when an email is received. News apps use push notifications to deliver stories that meet the user’s predetermined criteria.

If you can find uses like these, certainly include push notifications in your opti-channel communication strategy. Otherwise, it may not be necessary.

Contact OpenMarket Today

At OpenMarket, we encourage all of our clients to meet their customers where they are. For some, this may involve email and social media at certain points in the customer journey. However, what we’ve discovered is that it’s nearly impossible to develop a highly effective strategy without incorporating SMS on some level.

Our research shows that 75 percent of millennials choose texting over talking. If you aren’t listening to this desire, then you’re missing out on a chance to satisfy your customers.

The good news is that getting started with SMS is incredibly easy. When you work with OpenMarket, you gain access to a robust and secure enterprise-grade network that’s proven and trusted by some of the top global brands in the world.

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