Take a second to think about the most engaging person you know. Is he or she charming? Does he have a sense of humor? Is she especially helpful?
It's likely a combination of these features and other positive attributes that make that person engaging.
In the same way, your brand can be engaging (or not), and this can make or break your business. So, are you attracting or repelling your desired customer?
This article discusses strategies for online customer engagement, so that your customers want to interact with you over and over again.
Engaging Your Customers Is a Must
How engaging your company is can make or break your bottom line. Think about it. You likely buy from businesses that not only make great products or provide great service, but also make you feel personally connected to them.
In this digital age, companies are able to establish and broadcast a “personality” to the masses through the internet and build relationships in entirely new ways.
If you aren’t doing this already, we are here to help you get started.
In this article, we are going to provide you with a customer engagement strategy template and overviews of the different types of platforms available to you today.
Ultimately, developing an effective customer engagement model will lead to more customers, more sales, and more profit for your business.
What Is Customer Engagement?
Before jumping into specific strategies, we need to define customer engagement and customer engagement marketing. What are they?
Customer engagement definition: establishing a mutually beneficial relationship that transcends the traditional buyer and seller dynamic. Through successful customer engagement, companies build lifelong loyalty with their customers and provide them with positive, memorable experiences that are worth sharing.
Customer engagement marketing describes the intentional and scheduled marketing actions that drive customer engagement.
Your business development must include customer engagement marketing as it feeds your sales funnel today and tomorrow.
Having a clear, well-articulated customer engagement plan that deploys a variety of tools will help set your business apart in a crowded digital marketplace.
Developing Your Customer Engagement Plan
There are many great customer engagement strategies out there that use a combination of marketing automation software, email lists, and savvy social media to drive user engagement.
The following components outline a template you can use to build your customer engagement model:
- 1Investing in automated marketing software & services
- 2.Maintaining Relationships Through Email Marketing
- 3.Beautifying Your Website
- 4.Taking Advantage of Social Media
- 5.Trying Other Unique Approaches
Next, I'll discuss each one in detail. These components are great to mix in a way that makes sense for your business.
1. Marketing Automation Tools
Many business owners spend way too much time on mundane, repetitive tasks, especially when it comes to marketing and customer engagement.
Fortunately, there are many automated software platforms (see our recommended list here) today that will do this work more efficiently and effectively so that you can spend your time on higher-value activities.
A few examples of great, low-cost automated marketing platforms that we love include MailChimp, Zoho, and Drip. By setting thoughtful rules and workflows, your business can engage customers automatically without you having to put in any time.
Additionally, companies like HubSpot and Marketo will allow you to build attractive landing pages to collect high-quality leads and will track customer behaviors across the web so that you can better understand how to personalize your communications. They also offer some great training on how to use these tools. See our list of the best marketing automation courses here.
With just a little bit of research, you can find a great platform that will meet your automated marketing software needs without breaking your bank that will nourish your leads and existing customer base while you focus on other important work.
2. Email Marketing
Don’t be fooled – although email has been around for decades, it is still tremendously important for modern day marketing.
Building an email list, sharing valuable information, and maintaining a light, yet consistent touch point with your customers is a great way to keep them engaged.
The first step to making the most of your emailing is to avoid landing in spam folders. Adding subscribers isn’t worth anything if your communications never reach any eyeballs.
We discuss in more detail how to avoid spam filters here.
Once you do start hitting inboxes, you need subscribers to actually open your emails. A compelling subject line (see how to create the best subject lines here) and thoughtful timing will go a long ways to increasing your open rate and converting more subscribers to buying customers.
Understanding what is and isn’t working when it comes to sending out effective email campaigns is just as important as getting people to open your messages. There are a lot of marketing automation tools that can help with this (see above).
These powerful tools can help you track your subscriber behaviors to see what they like and what they have purchased in the past. With this information, you can better tailor your outbound communications. Don’t forget that customers who have already bought from you are the best target for future sales!
In addition to maintaining a good relationship with current subscribers, email is still a great way to market to new customers. Through email, you can offer value to subscribers and win their trust without proactively chasing after them.
3. Beautifying Your Website
An often-overlooked component to customer engagement is the visual aesthetic of your business’ website.
Your site needs to have an up-to-date, professional look that fits with the brand voice you are trying to project.
Having a catchy, visually appealing website will grab the attention of potential customers and instill confidence in your business.
In addition, there are some incredible website engagement tools that you can us to automate interactions with your customers.
If you don’t have access to a great camera and don’t want to spend a bucket of money on a professional photographer for a few pictures, you can find thousands and thousands of beautiful stock photos online from a number of reputable databases.
Getty Images, Shutterstock, and Stocksy are all fantastic sites where you can find beautiful pictures for purchase. Also, many website builder platforms such as Squarespace and Weebly come with great stock photos that you can use.
4. Customer Engagement on Social Media
As I’m sure you know, social media is one of the most effective ways to engage with your customers and showcase your company’s personality.
Facebook has really built up their platform to support businesses with a variety of tools and services aimed at driving potential customers to action.
You can design and run a highly targeted ad campaign that will put your company in front of thousands of viewers all across the web for just a few cents per click.
Facebook Messaging has also grown into a highly effective application for helping businesses engage with potential customers in an automated way. There's so many success stories on Facebook that serve as great customer engagement examples.
Facebook also provides a ton of data and insight into what page visitors are doing and what they like outside of your brand. This is another great way to better understand how you can connect on a deeper level with potential customers.
Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest
Depending on your specific business and industry, other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest may be valuable for you to use as well.
Although there is debate about Twitter’s effectiveness in pushing people to buy products, it is unquestionably powerful as a search engine and personality builder. You can quickly learn about what is happening in your part of the digital world as news tends to spread like wildfire and a fun or informative Twitter voice can dramatically increase your likeability and brand awareness overnight.
Instagram is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses, especially those with products worth showcasing. Posting high-quality photos and using hashtags effectively can widen your customer base and sales without having to invest much financially.
Finally, Pinterest is another widely used platform with an enthusiastic user base that loves sharing brands and products. Creating an account is easy and engaging with other users is genuinely fun which is important.
Trying Other Unique Approaches
Beyond what we have already discussed, you can find many other creative ways that businesses engage with the outside world.
Here are a few other ideas to consider:
- 1Start a blog and invite others to comment on your posts
- 2.Offer exclusive rewards to those who share positive testimonies or host a contest (see guide here)
- 3.Peel back the curtain and show what happens behind-the-scenes
- 4.Raffle off prizes to those who sign up for your email list during a specified time frame
With the internet, there are so many ways you can get up close and personal with your customers in order to build stronger connections with them. See what strengths and skills you already have within your team and brainstorm fun ways to boost customer engagement.
In this article, we took a look at different ways in which you can engage with your customers, build deeper relationships, and drive more sales.
In 2018, automated marketing software, email lists, and social media are all essential pieces to building a strong customer engagement model that is worth the time and financial investment. If you don't have the time, you can also hire experts that provide customer engagement services for you.
It's important to remember that different industries call for different customer engagement strategies. Think deeply about who your customers are and where they spend their time on the internet. Meet them on their own turf and capture their attention with personalized communications and a brand voice they appreciate.
We truly believe that developing an effective user engagement strategy is one of the best investments that you can make in your business. Let us know what works for you!