Customers’ expectations for e-commerce are rising as technology advances and social media offers a unique platform for spreading both positive and negative word-of-mouth. For consumers, good quality customer service available where and when they want it, and receiving value for their purchases overrides nearly every other concern in the buying process. If a firm fails at offering any one of these, the business suffers severe consequences, possibly even failure. These two factors are essential to achieve success, but many other factors impact your long-term success. And, as you can see above, customer engagement is now the engine driving purchase rather than the sales funnel, according to Northwestern.
In this rapidly changing digital era, keeping up with your competition is a moving target. If you want to stay in business for the long run, you must stand out from the crowd in some aspect of your business. And, one key way to stand out is by building great customer engagement across platforms used by your target market in 2020.
However, trying to build engagement isn’t as simple as it looks. Success depends on understanding core marketing concepts then adapting them to a virtual environment and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital platforms.
Success in today’s highly-competitive marketplace means you must be dead serious about learning effective marketing tactics to gain customer engagement. Before getting into them, let us first determine what customer engagement is and why it is crucial.
What is Customer Engagement?
Engaging customers is the buzzword of the 2020s. VWO defines customer engagement as:
customer engagement is a measure of a brand’s interaction with its customers across all touchpoints throughout their lifecycle.
A brand that builds an emotional connection, one that emphasizes the one-on-one human attributes of a relationship with its customers, encourages engagement.
Why is Customer Engagement meaningful?
The main reason for the growing popularity of customer engagement is that engaged customers spend more money over time. When a fully-engaged consumer shops from your business, they spend more per visit than other customers and remain with the business longer. Moreover, engaged customers promote the brand by sharing, commenting, and liking their content; actions that amplify the company’s messages well beyond their initial reach, while, at the same time, offering support for the brand among their social connections. In the extreme, engaged customers become brand advocates who defend critics of the company’s products and offer assistance to those encountering trouble getting the most from their purchases.
Here are eight effective marketing tactics to gain customer engagement.
1- Personalize your brand
Brands build a personality then capitalize on that personality to attract like-minded consumers.
Matching your brand personality to your customer’s needs, wants, and desires creates a connection between the brand and its customers that drives purchase. Take a look at the graphic above, for instance. Note that Land Rover positions itself as a hero with its brand communication; helping it stand out from competitors with other personalities. Land Rover doesn’t try to be all things to all consumers, it recognizes success comes from being one thing to a group who favor that personality. Arguably, the brands listed above reflect the most consistent personalities over time.
2- Communicate effectively
How do you expect your customers to engage with you if you are not doing the same in return? Hence, two-way communication spurs engagement. An ideal strategy involves interaction with your VIP customers that show the brand recognizes their value to the organization. Involving organizational leaders in these conversations is a great way to show you value them.
In this way, you successfully convey your message that you care about your customers. Meanwhile, your VIP customers often spread the word and refer your brand to others.
3- Create separate customer personas
By targeting your customers and creating their personas, you develop an understanding of their buying patterns plus salient information about what drives their purchases. Separate customer personas help in identifying their individual needs and lifestyle as well. Furthermore, it pinpoints ideal customers for your business, so you can invest more in them.
Building buyer personas involves collecting information not only about their purchases, but their interests, demographic characteristics, challenges, and needs.
4- Welcome constructive criticism
Everybody learns from their mistakes, and this applies to a business, as well. Rather than attempt to suppress negative comments, celebrate them for the opportunity they provide to improve your products. So try to welcome constructive criticism and engage them in conversations about how you can better serve them. An apology goes a long way toward healing hurt feelings over failure and other customers respect a company that is honest and open with customers.
Soon, your customers feel better and return to buy more products from you.
Believe it or not, social media is a great way to boost your customer engagement. Find out when and where most of your customers access social media then hit the sweet spot with some creative marketing. Go viral if you have can and start interacting through live videos. Through social media marketing, try to grab your customer’s attention.
Remember, social media is, by its very nature, a platform for the exchange of ideas, insights, and suggestions. Never turn your social media into an advertising platform.
6- Create relatable content
Brands that don’t consider their customers important enough fail at engaging with them. The best way to gain customer engagement is by creating valuable content on a consistent basis.
Developing content with your customers in mind not only increases engagement on social platforms but drives more traffic to your website as it promotes you in search.
7- First impressions go a long way
No matter how you perceive it, people judge a book by its cover. Customers determine which websites reflect value within 15 seconds, according to Crazy Egg. If your website doesn’t load quickly or doesn’t appeal to visitors with visuals, clean navigation, and fit to what they’re looking for, they’re off to the next website.
Try to design a website for your customers, and not just for your brand. Remind them of their worth through a user-friendly website. Also, enable live chat support and talk about how you can fulfill your customer’s needs.
Creating content is crucial for the success of your website. Evergreen content, such as ebooks and other materials, offers a way to show you value your visitors while, at the same time, offering tools to increase your subscriber list. Remember, visitors for an impression fast, so having an attractive KDP cover template for your ebook makes a huge difference in your success.
8- Promptly respond to your customer’s questions
How fast you respond to your customer’s questions make a huge difference in customer engagement?
And, remember, customers come from all corners of the globe so you need to offer support 24/7 365 days a year, not just sometimes. More and more companies use chatbots to answer common questions with a personal touch over hosting an FAQ section of the website. In fact, new statistics suggest that 85% of all customer interactions are handled through chatbots enabled by AI/ML to address questions anytime.
The key idea is that gaining customer engagement is not a one-time occurrence, but a lifetime commitment. You cannot overlook its importance, and those who do are probably not in business anymore. So, implement the marketing tactics mentioned above, and you will see a noticeable rise in your customer engagement.
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