Do you genuinely care about your customers? Do you go above and beyond to make sure they have a positive experience with your brand?
Most companies do.
It turns out: customers want more than just lip service. They want you to treat them like people, not numbers.
According to one study, 60% of consumers said they’ve stopped buying from companies because of poor customer service. That’s a pretty astounding figure, but it underscores how important good customer service is in driving repeat business and referrals.
And contrary to popular belief, engaging your customers isn’t necessarily that difficult — especially if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort.
What’s Customer Engagement to Begin With?
Customer engagement is about providing your customers with an all-encompassing shopping experience. You want to give them a reason to keep coming back for more — and preferably tell their friends and family members about it.
Engagement marketing isn’t just a social media strategy; it’s a philosophy whose application needs to across the board. Many people think that engagement marketing means focusing on your Facebook page, Twitter feed, and blog. In reality, it does so much more than that; it involves everything from paying attention to online reviews to improving your customer service experience.
What Engagement Marketing Looks Like
Engagement marketing looks beyond selling a product or service. It’s about creating a community in which customers can participate.
Some examples of engagement marketing:
- A social media strategy that emphasizes content marketing – Rather than encouraging your customers to like or share your posts, you want them to become part of the discussion.
- Question-and-answer sessions in which important issues are addressed – You can do this by blogging or through other types of online activities.
- Customer appreciation events where you not only thank your customers but show them a good time – The key to event marketing is to give customers something that they can’t get online.
- Giveaways and contests in which customers have the opportunity to win prizes, including products from your inventory – Sweepstakes work well for this purpose, same as contests that involve photo submissions or video clips.
These different types of engagement marketing can help you improve customer experience and boost online traffic and lead generation. Not only that, but they’re also relatively easy to put into place if you have the right tools in place.
Best Tools for Engagement Marketing
If you’d like to engage your customers more meaningfully, then you need to have the right set of tools at your disposal:
#1 HootSuite: The first thing that you’ll want to do is monitor your social media profiles.
You can easily do this by creating a HootSuite account; it’s one of the best engagement marketing tools out there.
HootSuite isn’t just about maintaining a solid social media presence; it also gives you the tools that you need to measure your progress. It’s one of the best engagement marketing tools out there because it’s so versatile and user-friendly.
#2 Marketo: The next thing that you’ll want to do is collect customer contact information.
Doing this will allow you to stay in touch with your customers; it doesn’t need to be via email contacts and newsletters only.
One of the best engagement marketing tools that can help you accomplish this task is Marketo. Marketo is essentially a customer database with lead generation features; it’s a powerful tool that can help you stay on top of your customers.
#3 SurveyMonkey: An effective engagement marketing campaign requires feedback from your customers.
Without it, you won’t know what they like and what they don’t.
To get this feedback, you’ll need a tool like SurveyMonkey; it’s one of the best engagement marketing tools out there because it helps you collect customer feedback and turn it into actionable insights.
#4 Solicitation: Another great set of engagement marketing tools is solicitation software.
You can use it to collect more information about your customers, including their contact information.
#5 SpyFu: You’ll also need a tool like SpyFu to monitor what your competitors are doing online.
By monitoring them, you can determine how they’re engaging with their customers and how you can do it better.
It supplies you with the data you need to identify your competitors’ strategies and improve upon them.
#6 Wrike: It’s also a good idea to use software like Wrike to keep track of all your marketing activities.
Wrike is one of the best engagement marketing tools out there because it helps you manage all your online and offline activities in a single place.
#7 Zapier: One effective way to engage your customers is to offer them relevant content that they can access on their mobile devices.
But this won’t work if you don’t have the tools that you need.
One such tool is Zapier, which can help you connect a wide range of apps to make your workflow more manageable and efficient.
#8 Yesware: Email marketing has become a critical part of engaging your customers online; email newsletters are effective in this regard.
But what separates the best from the worst emails is what’s inside.
That’s why it’s helpful to use tools like Yesware to make your email campaigns better and more engaging.
It can help you close more deals with customers by tracking your email metrics in real-time.
#9 Infusionsoft: Infusionsoft is an automation tool with many different capabilities; it’s also designed to help you automate your marketing activities.
It can be combined with other tools to expand its capabilities further and create more effective engagement marketing campaigns.
InfusionSoft is a great option for businesses that want to engage their customers through email marketing, social media management, webinars, lead nurturing, etc.
#10 Salesforce: Another great option for engagement marketing is Salesforce, one of the best CRM tools out there.
SalesForce has many different features that can help you engage your customers; it’s also designed to help you build customer relationships and grow your business revenue.
With Salesforce, you can track lead activity in real-time, increase the number of leads generated from each campaign and get a clear idea of which campaigns are working most effectively.
#11 HubSpot: Another tool you should look into is HubSpot, an all-rounded CRM software solution.
HubSpot is also designed to help businesses use their resources better by tracking both their inbound and outbound communications.
It also allows you to manage your leads and measure the performance of all your marketing initiatives.
Using HubSpot lets you stay on top of customer data in real-time, get more leads through blogging and social media management, and see which content is most effective at engaging customers.
#12 Crazy Egg: The last tool on our list is Crazy Egg, one of the best tools for heatmapping.
This type of software can help analyse customer behaviour and determine how customers are using your website.
Heatmapping is especially important because it can help you identify problematic areas and make changes that improve user experience.
Crazy Egg is a great engagement marketing tool because it lets you see where customers are clicking on your website, which ones are converting, and most importantly, how they got there.
7 Key Benefits of Customer Engagement
Here are seven key benefits of engagement marketing:
1) Engagement Marketing Increases Your Return on Investment
By engaging customers in the right ways, you’ll keep them coming back for more, which will ensure that they get the most out of their relationship with your brand.
2) Engagement Marketing Helps You Build Long-Term Relationships
Suppose you want to ensure that more people buy from your company and increase the lifetime value of each customer. In that case, you need to establish a strong relationship with them through engagement marketing.
3) It Causes Customers to Return to You for Additional Services and Products
When you build a strong relationship with your customers, they’re more likely to return to your company when they need more products or additional services.
4) Engagement Marketing Shows that You Care About Your Customers
Customers like being accorded the respect they deserve; it makes them feel appreciated and cared for. Engagement marketing is a great way to demonstrate that your company cares about its customers and needs, thus improving the overall customer experience.
5) It’s an Effective Way to Strengthen Your Brand Image
Engagement marketing strengthens your brand image by showing potential customers that you’re dedicated to meeting their needs and establishing a strong relationship with them.
6) It Makes Your Business More Human to Customers
Engagement marketing makes your business seem more human and approachable to customers; it helps them connect with the people behind the brand.
7) Engagement Marketing Results in Lots of Positive Reviews for Your Business
Customer reviews play a critical role in how people decide where to buy and what services they need. Engagement marketing encourages customers to leave positive reviews, thus helping your business appear more reputable and trustworthy to potential customers.
3 Engagement Marketing Best Practices
The following tips play a central role in improving engagement marketing:
1) Make Sure Your Marketing is Unique and Irresistible
If you want to stand out in the crowd, your marketing needs to be unique enough to do just that. Your engagement marketing should also be irresistible to the extent that people can’t help but interact with it.
2) Relevant Content Will Increase Engagement
Never compromise on relevancy. You can entertain, educate, or sell to your customers, but only if it’s relevant to what they need. This one factor is responsible for more engagement than anything else.
3) Personalized Content Can Work Wonders for Engagement Marketing
A personal touch shows that you care about your customers and their needs; it also makes them feel like they’re a part of something special. Engagement marketing is a great way to make customers feel valued, respected, and appreciated.
4 Facts About Engagement Marketing
Here are a few facts about engagement marketing you probably didn’t know:
- Before the invention of engagement marketing tools like social media, companies had no direct contact with their target markets. Instead, they relied on over-priced advertising or word of mouth.
- Engagement marketing gives customers a chance to express their opinions and preferences, thus allowing businesses to learn which products or services they want.
- Engagement marketing makes it easy for companies to track their marketing strategies and determine which ones are most effective at generating leads and increasing sales. They can then use this information to improve the overall customer experience.
- Engagement marketing is an excellent way for businesses to distinguish themselves from their competitors; it’s also a great way to promote your products and services.
- Every business should use engagement marketing because it encourages customers to share their experiences with others, consequently helping you grow brand awareness.
Customer Engagement in Real-time
Here are a few examples of companies that have perfected the art of customer engagement in real-time:
Gatorade Uses social media to Engage with Customers and Build a community
Gatorade has demonstrated its commitment to engage with its customers on social media using relevant content. They also offer prizes, giveaways, and special discounts; this encourages Gatorade fans to interact with them actively through their Facebook page.
Virgin America Uses social media to Keep Customers Up-to-Date with the Latest News and Promotions
Virgin America has mastered the art of customer engagement on social media. It allows their customers to interact with them in real-time. That encourages engagement and ensures that their customers are always up-to-date with the latest news and special promotions.
Starbucks Has a Page Dedicated to Customer Engagement
Starbucks has a page on its website specifically designed for customers who want to interact with the brand. It features contests, special offers, and discounts. It also provides an online forum where Starbucks customers can connect with others.
McDonald’s Promotes Special Deals and Offers Special Discounts to Twitter Followers
McDonald’s has been using engagement marketing to build brand awareness and customer loyalty since 2009. It does this by providing exclusive deals and discounts. They also provide engaging content relevant to their customers, thus encouraging people to visit McDonald’s Facebook page.
Coca-Cola Uses social media to Increase Brand Awareness
Coca-Cola’s social media pages promote special deals and give customers a chance to interact with the brand in real-time. They also encourage engagement by asking fans to submit their photos, which Coca-Cola reposts on its own social media profiles.
Disney Creates Engaging Content That Delights Customer
Disney has mastered the art of customer engagement through content. The company is super active on social media platforms, actively engaging with its target audience. It tries to make its customers happy through relevant content that delights its target audiences.
Domino’s Uses social media to Engage with Customers and Acquire New Customers
Dominos has demonstrated its commitment to both customer engagement and web traffic through social media. They regularly promote their products and services, which is a great way to increase brand awareness. Domino’s also offers fans the chance to interact with the brand in real-time, encouraging people to visit their Facebook page.
Ben & Jerry’s Promotes a Positive Image
Ben & Jerry’s has always been committed to promoting a positive brand image, which is why the company tries to engage with its customers in real-time. They try to provide engaging content that makes people think about important issues while interacting with the brand. Ultimately, this encourages people to visit their Facebook page.
Oreo tries to Delight its Customers through Engagement Marketing
Oreo has been creating content that its customers love. It also uses social media to engage with people in real-time about various topics. That encourages people to go online and interact with the brand because they know they’ll have fun while learning something new.
Powerade Uses Engagement Marketing to Increase Brand Awareness and Build a community
Powerade has mastered the art of customer engagement by using social media to connect with its target audience in real-time. They also provide engaging content that their fans want to share. All this encourages people to visit the Powerade Facebook page regularly.
How Can You Get Started with Engagement Marketing?
It all begins with a strategy.
You also need to identify your target audiences, develop a plan, and, most importantly, figure out how you’re going to implement it using relevant social media tools.
We’ve prepared a detailed, step by step guide on how to go about everything:
Step 1: Create a plan of attack – Before you can engage with your customers, you need to figure out exactly how you’re going to do it.
That means figuring out what types of engagement methods you want to use (see above), deciding which social media platforms to focus on, and identifying your target audiences.
Step 2: Make a list of your business goals – Your overall goal should be to generate more sales and leads.
However, this isn’t easy. You can’t do it by creating one generic piece of content and sharing it on all of your social media platforms. It helps to have a well-planned and detailed strategy that is going to get you results.
Step 3: Define the different types of engagement you will use – You need to figure out how you will get your customers involved.
That means deciding which engagement methods are best for your business (see above), as well as identifying the different platforms where you’ll want to use them.
Step 4: Create all necessary content – This is probably the most time-consuming step but vital. For your engagement marketing efforts to succeed, you need to have the right content ready and waiting for people when they arrive on social media platforms.
Step 5: Create a detailed plan of attack – Once you know what type of content you’re going to create (see Step 5), you need to figure out how exactly you’re going to go about doing it.
What’s the best time of day to publish on social media? When should your ads start showing up? What types of content should you share first and last? These are all critical questions that should be answered in any detailed engagement marketing plan.
Step 6: Install the relevant social media tools. After you’ve figured out which engagement methods are best for your business and how exactly you’re going to do it (see Step 5), all that’s left is putting this plan into action.
Step 7: Measure, measure, measure! – Finally, once you’ve done everything mentioned above, you need to measure the results.
What did these efforts accomplish? What types of engagement methods worked best for your business? Were there any platforms that didn’t perform as well as expected? These are all fundamental questions that should be answered with detailed social media measurements.
7 Engagement Marketing Mistakes Brands Are Make
Here are seven customer engagement mistakes we’re used to seeing brands make:
1) Use a One-Size-Fits-All Approach – Brands should create content that’s specific to their target audience. If your content doesn’t resonate with your target audience, then you’re missing out on the single most crucial ingredient.
2) Treat All Social Media Platforms the Same – Brands should use each social media platform differently. After all, each social media network has a different community and etiquette. As a brand, you need to research adequately before deciding which platform is the best fit for business.
3) Fail to Listen – Listening is a crucial way to learn more about your customers. Brands should give their target audiences a voice by providing them with the chance to interact with the brand.
4) Only Post Promotional Information – social media should be used as a two-way street. Brands need to engage with their target to learn more about the brand and what it stands for.
5) Create an Irrelevant Brand Page – When a brand creates a Facebook page, the first thing to do would be to make sure it’s relevant to their target audience. That means creating a page that aligns with your business’s core values and filling it up with content that your community will find interesting.
6) Post Too Much – Brands should monitor the amount of promotional content they post. Too much self-promotional content will turn people off and cause them to unfollow or unlike the brand’s page.
7) Post Poor-Quality Content – social media is all about quality, not quantity. You want to create content that will benefit your target audience while also keeping them engaged.
Customer engagement comes in many forms, which is why brands need to understand the various types of engagement to decide which one best benefits them as a business.
The 9 Types of Customer Engagement
Here are nine different types of engagement you can use to boost your business today:
- Emotional Engagement – Brands can engage people emotionally by providing them with content that makes them feel a certain way. That could be happiness, sadness, or any other emotion.
- Product Engagement – Some brands use their products to engage their customers. For example, a car manufacturer may create content that features specific cars. That encourages customers to interact with the brand because they want to learn more about the vehicles in the videos.
- Direct Engagement – Brands can engage with customers by asking them an immediate question on social media. It’s an excellent strategy for encouraging people in your community to get involved, leading to more interaction and stronger business relationships.
- Contextual Engagement – It comes after a detailed analysis of your target customers to find out more about who they are and what motivates them behaviourally. Then, by applying the top-level insights to your social media engagement activities, you can ‘meet them at their moment of need.’
- Collaborative Engagement – Brands should use collaborative engagement to create involving conversations between members of their brand community. This method helps brands determine which customers are interested in their products or services. It also allows brands to understand which people are great brand ambassadors.
- Advertising Engagement – To drive engagement, brands need to advertise their products and services on social media. That includes using paid ads on Facebook and search engine marketing (SEM). The goal of advertising is to get more people involved with the brand community.
- Creative Engagement – Creative engagement is one of the most exciting types of customer engagement. Brands can engage with their customers by creating unique and innovative content that shows they’re fun to work with.
- Relationship Engagement – Customers love brands that are responsive when needed. For brands, establishing a relationship with customers means being present in the right social networks at the right times. It also means responding to questions, comments, or complaints on time.
- Awaiting Engagement – This type of engagement allows brands to interact with customers and build relationships even when they’re not directly engaging at that moment in time. For example, you can create content that educates people about specific topics. You can then use this content to engage with customers when they need the information.
6 Customer Engagement Strategies that Work
Engagement marketing doesn’t have to be complicated.
In fact, it usually isn’t. You just need to know what types of engagement methods work best for specific businesses and how they can help you achieve your marketing goals.
We’ve decided to give you six great examples of successful customer engagement strategies that are working right now:
1) Be everywhere – Agility should be your friend in this game. You have to make sure you can reach and respond to your customers regardless of what platform they’re on. The point is to build your reputation as being responsive, gracious, and always ready to assist.
A Real-time Example of a Company Doing this: Tide has a dedicated engagement marketing presence on Twitter and Instagram. They use their social media channels to respond quickly and provide their customers with tips and tricks for containing even the most frustrating stains.
How to do it: Get a platform that allows you to manage all your social media accounts from a central place, and then get a separate account that you’ll be using to respond to customer issues.
2) Provide a ton of social media contests – Who doesn’t love getting free stuff?
The power of a contest can even influence your engagement marketing efforts on other platforms, as people are more likely to share content that they think is valuable (and could win them more stuff in the future).
A Real-time Example of a Company Doing this:
“Tile” started as a Kickstarter project before becoming a fully-fledged customer engagement marketing powerhouse. They use contests on their social media profiles (and even through Facebook ads), often partnering with brands like Amazon to give away some really cool prizes.
How to do It: Figure out which social media platforms perform best for your business, and then brainstorm ideas for contests that will help you accomplish your marketing goals (e.g., engaging with new customers). We would recommend not running these contests on Twitter unless you’re pretty sure they’ll be well-received by your target audience.
3) Ask questions – When you ask customers for their input on your business, they often feel as if you’re listening to them (even though this isn’t always the case).
A Real-time Example of a Company Doing this:
Wayfair is pretty transparent about how it uses customer feedback in its marketing decisions. And even when they don’t have a dedicated engagement marketing campaign, they still solicit customer feedback on Facebook and Twitter.
How to do it: Figure out the types of questions your audience is most interested in answering and proceed to ask them. You can even create separate campaigns that use this information and test them against each other (see Step 7).
4) Shout Out Your Reviews – Do you get any reviews on Google or Yelp? Well, if you do, then we suggest you shout out positive ones on social media.
A Real-time Example of a Company Doing this:
If you have ever shopped at Nordstrom before, you probably already know about their #NordstromReviews campaign. They tweet and post pictures of happy customers on their Instagram every time they get a new review. That keeps their customers engaged and helps attract potential buyers.
How to do it: Start by setting up keywords that you can track on social media, such as your business name or tagline. Then use these words to search for all your positive reviews so you can share them with the world and draw more attention to your business.
5) Check on Your Silent Customers: The worst mistake you can ever make is assuming all of your customers are happy. The best way to get a better idea of how you’re doing with existing customers is to check in on the people who never share their opinions online.
A Real-time Example of a Company Doing this:
Every once so often, Nordstrom will tweet something along the lines of “Hey, where are you guys?” to its followers. While it’s probably just meant to be a fun way of interacting with their fans, this also helps the company figure out who its real fans are (and those who may have never bought from them before).
How to do it: Set up an email sequence where customers can opt-in if they need help with their purchases. Once they become customers, send them several emails over the next week or so (we generally recommend three emails) in which you ask how everything went and give links to their order for reference. This way, you’ll be able to find out what they think about your products/services before it’s too late!
6) Collaborate to Get the Word Out – If you haven’t noticed by now, there’s a TON of customers on social media. Therefore, it makes sense to collaborate with other companies (through cross-promotions, as such) to get in front of a new group of potential customers.
A Real-time Example of a Company Doing this:
We recently talked about how Dove Chocolate lets its customers choose which kinds of candy it should produce next. Once they pick what they like, the company launches campaigns that let potential buyers know about these candies.
How to do it: Reach out to businesses that are complementary to your own and see if they want to team up so you can bring attention toward each other. With this strategy, you’ll probably get a higher return on investment because there’s usually less overlap between your customer bases.