Do you know why many people admire their crushes from afar and never get to speak to them? Because it can be very daunting. Now, trying to engage a new customer feels just the same way. They don’t even know you exist.
As a business owner, you’re already aware that your customers are the lifeblood of your business. And that’s why it’s important that you constantly engage with them.
The problem is there are plenty of companies out there who just don’t understand the importance of customer engagement and insist on shoving sales pitches down the throats of their customers.
The successful brands who engage their customers understand that customers want to interact with their peers and learn something of value – which has never been as easy thanks to technology.
You want to start and build a conversation, but you also want it to feel natural and sincere. If you come off as too eager or too interested in yourself, they’ll probably move on to a competitor who has a better understanding of their needs.
Knowing how to effectively engage your customers helps you attract and delight them at every turn in the customer journey.
Eager to learn how to engage and retain your customers? This article is for small business owners who want to retain customers and encourage repeat business.
Table of Contents
- What is Customer Engagement?
- Basic Steps to Customer Engagement and Retention
- Customer Engagement Case Studies
- Customer engagement tools
- The Takeaway
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is a process that involves positive interactions with customers and company efforts to improve their experience. A company can achieve this in a variety of ways, including social media platforms and its own blog, and it goes beyond just attracting customers to a brand.
Your goal is to maintain and continue to strengthen your relationship with your customers on an ongoing basis, in order to continuously cultivate an engaged audience.
Your products and services shouldn’t be the only value you offer your customers, although you should also support them throughout the customer journey.
While they might be the driving factor, especially in the beginning, you should ensure you’re creating quality content your customers can access for free – and only from your business. This will improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Customer engagement is about more than just driving a sale. To keep customers engaged, you need to offer support and meaningful communication.
Basic Steps to Customer Engagement and Retention
The motto for engagement marketing is, “Ask not how you can sell, but how you can help.” Here are five key tips for companies looking to authentically engage their customers:
1. Don’t trade real value for anything
Engaging customers means providing content they find super valuable and want to consume without much cajoling. To achieve this your content must be genuinely useful to your customers for it to be a meaningful customer engagement strategy.
Essentially, you’re offering your customers value in exchange for their attention.
Pro tip: Sharing more user-generated content (UGC) on your channels are a great way to appeal to new customers while engaging old ones.
2. Community is key
An essential part of engagement marketing is giving customers an opportunity for dialogue—not only with your brand but with each other.
You can get the conversation started by creating communities on social media platforms like Telegram, Facebook, Slack, or Discord. You can use these channels to also get opinions and insights, weigh in on interesting industry trends, and bring customers together to share their problems, pain points, and wins with each other.
When customers engage with themselves on a social channel powered by your brand, you can leverage their loyalty. Many of them will be the promoters that will help spread the word.
3. Be Inspirational
One way to inspire customers is to share your brand’s vision. By doing this, you’re trying to paint a picture of the future that is inspiring and show that you play an important role in that future.
This is especially relevant for companies who are trying to build next-generation technology.
Another way to inspire is to make your brand an agent of sustainability and sustainable living or social impact. This shows your customer you are interested in their well-being.
4. Be entertaining
In the age of dance trends, TikTok, and youth-savvy marketing, customers are looking for brands ready to make their nods and tap their feet while delivering top-notch value.
You can explore gamification, media entertainment like recording a soundtrack, hiring TikTok influencers to bring your brand to life, TV shows and short videos, etc.
5. Keep the conversation going
Part of what it means to have an “always-on” approach to marketing is that you are in constant dialogue with customers.
To do this well requires frequent innovation. It also means staying relevant and responsive to customer issues as they arise.
Highly responsive companies are quick to nip service problems in the bud through tactful communications—heading off public relations blunders that can quickly go viral from well-connected customers.
If marketing works best when customers feel like they have a genuine relationship with a brand—one that is interesting, mutually beneficial, and steady—that relationship needs to be sustained.
The ultimate goal of engagement is to build an emotional connection with the brand. It’s a process that leads to intimacy and advocacy. It’s not a single transaction, but an ongoing conversation.
You can’t expect customers to tune in only when you have a product to launch. You need to have a constant presence.
Benefits of Building a Customer Engagement Strategy
In order to build long-term relationships with your audience, you need a customer engagement marketing strategy. Loyal customers are typically engaged customers.
By improving the customer experience, you create a deeper, more personal relationship with your brand. Customers need to feel appreciated and valued for more than just the money they spend. Brands who show they are dedicated to their customers’ needs will be rewarded with engaged, loyal customers.
Additionally, customer engagement helps differentiate your business from others in your industry.
Customer engagement is of utmost importance for your brand because it is what differentiates you from the competition.
As you build your brand, remember that it has a life of its own, and if it has a positive impact on your customers, then you may gain more sales in the future.
Having a positive customer engagement strategy can generate higher referrals by word of mouth for small businesses.
Customer Engagement Case Studies
Here are a few examples of successful customer engagement campaigns run by popular companies;
In 2014, Coca-Cola launched a campaign called #ShareACoke, which replaced logos on Coke bottles with 250 common names.
Because it was such a personalized campaign (or felt like it to those who had their names printed on 20-ounce bottles), it attracted the attention of people across the world.
Customers bought bottles for their friends and other loved ones, took photos to share online, and purchased drinks with their own names even when they weren’t thirsty, just to take part in the fun.
2. Starbucks Reserve Roasteries and Tasting Rooms
As part of its Starbucks Reserve Roasteries initiative, the company opened roasteries around the world, allowing customers to see how the brand’s coffee is brewed from freshly ground beans.
Additionally, you can sample a variety of coffee styles and chat with coffee specialists at these locations. By offering customers an inside look at the company’s coffee-making process, Starbucks actively engages interested customers with an immersive coffee and retail experience.
3. Casper Insomnobot-3000
The Casper mattress company created Insomnobot-3000, a chatbot that keeps customers’ company when they cannot sleep. The bot was available from 11 p.m. through 5 a.m. It was just like having a conversation with a friend.
Additionally, Casper was able to secure customers’ phone numbers for SMS marketing purposes by generating $100 million in sales in the first year, which then doubled to $200 million in sales in the second year following the launch of the chatbot.
Big brands create customer engagement campaigns all the time, and while they don’t always generate sales directly, they do promote brand loyalty.
Customer engagement tools
Businesses can boost customer engagement through a number of different means, many of which are already available to them.
Some of these methods include:
Chatbots offer guidance when a human customer service representative cannot. Offering a chatbot will increase your professionalism and show customers you value their time and concerns.
Email is essential for both marketing purposes and customer service concerns.
Phone system mobile apps: Mobile phone system apps can streamline customer communication by connecting them directly to employees, even if they are away from the desk.
3. Social networks
As previously stated, social media is a crucial customer engagement tool. Your social media presence will keep you relevant and connected to your audience.
4. Messaging platforms
Apps like Facebook Messenger, and even SMS messaging, are great investments, as they ensure that your customers can reach you if they need assistance.
5. Live chat
For online stores, live chat can be a great boon, instead of browsing your website in silence, visitors can be invited to chat with a customer service representative, which can start a dialogue where engagement can be nurtured. Customers love live chat because it’s convenient and saves them time.
6. Website analytics
Monitoring web analytics will help guide your customer engagement tactics, as you’ll better understand what’s working and what’s not.
- Customer engagement refers to the level of enthusiasm your business generates among its customers.
- Customer engagement is critical to driving repeat business and maintaining a strong brand reputation.
- Maintaining customer engagement is an ongoing process that continues long after a lead converts into a paying customer.
Engaging your customers is an important part of running a successful business. Simply selling products or services is not enough to attract and retain loyal customers.
If you want to truly connect with your audience and build lasting business relationships, you’ll have to make an ongoing effort.
Customer engagement marketing is not a one-and-done process, nor is it a one-size-fits-all approach. To create your own customer engagement strategy, follow our strategy for tips and tricks.
Engaging customers and adding value to their experience will keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. The more engaged they are, the longer they’ll be loyal customers.
This will help your growing customer database as customer churn reduces and new customers sign-up.
Henry is a marketing and communications specialist. He enjoys helping individuals and brands find answers to their marketing questions. He has spent the majority of his career in the SaaS industry, gaining experiences in areas such as corporate communications, digital marketing, branding, and community building.
Henry currently serves as the head of product marketing and comms at Metricks.