As a leading marketing executive for a large brand, you have your hands full. You’re successfully completing your job duties. The purchases are coming in as are new customers.
But, something is missing and preventing your brand from being extraordinary.
Your company has the ability to be a brand giant with high accolades all around.
Engaging with your customers is imperative. In fact, almost two-thirds of a company’s profit is the result of effective customer engagement strategies.
Customer engagement isn’t transactional marketing as one might assume. It’s relationship marketing. It’s not about the product, it’s about the company and customer interaction.
What separates customer engagement from traditional marketing is your ability to measure the results. With the former you can measure customer touchpoints. These include email open rate, click through rate, and other customer service metrics.
A customer engagement strategy keeps customers interested and eager to do business with your company.
It also encourages loyal customers to get the word out on your brand and products. This will help to build your customer base.
What Is Customer Engagement?
As an established brand, you’re likely familiar with the term “customer engagement.” But knowing what it is doesn’t mean you’re using it to your advantage.
Customer engagement is how a brand’s interaction with customers across all the various touchpoints of their lifecycle is measured. By using a variety of channels, businesses can consistently engage with customers. This type of interaction helps brands build and strengthen that ‘human-to-human’ connection. It goes above and beyond the transactional relationship and adds overall value to the connection.
If you don’t use the right customer interaction tools, you can’t reach your target audience. Even if you do reach them, you’re not doing so effectively.
As a larger brand, you might think you know what it takes to engage your clients. But, are you certain you’re doing it right?
As you perfect your customer engagement strategy, you need to keep trust in mind. Research shows that trust ranks number one for customers, compared to dedication and reputation. If a customer trusts your company, you’re doing something right.
Customer engagement takes a while to perfect and it’s not something you want to gloss over. You want to increase your engagement options and put strategies into motion. These strategies will increase sales, retain customers, and make your brand memorable.
Why Do Businesses Need a Customer Engagement Strategy?
Why does your business need an engagement strategy plan for customers? After all, you’re already well-known and loved by the masses.
Even if this is the case, there are a few reasons to use these methods to interact with customers.
First, this type of strategy is a way to advertise products to past customers. By using this technique, you offer customers information and they respond by buying your product.
Also, using engagement strategies shows your customer they’re valued. It also encourages them to continue buying products from your store.
In addition, you show your customers the latest news and products. They can then pass this information on to others.
An effective strategy keeps your customers in the loop and interested. It also keeps them buying.
15 Effective Customer Engagement Strategies
There are many different types of successful engagement strategies. These are helpful on their own and collectively.
The more you leverage customer engagement strategies, the more successful the outcome. You’ll keep current customers happy, sell more products, and gain new customers.
The process doesn’t have to be a difficult one. You can use an ecommerce marketing platform, such as Yotpo. You can also use customer engagement platforms to help with branding goals.
Here are some top customer engagement strategies to grow your ecommerce business:
1. Focus on Customer Experience
The number one customer engagement strategy is to put the focus on customer experience.
You want customers to know their needs and desires come first. One way to achieve this goal is to offer exceptional customer service.
Research shows that 79% of consumers say that being able to engage with a knowledgeable store associate is “important” or “very important.”
Excellent customer service can be achieved in the following ways:
- Offer expansive customer support hours, ensuring all time zones are covered
- Offer a multitude of customer contact options, i.e., phone, email, text, live chat, social media
- Encourage customer support representatives to take their time and not rush through customer support
- Polite and courteous customer service representatives are essential
When you put the focus on the customer experience, you are creating contented customers.
Use employee engagement strategies when teaching employees how to engage customers. Not only should your customers be engaged, but so should your employees.
2. Use Social Media to Showcase Happy Customers and Provide Support
Social media is an extraordinary tool for big brands to use. With that said, you don’t want to make the content too sales-y.
Use social media to showcase your happy customers. Feature user-generated content, not cookie cutter posts. It’s also important to use hashtags with your posts and encourage others to do the same.
The best way to view effective customer engagement through social media is to see how the big brands are making it happen. Lego is a prime example of a brand that’s winning with its user-generated content. In fact, in 2017, this brand was acknowledged as the World’s Most Powerful Brand according to Brand Finance’s Global 500 list. During that year, Lego highlighted 1.2 million pieces of user-generated content. That’s a huge loyal following!
L’Oreal uses social media to engage with their customers and employees. Hashtags are encouraged by this company, especially for their employees. This cosmetic giant asks its staff to use the #lifeatloreal hashtag when writing social media posts related to working at the company. These posts lend to the nurturing of customer engagement.
Social media is an extremely successful customer engagement method for providing testimonials and offering support. And it’s one your brand simply must be putting into play on a daily basis.
3. Make Your Brand Relatable
Another customer engagement strategy is to make your brand relatable.
Consumers crave authenticity. According to research, 90% of consumers state authenticity is important to them. They take this into account when deciding what brands to support and like.
Give your company a down-to-earth feel. Doing so will help your customers to feel more comfortable when dealing with your company.
You want to add a face to your brand. Humanize your brand by selecting a company employee as a spokespersovn.
Enlist this individual to star in videos for your brand. They can also engage customers with blog posts and media posts. They’ll be the human component and make your company relatable to customers.
Make your brand relatable with a recognizable company representative featured in advertising and on social media.
4. Give Customer Communications a Personal Aspect
There are a lot of reasons you might have to communicate with your customers.
Maybe you are following up on a prior order. Or maybe your customer service department is contacting a customer about an order in transit. Whatever the reason might be, make sure all customer communications are personalized.
As a larger company, giving customer communications a personal touch is timely. But, keep in mind, this is time well spent.
In fact, 67% of consumers state it’s important brands provide them with a personalized experience.
When you personalize your communications with each customer, you are drawing the customer in. This is going to pay off in the end.
Here are some ways your brand should be personalizing customer communications:
- Address your customer by name in all communications
- Refer to prior product purchases which shows you know your customer’s buying trends
- Provide personalized product recommendations
- Send out automated birthday and customer anniversary wishes
Let your customer know they are more than just a customer number. Personalize the communications between company and consumer.
5. Provide Educational and Helpful Content
An ideal engagement plan includes providing educational and helpful content to buyers.
There are a few ways to do so. You can offer step-by-step videos on different products. You can also provide content on the product industry to expand your customer’s knowledge.
Here are some ways to foster customer engagement:
- Tutorial videos
- Blog articles
- Engaging listicles
- Step-by-step guides
You can even provide educational content through a video marketing technique.
Consider your customer’s purchases and target interests. You can gather this insight from prior communications with your company. Take that information and produce helpful content for customer engagement purposes.
6. Listen to Customer Complaints and Requests
As a large brand, you are going to hear a lot from your current customers. Listen to what they have to say!
Ask your customers a question and listen closely for their responses. It’s important to understand what they are saying.
Maybe they just want their voice to be heard and are stating their opinion. Or perhaps they’re asking your company a question and require a reply. Whatever it might be, make sure you fully answer their question. This will let your customers know you are listening and their voice matters.
And, if they are stating a complaint to customer service, respond to it and explain how you will make it better.
Engaging customers involves both conversing with your customers and resolving their issues.
7. Keep First Impressions In Mind
Consider your first impression with a new customer. Also consider the first impression of your customer with a business aspect of the company. In other words, how will a new product or revamped website be perceived by the customer.
Whether the first impression involves a new customer or a return customer seeing a product for the first time, make it memorable.
First impressions are lasting ones. You want everything you do to be stellar from the word, “Go!”
8. Use Customer Profiles and Surveys to Enhance Customer Engagement
You should always use methods to gain information on your customers. Make sure to do so in a transparent way, such as by viewing customer profiles and surveys.
Using customer profiles and surveys as an engagement strategy will provide you with helpful guidance. You’ll know exactly what your customers want from your company and products.
Taking these steps will help you gain insight and make it possible to improve the customer experience.
Using this information, you know what your customers want from your company and you can reach out to them and highlight these aspects in your strategy.
If Customer ABC is a fan of Product XYZ, you can tailor customer communications surrounding this. You can engage with the customer with information, content, and loyalty programs on these items.
This provides you with a foolproof way to learn more about your customer and tailor future engagement strategies accordingly.
9. Use Customer Loyalty Programs for Engagement
If you don’t already have one set up, you can create a customer loyalty program. Doing so will help to promote customer engagement.
Loyalty programs provide a connection between brand and consumer. It’s a way for customers to earn rewards and companies to attract customer loyalty.
When creating this type of customer loyalty program, include the following features:
- Make point acquisition easy for customers to achieve
- Provide rewards that are worth the time of your customers
- Offer a tiered-level rewards program
- Continually update your loyalty program
- Use customer engagement communications for sign-up and usage reminders
With an effective loyalty program, you’ll keep your customers engaged, boost the customer experience, and increase their product purchasing, too.
10. Ask for Customer Feedback
Many companies get feedback from their customers. But, not all companies make it a point to ask for feedback.
It’s a mistake not to ask for customer reviews and feedback. You shouldn’t sit back and wait for the reviews to come in on their own. Make sure you are reaching out to your customers and inquiring about their thoughts.
Reach out for feedback in the form of emails, surveys, requests for reviews, and more.
By doing so, you are serving two important purposes. First, you’re learning what your customers really think about your brand and products. And, second, you’re showing them you care.
An additional part of the request for feedback is to take the comments and suggestions of your customers and then act upon them.
Put remedial efforts into motion if you’re able to do so and, if not, let your customer know why that particular request isn’t able to be granted by your company.
11. Keep Customer Communications Clear and Succinct
People are busy these days. They don’t have tons of time to read emails, social media posts, and blog content from your company.
That’s why it’s important to provide your customers with the proper amount of customer engagement. They’ll know you’re there for them. And you can do so without filling their inbox with too much information.
Keep your communications are short, sweet, and to the point.
Otherwise, they may get down to the fifth paragraph of your lengthy email, put it aside to read later, and forget about it.
Customer engagement doesn’t mean communications sent on a daily basis. Make sure when you reach out to customers you do so with purpose.
12. Provide Points for Engagement by Your Customers
You want to reach out to your customers. You also want your customers to reach out to you.
Try setting up a points system. This can set up on its own or in conjunction with a customer loyalty program.
For example, award customer points for answering surveys. You can also offer points when customers share your company’s social media posts.
By setting up a point system that can be redeemed for company discounts, you can build on your engagement plans with your customers and provide them with rewards, too.
Again, this doesn’t have to be linked to a customer loyalty program. It can be a spur-of-the-moment temporary program. This will delight customers and make it possible for them to earn some discounts.
Set up this customer engagement opportunity for a week’s time as a pop-up program. Your customers can earn points and discounts. Most importantly, this will build the interactions between company and consumer.
Your customer will enjoy the discounts as part of the customer experience. And, you’ll enjoy having a way to reach out to your customers.
13. Put the Customers First
Frequently companies can be caught up in the competition aspect of the industry. Companies are continually competing with other similar brands to get customers. After all, you want them to choose your company, not your competitor.
But, you have to be cautious. Don’t let your customers get caught up in this sales rivalry. If they do, it’s no longer about pleasing the customer. It’s simply about getting their business.
You want your customers to feel special, wanted, and needed. You have to put the customers first.
Instead of expressing to the customer that your company and product is better than the product offered by Company XYZ just express to the customer all that your product offers.
Customers are smart. They can tell when a company has a customer’s best interest in mind. They can also tell when a company just wants to get paid.
Put the needs of your customers first and the competition won’t matter. If you offer a good product, your company will be the likely choice!
14. Encourage Brand Referrals
You can also engage customers by asking them to refer friends and family members. Essentially, you’re asking them to be brand advocates.
If they enjoy your products, it’s quite likely that they’ll be willing to spread the word. They’ll gladly tell others about your company and products. This will help with your conversion rate.
They may spread the word of your brand out of the kindness of their own hearts. However, many might like to receive a bonus or incentive for doing so.
Set up a referral program where your customers receive certain rewards when friends and family members buy your products. You can offer them gifts, free shipping, or a generous discount. You might even offer a bonus reward to the new customer, too.
Referral programs encourage customer engagement and are a popular and effective strategy for your business to pursue to keep customers interested.
15. Engage With Philanthropy in Mind
Another way to keep your customers engaged is with philanthropy in mind.
Many individuals support charitable causes. By including a philanthropic aspect with your company offerings, you can create a strong company culture, too.
For example, set up a charitable aspect with your company. You can do this by giving a donation to a specific charity for every product sold.
This will appeal to your customers who love supporting a great cause.
If you use Shopify, set up this charitable giving aspect with the help of ShoppingGives.com.
All of these previously mentioned engagement strategies should be put into motion to make your brand even better.
Keep Customers Interested with a Premier Engagement Strategy
If you offer them the products they need and keep them engaged, they have no reason to shop around.
This type of engagement helps to ensure that your brand is the first thing your customers think of when they need products that you offer. You want to be their go-to brand for all products you offer.
A premier engagement plan will accomplish the following things:
- Make your customers feel appreciated
- Earn you repeat customers
- Gain you new customers through referrals
- Build your brand name
- Establish a connection between customer and company
It’s important to use the customer interaction methods listed above. It’s even more important to continually engage with your customers.
This type of interaction should not be a one-time or occasional event. You must continually do this to keep your brand on top. Your customers will get used to this interaction and look forward to it. Don’t disappoint them!
If you are currently employing the strategies above, make sure you revisit them and tweak them frequently so that they are working as best as possible.
As your goals and the current consumer market evolves, so must your engagement strategies. From social media engagement to cause digital marketing, you’ll find an interactive strategy that works best.
By interacting with your customers, you’re creating a bond and building loyalty. Engaging with your customers will establish a memorable connection.
And, if you’re ready to add a charitable giving feature to your brand, visit ShoppingGives. ShoppingGives offers a philanthropic component that makes it possible for customers and companies to give back. Explore the various causes you and your customers can support and see how everyone wins by lending a hand.