The relationship between brands and consumers has been evolving over the past several years. Modern technology, and the accessibility it provides consumers with, has created new demands and expectations businesses must strive to accommodate.
Heightened customer engagement is one leading example of these new demands. Especially as consumers today expect to maintain a relationship with their favorite brands. To remain competitive within your industry and appease your customers, it’s critical your team develops a sustainable customer engagement strategy. To help get you started, we’ve assembled a basic go-to guide.
What drives customer engagement?
Developing your strategy begins with understanding the elements that drive engagement. Emotion, for instance, is a top-driving factor behind a consumer’s decision to engage with your brand or not. Although people primarily favor companies whose values align with their own, establishing emotion-evoking values is a productive first step. Gallup’s State of the American Consumer report explains customers’ emotional rationale with three statements marketers should aim to provide to their customers:
- This brand always delivers on what they promise.
- I feel proud to be a customer of this brand.
- This brand is the perfect company for people like me.
When forming your strategy, confirmation of these three statements should be easily recognizable.
Effective communication is a key factor in all aspects of business, particularly customer engagement. When consumers feel they are being heard and can productively communicate with representatives of your brand, you’re more likely to earn their repeat business. Apart from friendly and helpful in-store employees, there are several technologies available for effectively engaging consumers in two-way communication. Offer customers the opportunity to communicate with a member of your team 24/7 with live chat messaging tools or AI-powered chatbots for more general queries. Additionally, be sure to monitor your social profiles and direct messages to promptly jump into any relevant conversations or customer questions.
72% of today’s consumers expect brands to personalize engagement to their needs. The enormous amounts of consumer data that brands have become privy too have created new expectations from consumers for more individualized experiences. To properly engage the modern customer, your strategy must be adaptable to fit each customer’s needs and preferences.
Personalized communications such as email lists, exclusive promotional offers, and history-backed product recommendations are all viable options. The idea here is to give customers something that makes them feel like you recognize them as an individual, rather than just a number—which again, ties back to emotion. Showing interest in your valued customers with offerings they view as relevant to them, such as birthday gifts or product restock announcements, gives customers a reason to want to engage with your brand and improves the likelihood of them positively sharing their experience.
Customer loyalty programs are a valuable asset to any engagement strategy. They not only encourage repeat purchases, but loyalty programs. These can provide seamless, omni-channel experiences. In other words, keeping customers engaged through every touch point of their journey with your brand.
It’s human nature to want to interact with someone or something when receiving something in return. Loyalty programs build off of this concept with the use of rewards and special offers. Many successful businesses, such as Starbucks and Ulta, encourage customers to sign up for their free loyalty rewards program. Customers can access their accounts online or through branded apps to check in whenever they make a purchase, get updates on current promotional events and track their points earned from spending. Based on points earned, customers are presented with certain rewards, such as money off or complimentary items. The inclination to want to receive said rewards can help keep customers engaged with your brand beyond just purchase interactions.
Social media is the most commonly used tactic for improving customer engagement today. Regardless of your industry or target market, odds are your customers are utilizing social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all excellent platforms for both promoting your brand and authentically engaging with customers.
User-generated content is the most trusted type of content in the eyes of consumers. It’s important to use your business account to share customer reviews, testimonials, submitted photos or any other sort of posting related to your business. This demonstrates the fact that you’re paying attention to the conversation and appreciate your customers’ positive sentiment.
I previously mentioned that people are interested in engaging with others when they are receiving something in return. Therefore, social media can be a great way to encourage engagement through incentives. Create opportunities for your customers to engage with you on social media through interactive activities or contests. Creative photo submission contests, re-post giveaways and polling questions are all easy. yet effective. Ultimately, they keep your customers interested in interacting with your brand.
The Bottom Line
Above all, a customer who is engaged with your brand will spend 60% more per transaction and can deliver 3 times the value to a retailer over time. To maintain long term success in your company, it’s imperative you make customer engagement a top priority. We hope this guide helps get you started!
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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