In this day and age, and frankly, in the years to come, customer retention and building brand loyalty are and will be the essence of any business, no matter the industry or the niche you operate in.
Waters are getting shallower, and there are more fish in the sea than ever before. So, to rise above the waves, quit competing with Great Whites. It’s time to get smart(er) and realize you don’t have to be a business shark to be a successful hunter.
In fact, even the greatest predators of the deep fear the Killer whales’ wits.
Clever metaphors aside, how to do it? When you consider the sheer number of different options that allow customers to hop brands, how do you inspire them to become loyal brand followers?
Two words: Customer engagement!
Customer engagement is key to brand recognition, trust and authority in your respective industry.
Engaged customers are one of the biggest assets you can get, make and nurture. However, before we discuss the most efficient and proven methods not only to boost your conversion rates but morph your customers into brand evangelists, you need a proper online platform.
The future of service is digital so, you’ll need a stellar website to springboard your business. Now, whether you aim to hire a Florida website design company, or you’re looking somewhere down the lines of the wild, wild West Coast, you’ll need the help of genuine professionals.
Especially now, when everyone claims to hold the flag of “expertise.”
However, you don’t have to be an expert in brand strategy to know that flawless customer engagement results in various business benefits.
However, getting there requires providing your customers with equally high product/service values, not just an engaging business relationship.
What Is Customer Engagement?
First thing first, how do we define customer engagement? The most common explanation would be that customer engagement is the emotional connection between a customer and a brand.
It is built by ongoing interactions as highly engaged customers buy more, continuously promote and demonstrate more loyalty. The starting point of every successful customer engagement journey starts with a high-quality customer experience.
So, similar to romantic involvement, do you perceive interaction with your customers as a fleeting one-time communication, or are you trying to build a long-term relationship that both parties benefit from?
Why Should You Care About Customer Engagement?
It’s no secret that most C-suite executives consider customer engagement a top priority. Is that enough for you to start caring? How about now?
Customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% higher profitability share, revenue and relationship growth.
At this moment, 83% of the customers expect immediate engagement when they contact a company, 5% more than in 2019.
To put it simply, a high-performing customer engagement strategy has the potential to skyrocket your business miles above your competitors.
The Power Of A Compelling Brand
“Started from the bottom, now we’re here.”
No matter how amazing your content, email marketing and social media strategy efforts are, you can’t even hope to engage your customers without the initial brand-building.
Developing your unique brand identity is crucial. It separates you from the competition. It makes you more visible and recognized. Otherwise, people will soon forget about you.
How do you build a distinctive brand identity?
The first step is defining your brand values. They represent your vision, your goals and your ultimate mission. Make sure these aspects complement the values of your target audience to spark interest.
You need to ask yourself, what are your target demographics, age, income, preferences, gender, and location. Next, interweave the “answers” into your visual identity and create a presence to be more memorable, identifiable and relevant to your industry and niche.
Finally, you need to distill the unique tone and voice you’ll use to communicate with your customers online and offline.
Know Your Audience To Know Yourself
If you don’t know who your customers are and why they choose to interact with your brand, catering to their needs will be an impossible task. So, you need to dig a little deeper. They’re called prospects for a reason.
Mapping your customer journey is probably the safest bet. This will help you identify all potential challenges, bottlenecks on your website and their online behavior along the way to conversion points.
Once you get to know their behavior, it will be easier to extrapolate their needs and identify potential engagement opportunities.
Ideally, you should construct customer personas.
The customer persona (also known as a buyer persona) is a semi-fictional archetype representing some of your target audience’s key traits and attributes. It is based on the data you’ve collected from user research and web analytics. In this case, the useful scenario is to hire web development agencies in NYC.
The Power Of The First Impression
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We’ve all heard the old proverb; however, this works only for books, classical literature even. When it comes to business, “the suit, as well as manners, maketh the man.”
Prospects won’t linger on your website unless you invest your time to make their time on it enjoyable, unless you grab their attention from the get-go.
You need to present your product or service clearly, concisely and consistently.
When designing your website, think about what your customer would find appealing; your personal taste (not values, mind you) is secondary. After all, they’re the ones who will be visiting it.
Highlight and focus on the benefits, not features. Customers subconsciously don’t want to speak with a marketer or a seller but a fellow human being that understands and often shares the same needs.
Focus On What Matters To Your Customer
Marketing personalization has become an industry standard. If you haven’t started employing it, it’s never too late to begin, whether it’s your email marketing campaigns, your long-form content, or your advertisements.
Personalization doesn’t end with writing your customers’ first names on the subject line. Instead, it’s about custom-tailoring the entire brand experience to their needs, aspirations, lifestyles and behavior patterns.
This means that you’ll need to obtain all relevant customer data (see the previous point), collect all possible information and transform it into actionable reports.
For example, in the email (where personalization maneuverability is greatest), you should address the individual and give them a personalized collection of content and products relevant to their interests.
Keeping it short, how do you achieve this level of personalization? Writing every single email custom to the individual customer?
In short, no. Once you probe your audience, gather relevant data and email addresses, make several categories related to different aspects of your audience pool and organize your campaigns, (re)fitting them to the appropriate category.
Luckily, you can apply the basic principles of personalization in many different ways. For example, you can show customers tailored Google/Facebook ads for events near them.
Starting out small is probably the best way. A pop-up survey on your website, not too dissimilar to chatbots, is an excellent way to collect info about your users, so your sales reps will know who they’re talking to.
Highlight Social Proof On Your Website
Building social proof is one of the most important marketing objectives. Nowadays, it grew into something larger because you can’t build brand authority without it.
Online shoppers, B2B or B2C, are and should be skeptical about the quality of product or service they’re purchasing.
Highlighting different aspects of social proof, including customer reviews, ratings, testimonials, or simply prominently showing your past clients, does wonders for alleviating their fears and earning their trust.
Reading about previous customer experiences motivates prospects to complete a purchase. In fact, 87% of buying decisions start with online research, and an average user reads around ten online reviews to make an informed decision.
Collect Customer Feedback And Learn From Your Mistakes
Feedback is an immensely important part of customer engagement, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to use it. Collecting it is pointless if you don’t learn from it.
So, make sure to regularly carry out customer surveys to better understand where both your customers and prospects find the most value, as well as where they feel triggered. In fact, fixing and streamlining the parts of their journey they found frustrating is even more important.
Surveys can be frequent, but if you don’t want them to become a problem you’re trying to solve, they need to be short, sweet and skippable. Ideally, you can set them up with a reward if they complete it thoroughly.
Think about asking questions like these:
- How do you feel about your experience with us?
- How and what can we improve?
- Are you satisfied with the support process?
- What do you like about our product/service?
- What are the areas in which you think we can improve?
- Do you have any additional ideas or comments?
If you witness a steady rise of unhappy customers and negative reviews/comments, by all means, DON’T disregard them and push them under the rug.
Acknowledge your mistakes and present your customers with a detailed explanation of how you plan to tackle the problem they have. Don’t be afraid to apologize.
Difficult as it may be, put on a smile and try to be grateful for dissatisfied customers. Alas, they are your most honest critics.
Use Social Media
This goes without saying, but with so many people on social media, you can’t afford to be active on ALL relevant social platforms.
Mind you, don’t opt for platforms that your niche doesn’t occupy, so if you can’t find a way to utilize TikTok, for example, stay away from it.
You must engage your audience/followers by posting regularly across channels, as well as running target ads and even, why not, use influencers to reach a wider audience and build brand trust.
Customer engagement is becoming the most important metric for every growth-oriented business, and it should be your top priority in years to come.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Finddigitalagency.