Business growth is a lot more than just selling products and services, especially in the post-pandemic world.
Organizations that can engage customers across diverse platforms, not necessarily from a direct sales perspective, are expected to taste success in the long run. Besides, customer engagement is a multi-faceted domain and requires highly stimulating and innovative campaigns to make an impact.
Engaging the customers is an art that requires continuous efforts and the willingness to experiment. For example, Coca Cola was one of the first companies to put an innovative customer engagement strategy to use in 2014 by launching the ShareACoke Campaign.
As a part of this strategy, the company made bottles with the most famous names (over 250 options) instead of the brand logo. Since its launch, customers have shared more than 500,000 photos via the #ShareaCoke hashtag within the first year. It motivated other individuals to jump on the bandwagon and started purchasing bottles to show their friends and family members.
By shifting the entire focus onto the customer, strategies like these are necessary to grow direct sales.
Why Bother About Customer Engagement?
Every marketing campaign relies on gauging customer engagement levels via credible analytics. The likes of CRM tools ensure that customer experiences are monitored periodically, and the insights can be used to modify the existing engagement methods.
While the Customer Relationship Management platform notifies the marketers about the websiteinteractions and product or service-based reception, customer engagement goes beyond these concepts and urges businesses to take several unexplored facets into account.
Back in 2016, a mattress company Casper devised a late-night chat group for the insomniacs. Despite not being a direct sales method, this campaign allowed Casper to strengthen brand loyalty and increase brand awareness.
Customer engagement, as a growth driver, must find its place in every Omni-Channel marketing campaign. This would ensure that the concerned brand interacts and makes meaningful conversations with customers, regardless of the platform. This approach would amp up the intrigue and help the business drive recurring sales by catering precisely to the existing customers.
Overall, driving sales should never be the primary focus of a customer engagement plan. Instead, it must aim towards improving the existing customer satisfaction levels, specifically by driving customers and implementing a host of other strategies, as mentioned in the subsequent sections:
1. Build a loyal community
Customers relate better to brands that have online forums in place, especially with a sizable user base. Interactive platforms help customers understand more about products or services. But in the modern era, businesses push forums as an Omni-channel engagement strategy, valid across diverse social media platforms. Based on independent surveys, an online community helps organizations amplify existing engagement levels by almost 21%.
The likes of LinkedIn groups and brand-centric Quora pages help businesses build credibility. Moreover, brands that are more concerned about online selling should build loyal communities, disperse and mitigate the user grievances in real-time, and engage over a more holistic platform.
2. Share product updates
Brand relevance is all about proactivity. This means brands should notify users and share the details as pertinent engagement drivers when launching a new product or service.
A good approach to share regular product updates is by sending across periodic newsletters. Besides, businesses can also notify customers regarding discounts, new offers, and improved deals via push notifications. Here’s an example from Decathlon. The company announced its customer base about the product launch and offered gifts for pre-orders to encourage impulse buying.
Every organization has an email database, but it is still necessary to consider using a real email finder for confirming the integrity of the IDs and proceeding accordingly. In case a business has specific products and workflows in the pipeline with fixed deployment dates, various social media scheduling tools can also be used for activating periodic updates.
3. Involve customers in product creation
Co-creating a product, website layout, explainer video, or even an eBook, either in-house or by hiring an eBook writer, is a strategy that augers well when it comes to engaging customers better. Involving customers in the product creation process makes them feel important. However, approaching the process depends purely on the concerned business and their plan of action.
The best way to ask for inputs, suggestions, and assistance is to interact with the customers across the most popular channels and even online communities. Rewarding the top ideas is yet another approach to drive insane levels of customer engagement. However, in most cases, customers seek recognition, with their ideas being talked about and incorporated within the actual process of product creation.
4. Send nearby notification
Local listings have picked up pace in the post-pandemic era. With individuals relying more on stores and services nearer to homes, nearby notifications are a decent approach that businesses can rely on to engage better with the customers.
Nearby notifications help businesses target customers who are nearer to the operational zone. This approach helps complete the purchase lifecycle whilst pushing notifications based on past purchases. Check out an example:
To start a conversation, create a welcome message like ‘Hello, It seems you are nearby! Consider visiting us and explore the recently launched collection of Keto Cakes’, sent across as push notification, WhatsApp text, or a standard message would suffice. Nearby notifications reveal the earnestness of a brand and its celebratory approach towards customers. Pairing this as a part of the Local SEO initiative, Google Listing, or any Third-party listing is the best way for the concerned businesses.
5. Offer two-way communication
Customers crave communication with brands they love and support. Although online forums help to start a conversation with consumers, customer satisfaction increases when businesses interact with people in real-time. With the variety of live chats, tools, and bots, businesses can provide customers with personalized and tailored interactions.
Businesses must understand that ‘spray and pray’ interactions aren’t expected to reap benefits if the new or returning customer has website-centric questions. Curated answers are some of the more pronounced live chat advantages, allowing a brand to better understand the customer’s perspective before returning responses.
The next-gen approach towards intelligent two-way communication is adopting Natural Language Processing, Sentiment Analysis, and Machine Learning algorithms to understand the emotions behind the queries and interactions.
6. Use psychological triggers
Successful businesses are great at stimulating or pushing subsequent purchases. Businesses that taste success early are great at identifying the select customer triggers while acting on each for driving better and bigger sales.
To make the best use of these psychological triggers, analyze the CRM closely, and understand the customer journey and the specific points that paved the way for the purchase. However, the application of these psychological triggers isn’t as easy as it seems.
Concerned brands must weave a story around the product and piques customer interests. Once customers are invested in the product or its history, they ask all the relevant questions to know more about the product. Another reliable way to use psychological triggers is to target customer fear and the associated pain points.
For example, SalesHandy knows the importance of reaching a significant number of recipients for salespeople, so it lists the benefits of a bulk email sender using the customer fear in the copy:
All in all, here are several psychological triggers that work well:
Knowing trends matters as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works towards driving customer engagement. In most cases, customer engagement campaigns branch out of innovative marketing campaigns. Therefore, current trends and strategies can help businesses the strategy as per the existing insights and available data sets.
Assessing and analyzing Facebook and Instagram analytics is the right approach towards adopting the newest trends towards engaging the customers better. This is helpful to find out how well you’re getting impressions on Instagram or any other social media platforms. Once the brand understands how the customer interacts with the website or the social platforms at certain stages of the sales journey, it can implement bespoke strategies for better engagement during the select stages.
Despite SMEs and newer businesses having access to different startup resources, nothing works better than social media visibility, especially when current trends are concerned. Therefore, in 2020 and beyond, businesses must interact tirelessly with the customers, even after the active hours, to ensure meaningful interactions and query resolution.
In a Word
Keeping the customers engaged has never been so important. With more prominent firms like Gold’s Gym declaring bankruptcy in the post-covid19 phase, the onus is now on the smaller and more aspirational businesses to make their mark. However, survival and growth wouldn’t be easy as most enterprises will have to fight it out for a specific chunk of customers. Besides, even customers are showing skepticism towards splurging and will be extremely careful while spending on resources.
This is where brands that would drive the most engagement would come out on top. Engaging customers across the entire buying lifecycle and even beyond, especially with rewarding and meaningful conversations, will be the key.
If you are still confused about the initial approach to engage with the customers, the 7 strategies mentioned above are expected to come in handy, especially in the post-pandemic world.
With over six years of digital marketing experience, Val Razo is a freelance Social Media Marketing consultant who helps small and medium-sized businesses. Val claims that customer engagement is key to business growth, so she recommends both big and small brands to interact with potential consumers during every stage of the customer journey. Check out her website or follow Val on Twitter to stay tuned for more.