In the recent past, customer expectation has risen above a bare-bones experience.
With different brands selling thousands of similar products and services, customers prefer companies that make them feel valued — and not just with discounts.
Businesses today need to focus on improving customer experience to strengthen the customer’s loyalty to the brand.
You need to consistently engage with customers to demonstrate that you care about their needs.
Let’s discuss different customer engagement strategies that can help enhance customer relationships.
What Is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is the process of interacting with your customers through a variety of channels and fostering your relationship with them.
It is more focused on value creation rather than revenue generation. It helps build an emotional connection between customers and the brand.
In other words, customer engagement is a collection of processes, tools, and resources that an organization uses to strengthen relationships with their customers.
Does My Small Business Need a Customer Engagement Strategy?
Yes, you do!
Regardless of the size and industry, every company has to develop customer engagement strategies for their business.
A recent study by Gallup revealed that highly engaged customers generate 23% more revenue than ordinary customers.
After all, customer engagement helps build trust and establish better communication with customers.
Here are some of the benefits customer engagement strategies can offer to small businesses.
Increased Customer Retention
An effective customer engagement strategy can help you improve customer retention. Acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an old one. Besides, by increasing your retention rate by 5%, you can improve your profit by 25-95%.
Through customer engagement efforts, you can make them feel valued and connected to your brand. This will help you gain their loyalty.
Increased Brand Awareness
Engaged customers are more likely to tell other people about their experience with your brand. However, it requires dedicated efforts to build a strong rapport with your customers.
How to Build a Solid Customer Engagement Strategy
While companies’ goals may vary depending on the industry and customer base, there are some methods that you can use to improve your customer engagement.
Here are some marketing strategies that your organization can implement.
1. Be a Good Listener
When any customer contacts you, spend the first few minutes listening to them. Everyone wants to be heard.
And it’s not just about listening, but you ought to pay attention to all the fine details and understand them.
Customers are always in a hurry. They want their queries to be resolved as early as possible. It’s up to you how you understand their issue and try to solve it at the earliest.
Engage your customers by listening to their queries and problems and show them that you care. Happy customers tend to buy more.
When a customer posts about your company on social media, be it a compliment or a complaint, you must make efforts to respond.
A report from Applied Marketing Service has revealed that customers who receive responses to their tweets are willing to spend 3-20% more on average-priced items.
2. Give Customers Rewards and Incentives
Offering rewards is a great way to achieve customer loyalty. Customers are loyal to businesses that understand their needs and fulfill their expectations.
Rewarding loyal customers should be an integral part of your loyalty programs. Customers who are your frequent buyers certainly deserve some reward from you.
Many businesses even design a loyalty program to offer them points for every purchase. These points can later be redeemed as discounts for the next purchase.
Some other ideas for rewards include early access, send invites for special events, and surprise customers with unadvertised discounts.
To improve engagement, you can give rewards for the user-generated content such as reviews, feedback, etc.
Besides, you must offer them a personalized reward if you want to reap the maximum benefits.
At the end of the day, reward programs aim to keep the customers interested in your products.
3. Use Gamification
Gamification is a great way to motivate, influence, and improve the loyalty of customers.
It helps boost customer engagement by dealing with people’s natural tendencies to socialize, learn, master, compete, and achieve.
Gamification is the process of embedding game mechanics into existing business processes to motivate users’ participation and engagement.
The data-driven techniques used by game designers to engage players are applied to non-game real-world scenarios to produce better results.
Once a user signs up, you can offer them rewards for new referrals. To attract new users, you can host a contest that requires them to register on your site.
The main aim of gamification is to make the loyalty program fun and enticing. It should inspire and motivate customers to take part in the program.
Thus, gamification is not only used in creating new games but modifying the already existing processes that help you achieve high customer satisfaction and better ROI.
4. Make Proper Use of Social Media
You can use social media platforms as an effective engagement tool.
According to a survey by We Are Social, over 2.3 billion people around the world are active social media users. That’s huge!
Social media platforms can help you connect with a number of users and significantly boost customer satisfaction. It gives you the opportunity to build a rapport with your audiences and connect with them on a personal level.
Furthermore, social media are a great platform to host various giveaways, organize contests, and provide customer support. Today, customers take to social media to share their grievances.
You need to be fully active on social media so that you can respond to them immediately.
But it’s important to first describe your buyer’s persona and find out where they are the most active.
If you are active on Facebook, but your primary audience is on Twitter, you can have a hard time engaging with them. Keep a check on where your customers are mentioning you the most.
You can even use social media to obtain customer data and then analyze it to get ahead of your competitors.
5. Engage With Customers Via Mobile Apps
Using websites for improving customer engagement is not a new phenomenon.
However, with an extensive increase in smartphones, using apps can give certain additional benefits that can help retain and engage customers.
Your app can act as a loyalty card, a point system that sits on a user’s phone. To further improve the reach, you can incentivize referrals to new users.
Many apps support push notifications, which are a great way of interacting with customers and grabbing their attention even while not using the app.
Show your messages directly on the customer’s device without having to go through email spam filters.
However, you need to be careful while using them.
If users find them irrelevant or intrusive, they might switch off notifications altogether. To make their experience with push notifications better, you can include their name or push a product in their abandoned cart or the one last viewed by them.
6. Offer Personalization
Another excellent customer engagement strategy is to use personalization to entice users to buy your product.
Despite its proven benefits, not many companies are taking advantage of personalization.
With intelligent use of personalized data, companies can create relevant and unique experiences to gain customers’ attention. This will help you gain their loyalty in the long run.
According to a study by SalesForce, 57% of customers are actually willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers and discounts. Creating generic content for all types of users doesn’t produce a great success rate.
People see tens of advertisements daily. To stand out among others, you ought to offer something that surprises them, and what better way than personalization.
In fact, the Kelton Global survey revealed that 40% of users had spent more because of the personalized shopping experience.
You can use their location, gender, interests, past purchases, etc., to send personalized offers and messages.
7. Focus on Converting Free Trial Users to Paid Ones
Even if you are offering your product for free, only the interested ones will actually use it. These days, free trial prospects are more than just onlookers.
They are spending their time on your product to understand how it can be beneficial for their businesses.
A recent study by Sixteen Ventures found that users who are more active in the first three days of signing up to a product have a higher chance of converting than inactive users.
Your customer engagement strategy should focus on enticing free trial users to upgrade to premium accounts.
Personalized communication can help a lot in this process. If the sales representatives of your company know a customer by their name, they will feel more connected to the brand.
Map complete customer journeys of every customer and closely monitor every potential lead at each step.
It’s a great way to gauge what they want out of it and whether they are actually finding it useful or not.
8. Generate Interactive Content
Interactive content is a great way to boost customer engagement by educating users about your products and services. Once the customers know your brand and the value that it will bring to them, they become more engaged and are actually willing to take action.
Even if you have a small business, you should try to incorporate the latest technology.
For example, you can use Augmented Reality (AR) to give users an immersive walk-through into the functioning of your product.
Customers love it when brands generate content that is interactive, creative, unconventional, and informative at the same time.
Remember, when you bring your products online, content is king.
With the right content, you can not only engage better but also generate more leads and sales.
Besides, your main focus should be on the quality of content and not the quantity. Rather than increasing the frequency of your posts, improving the quality will definitely generate better results.
9. Implement In-product Messaging
Apart from email marketing, a relatively newer communication channel called in-product messaging is slowly gaining popularity.
In-product messages are highly targeted. They are basically messages placed directly on the product used to nudge customers to complete an already started action.
In-product messaging is influential in helping new customers get acquainted with the product. You can use it for a variety of things, such as —
i. Displaying a message with due invoices
ii. Encouraging free-trial prospects to use premium features
iii. Sending personalized offers and discounts
The main motive of using in-product messaging is to improve customer engagement and encourage them to use your product more.
10. Take Surveys and Polls
Surveys and polls help you engage with your customers and find out if they actually like your product.
Every product or service is intended to cater to the needs of customers and solve their problems. But how would you know if it is working for them or not?
Ask your customers to fill up survey forms by sending it to them via emails or posting on social media.
Apart from knowing how satisfied people are with your products and services, customer surveys are a great way to understand what needs improvement. Any negative review can help you further improve your product.
Conducting polls is also a great way to gather information about your customers and their behaviors and interests.
When the customers visit your site, you can just ask them a few questions to know them better and, in turn, improve their experience.
11. Use Omnichannel Approach for Constant User Engagement
Customers today interact with a brand through various channels, including website, social media, email, web forms, mobile apps, and retail stores.
Omnichannel customer engagement is all about streamlining all the customer interactions across multiple communication channels under one platform.
The best way to do that is by using marketing automation software such as CRM (customer relationship management) tool. It can help you get a complete 360-degree view of every interaction you ever had with your customers.
Organize all your email contacts, track deals and the sales pipeline to build meaningful customer relationships.
In other words, delivering consistent customer experience across all touchpoints is the key element of the customer engagement model.
12. Engage Using Live Chat
One of the famous customer engagement quotes from Kevin Stirtz says,
“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”
Live chat is one of the most popular channels for interacting with your customers in real-time. You must use live chat as your customer engagement plan to resolve their queries at the earliest.
Did you know that the monthly chat volume has increased by as much as 150% in some industries?
Using the best live chat tool, you can invite your customers to a live chat proactively.
Automate and customize the chat messages based on various factors like their location, the page they are browsing, and new or returning visitors.
13. Collect Customer Feedback
Feedback is important as it gives you insights into what your customers are thinking about your brand.
Asking your customers for feedback is one of the essential aspects of customer engagement marketing strategies.
Are they happy with your product? If not, you can always work on your shortcomings and enhance your customer experience over time.
Gathering regular and specific feedback can help you create a customer-centric business strategy, thereby improving customer loyalty.
14. Maintain Regular Communication
Another important customer engagement strategy is to have regular communication with your customers.
Even after making a purchase, you need to keep delighting your customers to promote repeat buying.
Various ways of delighting your customers include sending personalized recommendations based on their previous purchase. One great customer engagement example is that of the big e-commerce giant Amazon sending out recommendations to all its customers.
Say, you bought a laptop, it will share suggestions like a laptop case or mouse to buy along with it.
Besides, you can also send out newsletters at regular intervals, offer rewards, and much more to promote customer engagement.
The best way to keep your brand stand out is to stay connected with your customers and prospects.
Use predefined email newsletter templates to send regular emails and keep delighting your customers.
15. Measure Your User Engagement Metrics
All your efforts are meaningless if you do not measure the ROI.
How else would you know whether your customer engagement strategies are working or not?
It’s crucial to measure user engagement using the right metrics as it will provide you with actionable insights. You will get a clear picture of what’s resonating with your customers and what not.
Some of these key user engagement metrics that you can keep track of:
The percentage of users currently using your product. You can keep a daily, weekly, or monthly tab.
The percentage of old customers still using your product. The high retention rate indicates that users are sticking with your app.
Core user actions
Measures if your customers are using the core functionalities. It will show how closely your users are engaging with your product.
The success of a business is not only determined by an increase in the number of new subscribers but also the retention rate of existing ones.
Have well-defined customer engagement strategies to grab your customers’ attention and connect with them delightfully.
If you are wondering, small businesses need to pay equal importance to customer engagement marketing plans.
If you have anything more to add to this list, we are all ears—comment down your ideas below. We would love to hear from you.