Achieving Conversions Through Engagement

We defined Inbound Marketing in in the first chapter of the inbound marketing guide. We also contrasted inbound marketing with outbound marketing. As you recall, the main difference is that with inbound marketing, you’re using stellar content to draw the customers in. With outbound marketing, all the onus is on you to reach out and find more leads.

Leads, web visitors, potential customers - whatever you call them - are the bread and butter of your inbound marketing campaign. Without them, you can’t sell enough to keep your company afloat. That’s why you always have to make the effort to engage with them during all phases of the customer journey: from lead to customer to repeat customer.

An engaged audience is the one that reads your every blog post and social media update. They share this content too. They open and consume your emails. They click links that redirect them to your landing pages or checkout page.

Every online business (or marketing) firm dreams of having such an engaged audience. Inbound marketing is one of the most useful ways to get there. In this chapter, we will give you the tools you need to build and retain your very own engaged audience.


How are engagement and conversions related to each other?


Some marketers believe you can only have one or the other: an engaged audience or a high-converting audience. You can have both but you shouldn’t focus exclusively on engagement; conversions don't come unless you actively apply conversion optimization tactics.

Ben Shwartz at Crazy Egg defines several types of engagement: brand engagement, social media engagement, website engagement, and landing page engagement. These are all rather self-explanatory except for brand engagement. It is simply how in tune your audience is with your company’s brand.

One or more of these different types of engagement will be your goals at some point or the other. During some instances in your marketing journey, you might want to improve your brand engagement. At other times, you’ll want your landing pages or even your website to be the star of the show.

There is indeed a correlation between engagement and conversions. If your audience is already reading your content and getting value from it, they may be more receptive to your offers. Whatever the offer may be, you can get higher conversions if you already have a good level of engagement.

Be aware of the thin line between keeping in touch with your audience and overdoing it on the engagement. If you have an abstractly-designed or over-interactive website that posts on social media a dozen times a day, that falls in the "spammy website" category.


How to build engagement with Inbound Marketing?

To ensure the success of your engagement campaign, take a clue from these tried and tested marketing methods.


Web forms

Web forms, also known as conversion forms, are a great way for driving engagement. These forms are often formatted as easy and quick-to-answer quizzes. A lead only has to click a few buttons, type in their contact information, and hit the submit button.

The way you design your web forms can increase or decrease engagement. Here are some best practices for designing these forms:

  • Keep them short. Quizzes are fun to do for a little while, but the longer ones feel like a high school test. If your longer quizzes bore the leads, they will likely exit the page.
  • Don’t ask for too much information. You need the lead’s first and last name, their email address, and smaller details about them and their company. You might sometimes ask for a phone number as well. Anything more than that is going to be too much of a hassle for a curious lead to fill out.
  • Send a second opt-in confirmation mail. Ever since GDPR came into force in the EU, marketers have become very diligent in sending a second email asking users to verify their subscription. This is an important step in protecting customer's privacy. It is also helpful in avoiding accidental subscriptions. When the user clicks the link in their email to confirm, they remember that they subscribed to your blog. This reduces chances of unsubscribes or spam reports later on.
  • Send a final confirmation email. Have you ever bought tickets to a concert or a game, or made a big purchase? Your heart skips a beat when you don't see a confirmation message right away. This email will send the lead an acknowledgement that their information was received.
  • Offer something of value in exchange of their email address. After you send out the confirmation email, you should give the lead a freebie. It could be a few chapters of an eBook, a collection of useful resources, or other high-value content. You can also combine the confirmation and the freebie into one thank-you email.

Landing pages

If you want to know how to write killer landing pages customized for your type of business, you should definitely check out EngageBay’s landing page guide. You can read it here. To recap, here are a few pointers for your landing page design:

  • Make a single landing page for each of your products or services.
  • The corresponding ad for said product or service should link to the correct landing page. Don’t make an ad about eBooks and then link to your landing page about webinars.
  • The copy needs to be rock solid, meaning it should be free of any and all grammatical and spelling errors.
  • By using storytelling elements like cliffhangers, you will hook readers in.
  • Write with a focus on benefits the user will get from the advertised product or service.
  • Add social proof in the form of testimonials and reviews.
  • Videos and images can augment a landing page, but make sure these aren’t distracting.

Email marketing

Email marketing is the backbone of visitor engagement. The links you insert into your emails will get the leads clicking, reading, and hopefully buying. There are so many rules about when to email and how often. According to our landing page guide and the much-cited infographic from CoSchedule, it’s recommended you send messages at the following times:

  • 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and midnight

The best days for high email engagement are Tuesdays, but Wednesdays and Thursdays work as well.

You should split your audience into segments based on their interests. You can then tailor your emails to each bucket just the way you write content based on buyer personas.

Many of the same copywriting tricks described in the landing page guide and above come into play here. You need short, snappy writing, storytelling elements, and cliffhangers that get the lead eager to click a link to learn more.

Remember not to insert so many links into your email that it gets spammy. If you’re really focused on selling your eBook in this particular email, then keep all links relevant to the eBook. Irrelevant links may also confuse your audience.

Another thing that came up in the landing page guide is how you hook in your audience. You should avoid making provocative content (think religious, political, or sexual content) or clickbait to get people reading. These emails might lure people in, but they will not keep them coming back. With these tactics, you will fail to build the kind of long-term engagement you seek.


How to track audience engagement

Not sure how engaged your audience is? There are plenty of tools and tactics you can use to track engagement over the short and and the long term. These include:

  • Google Analytics (GA): If you already have a Gmail account, then start using Google Analytics for your campaign. There’s a GA metric built-in called the Engagement rate. You can access it by clicking Audience, then Behavior, and then Engagement. This tells you how long leads stayed on a page, the number of page views, and page depth.
  • Heat Maps: Services like Hotjar provide website analytics and heat maps. This lets you see how engaged your audience is on your desktop site and the mobile version. It’s not a free service, but it’s one worth considering.
  • Exit polls: Before a lead abandons your site, you might create an exit pop-up that quizzes them on their behavior and why they’re going. If you don’t like an exit poll, you might send a follow-up email with the similar format.
  • Surveys: A quick, four or five-question survey is a great option for gauging engagement. You can focus the survey on what you’re doing right or doing wrong, based on your objective with the survey.

Conclusion

Everyone wants better customer engagement, because an engaged audience reads your content and supports your company. They may also buy your products and services.

You’re already off to a good start if you can differentiate value-generating engagement from spamming your audience. You want to create web forms, landing pages, and email marketing campaigns. These are some crucial inbound marketing best practices. Be sure to track engagement using tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar as well as exit polls and surveys.

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