- Engaged customers are most likely to become loyal customers.
- The best brands understand that customer engagement is not a sales pitch, it’s an interaction.
- Try putting together a customer engagement strategy to engage with buyers.
Engage With Customers to Inspire and Attract
Finding effective ways to reach out to potential buyers and customers is the key to success in today’s business arena. If you can leverage strategies that inspire brand loyalty and attract new customers, your small business will thrive. Let’s look at why it’s important to engage with customers and how to engage with them as well as potential buyers.
Why Is It Important to Engage With Customers?
The most obvious reason is that they’re the lifeblood of your business. They’re the ones who will buy your products and services, recommend you to their friends, and give you feedback on how you can improve.
Another reason is that engaged customers are more likely to become loyal customers. They’re more likely to recommend you to their friends, continue doing business with you, and buy more products and services from you.
Finally, engaged customers are more likely to be profitable for your business. They generate more revenue and have a lower churn rate than disengaged customers.
How to Engage With Customers
The best brands understand that customer engagement is not a sales pitch, it’s an interaction. Shift your mindset from:
- Presenting to a buyer → talking with the buyer
- Sales rep to potential customer → peer to peer
- Opportunity to sell → opportunity to educate and excite
We have to reimagine the sales pitch as we know it. It’s not about cramming your product down their throat, it’s about developing a relationship with the customer. Potential clients are looking to learn something valuable and engage with a company that understands their needs.
This means focusing on creating sales interactions that are positive, memorable, and customized to each buyer. The customer experience you create and the impression you make are what sets you apart from your competitors.
There are many ways to engage with customers, but we’ll focus on a few of the most effective methods.
Attend Industry Events
One great way to engage with customers is by attending industry events and trade shows. This gives you the local networking opportunities to connect with potential buyers in person, learn about their needs, and show off your products or services.
You can also get feedback from customers directly, which can help you improve your business. Attending industry events can also boost brand awareness.
Build a Community Forum
Think online community forums are so early 2000s? Think again! Sure, community and online forums have been around since the inception of the internet, but it appears they’ll be a mainstay for the future.
An effective community forum can be a powerful tool for educating and exciting new and existing customers. In a recent study, 78% of communities say a forum has been used to develop new or future products and services. Why are community forums a must-try strategy? You can:
- Engage your customers directly by answering their questions.
- Host discussions that are relevant to your industry.
- Keep your customer base and potential clients updated.
- Generate and share exclusive content that buyers care about or are looking for.
Building a community forum is easier than ever—thanks to places on popular social networks, such as Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and Google+ Communities. They give you the opportunity to create communities, which is perfect since many customers are active on these social media channels already.
Building a community forum from scratch and want a template for success? Be sure to include these premium features for the best results:
- Relevant user-generated content
- Crowd-sourced ideas
- Activated brand advocates
- Data and analytics to track user behavior
- Searchable repository for customer needs
Encourage Customer Reviews
Encouraging customers to write reviews is one of the easiest ways to get customer feedback. Not only will you be able to learn more about what your customers think and gauge customer satisfaction, but you can also use these reviews as social proof on your website or marketing materials.
How can you encourage more customers to leave reviews?
- Make it easy for customers to find your review page.
- Include clear instructions on how to write a review and where to find the link.
- Offer a discount or free product/service for writing a review.
- Thank customers for taking the time to write a review.
- Share customer reviews on social media and other marketing materials.
Don’t miss the opportunity to leverage the value of positive reviews to achieve the best result possible.
Positive reviews build consumer trust. Marketing data shows that 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review, and 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. Let your loyal customers’ reviews close the deal for you!
In addition to building trust, online customer reviews gain more weighting (6.47%) in organic local searches and can help you appear higher in search engine rankings.
How to Engage With Potential Buyers
Engaging with potential buyers is all about improving the quality of interactions and customer service on a regular basis. This can be accomplished seamlessly through your marketing campaigns if you leverage your support team and try a strong customer engagement strategy.
Conversational marketing is a dialogue-driven approach to marketing that puts customers at the core of all marketing efforts. It has become the favored approach for encouraging customer interaction, improving customer journey experience, and increasing revenue.
How does it work?
- Website visitors are given a conversation starter, such as a welcome pop-up box on a landing page.
- Leads are encouraged to engage in dialogue-driven activities via chatbot.
- The chatbot can qualify the lead and complete the sales process or connect the potential customer to assistance for complex questions.
- The chatbot effectively segments assisted and unassisted sales quickly.
- Conversational marketing may also include live chat or live stream video features.
This form of inbound marketing places a focus on interactions with the consumer, not simply one-way transmission by the brand. Modern technology and AI can help your customer support team achieve maximum value.
There are so many moving parts to a digital marketing campaign that video marketing often falls lower on the priority list for small businesses. But this is a common mistake because video is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s tool chest.
A recent study found that 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view them daily. That’s a lot of potential eyeballs for your content! And if you’re not using video to engage with customers yet, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.
Video can help you engage with customers on a deeper level, showing them the human side of your business and providing an interesting perspective that text or photos can’t always convey. And it doesn’t have to be expensive or high production value to improve the customer experience.
Connect with customers through video, keeping these best practices in mind:
- Explain yourself and your brand.
- Generate creative content.
- Share in real time on your social media accounts.
- Add a call to action.
Before you finish that eye roll, thought leadership is not just a buzzword—we promise. Thought leadership is the process of developing and sharing unique ideas that show your expertise. It’s what can set you apart from your competitors, showing that you’re an expert in your field.
When it comes to customer engagement, thought leadership can help attract new customers who are looking for innovative solutions to their problems. But how do you become a thought leader?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some good starting points:
- Regularly share your thoughts on social media, write blog posts or articles, and speak at events.
- Get involved in industry discussions online or in person, and network with other experts in your field.
- Establish authority in your industry by producing deep research on the subject.
- Offer a level of expertise that no one else has.
- Outline all of your customers’ challenges and provide the solutions to overcome them.
The ultimate benefit of thought leadership is that it creates brand affinity while positioning you and your company as the authority in your industry. When customers know that you’re an expert on the topic, they’ll be more likely to come to you for advice and solutions early in their customer journey. And when they do, you’ll be ready to engage with them!
Social Media Contests
You have followers, so how can you turn them into customers? With a contest! Who doesn’t love to win? Tap into your potential buyers’ irresistible urge to compete with a fun contest on social media. And make sure the prize is worth their effort!
Social media contests are considered interactive marketing content, which is engaging and helps to keep potential buyers on your website or social media page for longer periods of time. In a recent survey, 81% of respondents agree that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content. This gives you more opportunities to show them how great your product or service is.
To drum up interest, consider hiring a social media influencer—someone with a large following on social media who can persuade their followers to participate.
Try one of these fun Instagram-style contests to get started:
- Like to win: Simply ask users to like your photo, which will generate likes on that photo. Randomly choose the winner.
- Comment to win: Post a topic about your product or service, then ask a question, which users can answer in the comment section. The best answer or the correct answer wins.
- Tag to win: Ask users to tag friends in the comment section of your post as a way to engage both the user and their friends. Name the winners based on tag notifications.
- Photo caption contest: Post a photo on your feed without a caption, then ask users to caption it in the comments.
- Trivia contest: Run a piece of trivia about your service or product. Ask users to upload proof of it and then tag you on Instagram.
- Instagram Stories: Run a 24-hour contest using the questions tag to collect entries. This can be a type of trivia or puzzle contest.
- User-generated content: Run a photo contest on Facebook, giving your followers a chance to upload and submit their own pics.
Check out part two of this two-part series, How to Re-engage With Existing Customers and Measure Engagement.