Customer Engagement is one of the most important marketing activities. It is so crucial to the success of any business organization.
Customer relationship management is the heartbeat of the new marketing era.
More than the product, more than sales and revenue, business ventures are recognizing how crucial their customers are to everything else.
Good customer relationship management will provide the “raw material” for useful and beneficial product improvement and development.
Likewise, good customer relationship management will secure sales and revenue in many folds as the customers themselves become your greatest marketing assets.
According to statistics from Forrester, an integrated CRM can generate a Return of Investment exceeding 245%. In Fact, it is estimated that CRM software will be a $80 billion industry by 2025. It is no wonder then that 47% of businesses plan to increase their spending on help desk and customer service software.
“Customer is King” is no more a mantra; it is the reality every business owner or executive must deal with.
The Growing Importance of Customer Engagement
An essential part of customer relationship management is customer engagement. Customer engagement stands for every effort a business deploys to keep their customers thinking of, talking about and interacting with their brand.
According to a research by Marketo, customer engagement is identified with things like repeat purchases, renewals and customer retention.
Customer engagement is keeping the communication ongoing beyond the initial purchase.
Some of the advantages of customer engagement include:
- Customer retention: An engaged buyer has a greater chance of coming back to purchase your product. In the Consumer Electronics industry, it was reported that engaged customers are 44% more likely to come back compared to disengaged customers. For restaurants, the figure is 56%. Moreover, it is 6-7 times more costly to get a new customer than to retain one.
- Cross selling: Cross selling is the process of selling a product in your product line to a customer that is different from the initial product they bought. Shopify calls it a “sales technique used to get a customer to spend more by purchasing a product that’s related to what’s being bought already.”
- Up Selling: Up selling is getting customers to buy a higher end product (higher value, higher price) than what they initially wanted to buy. Engaged customers have a greater potential for upselling than disengaged customers.
- Brand Popularity: Customer engagement will increase the popularity of your brand. Engaged customers will talk about your brand to their friends; they will share your content in their timelines and recommend you to their friends.
- Improved Customer relationship: Customer engagement allows you to understand your customer base better. You get to respond to their inquiries, answer their questions and share their concerns. Better customer relationship means better business.
The importance of customer engagement cannot be over-emphasized. Every business organization must make it a priority and come up with a customer engagement plan.
Now we turn to five incredible ways to ace your customer engagement.
Ace Customer Engagement through Social Media Channels
Search engines are important to reach your buyers when they want to make purchases, social media are important after the purchase is done.
Social Media is founded on interaction. It is meant to improve relationship through interaction.
Therefore, it offers an invaluable resource for business organizations to ace their customer engagement.
Get your business on various Social Media Channels
It is essential to have your business on the major social media channels especially the ones your customers frequently use.
52% of companies say Facebook is the most effective channel for their business. Also, Customer engagement on Twitter has increased by 250%.
Create a Facebook page, a LinkedIn company page, an Instagram business page, a Pinterest business account, a Youtube channel among others.
Depending on the size of your business, you might need to hire a social media manager (the benefit exceed the cost).
Prioritize the social media channels that your customers are more in tune with.
Convince and Convert in a research found that merely answering a social media complaint increased customer advocacy by 25%.
Invite site readers and customers to connect on Social Media
Place the Social media Icons in a very visible place at the top bar of your site.
Also, constantly invite your customers to connect with you on social media. When you send them emails, remind them to connect with you on Social Media.
After a blog post, invite them to follow you on Social Media Channels.
Sometimes, what you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Use Facebook Ads to target website visitors and customers
Facebook ad platform provide important opportunities for customer engagement.
Create a custom audience based on your website visitors or active purchasers.
Consequently, create an ad that invites them to follow and like your Facebook page. Targeted ads are cheaper and more effective.
In addition to Facebook ads, you can also use these 50 free ways to increase your Facebook page likes.
Ace Customer Engagement with continuous content
Content is still king. Producing regular and relevant content is still the best way to ensure customer engagement.
Content can be blog post, social media posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, whitepapers, case studies, product reviews, and instructional guides among others.
Don’t just create social media channels, have a content calendar you will use to keep followers engaged. Content is an important part of the customer engagement process.
Your website is not just a sales page; create quality content that will keep your customers engaged. You want to keep your blog on their feed.
The comments, likes, shares, retweets that follow useful and relevant content provides good ground for massive customer engagement.
Different Content types
A good practice is to share various kinds of text in a regular manner.
Don’t just share text based content, mix it up with videos. Do a webinar once in a quarter. Maybe create an informative whitepaper or actionable guide in the form of e-book. You can even write a product review.
Create a content team or hire freelancers to keep the content flow.
Always ask for feedback
This is why it is called customer engagement. Don’t just create content, invite your customers and target audience to relate with the post.
Ask them to comment, to retweet, and to share the post, to ask questions or to share the most important things they have learnt.
Remember, “Ask and it shall be given unto you”
Understand the needs of your customers and never run out of ideas
The drawback for many people is the herculean task of coming up with content ideas over and over again.
But this should not be the case. The need of the customers should inform your content strategy.
Understand what the customers need, see the questions they are asking, check out their complaints and analyze what competitors are doing.
Below are some tools that can help you keep a tab on customers’ needs and never run out of ideas.
- Quora: Quora is a question and answer platform where you can see questions your customers and target audience are asking.
- Answer the public: This is a platform where you can get a hold of questions relating to relevant keywords that define your niche. Just type the keyword and there are hundreds of questions you can brainstorm.
- Buzzsumo: Use Buzzsumo to look at the type of content that are getting the highest engagements in your niche for particular relevant keywords.
Ace Customer Engagement through Surveys
A survey is an interactive tool. It is a platform where your customers are on the driving seat, so to say.
People love to give their opinions on issues that are important and relevant to them.
A survey gives them the opportunity to do so. 87% of survey takers want to have a say in the company’s future products and services.
Social Media Surveys
These are just simple but engaging question that will spark customer engagement through comments.
It provides an avenue for customers to give their opinions and wade in on important issues.
It might be a new product feature, industry news, some popular movie, a breaking new. Explore anything that will inspire them to start a discussion.
Such discussions can even give more insights into the “person” behind the buyer.
Surveys can help you to measure customer satisfaction or gain product development ideas.
Share the survey through social media, as a content upgrade on your website or through emails.
- Ensure you share the results of the survey to your customers.
- Make the survey short and sweet
- Ask relevant and helpful questions
- Mix up the questions (multiple choice, textbox, checkbox etc.)
- If possible, give them a freebie in exchange for participation
Ace Customer Engagement with Customer Reviews / Testimonials
A business gains more credibility when it gives customers more platforms to give their review of their experience.
That sense of vulnerability can increase customers’ trust and improve customer engagement.
Therefore, as a good practice, after they complete a purchase, give them options to give their reviews on various platforms.
According to Shopify, apart from increasing trust, online reviews are good for Search Engine Optimization purpose.
Also, putting up your reviews can increase conversion rate by up to 270%. In Fact, 85% of people equate reviews with personal recommendations.
Facebook Page Reviews
A Facebook business page allows customers to leave reviews of their experience with you.
Invite your customers to give their reviews either through the website or through a Facebook post
Yelp is another platform where you can register your business and allow customers to leave reviews.
If you are a local business, register on Google.
Local businesses on Google can also be reviewed by customers.
The reviews can be a great way to start customer engagement. Respond to as many reviews as you can.
Appreciate the reviews. Use the reviews as a way to invite them to follow you on social media channels.
Also, learn to respond to negative reviews without losing your patience of being too defensive. Research shows that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
Bright Local has a great article on how to respond to negative customer reviews.
Ace Customer Engagement with Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are great not just because people like freebies.
The sense of competition and “winning the prize” appeal to human nature. If done right, it is also fun and who does not like fun things?
There is an average of 34% increase in the number of fans after a successful contest campaign.
Social media channels are the best platforms for contests.
Come up with great contest ideas that your customers base will be excited about. It is always nice to announce the prize (something significant and non-expensive) and the process of selection earlier for maximum credibility.
Examples of good contest ideas include:
- Instagram hash tags where you can ask followers to share pictures with the hash tag to qualify
- Facebook Enter to win where people can qualify for a prize by performing an action (sharing your page, following your page or inputting their email address)
- Video Contest where people create videos that are judged by a team.
- Photo caption contest where the most impressive caption wins
Wish Pond has an app that can help set up amazing contests for customer engagement.
Create excitement with contests and your customers will love your brand.
More than 50% of businesses don’t have a customer engagement plan. 60% of the same respondents don’t know how many customers they lose over 12 months.
It is therefore important that business owners and business executives begin to formulate customer engagement process and design strategies.
The advantages of customer engagement are too important to be left to chance. Companies must take organized actions to improve the experience of their customers.
Improvement in customer experience will improve revenue, customer satisfaction, sales, customer retention, and customer relationship among many other benefits.
Companies must therefore begin to take these crucial steps to axe their customer engagement.
You can design your customer engagement plan in house or seek the support of a customer engagement agency.