The Internet is flooded with definitions of customer engagement. But, bared down to its bones, customer engagement refers to every interaction that customers have with your brand. If customers aren’t engaging and responding, then your brand won’t sell; it’s as simple as that. Customer engagement efforts focus on value creation.
As a small business, customer engagement should be your top priority. This is because you are in the stage of growth where you have to build yourself. At this stage, compromising on customer engagement and experience is the last thing you would want to do.
In fact, engagement is the need of the hour. Research states that 95% of customers expect brands to be proactive in their communications. The same research shows that there is a gap of 24% in how you understand your customers. You think that you know them well when it’s actually the opposite.
Customer engagement is primarily dependent on the kind of experience you provide to your customers. According to a Walker study, customer experience will soon overtake price and product as key brand differentiators. Not just this, as per Esteban Kolsky, 72% of customers tend to share positive experiences with at least six or more people.
The better the experience you provide, the higher will be their engagement with your brand. Also, it will help you elevate brand visibility and earn the right name for your brand.
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Why Customer Engagement Matters?
Being a small business, customer engagement is paramount for you. It helps you build a rock-solid foundation and grow your business. Here are some of the major reasons why customer engagement shouldn’t be ignored.
1. Engaged Customers Are Easier to Sell To
This means that they are willing to spend more money than the average shopper. If you keep customers engaged, you’ll be their go-to platform for a solution they need. They’ll easily shell out cash for the same.
2. Engaged Customers Are easier to Retain
It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one. Moreover, 80% of your business is going to be driven by 20% of your customers. So, if you work to engage and retain that 20% customer base, you can reduce your acquisition costs and rake in more profitability.
3. Engaged Customers Become Brand Advocates
As mentioned above, engaged customers spread the good word about your brand and become your brand advocates over time. This advocacy results in higher web traffic and more leads. The reason traffic of your site shoots up is that people tend to rely more on hearsay.
Of course, they will do their research, but when they see how your brand treats others, they will automatically get encouraged to transact with you. So, brand advocates act as unpaid salesmen who help to increase your brand profitability and visibility.
Customer Engagement Strategies
Here are a few strategies that will help you boost customer engagement:
1. Bring Out Your Brand’s Personality on Social Media
If you own a business today, chances are you also have a social media presence. No matter how traditional or buttoned-up is your business, you can always afford to let yourself a little loose on social media.
Customers prefer brands that are honest and authentic on social media. If they find your brand genuine, they will prefer you over others anytime. The more unique your personality, the more easily they will remember you.
2. Invest in Emails
Even though social media is a robust tool, you will sometimes need the full presence of your customers as you unveil a new product or campaign. Social media makes it difficult to achieve this due to the infinite noise around. A better medium is emailing.
According to Hubspot, 86% of customers prefer emails while interacting with a brand. If email is still ruling the roost, why not channel your engagement efforts in a way that makes the best use of emails. Analyze your customers’ search patterns, identify what they are looking for and what’s stopping them from purchasing your product.
When you know what they want, you can send personalized emails to them. This helps you engage with them in a better way.
3. Reward Engaged Customers
The reward system makes customers feel special. It gives them the emotional incentive to keep loyal to your brand. The rewards don’t always have to be big. From a simple thank you note, to small unexpected freebies can go a long way in earning customers’ loyalty.
4. Create Useful (And Possibly Free) Content
As a business, you are here to provide solutions and fix problems. So, do that. While you would have paid offerings, be generous with free content as well. Not everyone might end up buying from you, but some might still act as advocates by spreading your content.
This would also help you in establishing brand authority and domain expertise. If you provide email marketing solutions, then share content on the best email practices. If you sell organic produce, come up with guides on how to go organic while living in urban areas.
Metrics for Customer Engagement
After implementing customer engagement strategies, how do you go about measuring their success? By determining your KPIs and tracking them diligently over several months? Here are the ones you can look at:
1. Social Media Activity
How many comments and shares are you receiving? Likes and followers don’t matter as much. The former can be done mindlessly, and a large following does not mean high engagement. You might have a million followers but less than 100 comments on each post. The ratio is seriously off.
So, focus on comments and shares. The former will help to build a community around your brand while the latter will signal who your advocates are and establish domain expertise.
2. Open and Click-Through Rates
If you are using emails, these two metrics will be crucial. Only engaged customers will open the email, read it through, and be tempted to click on the link you provide. So, track the success of your email marketing strategy to take steps to boost customer engagement.
3. Customer Referrals
One of the best ways to track referrals is to use referral codes. This way, you’ll know how many advocates your brand has gathered. You can also ask buyers about where they heard of your product. Or, carry out a Net Promoter Score survey to understand who the real promoters of your brand are and would refer you in their circle.
4. Focus on Retention
If customers are engaged, there is a high possibility that they will stick with your brand. They will stay around, be excited about new releases, purchase without a second thought, and spread the word about how awesome you are. If you see this happening, then your customers are engaged.
The above customer experience strategies should help your small business embark on your customer engagement journey. You can also strengthen your staff by creating an internal knowledge base. This will ensure that all your teams are ready to provide customers with exceptional experiences.
Note: This a guest post from Brayn Wills of ProProfs. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of Ace Cloud Hosting.