Customer engagement allows us to interact with our customers through different channels and build long-lasting connections with them. In short, it helps us to engage, nurture, convert and retain them, turning them into people who are actually invested in our business and brand. It’s a positive consequence of a good customer experience.
But while customer engagement is easy to define, what’s less obvious to businesses is how to build a customer engagement strategy.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the telltale signs your strategy is failing, before showing you exactly how to build a new customer engagement strategy that helps turbocharge your sales.
Why Do You Need a Customer Engagement Strategy?
Customers simply won’t buy from you if they’re not satisfied. And they’re not satisfied unless they’re engaged.
Moreover, engaged customers are more likely to become loyal customers, which increases their lifetime value. Research has shown it’s much more effective to engage existing customers than it is to constantly seek out new ones, as engaged customers can boost revenue by 23%.
Ultimately, customer engagement establishes trust and a long lasting relationship between your business and your customers.
With the right strategies, you’ll learn more about your customers and, over time, give them more of what they want. They’ll become loyal to you, and will even do some of the marketing work for you via positive reviews and even user-generated content.
3 Signs Your Current Strategy is Failing
Unfortunately customer engagement doesn’t just happen overnight. You can’t just sell the right products and expect your customers to be fully engaged.
Here are some signs your current strategy is failing:
1. Customers Only Engage When They’re Upset
Naturally, you want customers to come to you if they’ve got a problem with your product or service because such feedback helps you to make improvements. But if customers are only engaging with you whenever there’s an issue, it’s a warning sign that your strategy isn’t working.
2. Your Social Media Channels are Too Quiet
If you’ve got a new product to promote on social media and you decide – for example – to run a product launch but find that no one seems to be interested, it’s another sign that your customer engagement strategy isn’t working.
Essentially, we build audiences via customer engagement strategies. Whenever we’ve got something to celebrate, we know that our customers are ready to party with us.
Worse still, there are very few overall interactions with your social media profiles. You have a decent following but receive a small number of comments, likes or shares. Each time you post something new—crickets.
3. You’re Not Retaining Customers
While customer engagement isn’t the same as customer retention, a strong sign that your current strategy is working is by having a high retention rate. In other words, customers have bought from you once, twice, three times – and eventually turned into loyal customers.
If, on the other hand, your analytics show that you’re struggling to hold onto customers, it could be down to poor engagement. Even within the SaaS industry, high-growth companies retain only 55.8% of users after the first month, and low-growth companies retain even less—37.1%.
This is important to note because customers want to engage with brands they feel a connection with and who also support them with using their product. If you want to increase your retention rate and reduce churn, you must have a powerful engagement strategy in place.
How to Build a New Customer Engagement Strategy That Succeeds
i. Try SMS Marketing
SMS marketing stands for short message service marketing, and it’s one of the best ways to improve your customer engagement strategy. Once you’ve gained permission from your customers, you can then contact them via text with offers and promotions.
Just like email marketing, SMS requires you to gain permission from each customer before you contact them, which is why it’s a good idea to create a lead magnet first. In fact, 50% of consumers say they would opt into an SMS loyalty program if they were offered flash sales, deals, or coupons in return.
The key is to use SMS to develop lasting relationships with your customers before eventually going in for the sale via upsells, cross-sells and more. You should also use SMS to check in on your customers now and then, too, and ask them if they’ve any feedback about your products.
SMS typically works at improving customer engagement primarily because customers like to engage with brands via SMS. According to a study, 63% of people would switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel. And compared to 2016, 23% more people will opt-in to receive SMS messages from companies in 2020. There are many text message trends that are becoming popular in 2021, so keep a close eye on them.
ii. Host Virtual Events
Essentially, you can host a virtual event whenever, wherever. Especially during a global pandemic, they are a convenient way of grabbing your customer’s attention and engaging them wherever they are. Crucially, they show your customers the faces behind your brand, which is great for authenticity, building trust – and therefore engagement.
Because a virtual event can be time consuming to organize, it’s really important that you first set some goals. Will you be using your event to share a Q&A with your customers, launch a product or get people to invest in your services?
Or maybe you’ll simply be introducing people to the faces behind the magic?
Then, you need to decide whether your virtual event will be a live event or on-demand. A live event gives you the chance to interact and engage with everyone present in real time, particularly via a chat solution that’s built onto live streaming events. Meanwhile, a video on-demand event means you can take your time and edit any errors out later on.
Finally, for as much engagement as possible, it’s essential that you choose a speaker with a strong personality who is able to work a crowd and keep everyone engaged right until your call to action at the end.
iii. Reach Out to Inactive Email Subscribers
As you build your customer engagement strategy, you’ll still notice that there are email subscribers who interact with your brand, and those who aren’t as active as they once were.
If this is the case, it’s a smart idea to reach out to these subscribers in a bid to engage them and involve them in your brand. The trick to engaging email subscribers is making them feel special with targeted messaging. A simple check-in email is a great way to catch their attention.
However, because you’re targeting customers that aren’t as engaged as they used to be, you’ll need to test different approaches to see what works best. First identify who your unengaged customers are by looking at open rates, CTR rates and purchase history. Then make a decision on how to reconnect with them. You could reintroduce yourself or remind them that they once bought from you, and send them enticing offers…
iv. Personalize Your Offers
Research has shown that customers want a personalized shopping experience, which is the process of delivering content – including product recommendations – that is tailored to individuals based on their onsite behavior and preferences.
Because your content is tailored to each specific user, it helps to create more customer engagement. Rather than having to read fluff and listen to offers that are irrelevant, each customer instead feels special because you’ve clearly been listening to their wants and needs.
A personalized experience can be simple but rewarding. It includes nice touches like using their first name, as well as personalizing your product recommendations you send them via email and customizing their overall experience with you.
v. Respond to Online Reviews (Especially Negative Ones)
Online reviews can make or break a brand, with 91% of 18-34 year olds saying they trust online reviews. And because everyone can see an online review, responding to them can really boost your customer engagement and strengthen your reputation.
Replying to positive reviews, even if it’s just with a “thank you,” expresses your appreciation and makes your customers feel good about your brand. It shows them that you care about their opinion and makes them feel valued.
Replying to negative reviews is also a smart idea because it again shows that your business cares. Instead of leaving the problem on the table, you’re addressing it, learning more about your customer’s needs, and engaging them in a discussion. With the right approach, responding to negative reviews can shine your business in a better, more positive light while clarifying pain points.
If you feel you don’t know your customer’s well enough yet to reply to their negative reviews in a way that generates a positive response, create buyer personas. They will help you better understand your audience’s needs and wants, enabling you to make them feel heard and understood.
Customer engagement is one of the best ways to develop lasting relationships with your customers so that they turn into loyal purchases, and your sales thus increase.
Take the time to identify weak spots in your current strategy. If it’s not currently working and you’re not seeing the engagement you’d like, use the tips in this article and explore digital experience software. You can create a stronger strategy that improves dialogue between you and your audience, and – over time – boosts sales.
Michelle Deery is a content writer with over 8 years of experience. She specializes in writing content for SaaS companies. The words she writes convert readers into paying customers. Learn more at her website michelledeery.com and connect with her on Twitter @MichWriting.