Regardless of the industry or niche, the modern business world is becoming more competitive by the day. The modern consumer, on the other hand, is nowadays spoiled for choice as they are getting bombarded by brands offering better deals, more incentives, and loyalty programs offering higher rewards.
Without a doubt, it’s difficult for business leaders to not only differentiate their brands from the competition, but to keep their customers engaged. If you think that having the lowest prices or the best products will suffice, you need to think again, though.
Customers will always find a better deal or a higher-quality product online, which is why you need to approach customer engagement from a different perspective. You need to leverage numerous best practices at once to keep your customers engaged across all online and offline touchpoints.
Let’s take a look at the top 8 strategies you can improve customer engagement this year.
In this article
- 1. Build a powerful brand experience on your site
- 2. Invest in welcome messages and customer onboarding
- 3. Build effective lead magnets for new and existing customers
- 4. Keep customers informed on fast-selling products
- 5. Use AR and VR for advanced Ecommerce experiences
- 6. Build a community on social media platforms
- 7. Send promotional material via direct mail
- 8. Encourage and embrace customer feedback
- Over to you
1. Build a powerful brand experience on your site
Your website is one of the most important elements of your brand. It is so much more than a digital storefront, as it represents an opportunity to build powerful, personalized brand experiences for your visitors, new customers as well as long-term ones.
The first element of effective website engagement is to create a captivating brand experience on every page. This is where the following, essential brand elements come into play:
- Brand personality
- Brand tone of voice
- Shared brand values
- Brand vision, mission, and messaging
- Your unique brand visuals
Only by researching your target demographic can you truly mold and optimize the branding on your website to resonate with your audience and inspire action. These will help you construct the other brand pillars shown in the image below:
When building your page with the best website design tools, ensure the overall experience is tailored to the consumer.. This means that you should always try to align your branding with the needs of your customers in mind to leave a lasting impression.
For example, it’s important to align your brand values with the values of your customers to create a deeper, lasting connection. If your customers are standing up for fair trade, equality, and sustainability, then you need to embody and represent these causes on your website.
You can do this by adding focus to important causes and values through engaging copy and messaging on every page. Complemented by your regular copy that focuses on your business and what you’re selling, it will create a more personal experience for your visitors and inspire them to keep coming back
2. Invest in welcome messages and customer onboarding
Customer onboarding is another commonly overlooked element of long-term engagement, particularly with companies that are outside of the SaaS sphere. SaaS companies know that they need to onboard their customers properly in order to ensure high user experience and prevent churn, but Ecommerce leaders might not feel the same, for example.
Why is that, you ask? Because not all businesses offer products or services that are as complex as SaaS and other IT solutions. But that shouldn’t stop you from sending structured and detailed onboarding emails to new customers in an attempt to make the whole experience more engaging and rewarding.
It all starts with a welcome email that will communicate:
- A concrete value proposition
- Your brand and what you stand for
- Your appreciation for the customer
- Your contact information and availability
- Expectations, goals, possible milestones
- The next steps the customer can take
After the welcome email, it’s important to continue your communication with the customer on a weekly basis to maintain engagement and open new opportunities for upselling, cross selling, referrals, positive feedback, and more. Check the image above to see an example of a weekly customer onboarding template.
3. Build effective lead magnets for new and existing customers
Speaking of email campaigns and brand-consumer communication, you need to have something of value to offer to your new and existing customers. Offering free promotional and educational products is a great way to build and maintain brand awareness, reliance, and authority in a competitive market.
These products are called lead magnets, and there are many types of lead magnets you can use for your email, social media, and other marketing campaigns. You also need to make it easy for your customers to obtain these products on your website.
Some of the most effective lead magnets include:
- How-to guides
- Templates and checklists
- Product samples or trials
- Use cases and explainer content
- Training videos
- Free training modules
- Insights and reports
- Industry forecasts
- Expert interviews
- Sneak-peeks into new products, services and more
All of these lead magnets can be valuable resources when guiding your customers through your sales funnel.
There are many communication lanes you can use to disseminate your lead magnets and inspire your customers to download them. These include public and private communication touchpoints like:
- A CTA button on your website
- Via email communication
- Through your social media posts
- Via online groups and forums
- Via referrals and influencers
- Via other authority websites and expert in your industry
- Via your employees and company leaders
- Via DMs, messaging tools, and live chat
- Via quizzes and contests
4. Keep customers informed on fast-selling products
There are many goals and KPIs you can achieve by focusing on customer engagement, and one of them is to get your inventory moving as fast as possible. You can’t do that if your customers don’t feel a sense of urgency or if they think that your products will always be available.
That’s why you need to keep them informed on your fast-selling products and use the FOMO method for effective lead nurturing and customer acquisition. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a psychological tool marketers use to create a sense of urgency and incentivize potential customers to act in the moment or risk missing out on a great deal.
Now, this can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. For FOMO to work, you need to optimize your logistics and your accounts payable process to ensure a smooth inventory management process, keep your products stocked, and fulfill all orders. Furthermore, it is recommended to automate your accounts payable for an error-free process while you focus on the strategic initiatives of your FOMO campaign. Because if FOMO is successful, you’re going to attract a lot of impulse buys.
With your logistics taken care of and your inventory ready, you can start your FOMO campaign. Put a cap on product availability and spread the word that some of your products are going quickly and are in limited supply.
Create a second FOMO group that focuses on deals and discounts for a limited time offer. These products will be available after the campaign is over, but not at the current discounted price or within a special bundle.
Together, these two FOMO campaigns will keep customer engagement high on all sales and marketing touchpoints, and will inspire shares and conversions.
5. Use AR and VR for advanced Ecommerce experiences
In recent years, augmented and virtual reality have become more accessible to customers across the globe. Companies in every industry have been hard at work trying to implement these technologies into their marketing efforts and their overall brand experience.
In Ecommerce, for example, you have a unique opportunity to bring AR and VR to your customers and make the customer experience on your website much more engaging. Fortunately, factoring these technologies into the Ecommerce website cost nowadays is easier than just a couple of years ago as these solutions are becoming more accessible to business owners as well.
Using these technologies on your site and in dedicated apps, customers can better visualize your products and even try them on in your virtual booths. Needless to say, this will elevate their experience and help them make better purchase decisions, prompting them to come back and recommend you within their social circle, and beyond.
AR and VR technologies have many uses in many different industries, however. Ecommerce is just one of a myriad of sectors where this tech can revolutionize the customers’ experience and boost engagement.
6. Build a community on social media platforms
Social media management and marketing are two essential elements of any decent customer engagement strategy. Simply put, you can’t support long-term customer engagement without investing in your social media platforms, meaning to inspire brand-follower communication and incentivize interaction across social touchpoints.
These touchpoints include:
- Your posts and comments
- Social media groups
- Social media community pages
- Direct messaging on social media
- User-generated content and posts
- Tagged posts
- Hashtags and hashtag results
Engaging with your audience on these touchpoints is not only a great way to engage your existing following, but also to grow your social media followers by expanding your brand’s reach. This will allow you to grow and build an active community.
You will then be able to create dedicated groups and community pages that revolve around your brand and everything you stand for together, strengthening your bond with your online audience. After a while, your community will continue expanding on its own.
7. Send promotional material via direct mail
Here’s something you probably won’t read anywhere else when it comes to building customer engagement – direct mail is not only alive and well, it can be a great way to dazzle your customers. Direct mail is one of those marketing methods that lends itself to better hyper-personalization, giving weight and significance to your brand in the eyes of the recipient.
After all, instead of shooting them an email like everyone else, you have taken the time to send them a personalized letter. This doesn’t mean that you should ditch email, far from it, but it does mean that in 2022 you should consider this old-school tactic to separate yourself from the competition.
If you are working with a select few clients, then hand-written letters of appreciation are the way to go. If you can’t devote the time or the effort to write them by hand, then you can use templates that you personalize according to the customer profile, and their unique analytics.
Pull the data from your CRM to better personalize your direct mail for the individual – the extra effort will go a long way. You can also add a QR code in the letter that will lead to your website. Then, create a video to welcome visitors when they scan the code along with captivating copy to build that perfect symbiosis between your online and offline marketing efforts.
Don’t forget to add a small physical token of appreciation into the mix if you can. This can be something as simple as a branded keychain or as valuable as a physical copy of your eBook, guide, or other educational material.
8. Encourage and embrace customer feedback
People want their voices to be heard, and a brand that listens to its customers and inspires them to speak up is a brand that stands above its competitors. One of your top priorities should be to encourage and embrace customer feedback to build social proof and brand trust, and to inspire existing and potential customers to interact with you.
The goal might be to make a sale, sure, but it should also be to build brand presence and authority in your market over the long term. You can achieve this by gathering as much positive feedback as possible.
When it comes to negative feedback, on the other hand, at some point you’re bound to get a negative review or two. When that happens, you need to transform negative reviews into success stories by addressing the problem head-on.
You can do this publicly or privately, and it will depend on how sensitive the issue is. Make sure to announce that you have resolved the problem so that others can see that your focus is on customer happiness.
You can also use customer feedback to create case studies and success stories for your website, social media, and email campaigns. These posts will inspire others to reach out, and will kick-start new interactions with your customers in the online world.
Over to you
Keeping customers engaged in a world where the competition is fierce and the customers are spoiled for choice is not an easy task. That’s why you need to change your approach to a more comprehensive one and start investing in customer engagement on all fronts.
And that’s not just through competitive pricing or exceptional customer service – because that’s the bare minimum. If you want to truly capitalize on customer engagement in 2022 and beyond, make sure to start investing in these best practices today.