Online consumer engagement is part of being a successful business in the 21st century. A customer will be gained or lost based on the experience they have on your site. In order to build trust between your brand and customers, the two will need to have a good relationship with each other.
A strong relationship with a customer is the result of a strong strategy. This plan includes understanding the customer’s journey to your brand and how they interact with it online and offline. The right strategy can help not only with consumer engagement, but also brand loyalty, overall revenue, and an edge over your competitors.
So whether you are going after a new target audience or strengthening your current customer base, here are a few ways of increasing your brand’s consumer engagement online.
The values and beliefs of your company are important for consumers to know. A study from LoyaltyLion reports 68% of customers are motivated to be loyal to a brand if they know it shares the same values as them. Shared values and beliefs create a shared sense of belonging, the cornerstone of a community.
You can share your beliefs in a variety of ways with customers, aside from just stating them on your website. Incorporate messaging around brand values that appear in welcome or post-purchase emails. Build beliefs and values into reward programs where people can earn points by following or acting upon them. Create social media campaigns to encourage a display of the values of your brand, which can encourage employees and consumers alike to participate in, thus supplying you with user generated content for your community.
One of the best ways to improve consumer engagement is by staying connected with your customers and prospective customers. Regular conversations through newsletters, feedback, and reward programs can build goodwill with individuals. In addition to these programs, you can also use live chat and chatbots on your site to assist customers.
Live chat is a popular engagement tool – it turns every interaction with customers into an opportunity to build on a relationship or create a satisfying experience. Live chat helps resolve customer problems rapidly and re-engage frustrated customers with the right messaging. More than half of consumers prefer live chat to calling into a company in today’s market.
The next step from live chat is chatbots. According to a report from Opus Research, 35% of customers want to see more companies using chatbots. Chatbots are available 24/7, can be personalized, and respond instantly to a customer’s question. They’re available on websites and social media so you don’t miss a customer query.
Technology can be used as a new type of employee for your business by taking on smaller tasks to allow your team to attack bigger projects. In terms of improving online engagement, technology can provide your brand with useful insights.
These insights include measuring active users, or the percent of active users on your site during a designated time frame. This also allows you to measure your retention rate, which is the number of users who click on your site and then browse it. It can also calculate website visit length, how long an individual stayed on your site. This information is priceless for your brand, especially when determining how many new customers you gain each quarter.
All of this data collected can be reviewed using an enterprise resource planning tool. ERP systems can hold this information for comparison over time or to indicate product growth. It can also organize data for use by leadership within your organization, which can help pinpoint customers’ problems or create new strategies quickly.
Although it can be tempting to just use your website to communicate with your customers, there are multiple methods of staying connected online. Webinars are useful to bring people together in an interactive format for answering questions or presenting the information. They can also be a source of feedback and content ideas.
Social media platforms are a way to construct brand loyalty while talking to consumers in real time. Posts on these sites can share creative content, useful videos, new product announcements, and more. Content on these pages can humanize your brand to foster positive connotations with consumers. Customers can comment on the posts and give you real-time feedback on what they think. Many customers browse social media frequently during the day, so publishing content on a regular basis keeps your brand on their minds.
There are multiple ways to improve customer engagement on your site. Building a community, regular conversation, using technology, and socializing through multiple channels are all great methods of reaching current and potential consumers. Deploying just one of these tactics can help your brand expand over time.
A few months ago I received a birthday card in the mail from my dentist whom I’ve seen for more than 10 years. In all those years it was the first time he ever sent me a card, and I was pleasantly surprised. I opened the envelope and read the message inside — “Happy birthday, Mr. Vetter!”
In the decade I’ve gone in for my semi-annual cleaning, my dentist never once called me anything but “Carlos.” It was clear this card was a mass production, one of many that went out to every patient marked “Mr. or “Mrs.” I don’t want to sound ungrateful. The card was a fine gesture, but the simple formality of the last name lost any attempt at real personalization.
Engaging and personalizing your customer base retains business and creates new opportunities as word-of-mouth advertising. When reaching out to yours, go the distance and don’t cut corners.
When was the last time a company with your products and services called just to say thank you? Imagine how unexpectedly taken customers will be when taking a call that doesn’t involve sales or upgrading to a more expensive service. It doesn’t matter if your customer base is 50 or 50,000. Calling a few each day takes up very little time and helps build a loyal relationship with anyone on the other side of the line.
A birthday card will make a customer or client smile, but use the customer’s first name (get to know any nicknames if possible), and actually sign it in ink. Whether you’re a small business or major corporation, maintain an updated database of contacts. If keeping track of birthdays year-round is a burden, send family Christmas cards once a year. Personally address the holiday cards and put a company photo picturing your staff on the front for an added touch of personalization.
After a customer’s first purchase, send a follow-up email that shares gratitude and invites the customer to return for a special promotion. Replicate a similar follow-up such as this:
I wanted to offer my thanks for choosing our company and tell you from all of us here that we appreciate your business. We’re confident you’ll love your [product] and want to give you a special offer should you decide to shop with us again. Use the promotional code below to receive 10 percent off your next purchase. It’s just our way of saying thanks.
Develop your own generic template and thank a new customer with an instant discount to express that you value their continued business.
Using social networks like Twitter connects with customers, provides personal and real-time customer service and promotes your brand. Disgruntled customers often turn to social media to vent frustrations when their expectations with companies aren’t met, and since the keywords in these tweets and posts are searchable, it’s an opportunity to repair a relationship.
For example, if a customer Tweets “I’m fed up with Netflix! It won’t connect to my Xbox,” Netflix has a team of customer service representatives who search for those grievances and respond to them online. These customers probably don’t expect a response when they vent online, so the service is an above-and-beyond measure to retain a customer who was close to cutting the cord.