Keeping customers (and potential customers) engaged with your brand is a great way to remind potential business of your company’s services and values. Sharing micro-moments with customers and increasing your touch points with them can work wonders at nurturing a lead into a sale, or reminding your existing customers that you’re there.
There are tons of ways of increasing your customer engagement, each with a different end goal or result so which method you choose will depend on your business objectives.
One of the key elements of inbound marketing is the 'engage' stage. HubSpot have moved on from the linear "attract > convert > close > delight" model, to a 'flywheel' that showcases the idea that each stage is interconnected.
So, how can you go about increasing your engagement with customers and prospects?
Increase customer engagement with a CRM
Customer relationship managers bring a lot of perks with them. It's pretty much built into the name.
At the basic end of the spectrum, it gives you a place to keep all of your information about an individual or company, so you're not relying on potentially outdated spreadsheets to keep track. Knowing all of the information, calls, emails, and other touchpoints that a customer or prospect has experienced makes it much easier to provide a personalised experience.
We use HubSpot CRM, which does a whole lot more than that, however. Email marketing is part of the free CRM, so you can get started quickly and easily with sending out messages designed to engage with your users. By knowing their interests, job role, etc you can ensure you’re truly sending them information that is useful, ensuring that they don’t just click on your email, visit your website and bounce off.
Personalisation is a fundamental part of this, and with everything being connected together, you can use all sorts of data to segment your email lists and create personalised, targeted messages.
We're also a Microsoft Gold Partner, so we work closely with Dynamics 365 - another CRM with email capabilities, and plenty of information about your database.
Ultimately, your goal is to provide useful and interesting content to your audience in order to engage with them. While your sales team may use your CRM to connect with prospects, they don't have to be pitching with every interaction. Sharing useful content, that would answer a problem that individual might be facing, is a great way to engage.
Email marketing to increase engagement
When we think of customer engagement and email newsletters, the first things that pops into mind is lack of click through rate. It’s common to see businesses struggling to get a CTR that leads to an increase in traffic to the website and, later, to more leads and sales. People have started to move away from email marketing because it so often seems to fall on deaf ears (or deaf inboxes).
So what can be done to change this? What can you do to make sure you’re making the most of an email newsletter?
Make your reader feel special
Anyone that has ever read any blog, article or website on email marketing has read about the VIP treatment… but let's recap. Make your customers feel appreciated! Chances are, your target audience has an inbox full of emails so why will they choose to open yours? What will catch their attention?
Teasing with exclusive deals or rewards for being a loyal customer are great ways to make sure you get people to click on your emails. By creating unique content for your newsletter ( perhaps sneak peeks, future products or events) you’re making sure that you keep their interest and giving them something of value. If they know that your emails contain something they can't get elsewhere, they're more likely to engage.
For example, if you routinely send out emails with VIP discount codes, but I could get the same discounts by going directly to your website, I'll just go to the site. But if those codes are truly exclusive to your email subscribers, I'll be opening them up. Especially if it's not the same offer every time.
Win-back abandoned shopping carts
Abandoned shopping cart reminders are easy to create and can go a long way to bring back those forgetful customers. You should remind your customer of what they’ve abandoned in their cart and have great copy to entice them back to your website. Perhaps give it a time limit or even a discount. Make it a fun email, something that your customers won’t be annoyed to read but take it as a nice reminder.
People often get distracted and forget to finish a checkout process. Or maybe they left their wallet in another room and can't be bothered to go and fetch it. An abandoned cart email gives them a gentle nudge - putting the thing they were interested in back at the front of their mind.
Create a replenish campaign
A replenish email campaign is the best way to make yourself useful for your audience. Let’s say you sell a consumable product and customer A is 10 days away from the predicted expiry of the product. This is when you send an email reminding them to re-order it and perhaps even offer them something with it to entice them to make the purchase.
All of these email marketing strategies have something in common… automation. Perhaps one of the best things to happen to email marketing was CRM. It makes your life so much easier by doing the work for you - just set up an automated campaign to trigger whenever someone meets the relevant criteria, and off those emails go.
Increase customer engagement with social media
Social media is the go-to tool for customer engagement, quickly connecting customers and brands with the distance of a click. Quite literally.
Social platforms have two big perks. The first one is the most obvious one; it's free and should be your first marketing route if you're on a budget. You can easily get feedback and help any customer in need as they have a way to reach you that's not only simple, it also fits in with how they interact. Messaging companies via Facebook Messenger or tweeting them is now often the preferred way of contact for certain demographics - so if you’re not present, you’re letting your competitors beat you at social engagement.
Secondly, it's a constant reminder of your brand; almost like passive marketing. By posting on your network you're reminding your audience of your brand. Post social content, business updates and engaging articles to keep your customers up to date and in the know about your business and what you offer.
The key here is to remember that the point is to engage with your ideal customer. If they happen to be hanging out on Twitter, you won't get much joy spending your time and energy on Snapchat. Research where your key audiences spend their time and go to them. You don't need a presence on each and every platform there is - pick the ones that cover your target market and work for your business.
Build customer engagement with remarketing
If you're not familiar with remarketing, it’s a method of advertising that serves ads to the people who have already visited your website. The best example is when you've been looking for a product at a website and then for the next few days on Facebook, you keep seeing ads of that same product.
Sometimes it feels like you're being followed, but often it's an effective reminder of something you were interested in but didn't buy in the moment for whatever reason.
Retargeting ads are considered a great strategy as most consumers need time to reflect before deciding to hit that 'buy now' button. This way, they can have the reflection period without the risk of them completely forgetting about your product. This is particularly effective for eCommerce websites, as you can remarket to people that abandoned their cart last minute and entice them back to your website.
This works for more considered purchases too, such as B2B, so customers are constantly reminded of your business and what you’re offering.
Remember who you're engaging with
All of these tips rely on us remembering who we're engaging with, and why. We're trying to improve our relationship with customers, as well as attract new ones. With each group, there's a slightly different approach. Then, within each group, there are subsets of different needs.
Building out customer personas allows you to be targeted in your approach to your engagement activities, ultimately making them more effective and more, well, engaging.
If you'd like to run through how all of this strategy can fit together for your business, give us a shout. Otherwise, go have fun with it all!