The goal of effective customer engagement strategies is creating a meaningful connection with your customers, so they want to return. Learning how to engage customers in today’s environment isn’t difficult, but it is a paradigm shift from the marketing strategies that were effective a generation ago. The following tips will help you understand how to engage customers effectively, no matter your industry, niche, or the size of your business.
How To Engage Customers
In addition to working well for your customers, an effective customer engagement strategy must be scalable and sustainable. Each of the ideas below is both.
1. Build a Community
The opportunity for customers to dialogue with you and each other is a particularly effective user engagement strategy. Assuming your business offers quality products and customer service, a community can usually self-manage once you get the ball rolling. From there, you’ll just need to provide guidelines for communication and offer a bit of interaction here and there. The beauty of an engaged community is that it offers the perfect opportunity to take the pulse of your customers, determine needs related to your current and potential offerings, and test new ideas.
Passion Planner has done a beautiful job at building a community of customers. They have an engaged Facebook group full of users who connect over their love of Passion Planner products and how they use them in their everyday lives. It’s the perfect win-win. Customers connect with like-minded individuals, and Passion Planner now has a trusted place to turn for feedback about their brand.
Inspire your customers in any way that feels right to you. Some companies share their own vision to connect the public to their “why.” Some encourage community service and social impact. Some swear by customer service above all else. Regardless of your place in your industry, the market or society, inspiration is a great start for a business that is learning how to engage users.
One of the most well-known examples of inspiration used to increase user engagement is the one-for-one model. For every item purchased, a company donates one to a person in need. Toms and Bombas are both very well known for this. It feels good to do good, and when shopping elicits this feeling, businesses are bound to benefit.
3. Constantly Connect
Working to remain relevant and responsive is a fantastic way to increase engagement with customers. When customers feel connected with your brand, they are much more likely to return again and again. Consistent, genuine communication is one of the simplest ways to accomplish this.
Online pet supply retailer, Chewy, is known for their sincere communication. They send handwritten birthday cards to each pet in their database, handwritten holiday cards to all customers, and even sympathy cards when they learn about the passing of a family pet. Talk about connection! And as is evident in this twitter exchange, they monitor their social media and provide timely responses to their customers, to boot.
4. Personalize the Experience
If you can only focus on one task as you learn how to engage customers, consider ways to personalize their experience. On a large scale, you might invest in software that makes shopping recommendations based on prior purchase history. But it could also go simple, providing helpful information based on data collected from customers or creating a quiz to help them choose the best product for their personal circumstances.
Grammarly, an online app that makes suggestions to improve your writing in real time, delivers weekly reports to their users. These reports offer an analysis of their writing technique and an overview of how their writing has improved since they began using the app. It also makes suggestions about steps users can take to see further improvement. Brilliant!
5. Solve Problems
As you work to generate great customer engagement ideas, consider this: customers don’t buy products or services. They buy solutions. Engage users by helping them solve a problem. Often, your products and services do just that, but even if you don’t have a product or service that solves a common customer problem, you can still provide information to help them out. When you seek to advise, inform and offer value, you earn credibility and develop trust with your customers. That, in turn, will naturally generate repeat business and referrals.
In 2015, Toyota Europe created a quick video for YouTube about how to install roof racks. Sure, the products they used were all manufactured by Toyota, but the problem they addressed is that customers didn’t know how to install these parts. The video explains how and where to measure, how to prepare the roof rack for installation, and how to use it once installed. Anybody, whether using Toyota parts or not, can benefit from this, making it the perfect example of helpful content that builds brand equity and user engagement.
6. Anticipate Customer Needs
When you want to know how to increase customer engagement, look no further than the feedback your customers provide. Feedback comes in the classic sense –– questions asked and answered. However, you can also gather feedback simply by paying attention. If you’re constantly answering the same question about your product or service, consider creating content that answers it proactively. If customers often push their monthly auto-shipment by two weeks, consider adding a six-week auto-shipment interval. Your customers are always telling you something, even if you’re not asking a question. Pay attention and keep an open mind.
Zappos takes this to the next level, not just paying attention to consumer trends, but including a Zappos Customer Research Center which actively seeks insights to help them decipher the true needs of their customers.
7. Remain Relevant
Learning how to get more engagement won’t do much good unless your customer finds you relevant. Effectively sharing relevant information with your customer is engaging, and one of the best ways to do this by finding creative places, and ways, to meet your audience.
GoPuff – an app similar to UberEats, but for convenience stores instead of restaurants – creatively connected with followers on Twitter, sharing some of the orders they receive. For instance, an order from the customer who prepared for a post super-bowl hangover with a massive order of Gatorades during the game, or the person who ordered roses at 5:00 PM on Valentines Day. This strategy might be a little unorthodox, but it meets their customers where they are both in life, and online.
8. Offer Perks
Grocery store chains found ways to engage customers well before the internet was a way of life. Loyalty rewards are a fantastic way to encourage repeat business. You can take this idea in a slightly different, more modern, direction. Instead of offering discounts on the products you want customers to purchase, offer them rewards they want. Is that an informational seminar? A credit towards their next purchase? Free samples of new products before they hit the market? The options are endless. Note: be sure to truly understand your audience before deciding how to reward their loyalty, as missing the mark has potential to cause more harm than good.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider loyalty program is very well known for allowing members to accumulate points with each purchase. These points can be redeemed for coupons, free shipping, special in-store discounts, free samples and more. What’s most best about this loyalty program is that it offers customers flexibility without devaluing Sephora’s products.
9. Create a Resource Hub
Take that content you create in response to your most common customer needs, and put it all in one place. This ensures customers have resources to help them make a sound buying decision or use your products and services to their full potential. A resource hub doesn’t take the place of top notch customer service, but it may reduce the burden on your team while anticipating and customer needs. It’s a win-win!
Olive and June, an online manicure product retailer, exploded during the early days of the pandemic, boasting the longest lasting nail polish on the market. But they didn’t stop at simply selling their products. They offer a learning library filled with text, photo, and video tutorials, teaching customers tricks for achieving the long-lasting results they promise.
Engage with Hungry Media
A great customer engagement strategy starts with a great website. Hungry Media’s unique approach uncovers the needs of your business, your customer, and where they intersect. This allows us to create a website unique to you and your brand, leaving you with the perfect foundation upon which to build your engagement efforts. Contact us today and learn how to engage customers with a top-notch website that will help take your business to the next level.