Although it is also relevant to physical stores and trade, the term “customer engagement” only really emerged with the rise of eCommerce. Now it has become a buzzword, and marketers cannot spend a day without analyzing engagement metrics, such as conversion rate, click-throughs, customer acquisition, and even customer retention. So, let’s get down to basics… What does the phrase “customer engagement” really mean? Here’s a definition we can work with as a starting point: Customer engagement describes all interactions between a brand and an individual.
Customer engagement refers to maximizing the engagement a customer has with a brand. A business will offer a form of engagement and the customer can select where, how, and when to interact with it. This is the significant difference with other forms of marketing: The consumer is actively choosing the time, place, and channel for the conversation. A well-planned and data-driven strategy is crucial to increasing customer engagement, later hopefully paying off in increased customer loyalty.
The goal is to create meaningful interactions between brand and customer. And it is the company’s job to interact in a meaningful, hyper-personalized manner throughout the customer journey – from product discovery all the way to customer service. Customer engagement marketing should always be a two-way conversation and a quick, responsive one at that. Sustainable customer engagement management can be seen as part of customer service.
Customer loyalty highly depends on engaging your customer base successfully: the higher the engagement rate, the higher the chance at a loyal customer base. Customers will only interact when it’s the right time, on the right channel with the right message, and the company’s strategy needs to cater to that.
As a result, it is crucial that customer engagement is represented in your marketing strategy. Engaging with your customers in the way they prefer will significantly increase customer satisfaction, improve your customer experience and reduce churn. Customer engagement marketing can also help you gain a head start on your competition and stand out in a crowded world. So, once you’ve closed the deal, it’s time to focus on creating a relationship with your customers. Your customer journey should build a bond through each meaningful brand interaction, to provide the highest form of customer service.
It’s essential to keep a strong relationship with your customers through a consistent and pleasant customer experience. In fact, PWC reported that 59% of customers in the U.S. will walk away from your brand if they had several bad experiences – and 17% would walk away from just one! It’s why it’s important to keep a goal in mind (improving customer loyalty for instance) to ensure the different touchpoints of the customer journey are as pleasant as possible, and to grow a stronger relationship with your customers with your customer experience.
Engaging with customers feels different to consumers than your online marketing, as it is a voluntarily chosen way of interacting with your brand. Although engagement is essentially the customer’s choice, it is your job as a marketer to spark the conversation. That’s what makes it so tricky, yet so promising. The interest in your brand already exists, but you need to successfully nurture it to improve the customer experience. Customer engagement marketing can easily take a wrong turn if it isn’t executed properly. When done right, it increases loyalty, creates brand advocacy, and improves customer satisfaction. Keep reading to find out some easy methods that will help you rethink your customer engagement strategy.
As I mentioned above, the customer chooses the channel for engagement (think email, forums, social media, chatbot, blogs, recommendations, etc.). What does this mean for your brand? Be active and available on as many (relevant) channels and platforms as possible to be able to interact with your customer base where they are. Social media networks are often a hotspot, but your audience’s behavior varies and it often shows in your analytics. A customer-centric strategy based on high-quality data is crucial to pinpoint the right channels to invest in.
To better engage with your audience, the secret is to adjust the messaging accordingly. Forums won’t like to see plain ads, they want additional insights on your newest product, while a first-time website visitor who came through your social media may is maybe more interested in your best-selling items. You need to dig into the analytics to identify and correctly classify all of these personas (more on that later).
While creating content is time-consuming, it is essential for the consumer-business relationship as it is the starting point for a meaningful conversation and encourages interaction and conversion. Personalized, relevant, and engaging content is a great way to keep that conversation with your customers going. By adjusting this according to their behavior with the help of real-time customer data, it helps develop healthy customer relationships. We all know how boring it is to receive the same email over and over again from the same company until we unsubscribe – and you need to think the same when it comes to your customer engagement.
You don’t need to recreate all your content from scratch, but instead, consider personalizing current content pieces by matching it to customers’ interests and behaviors to improve their engagement. For example, if they have purchased a bike, send them a guide on how to maintain it. Or if they have just received their pants in the mail, send them a video of how they can style it. This insight-led strategy will boost your engagement rate (as they are more likely to open the message) and increase loyalty rates.
The more you learn about your customers, the more relevant content you can get out at the right time to create an emotional connection when you engage with the customer. Customer insights are the gateway to creating a wholesome customer engagement strategy. But without a proper Customer Data Platform (CDP) to centralize all your data, you have no chance of unraveling contextual insights and understanding the preferred ways of interaction. Find yourself an analytics solution that can unify your data, help you optimize all touch points with your brand, and drive customer engagement.
Here are some the KPIs you’ll want to measure: Engagement Rate, RFM, RFE, and Customer Lifetime Value. You also need to take personal referrals and recommendations on other platforms, such as social media, into consideration.
While any sort of positive engagement is welcome, bear in mind that levels of engagement differ among different customers. The definition of what counts as an engagement hugely varies among every business and needs to be reflected in the data. It can be different in depth, but also in quality and quantity. It is up to your company how to define an interaction in your analytics. A customer may be showing their loyalty by enthusiastically writing about your product in a forum, while another engages by leaving a 5-star rating. Both customers are engaged, but your data should be able to differentiate between the two.
Carefully define your customer engagement goals and measures, and automate the tracking of all the engagement. Once that is settled, the data will do a big chunk of work for you. It will be able to tell you insights like the best channels, times, and methods to engage with your customers. This helps you to act accordingly at every omnichannel touchpoint of the customer journey. Your relationship with the customer grows with the right content.
Now you can set up marketing flows that act upon all the gathered insights to personalize the customer experience. Your analytics setup will be the baseline for automating engagement, which will ease your job as a marketer when it comes to personalization.
Orchestrate customer-centric workflows that act in real-time and trigger the perfect interaction on the right channel. Tailor every engagement specifically to a unique customer, whether that is by sharing a personalized offer in a push notification, product recommendation through emails, or pieces of content on social media. AI-powered user segments may help you spark the conversation with your customers in a more meaningful way – and fully automated, of course.
Now you know the definition of customer engagement and why it’s important, now’s the time to look at your business. Does you have a customer engagement strategy in place? Are you struggling to convert new customers or is loyalty your biggest challenge? Are you using any customer engagement platform?
Mapp Cloud is the ideal platform to identify your most loyal customers and create effective customer engagement by always reaching your customers at the right time, on the right channel, and with the right message. Our platform makes it easy to unify your data, measure KPIs, and use advanced segmentation to create unified customer profiles. We would love to show you how we can help you improve your customer engagement marketing strategy with Mapp Cloud. Get in touch today!
Updated in July 2022