3 Ways to Engage Better with Your Customers
Engaging with customers in the digital age of constant connectedness is something that many would consider an art form. Consumers today have all the channels and communication portals to form full-on opinions about companies without even getting off the couch. Combining this with the fact that people now have more purchasing options than ever before, knowing how to properly engage with new, existing, and potential customers is a task that must be placed as the highest priority. According to Marketo, over 60% of marketers agree that the goal of customer engagement is to encourage renewals, repeat purchases, and retention. In other words, engagement is the crucial ingredient in customer loyalty.
On a basic level, the key to building customer loyalty is knowing how to engage with customers in a way that forms strong emotional connections through ‘desirable channels.
So what does this task entail?
Here are three approaches to keep in your back pocket.
1. Focus on Nurturing Pain Points
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, who you are trying to appeal to, whether you are selling simple products online or selling complex software solutions, etc. At the end of the day, your overarching goal is to solve problems. In order to make any sort of impression on consumers, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of these problems down to the smallest detail. You need to know what the average day is like for your target customers and what pain points contribute to the problem.
For example, in the United States, there has been an ongoing issue with online casinos. There is a huge market for online gambling, yet many of the sites are not reputable and players could unknowingly put their personal or financial information at risk. This, of course, is a HUGE pain point for the players. To nurture this pain point, NoDepositHero.com has created a great deal of messaging, focused on the practice of finding the most reputable, fair, and honest online casinos in the USA. They touch on several other key pain points, including no deposit bonuses, safe banking options, fair wagering, and more.
Now, depending on your product or service, this might be an exceptionally layered problem.
For instance, if you are trying to engage potential customers with content about your project management software, you need to have a VERY thorough understanding of the everyday problems and inefficiencies that occur without a system in place. This could be complications with file sharing, lack of overall project visibility, organizational chaos, etc. Now, these simple everyday pain points could lead to missed deadlines, shoddy output, and a multitude of bigger problems. In order to engage with customers, your messaging should work to nurture the smaller pain points by emphasizing how solving them with your software could lead to a wide range of long-term benefits.
Once you have a firm understanding of all the pain points involved in the problem(s) that your product or service solves, the next task is creating content and brand experiences that shed light on the issue. This is the constant task of creative advertising.
This process goes beyond just identifying the pain points. In order to nurture these and build engaging content, it should be clear that you have been in the trenches and understand the pain points on a personal level.
2. Weigh in on Trending Industry Topics
In the age of social media and a 24/7 news cycle, trending topics play a big role in our everyday lives – whether we want them to or not.
Thanks to major social networks, consumers across the globe can stay updated on everything that’s trending in relation to their interests. This presents all kinds of opportunities for brands to engage with customers and play to their emotions. Last year, United Airlines found themselves in hot water after a United gate agent refused to allow girls wearing leggings to board a flight. This story gained a great deal of traction across airwaves and got a huge number of people fired up over the subject. Delta capitalized on this trending story with a single tweet:
Now, using trending topics to garner engagement should not be done lightly; any misfires here could result in a huge backlash. Remember DiGiorno Pizza’s incident with the #WhyIStayed hashtag?
For the most part, as a business looking to improve your engagement, you should aim to leverage trending topics in your industry as a way to showcase your expertise and superiority. Let’s say you are an SEO agency and there was a huge Google update that happened overnight. Businesses across the world are in an uproar about their drop in rankings and are panicking about what to do. You can use this industry noise to your advantage by chiming in with some expert tips for what companies can do to remedy the problem. For this purpose, using a social media monitoring tool is key for keeping up with the related sentiment. Tools like Brand24 and Hootsuite allow you to keep close tabs on your brand mentions across the web, mentions of competitors, topics, hashtags, or certain keywords.
Once you get a general sense of how people actually feel in regards to a certain subject, you can craft your message to play to the common emotions and prompt engagement. With any luck, your expert take can convince people to become customers!
3. Humanize Your Messaging
There is a very interesting phenomenon happening in the world today: brands are trying to be more like humans and humans are trying to be more like brands. Perhaps this is another side effect of the age of social media…
One of the main takeaways of this phenomenon is that people connect better with other people, not brands. That being said, businesses operating in this day and age need to make it a point to prove to the world that brands are made up of people, of whom are not all that different from customers. In terms of humanizing a brand, Wendy’s is one of the best examples in recent memory. They have developed an amazingly relatable social presence through clever wording and overall wittiness.
Fortunately, all the digital channels available today make this much easier than it might sound. There are many ways you can bring a human element to your brand and relate to everyday customers. As a business owner or senior employee, start by putting a face to your messaging. Neil Patel does an absolutely fantastic job of this on his social channels (most notably LinkedIn).
When people associate a face, voice, and personality with your brand messaging, it becomes easier to trust, and in turn, buy from.
Another strategy that brands need to consider is “Going Live.” Since Facebook introduced Facebook Live in 2016, this approach has been everywhere. A recent study found that Facebook interaction rates are much, much higher on Live Video than any other form of content.
In terms of going live, there are many strategies to consider. For one, you can use live video to provide a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Dunkin Donuts was a pioneer of this tactic.
Our first-ever LIVE tour of the DD test kitchen + a big announcement for engaged Valentines!
Posted by Dunkin' on Thursday, February 11, 2016
This behind-the-scenes video earned Dunkin Donuts the highest engagement rate of any other piece of content they produced on Facebook!
Second, you can run live Q&A sessions on your channel. Not only does this give the brand a face and a name, it works to demonstrate expertise.
You can also do things like live product unveilings, interviews with experts, demonstrations, and more. The beauty of going live is that it gives customers an unfiltered view of what your brand values are all about.
Humanizing a brand is not easy. The key is to form a brand personality and keep it consistent. Once you can make it clear that you are not all suits and ties, it will be much easier for people to engage with your messaging.
Over to You
The very concept of customer engagement is changing by the day. Think about how different it was just 15 years ago!
As a business, being able to fruitfully engage with people these days requires a great deal of persistence. As long as you keep a close eye on the emerging channels, trends, and the way sentiment develops in regards to your industry, the rest falls on your creative mind to build messaging that leaves real impressions.
This article was in collaboration with NoDepositHero.com.