Top 3 Rules to Achieving Customer Engagement in Your Online Marketing
Do you value customer engagement in your content marketing? Is it something you consider when creating content and promoting it on your online platforms?
In a poll taken last year, companies were asked what the single most exciting business opportunity was for 2018. Coming in third, at 13%, was mobile. In second, at 15%, was content marketing. And in first place? At 22%, customer experience was decidedly the most exciting business opportunity for this year.
So why are customer experience and customer engagement so important, and what are the top rules for achieving customer engagement within your online strategy?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s answer the first question:
What is customer engagement?
Customer engagement is a form of online marketing that encourages customers to share their stories and experiences of particular businesses and brands. It provides a more interactive method of communication between you and your target audience. Imagine passing the microphone from you (as the company) to the customer, and giving the customer an open stage to speak their minds.
Some ways that a customer can share their experience includes:
- social media posts or comments
- online product or service reviews
- testimonials based on a product or brand
This angle of marketing has become very popular in online marketing initiatives, as it is clear that up and coming generations of online users are initially distrustful of brands. When an organization makes the sincere effort to listen to their customers’ views and opinions, trust grows. That trust then turns into brand loyalty, which evolves into more successful conversions and overall marketing initiatives.
So now that we’ve clarified customer engagement, let’s jump into the top 3 rules to achieving customer engagement for a more successful online marketing strategy:
1. Spark your reader’s curiosity with great titles and subject lines
Competition for the attention of your target audience is huge. To capture your reader’s attention, you have to put your best foot forward. This means being clear about the value of what lies within your content. Readers will decide to read your content if they feel it has real value to them. They make almost split second decisions on whether they will read your content based on your content’s title or subject line.
Capture the full value of your content in the title or subject line. If the subject is successful and relevant, you’ll see the conversions come through in your website analytics. If your content provides true value, readers will engage with it in a sincere way through online sharing and adding supportive, public commentary.
2. Have a customer-centric rule for content
Customer-centric content is created to best suit the customer, rather than satisfying the taste of the writer or organization. First off, identify which questions or concerns resonate most with your readers. Many of them will read your content because they want to learn something new. Search online chat rooms or do a Google search to get an idea of your reader’s needs.
Write in a way that best resonates with your reader, not yourself. The better you can connect with them, the more likely they’ll be to engage with your content in a positive way—through sharing your content with their peers, or commenting on it to boost its visibility to more people.
3. Embrace the value of social listening
Take a step back from your strongest instinct as a marketer: talking at people. Instead, start listening. Social listening lets your organization tap into conversations about your brand or industry which may be taking place in public online spaces, outside of your email inbox or your website’s Contact Us page.
For example, social media is a great place to do some quality social listening. Search hashtags or read the posts that your organization is tagged in to access a free bank of real-time data, which can convert right back to your overall marketing strategy.
But be aware, social listening doesn’t only happen on social media. Keep an eye on your local news website, competitor blogs and online question forums for any information that could relate to your brand or industry. When you find something that is relevant to you, start a conversation about it. This provides a great opportunity for you to engage with your customers and have sincere interactions with them.
Not sure where to start? Just be sincere
It may seem strange at first to engage with your customers in a more conversational way online—this definitely differs from the more refined marketing messages of billboards 50 years ago. However, it is important to keep in mind that, when making strategic decisions for your online strategy, it’s the users who decide, through their behaviour, what the next preference will be for being marketed to. And it is up to us, as marketers, to accommodate those requests by providing our customers and potential customers with opportunities to engage with us in the ways that they want to engage with us and others online.
What is a customer engagement rule you and your team swear by? Let me know in the comment section below.