Today’s digital customer is a demanding customer, and keeping them engaged is a never-ending job. Customer engagement is not just for customer acquisition. It is an ongoing process that extends way beyond a successful transaction. Customer engagement is proactively and continuously staying in touch with your customers to ensure their satisfaction, loyalty and interest for the long-term. Doing so using digital channels ensures that you stay one step ahead of your competition, as long as you utilise the right digital channels for the right audience. Let’s unpack that.
What is digital customer engagement?
Digital customer engagement is using online or digital channels to interact, listen to and acquire a customer. It can be any digital touchpoint between a customer and your brand. Focusing on digital customer engagement is important to maintain relationships with existing customers and build and nurture a successful rapport with potential customers.
Digital customer engagement goes one step further than just providing a digital experience for the customer. It is improving elements of the interaction with your brand so they are actively engaged and emotionally stimulated in the experience. Whether it is through your website, your app, social media or third-party websites - having a digital engagement strategy in place is crucial. Let’s look at some of the most popular tools for engaging customers digitally.
Digital customer engagement channels
Pay Per Click (PPC) search ads are a low-cost way to market on the internet, as you will pay for the ad only when a user clicks on it. They are the ‘sponsored ads’ that appear on the top and bottom of the search engine results page (SERP), and a great way to get the customer to engage with you. Users are already actively looking for something online, so they are more likely to click on your ad as long as it entices them. 75% of users find that search ads genuinely make their search activity easier. Here’s how you can make sure that happens:
- Select the right audience: Target your ads to ensure that they reach the right users. Each group of customers online will have different behaviours and needs. Narrow down your demographics to focus on their location, gender, age and searching intent
- Use the right keywords: Keywords can make or break your whole PPC campaign. To actively engage your customers you need to talk to them using the exact words they’re searching with
- Provide clear call-to-actions (CTAs): You want users to engage with your ad, and ultimately click on it. Use attention-grabbing CTAs that captivate and convert the user such as ‘Apply Now’, ‘Learn More’ or ‘Download For Free’.
Emails have stood strong alongside the forces of social media and instant messaging, and continue to be one of the most engaging channels of communication today. Email marketing provides a fantastic return on investment, and according to the Content Marketing Institute, email newsletters are the most effective method of nurturing leads. What makes email newsletters cost-effective is the ability to reach the masses directly through a single campaign.
Use emails for customer engagement by:
- Captivating them with a story: This is the easiest way to engage the user in what you have to say. Send email newsletters that are rich in value-added content like news, tips & tricks, industry trends, success stories and more. Customers should feel like they gained something from your email in order to engage with your brand
- Creating a catchy subject: This is how you grab their attention and get them to open your email, so your subject has to stand out from a busy inbox. Keep it short, clear, focused and concise
- Make it personal: Customers will engage with content that relates to them. Send a thank-you email after they successfully transact with your brand, wish them well on their birthday and anniversary and congratulate them when they cross a milestone. This shows that you care, and will keep them engaged with your newsletters.
Nowadays, this is a tool anyone can master when done right. It’s free, easy to implement and widely used across the world. Engaging your customers on social media will help increase your brand’s awareness and build an online community of followers who share and engage with your brand.
- Use reviews: One of Feefo’s key tools is social media integration, where you can incorporate customer’s feedback right into their shopping experience. This helps keep customers engaged with your products as they won’t have to go anywhere else for reviews to aid them in their decision-making process.
- Reply to comments: People love sharing their opinion on public forums like social media. They like it even better when brands respond to what they have to say. Take an active interest in any feedback and compliments and thank them for their views. Take an even bigger interest in resolving negative comments here in a professional manner as this shows customers that you value what they have to say and will engage in your solutions.
Chatbots and live chat servicing have taken customer service teams across the world to the next level. They help speed up requests and queries, and many businesses choose to automate frequently asked questions to save on time and money. Customers who want quick answers will reach out to the chat option and will engage more when their query is resolved swiftly.
Incorporate live chat on your website, on your app and on social media so that customers can reach out to you on the go. Providing a mobile-friendly experience is key to nailing customer engagement in 2021. Try approaching customers who you think are struggling to make a decision. You don’t want to nudge someone as soon as they step into your platform and be seen as annoying.
Webinars & events
Webinars, talks and live events are a great way to engage customers in an interactive setting. You can use audio and video together to provide a 360-degree experience all while listening to what the customer has to say as well. Webinars seem to be a favourite amongst B2B professionals, and more than half of users participate in them at least once a week. As a business, you can use this channel to engage your partners, clients and even employees.
- Select the right topic: Find out what your customer wants to learn about and create content around that. Offering them something new, interesting and trending will keep them engaged. Educational information will establish you as an authority figure and customers will learn to trust you
- Keep it short: Researchers say that the ideal length for a webinar is 45 minutes. Anything shorter won’t be enough to get your message across and anything longer will bore your audience. Always end your session with a solid conclusion and leave time for questions and an interactive session. This will allow room for the audience to engage with what you’ve had to share and network with each other
- Use different elements: You’re not going to engage with an audience by just talking to them. Instead of one long speech, switch things up with a presentation, ice-breaker session, brainstorming of ideas and even entertainment. Many businesses choose to invite a guest to share inspiration or they collaborate with a brand for free giveaways during the webinar.
Over 100 million videos are watched every single day on social media, and it is a very effective medium for keeping your audience engaged. You don’t even need a big budget to create quality videos, so this is a channel that works well for businesses of any size. If you have a smartphone consider setting up a weekly vlog to showcase industry trends, new product launches or customer testimonials. Putting a face to a story immediately adds a human element to it, and will make customers relate to what is being shown.
If you are posting videos to social media channels like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook consider keeping them short and snappy to make them engaging and shareable. Quick tutorials and guides on how to use products work well. For in-depth video content platforms like YouTube and Vimeo offer better quality options and you can add extra elements like ads, subtitles and title cards for branding.
Probably one of the least understood channels by the clients is SEO, what stands for Search Engine Optimisation. While it has this off-putting fancy name this really is a channel that masters web content that is optimised for search bots that appears in the free space on the search engine result pages below the Ads. Even though it seems like there is some trickery involved in order to get the content understandable and reachable for search bots and crawlers the ultimate goal is to make it interesting and engaging for visitors and potential customers. This content usually published to promote business services and/or associated products.
The SEO marketer is trying to engage the visitor through this seemingly free channel to get more interested customers. While this channel is considered to be free as you do not have to pay for it, as in comparison with the PPC, it is not all that simple. It can take months and at times years in a very competitive niche to start ranking for desired keywords and a very hard work of SEO professionals that create content, PR campaigns and build links to the pages, what is of course does not come for free. While it is hard to kick start your SEO content, with time it may become one of the most engaging channel out of all listed above.
Where would you need to start? Ideally you need an SEO specialist that can do a thorough keyword research for your business or commercial keywords from then they can devise you a content plan. However, you can always start with your own efforts and start writing about topics that are most relevant to your business niche and with time see if you can get better results with a more professional approach.
For more on SEO please read our page on Organic Growth.
Seize the opportunity through digital customer engagement
Customer engagement is all about knowing your customer and connecting with them the right way. It is important that you leverage the channel that speaks to your widest audience in the most effective way. Use two or three of these digital engagement channels simultaneously, while monitoring results to see what’s working and what’s not. Optimise the channels that work well and narrow down your focus to make the most use of them.
When it comes to digital customer engagement, the opportunities are endless and evolving every single day. Dedicate time and efforts to stay on top of trending digital innovations so you can seize new opportunities as soon as they arise. This will ensure you stay ahead of the curve, and plan the path of success ahead for the long term.