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A Marketer's Guide to Growing Customer Engagement

How you interact with customers via different channels equals how engaged they are with your brand. If you want an army of clients that shares information about new products, talks up your company to other people and helps with word-of-mouth marketing, this guide is for you.


Investing in the overall customer experience (CX) improves your revenue. According to PwC, around 16% of consumers say they'd pay more for products and services if it meant they'd have an excellent CX.


Improving engagement is the first step to great customer service. People don’t want to feel like another nameless customer. They want to feel valued, heard and involved. When you tap into the powerful results customer engagement provides, you’ll set your brand apart from your competitors. How do you increase customer engagement?


How Can Engagement Be Improved in Marketing?


Customer engagement involves five basic steps. Knowing what they are and how to utilize each one helps improve your bottom line.

  • Discover - Cast a wide net to capture leads who might be interested in what you have to offer. Share brand details at this stage and focus on image.
  • Shop - Your unique value proposition (UVP) matters at this stage. The consumer is simply gathering information and comparing options.
  • Buy - In the sales funnel, this is often referred to as the decision stage. Live chat or SMS is an excellent way to engage the person getting ready to purchase.
  • Own - The customer has bought the item and received it. How was the experience thus far? Look for issues with customer satisfaction and fix them.
  • Advocate - A happy customer may become your marketing street team, telling others about your business. Ask for reviews and their help in spreading the word.

Each stage offers unique opportunities to improve engagement and reach more people. Look for areas to improve and reach out to your customers through each step of the journey. You can also improve your customer engagement via marketing by following these additional tips.


Prepare for Challenges


Every business faces problems at some point. How well you can bounce back from challenges indicates your resilience as a brand. For example, if you release a product with quality control issues, customer engagement may grow pretty negative overnight.


People start leaving poor reviews, you lose life-long customers and your reputation takes a hit. However, if you have a plan in place for how to deal with any product failures, you already know what to do.


Get out ahead of the issue by emailing customers and letting them know you’re aware of the problem and will replace or refund all purchases in the order they were placed. If your clients know you already have a solution in the works, they’re much more likely to exhibit patience.


Develop Your Brand Voice


Does your brand have an attitude problem? If you don’t have a clear voice and tone to your interactions with customers, you appear to be all over the place. People may not trust your promises as you don’t seem consistent.


Take time to write out who you are as a company and what you stand for. What tone do you want to project when interacting with consumers? Do you want to have a fun vibe or a serious disposition?


One example of a brand with a fun voice is Wendy’s. They often add snarky comments when people post they went to a competitor’s fast food restaurant. The sarcastic comments and responses tap into the younger generation they’d like to reach on platforms such as Twitter.


Get Personal


In a typical day, consumers interact with hundreds of different brands. They hear ads on television, the radio and online. They see billboards, get emails and receive text messages. Most people tune all of this out, so if you want to reach consumers and engage them, you must understand their needs and personalize their experiences.


Amazon does an excellent job of personalizing product recommendations. They track browsing and buying behavior and make suggestions for other products based on past behavior. They also greet the person by name and show them past items they’ve looked at but not yet purchased.


Customer service skills and quality products play a role in building customer loyalty, but personalization is also key. When people feel like you know them on an individual basis and care about their needs, they're more likely to engage with your brand and become loyal customers.


Involve Your Biggest Fans


Every business has customers who adore them. They tell others about you, buy from you repeatedly and are happy to help whenever you ask. Your customer engagement strategy needs to tap into these powerful resources.


Word-of-mouth marketing is far more powerful than anything you can do on your own. A survey by Marketing Charts showed 59% of middle-aged consumers buy based on a friend’s recommendation. The numbers are similar across other age groups.


Create programs just for your raving fans. Ask them to start a tag campaign where they share something they love and tag your brand in the comment. You can then enter them into a contest for a prize. Enlist a few of your top customers to become your street team. Send them new products and ask them to share with their social media contacts.


Tap into micro-influencers and turn them into mouthpieces. Make sure the audience they reach is who your typical customer is. Get creative with the campaigns you work on.


Check on the Quiet Ones


Some people order regularly and never complain or offer positive feedback. They’re just quietly living their lives, buying your products and getting on with their days. However, they may also feel overlooked by you.


After all, it’s easy to reach out to the customers who shout to the rooftops about any small problem they have. Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to identify your regulars. Even if they don’t reach out to you, you should reach out to them. Thank them for their business, acknowledge a birthday, send them a thank you gift.


Develop a Customer-Centric Mindset


If you strive to put the customer first, engagement comes naturally. Think about what improves the CX for your typical buyer. If you notice any issues, fix them immediately. As people come to know your brand better, you’ll gain loyal followers who will share your name with others. Customer engagement grows over time, so remain intentional about opportunities to connect with clients.




About the Author

Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing firm prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.


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