5 Proven Tips to Raise Customer Engagement

Engaged customers buy more.

According to Gallup’s 2014 State of American Consumer report, they are 23% more likely to spend more and offer a greater revenue opportunity. They come back more often too. As Aimee Lucas points out: “customer engagement is highly correlated to customer loyalty.” In short, they are ideal customers to have. And the hardest to get.

Why? Because engagement isn’t as simple as it may seem.

As Paul Greenberg puts it, “Engagement is the on-going interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer”.

But how do you create interactions that build engagement and create more loyal fans? Here are 5+ strategies to start with.

1. Create Authentic Content

According to Pardot, 80% of customers say that the authenticity of content is the most influential factor in their decision to engage with a brand. And when making a buying decision, authentic content is 3 times more important than trust in the company’s position in the marketplace.

But what makes the content authentic?

According to Rick Allen of Meet Content, authentic content:

a. Is not deceiving. According to Allen, the authenticity is in the details. Your audience members will pay attention to things you wouldn’t even notice. Images, references, quotes or even what device your content’s been posted from will confirm whether your content is authentic or not.

Oprah famously promoted Microsoft’s Surface tablet in a tweet sent from … an iPad.

screenshot of a tweet by oprah winfrey device fail

Unfortunately this wasn’t an isolated incident. According to Pardot, 63% of customers claim to have engaged with disappointing content from a brand. And 23% of those said they would never consume any of the brand’s content again.

b. Tells stories- Stories make your content memorable and grab your audience’s attention.

c. Inspires and educates- Authentic content anticipates and answers your audience’s most common questions.

d. Tells your prospects how it’s like to be your customer- Authentic content reveals your strengths but hints weaknesses too, painting the whole picture of your organisation. As Allen states, it shows your audience exactly who you are and who you are not.

2. Engage Customers through Reviews

Reviews are a great way to influence buyers and offer a social proof. After all, 90% of shoppers admit being influenced by reviews when making a purchasing decision.

dreamstime comic picture of happy customer manager

Reviews can also increase trust in your brand. 63% of customers claim that they are more likely to buy from a site that allows to review and rate products.

And lastly, they offer an enormous opportunity to engage with your customers. NakedWines for instance continuously interacts with reviewers, offering them help and support when they face problems with their purchase.

screenshot of comment by wine customer and reviewer interaction

3. Talk To Your Customers on Social Media

When it comes to engagement, Facebook and Twitter are first two sites that come to mind.

And no surprise, they are the most popular social networking sites amongst businesses. According to Social Media Today’s 2014 Social Customer Engagement Index, 52% brands prefer Facebook for engagement. Twitter follows next and Linkedin is third.

Yet only 16% of companies claim they are very satisfied with their company’s efforts to engage customers through social networks. One reason for this might be a lack of in-depth understanding on how to engage a social media audience.

Hootsuite suggests starting with the following steps:

  1. Listen to your audience’s conversations. Monitor conversations about you, your product, industry and competitors as well. From this you should be able to unearth your audience’s needs, wants and frustrations. Thanks to this information you will be able to tailor the right message at them.
  2. Start conversations. Ask questions to engage your audience in a conversation. Make sure you ask them about things that relate to their needs or interests, make them think but don’t forget about entertaining them too.
  3. Answer questions. But do it in a way that initiates discussion
  4. Talk like a real person. Because people prefer to talk to people not brands.

4. Run Contests and Events

Contests offer a great way to spread the information on your brand, drive traffic to your site and build a social media following.

dreamstime comic picture of customer manager with flag on mountain top

But also, get the audience engaged.

There are many contest types but one is particularly useful for ecommerce – sweepstakes.

This simple strategy works because… people love getting stuff for free. And they will do whatever you ask them to get it.

If done right, a sweepstakes campaign should result with many people signing up for the contest, talking about it and interacting with your brand. An added bonus is a list of people who are already interested in owning a product.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out this sweepstakes tutorial by BigCommerce.

5. Events

Just like contests, events are a great way to raise brand awareness and engage your audience. Depending on your niche, you could sponsor a physical event or run a social media competition.

6. Allow Customers to Chat with You

Sometimes engagement isn’t as much about entertaining a customer but helping them.

Your customers have small problems or questions. They might want an update on their order status or inquire about a product. Live chat is a channel that allows you to quickly solve those problems by engaging in a live conversation with your customers over your website.

And, it works. According to this research by eConsultancy, live chat enjoys the highest customer satisfaction rate (73%). Furthermore, in this case study with Servershop24, Google Analytics results comparing Webvisitors that used the chat with Webvisitors that did not, it was found that those who did stayed on the website almost 3 times as long, visited twice as many pages, and were 25% more likely to return.

screenshot of Live Chat conversation

There are some good reasons for that:

  • Live chat provides customers with instant access to support and information.
  • It helps you provide a real-time personal interaction.

Conclusion

Engaged customers spend more and come back more often. But creating engagement isn’t easy. It takes many strategies to keep customers connecting with your brand.


Pawel Grabowski is a freelance copywriter and content marketer for hire. He helps businesses connect with potential customers online; turn them into buyers and later, brand devotees. For more info, visit smashingcopy.com