Today, customer engagement has become a buzzword among online businesses, as it measures a brand’s interaction with its customers across all touchpoints during its lifecycle. Constantly engaging customers on a number of channels let brands build and grow a ‘human-to-human connection with them and also attach value beyond just transactional relationships.
There is one thing that has not been changed from the good old brick-and-mortar times to today’s online businesses; it is the belief that Customer is King’. And some iconic marketing campaigns such as ‘Share a Coke’ (Coca Cola) or the ‘Big Sleepover’ (Ikea), giant multinational corporations have shown us that customer engagement is one of the pillars for a business strategy that leads to the happy, returning, and loyal customers.
Today, Customer engagement is no longer restricted to sales, support, or services; rather, it’s an ongoing practice of brands anticipating customers’ needs and staying in touch with them to promote lasting relationships, loyalty, and hence, business growth.
With more and more businesses embracing the customer-centric approach while amplifying their marketing strategies, customer engagement necessarily holds center stage to build top-of-mind awareness and reach the intended inbound growth.
Benefits Of Customer Engagement
With plenty of marketing avenues available today at a marketer’s disposal, one could wonder whether customer engagement efficiently achieves business goals. Let’s see why it is important to do customer engagement precisely.
1. Stronger And Healthier Customer Relationships With Improved Loyalty
Because of the rapidly growing internet penetration globally, online businesses have surpassed the traditional, offline way of doing business in nearly every aspect. However, online business is striving to expand the art of building sustainable, long-lasting relationships with customers, leading to profitability and loyalty.
An effective customer engagement approach is pivotal in helping brands to connect better with their consumers to continue to be their customers. Try to engage your customers across multiple channels and touchpoints above and beyond what’s needed to get them to make a purchase. You will likely develop stronger relationships with them. If you communicate with them frequently about what’s important to them, keeping in mind their requirements, priorities, motivations, and aspirations, you continually remind them that you care.
Once you start giving more than just your product or service and attaching value to their lives (or business), your customers are convinced to automatically return to you whenever they think of purchasing. It will assist you in building a community of highly engaged brand loyalists who are ready to look beyond the ticket price and decide whether you provide the cheapest product/service in the category.
2. Enhanced Customer Retention And Reduced Churn
According to Bain & Company’s research, a 5% increase in customer retention yields more than a 25% improvement in profits. Other prestigious researches concluded that engaged customers are responsible for driving a significant percentage of a business’s total revenue. As per the research, one cannot undermine the importance and pressing demand for online businesses to retain their existing customers.
And while there are countless strategies marketing and customer-facing teams are deploying to retain customers, actively engaging customers and consistently sustaining customer relations is a primary tactic you’ll get in every business playbook.
Devising and supporting a systematic customer engagement roadmap will make sure that your relationship with your customers doesn’t end at the time of buying but only grows thereon. By constantly reaching out to them through their chosen channels, you can attempt to explain further the USPs and advantages of your products/services to support them make the most of it, incorporate them with new features and functionalities, instruct and inform them about the latest trends and advancements in the industry – all to ensure they can leverage your contributions to their benefit and don’t forget about you.
A clearly illustrated engagement strategy will also encourage you, as a business, to identify and understand your customers’ key pain points when it is about using your product/service, so you can efficiently address them and retain customers.
3. Better Opportunities For Cross-Sell & Up-Sell
Upon examining the data collected from your engagement campaigns, you can determine what will work for each customer segment and have an idea of their behavioral attributes. It will enable you to better shape and personalize your recommendations and precisely target up-selling and cross-selling offers. This will improve your business’ average customer lifetime value and ticket size and help you deliver more relevant and intelligent recommendations that are more likely to be recognized by your customers.
4. Rise In Subscribers
Whether it’s your blog, push notifications or newsletter, your audience will simply subscribe to your resources if they see your business worthy of attaching value to their life or providing exclusive solutions for their requirements.
Frequent and consistent engagement with your audience can be helpful in making them realize the importance of your business has to give and why you deserve a piece of their mind. Consequently, they will be more likely to subscribe to your brand communication to stay updated with the newest content, industry trends, and the best deals you have to offer. By delighting consistently, engagement benefits you to win over customers or, at the very least, stimulate their interest in your business and offerings.
Also, maintain interaction with your audience across channels. It will assist them in recognizing your brand, connecting better with it, and urge them to subscribe to your communication rather than a brand they don’t usually hear from. Engagement, therefore, works as an excellent alternative (or additional) route to building your subscription lists.
5. Distinguishable Brand Identity
Though all your marketing efforts are necessarily aligned to build, foster, and maintain a distinctive brand identity, there is no sure shot that can ensure that you’ve done enough.
Customer engagement is just one of the common efforts that can help in perpetuating a distinctive brand identity. A well-thought-out omnichannel engagement strategy that puts customers’ needs at the forefront and sets a clear roadmap for continuous and consistent engagement can build a unique tone of communication that enables customers to tell your brand apart and distinguish themselves from it.
With every targeted newsletter, social media post, and blog piece that talks straight to your customers and keep them hooked, you are genuinely inching closer to standing out in the digital noise with a unique brand name.
6. Enhanced Customer Service
With 93% of customers likely to perform repeat purchases with brands that provide excellent customer service, one cannot undermine the value of this pillar of running a business. For most customers, engagement is a part of great customer service as they see this as an attempt to keep in touch and not just be available when a support ticket is raised.
By thoroughly engaging them on channels where they are most engaged, you empower them to interact with you and even raise concerns without having to call a helpline number or visit the customer support portal. Not just that, they are also regularly reminded of how they can make the most of your product/service and feel more associated with your business. All of these add up to assure you that your customer satisfaction (CSAT) score is consistently high.
7. Shorter Purchase Cycles
Engagement doesn’t just help you retain existing customers. But it is equally (sometimes even more) useful in shortening the sales cycle and turning a prospect. If designed and executed well, it can be influential in stimulating your prospects to give your business a shot.
Whether it is telling and educating your prospects about best practices, making information exploration more comfortable, predicting and addressing their needs, or building authority in your domain/category, the opportunities to engage are countless.
You can utilize this as an opportunity to cater to diverse audience segments (depending on their buying stages) to showcase that you can deliver much more than your competitors, and not just when it comes to pricing. Also, regular engagement can benefit you to retarget prospects and stay on top of their minds so you can mold or surely impact their purchase decisions. It will help by automatically attracting prospects to your business, thereby decreasing the burden on your sales teams by shortening the sales cycle.
8. More Brand Evangelists
Once you begin engaging your customers routinely, it won’t be long until they support your efforts and start forming a more profound and longer-lasting connection with your brand.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be difficult for you to get more and more customers who usually purchase, trust, and vouch for your products/services. By empowering you to be a part of your customers’ lives organically, engagement can be extremely fruitful in developing an online community of delighted customers who are the most effortless to convert to evangelists.
Once you’ve aroused their interest in your communication and got them hooked, they wouldn’t shy away from actively supporting or recommending your business on any public forum or to their friends or family.
How To Measure Customer Engagement
While there is no ideal formula to measure customer engagement, and it is symbolized by nearly every marketing KPI, the following metrics combinedly can be the most helpful in estimating the engagement levels for your business:
a) Average Time On Site/Page
When it is about measuring on-site metrics of customer engagement, the average time spent on site or page is probably one of the most obvious ones. Suppose you manage to attract visitors’ attention and interest. In that case, they will stick around for not just performing an intended task but also for the sake of exploring what your website or app has to contribute and thereby uplifting your engagement rate.
b) Open And Click-Through Rates
For communication channels such as emails, push notifications, Facebook Messenger, etc., the open rate is the percentage of unique opens received. The click-through rate depicts the percentage of recipients who clicked on any CTA in the message. Since these two metrics give you a direct measure of how well your audience reacts to your communication and whether or not they are engaged or curious to learn about the updates/offerings you’ve shared, it is directly proportional to how engaged your customers are.
c) Social Media Interaction
Whether via replies, video views, likes, tweets, mentions, shares, comments, or tags, it’s safe to believe that social media is the primary off-site channel your followers use to communicate with you. They follow your social media pages and handles to stay updated with your latest offerings, reach out to you in case of doubt or concern, be informed of the latest trends in the category, and so much more. Therefore, the interaction on all your social media handles is an essential indicator of how well your audience is engaged with your business.
d) Number Of Form Fills
If you have a website, you’re almost surely using forms at some of the other stages in your funnel to capture visitors’ data. But, the number of form fills you get on a variety of factors, including how interested your visitors are with your business. After all, they will only voluntarily share their valuable data if they find value in interacting with you and want to stay updated with your business’ ongoings.
e) Customer Referrals
By keeping your customers involved, you are essentially making it more straightforward for your business to convert more of them to evangelists, advocates, and loyalists. And since well-engaged and delighted customers are more likely to endorse your products/services to their friends and family, a customer referral is a strong indicator of customer engagement for any online business. Moreover, engaged customers will be aware of referral bonus campaigns and offer as they closely follow your communication, so they are more likely to drive referral traffic for your business. Customer referrals are a great way to engage existing as well as new customers. If you want to launch the referral program, then InviteReferrals can help you out. InviteReferrals has one of the most accessible referral program software. I have checked their website, and they offer so many features that too at affordable prices. InviteReferrals features are unique and straightforward.
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f) Repeat Purchase/Renewal Rate
If your customers are actively engaged with your business on multiple platforms, you will most likely be the first name on their minds whenever they require to make a purchase. Better still, you might even be able to drive some fancy purchases by sharing the ongoing deals and offers with engaged customers. Therefore, a good percentage of repeat purchases is an indicator of a highly engaged customer base.
g) Repeat Visit Frequency
Well-engaged customers wouldn’t mind giving their valuable time visiting your website or app every once in a while as they are likely to be looking forward to the new experiences you have to offer. Not just that, they might even be led to your website/app from your social media posts, emails, or push notifications. Therefore, high visit frequencies of customers on your site/app signal an efficient customer engagement strategy.
h) Direct User Feedback (NPS/CSAT Scores Or Online Reviews)
Closely observing and analyzing customers’ feedback helps you unlock incredible insights into what your customers like, what they feel is missing, and the developments they expect. These will show you how well they interact with your business across all touchpoints and therefore serve as a direct indicator of customer engagement.
Owing to continuous innovation in Customer engagement strategies fuelled by constant competition among businesses for customers’ attention and loyalty, the definition, and scope of customer engagement is ever-evolving. It is no longer limited by a definitive checklist or a roadmap you can follow to win over customers. Therefore, the key to victory is constantly experimenting with your engagement roadmap to determine what works and what doesn’t for your target audience.
So, by leveraging data and adopting emerging technologies to make sure that you are always offering something important, consistent, delightful, and valuable to your customers to engage with, you can simply set the groundwork for establishing long-lasting relationships.