Step-by-step Guide: Customer Engagement Marketing
The Million Dollar Question:
What is the best way to engage with your customers?
Gone are the days that a silver-tongued salesman could sell ice to an Eskimo and walk away grinning! Today, consumers have all the resources at the tips of their fingers, and they expect a hell of a lot more from brands than they used to.
What do you do with this contemporary consumer who’s tech savvy, tough and demanding R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
Customer Engagement marketing is a revolution in the marketing industry because it takes the focus from “end goal sale” and shifts it to the consumer experience. Obviously every business concern is about the end goal, but this is the result rather than the driving force of their business model.
Read on for some insightful (and fun!) customer engagement strategies you won’t want to miss.
Why You Should Strategize Your Customer Engagement?
Engagement marketing is all about building a solid relationship between your company and the lead. Why? Because good relationships last, and that’s the difference between a one-time purchaser and a brand advocate who spreads the word on how great your company is. Building a relationship takes time, effort and thought. Strategizing your optimization ensures each step of your campaign is being sent to the right person, at the right time for optimal customer engagement and the best overall results.
Here is the deal:
Customer Engagement is all about getting the conversation flowing. When you want to get to know someone, you go out for coffee and talk. Get your leads talking by asking for comments on a blog post, generating surveys and by being present on social media platforms. Your marketing campaign can also be a string of dialogue that develops the relationship and nurtures the purchase persuasion at the same time.
Knowing which technique to use takes practice, skill and a little marketing intuition. It also heavily depends on who you are marketing to and which step of the sales funnel they’re standing in front of. You won’t use the same engagement strategy on a prospective lead as you would for a customer who’s gone stale. The decision of which method to use should always follow the same pattern:
DISCOVER→ ENGAGE→ OBSERVE→ ADAPT
Overwhelmed just by thinking about the process? It’s a huge endeavor that even industry leaders cannot accomplish single-handedly. Luckily, modern day marketers don’t have to go it alone.
The best part? Marketing Automation Tools!
Just as the modern day consumer is armed to the gills with gadgets and tools to make their day to day more manageable, marketers have brilliant technologies to make daily tasks run smoother than ever before. Here are a few marketing tools to lighten the load and broaden your horizons:
The customer journey maps out the path a potential customer will take, noting every stop along the way. By mapping out where the customer will go, you can effectively be there with a welcome sign and a cold drink to make them more comfortable (and help them successfully move forward in the sales funnel). This is a multi-departmental task, involving content generation, analytics and technology experts spinning their wheels. So get your whole team together for a powwow, and map out what each customer type will need to really succeed.
Personalized messaging is king in our ego-centric society, but how do you market to each lead individually? Aside from the major time and effort that this would take, it’s impossible to track every customer along each step of his or her journey to market accordingly. You’d need to be a machine. Or, at least, you’d need to utilize a machine. Marketing automation uses pre-defined variables and lists to systematically market to each of your leads as an individual. Actions are triggered by myriad factors including where leads are holding in the sales funnel and what they’ve been up to online.
Customer segments are groups of leads that share a common demographic such as female, over 30 or French exchange students. MA takes these groups and tailors a campaign to suit their specific demographic and needs. The more specific your segments are, the more personalized your marketing can be.
What’s even more impressive is that marketing automation can switch a lead from one segment to another based on that person’s recent activity. For example, Beverly fills out a form on your site, entering the Site Visitors segment. She then receives an invitation to download a relevant e-book based on her browsing history. Beverly downloads the e-book, and the system automatically transfers her from Site Visitor to the Engaged Member segment. Now Bev will receive different offers or incentives to drive her further into the sales funnel. The beauty is that everything happens automatically, maintaining a personalized flavor all the while.
Engagement Marketing – The Email/SMS Challenge
Email and SMS are popular forms of communication both personally and professionally. While there are similarities between the two, such as both are delivered directly to the recipient, both can be mass produced and both can be tracked, text and email messaging have their differences, strengths and weaknesses. SMS is more immediate, but also more intrusive. Email can support larger files, but can easily end up in the spam folder.
Essentially, the difference between email and SMS marketing is the clock. Time-sensitive, urgent messages should be sent via one medium, while nurturing, informative data should be sent via another. Here’s a quick way to know when to use which:
Send SMS to:
- Keep customers informed about current happenings such as when an order will arrive or an item that’s out of stock.
- Engage in customer-company communications like a short comment that begs a quick response.
- Add security. Two-factor verification is almost exclusively run through SMS because it is identifying, far-reaching and instantaneous.
- Get customers moving. 90% of texts are read within three minutes of delivery, so SMS is a good method for getting people to take immediate action (take advantage of this one-day sale, confirm your identity etc). Don’t expect a text message to spur a long string of complex activities, though.
- Relay urgent information. Use SMS for important, time-sensitive communications. Emails response can take hours or even days, and you don’t want your customers missing out because they didn’t check their Inbox over the weekend.
Tip: Avoid putting links into your SMS because many people will not be able to easily access it (data isn’t freely available everywhere, you know).
Opt for email, on the other hand, when:
- Send out more in-depth information such as a newsletter or e-book that won’t load nicely or is too involved to be read on the go.
- Get some feedback using a survey or service rating for example.
- Communicate important details that a customer may need in the future, a confirmation code or a receipt for example. SMS are not search-friendly, and they make storing and finding information more difficult than an email platform.
App note: If you have an app for your product/service, push notifications are the industry norm for sending relevant communications. These are less in-your-face and are always free for the user. Just don’t overdo it or you’ll find users opting out of notifications fast.
Is one better than the other? Not unilaterally. Instead of choosing one method exclusively, work on synthesizing your email-SMS marketing campaign for customer engagement marketing perfection.
How can you actually use this?
You’ve learned a lot about customer engagement today, and before you go, we wanted to give you a few tried and true, industry-proven tips for increasing reception and customer engagement for your next marketing pitch:
- Nobody wants to read irrelevant or boring newsletters. Keep things fresh, exciting and of interest to your leads.
- Use good subject lines. Keep them short, informative and personalized. Also remember that subject line truncation ranges anywhere from 24 characters to 62 depending on device and mode.
- Have a clear CTA. It’s great if you can provide useful information to your users, but the end goal is to have people take action. Make sure to clearly state that action and make sure it’s easy to follow.
- Optimize for mobile. More and more (43%) customers are using their mobile devices to read their emails. Keep messages short and unburdened by bulky images/attachments.
- Utilize A/B testing to see what works, and then reuse the winners.
- Check your list quality. If you’re sending the best emails that don’t match your customers needs, you are going to have a really lousy open rate.
- Give before you take. Don’t just ask visitors to your site for their email address; that’s intrusive and likely to fail. Instead, offer them an incentive, followed by a request for contact information.
Engagement marketing yields some fabulous results. Customers are happier, churn is lower and resources are assigned to the best areas, truly being optimized to their fullest. With a solid customer engagement process, you can witness a major transformation within your company. Ready to start? We are at your service! The Optinize team is ready to help map out your customer engagement marketing right now.