10 February 2015

5 ways to increase customer engagement

Tags:Strategy, Innovation

The results are in, customer satisfaction is king! This may not be news to some, but according to the results of our 2015 State of Marketing Technology Report, 29% of respondents identified customer satisfaction as their lead goal for 2015. This result signifies a shift away from traditional marketing values (that focus on lead generation and conversions), towards prioritising positive experiences for customers.

As part of this trend, we are seeing the voice of the customer become the loudest, which means that customers, not marketing, are driving the type of content we are seeing online. So, in order to create great experiences, marketers not only need to respond to feedback and monitor the behaviour of users online, they need to fully understand their customers and have forward thinking, adaptable digital strategies in place.

However, only 18% of marketers surveyed said their digital strategy was visionary and 37% said they felt that their digital strategy was inadequate or non-existent. This means that marketers are potentially missing out on the benefits that satisfied customers can bring! These benefits include natural online lead generation by providing positive reviews, on-sharing your content and by recommending you to others.

So, how can you improve your digital strategy and start reaping the rewards? Here are five digital tactics you can employ to engage your customers and improve their digital experience.

1. Choose the right platform

The first thing you need to do is choose the right platform on which to communicate with your target audience (a top notch website it no longer enough!). To do this you need to know your customers: what do they like, how old are they, where are they located, what is their lifestyle? You also need to ask yourself:

  • Where does your target audience hang out online - do they like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or do they spend their time on LinkedIn?
  • Where do your customers find information about your company, products or services? Do they use your website, blog, social channels or do they get their info from a third party?
  • Does your target audience use mobiles and tablets to get online information?
  • How do you stack up digitally against your competitors? How can you do better, what makes you different?

Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to plot out a multi-platform digital strategy that is based on the behaviour patterns of those you want to reach. By doing so, you can create a digital experience that is engaging, appealing and helps to create happy customers.

2. Build trust

One of the keys to a positive online experience is the element of trust. Throughout all of your digital dealings you should be aiming to nurture trust by:

  • Being consistent across all of your platforms and channels.
  • Telling your brand story and staying on brand, but not losing touch with the human story behind what you do.
  • Responding to comments, questions and feedback - this not only makes you look good to others, but it improves the experience your customer has with your brand.
  • Being honest, extremely transparent and always following through on the promises your brand makes discrepancies between product and promise are easily identifiable online and can be fatal!
  • Providing an exceptional user experience how can you use your website to stand out from the competition and create the best user experience you can?
  • Keeping your website and services secure and always honouring the privacy of customers never use the data you collect for evil!

3. Add value

Through all of your online platforms you should be looking for ways you can add value for your customers (and future customers!). Much of this value can be achieved through the creation of high quality content that has been designed to appeal to your target audience. Some of the ways you can do this are:

  • Create content that is not only entertaining, but also aims to educate, such as blog posts, case studies, FAQ pages, and white papers.
  • Have high quality customer support materials readily available.
  • Provide discounts, competitions and exclusive offers.
  • Encourage discussion, call people to action, and ask questions.
  • Create personalised online experiences and marketing campaigns by using marketing automation techniques.

4. Welcome feedback

Asking for feedback also plays a role in developing brand trust and improving the overall experience your customers have, not just with your digital channels but also with your products and services. You can do this by asking for reviews, feedback and comments on your website and other digital channels or providing a rating system for products. However, it is important to respond to feedback and comments, especially if that feedback is negative. Never leave negative feedback hanging, always try to turn negative experiences into positive ones (show off your awesome customer service team!) and only delete comments if they are offensive.

5. Measure and evaluate

The most important thing you can do in providing positive online experiences for your customers is to monitor, measure and evaluate the success of your digital strategy. You can do this through the analytical tools provided by your social networks and blogs, by using products such as Google Analytics to monitor your website, and by using your marketing automation software. By monitoring how people use your online platforms and by paying attention to the feedback you receive, you can adjust your digital strategies and tactics to provide an even better user experience (and create more satisfied customers in the process).

By using digital strategy to provide an outstanding experience for your customers - be it through a user friendly, value added website; targeted and personalised email campaigns; or through your digital presence on social media - you can leave a lasting (and awesome!) impression. If your customers are happy they may in turn share their positive experience with others - sending potential customers in your direction!

If you would like more information about this year's marketing and technology trends, you can download the full report here. With data from over 500 respondents, this report holds the facts and figures to help you give your customers the best experience in 2015.

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