This article has been contributed by Jason Grills.
Your brand marketing strategies have proven to be successful. You are finally getting the attention of your target audience. They’ve started to approach your brand online via different platforms and would like to know more.
That leaves you wondering – “What’s my next plan of action?”
While brand marketing is an effective way to generate awareness and capture more attention, it’s not the only way to keep your target audience engaged.
Consistent engagement strategies where your brand interacts with your audience and brings sales is what your next plan of action should be.
And that’s what we aim to focus on – Audience engagement with the brand.
What is Audience Engagement?
Audience engagement is “a measure of a brand’s interaction with its customers across all touchpoints.” The objective is to build ongoing and loyal relationships between the brand and its customers.
Let’s understand this better with an example.
Netflix has successfully engaged its customers at a level never seen before.
When the second season of its original series, ‘13 Reasons Why’ premiered on Netflix, it went down very well with the target audience. While the merit of the show did have a role to play, Netflix launched a parallel campaign that captured audience attention.
Netflix’s initial awareness campaign took on sensitive issues like rape, suicide and teenage bullying. The engagement campaign took it a step further, emphasizing the importance of these critical topics. They rounded up the campaign by offering helpline services for anyone who needed assistance.
The impact was phenomenal.
It did wonders to promote the series, but went that extra mile to create awareness on issues that mattered to people.
Netflix has mastered these top of the line engagement strategies by making content the linchpin. This creative brand marketing approach brings genuine interactions with people.
The numbers speak for themselves.
Commanding over a third of households in the U.S. in terms of digital streaming, Netflix has become wholly rooted in our cultural zeitgeist.
Their success shows how they’ve prioritized learning about their customers, their needs and expectations, and knowing exactly where to reach them.
Customers engaged with a brand spent more money. Ultimately, that transforms them into the best brand promoters.
Simple Yet Effective Audience Engagement Strategies
Your action plan is to devise audience engagement strategies. The objective is to focus on building a brand that can trigger real, lasting and durable relationships.
These simple strategies can do the trick.
1. Use Your Website As An Engagement Touchpoint
Your website is the first point of interaction between your brand and your audience.
But what does it exactly mean in the context of audience engagement?
Once your audience lands on your website, there are many engagement points in the customer journey: content, site design, brand interactions via live chat – the works. The definitive goal is to get them to progress towards your desired call to action.
So, let’s figure out how to keep them engaged to increase conversions.
Strike Them With Custom Content
You want your audience to do the following:
- Hang out on your website for longer
- View more pages
- Share the content within their social circles
The answer is – custom content.
Think about how Shopify acquired a whopping 165,000 customers and nurtured them into clients who stayed with the brand for a long time. By merely embracing custom content that shouts out to their existing customers.
Take a look at this post:
The branding and marketing strategy here is to focus on existing customers and the questions that often bug them. What do you do as a brand to offer answers to them?
Being a big shot brand like Shopify, you cannot satisfy customer questions individually. That’s why customizing content works. Because it not only informs your audience about your brand narrative using ultra-creative messaging, but also digs into issues where they need assistance.
You want to educate your customers about your brand. Because when they are excited, they are willing to engage and take decisive actions.
Site Design Plays A Part Too
Take a look at the website of tech giant, Apple.
From a design perspective, you see a lot of black space.
What it does is make the website menu stand out.
Plus, the audience gets amazed as the layout presents their imagination with the room that it needs to make a navigation decision.
The takeaways from an audience engagement perspective are:
- Using the right blend of space with content in your website design makes it easy for the audience
- Sticking to a simple design layout ensures that the menu takes center-stage
Too much clutter, on the other hand, creates confusion and leads to high bounce rates. That is the absolute opposite of creating audience engagement, so always do what you can to avoid bounces.
Add A Live Chat Plugin
If you think live chat is just a customer support tool, then you are missing a trick. On the contrary, it can contribute significantly to converting visitors who may leave your site without doing anything.
When Nordstrom moved into online retail with their women’s clothing, the experience wasn’t anything to rave about. They needed an instant solution – whatever it took to beat the in-store experience.
They made use of one of the best live chat plugins for business to help their customers with every aspect of service. Be it sizes, styles, colors or designs to choose from – their live chat was on 24-hour standby.
Here is a snapshot:
The idea of servicing customer queries around the clock instead of giving them a call back or sending an email resulted in higher audience engagement.
Inspired? Your list of to-dos should include:
- Start sending customized greetings to customers with your live chat tool that encourages engagement
- Opt for a versatile application like ProProfs Live Chat software that offers a robust and proactive platform enhancing the overall user experience
Mimic this strategy to boost customer interaction and drive growth for your business.
2. Apply Customer Feedback To Drive Engagement
Audience engagement is an opportunity to drive business growth because customer opinions matter. And direct feedback is the only way to gauge customer satisfaction levels.
The bulk of customers will not offer unsolicited feedback unless they are particularly happy or unhappy. Hence, you have to be proactive with your customer feedback program that prioritizes engagement.
The results? A clearer picture of your entire customer base.
Apply these tips in your customer feedback initiatives to grow audience engagement.
Customize Surveys To Match Your Audience
80% of customers are prone to purchase from a brand if they offer tailor-made experiences. You can offer that personalization with a smart survey engagement strategy.
When you look at a survey that highlights your name, the propensity to read through and respond increases dramatically. Similarly, when you want to form relationships, you need to ask the right questions, but with a touch of personalization.
It’s best if you make the survey relevant to your audience. Touching upon these areas can help:
- Challenges and pain points
- Success stories or personal victories
- Products or services that they desire
- Tips and tools they’d use
- Light-hearted questions
Curating audience feedback earns you more than simple engagement. It is a direct insight into how you should drive business. Being a low-effort strategy, it offers potentially high returns.
Need ideas? Look at how Headspace does it.
Try Surveys To Measure Customer Service Satisfaction
Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Unless you ask for feedback, you will never know what drives customer satisfaction.
Often customer support agents share a customer satisfaction question as part of their email signature. This can give you flawed results if the issue hasn’t been resolved.
The idea is to trigger customer satisfaction surveys only when the issue has been marked closed. The first step is to get a benchmark on the range of happiness. This can tell you how happy your customers are today.
But you have to keep asking the same question at regular intervals. Because you also need to understand how customer satisfaction is changing over a while.
You can measure customer satisfaction using the following survey types:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- Social media monitoring
Remember that timing is everything. Knowing when to promote your surveys can determine its success or failure.
Pick A Feedback Software
Do you want to delight your customers? Or improve the product experience?
Start releasing polls and surveys that help uncover ideas for improvement, which may not be instantly apparent.
Take Qualaroo, for example. As a top user feedback solution, it offers you a comprehensive platform to collect feedback from website visitors to boost site performance. With an easy set-up process, the tool is designed to get instant responses to become a reality. Integrate it with a robust CRM, and you’ve got yourself a powerful feedback loop.
To get a more in-depth understanding of the effectiveness of the software, consider the Udemy case study.
The business successfully used Qualaroo to realize exposure and get a true attribution of awareness. Using a robust technology like Qualaroo Identity API, it programmatically targeted students via their IDs or email addresses to finally zero in on the users they want to target.
There are tons of ways to collect feedback. But investing in website feedback software certainly helps in streamlining the process. Be it improving communication, boosting interactions, making engagement more personalized, contextually relevant and dynamic – an audience engagement tool does it all.
3. Use Social Media As An Engagement Tool And Not Simply A Platform
Gone are the days when social media channels were just platforms for people to connect.
With the average user spending over two hours a day on social media, marketers realized the potential to power brand awareness and lead generation long ago. But the behavior of the consumer is evolving rapidly. This has brought with it a change in perception too.
What do you think that these billions of people who are on social media want?
They want urgent solutions to their problems. Driving the analogy home is a study by Nielson that reports approximately 33% of customers preferred getting in touch with brands using social media channels.
With social media being a hotbed for audience engagement, it’s a great platform for brands to use to make customers happy.
Lenovo, a giant in computer technology, took the lead to view social media in a different light.
They reinvented their social media marketing strategies to deliver value to their customers. The approach was to focus on the visibility of social care interactions in resolving issues publicly.
That’s not all.
Social media analytics was the game-changer here. By obtaining this data, Lenovo fully understood consumer trends that allowed them to move progressively forward – leaving their competition behind.
What did they notice?
Color preferences for laptops, screen sizes and more. That’s how they mastered product development, catering precisely to what users desired.
Social media is a viable and powerful avenue to engage with your prospects and existing customers. Lenovo has definitely shown the way. The idea is to treat it as a tool that provides a legitimate, authentic and interactive platform.
By offering a seamless and consistent multi-path, you end up with today’s gold standard of customer engagement – an omnichannel experience.
4. Tactics to Engage Customers Through Email Marketing
Do you think email marketing is a thing of the past? Not at all, because it has evolved with greater demand for custom-designed messaging – all directed towards engaging customers.
Boosting engagement rates via email marketing strategies has always been the greatest of challenges for marketers. Start with a solid brand pitch email template and employ the next few tactics and you can meet the challenge head-on.
Dynamic and Compelling Storytelling Works
Head of Editorial at Duarte, Catrinel Bartolomeu, has summarized this best. She writes, “We’re wired for well-told narratives… even though credibility counts for a lot, you ultimately must make an audience feel things to compel action.”
Look at this email from OpenView®.
While clearly explaining the communication’s relevance to their target audience, OpenView® sets expectations immediately. The subscribers are fully aware of what they get in return.
Here, it is a weekly newsletter that shares operational insights from experts. By adding a CEO testimonial, the brand builds credibility and trust too.
Email campaigns that include relevant content aligned with the interests of your subscribers and the brand’s message are most successful.
As Forbes rightly points out, millennials have moved beyond pure ads. They expect more from brands, including online content that can engage them.
Add rich and value-add content such as:
- Customer stories
The idea is to use interesting storytelling that connects with them on a personal level.
Polish Your Email Design and Layout
The design and layout of your email plays a vital role in ensuring how effective it will be in engaging your audience. If it’s too complex to consume, then odds are heavily on the side of your reader bouncing off.
Here’s what you should focus on:
- Clear and crisp layouts
- Creative designs
- Eye-catching and relevant visuals
- Powerful subject line
- Short blocks of copy
And that’s not all.
You have to remember that most emails are now read on a mobile phone. This means that your design must be responsive too.
Segment Your Email Lists
51% of email marketers believe that email-list segmentation is the most effective and efficient personalization method for nurturing leads.
Email list segmentation means information that is meaningful to one customer may have no relevance whatsoever to another. That’s where segmentation comes into play.
This can be easily done by capturing data about your customers, including:
- Geographic location
- Marital status
With targeted email lists, you can custom-design communication that resonates with the audience.
Not sure how it works? Look at what HSBC has done.
This template caters explicitly to their customers who are after home insurance. They’ve ticked all the boxes – personalization, layout, design, strong visuals, content and social share icons.
Adding the Related Offers and Survey links at the bottom may be going a little overboard. That said, they may want to check their analytics to see if their customers need further segmentation, depending on the results.
Email engagement requires creativity. Whichever way you end up segmenting your list, you open your brand up to new opportunities. To help you out, here is a list of best email marketing tools.
The world is more connected than ever before. But people in it are tuning out.
Be it customer retention or acquisition, the focal point of a successful brand marketing strategy is to prioritize audience engagement. But if you do not fully understand your customers, it can be quite a challenge to get your strategies to work successfully.
You will find that barriers can break down if you find ways to engage in integrated ways meaningfully.
If you can take these strategies and implement them successfully, you will be able to build a brand that thrives.
Don’t forget that audience engagement is not just a destination. It’s a journey. And it never stops.
So, join the conversation and concentrate on audience engagement. And you will begin to hear the voices of your customers too.
About the author: Jason Grills is a technical writer currently associated with ProProf Chat. He enjoys writing about emerging customer support products and trends in customer support.