Driving customer engagement

Unlocking customer engagement is no easy achievement and can be an arduous task for smaller businesses, especially for companies with limited resources. It’s something that brands earn through trust and over time.

Customer engagement is a persuasion game and has more than one facet. To nurture prospects into customers effectively, as I’ll be going into in detail at Sydney’s Online Retailer Expo and Conference on 24 & 25 July, you’ll need to tap into the following three layers of the consumer psyche.

Trust-building: inspire emotions to engage customers

As human beings, our decisions are influenced by our emotions. We love authenticity and hate deceit, so brands need to come across as trustworthy.

Design beautiful emails: Design carries a lot of weight in trust-building, so you want to be looking your best in your welcome program. Let your colour palette intertwine with copy, and ensure those social links and calls to action are clear.

Personalise your message: 74 per cent of marketers say targeted personalisation increases engagement . A first-name greeting, albeit a simple tactic, can prompt them to act.

Tell, don’t sell: An authentic brand narrative is important for creating brand relevance. Enchanting subscribers with storytelling means activating memories, feelings, and desires. Relevancy is key: Use the customer data you hold to create meaningful campaigns. EasyJet’s anniversary story is a lovely example.

Put your social proof to use: Customer-first businesses earn social proof. The important thing is to let the customer do the talking. Ratings, reviews and testimonials, and user-generated content are all great examples of social proof that can influence broader engagement.

Commitment-building

Convincing customers of your products or services requires some fine-tuning. You need to align your proposition as a solution to an existing want, need, or problem.

Position your product to meet a need or desire: 53 per cent of consumers rate quality over price when making a purchasing decision . Content needs to be relevant and sell the dream: Paint a picture of where your customer is going to be once they’ve purchased your product.

Use data to segment your audiences: Base campaigns on personas or use preferences and behaviours to customise your content. Remember that, to satisfy the customer’s rationale, there should be a reason behind every message.

Drive context with lifecycle automation: Automation empowers brands to logically structure their campaigns and content around the customer. The premise is context; every message should be relevant to the customer at their point in the journey. Think: welcome series , birthday trigger campaigns, post-purchase content, and loyalty programs.

Promotion-building

Remember, customers love companies who show they care for something other than the bottom line. Putting ethics before profit not only builds trust, it inspires customers to become actively involved in your brand. And that means more sales.

Make a commitment – and stick to it: Commit to something that both your brand and your customers care about. Showing that you’re making a difference can earn you more trust and cement your brand reputation.

Make customers feel after they’ve purchased: Let customers know what their purchases go towards. A compelling aftersales moment can stay with customers forever. That feeling is something brands can’t buy.

Make it about more than the transaction: Promoters will advocate brands that provide special customer experiences. You’ve got to make the transaction extraordinary so that it sticks out from the others.

Customers buy brands, not products: Remember that an authentic narrative will always inspire customer action. People will always pay attention to your business if you’ve got something worthwhile to say.

Aparna Gray, Head of Marketing, dotdigital

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