Customer engagement is a term which has gained traction over the past few years, fueled by the increased emphasis on personalization and real-time interaction, which has boomed for small and large businesses alike. However, while being aware of customer engagement, as a concept, is one thing, knowing how to actually improve it is something else entirely.
Traditional customer service channels are the logical first step when considering customer engagement, yet there are countless other ways in which you can leverage your email and social media efforts to bolster engagement and increase brand loyalty.
Consider these six customer engagement tips when planning your next email or social media campaign - your customers and your bottom line will thank you later.
1. Send welcome emails
What's the first thing you do when a guest shows up at your house? You welcome them into your home, of course. The same should go for your email strategy.
As soon as someone signs up for your newsletter or makes a purchase, send them a welcome email.
This is a great way to begin a new relationship, and an added benefit is that recipients are more likely to engage with your call to actions (CTAs). By giving your readers useful information in the emails, they're inclined to learn more and click through to your website. It's a win-win.
Welcome emails set the stage for your customer relationship. By being a good host, you're establishing the foundation for a lasting relationship. Make it known that you want to hear from your customers. An easy way to do this is by using a personalized email account in the sender field; not a "do not reply" address. Putting a name behind your customer service humanizes your brand, which boosts engagement.
2. Thank them
In the same vein as welcoming your guests into your home, you should make sure that you also thank your customers.
A small - but personalized - nod of thanks goes a long way in establishing customer loyalty, while enticing and encouraging customers to engage with your content. Send a thank you email for recent purchases, or as an acknowledgement of their loyalty, where applicable.
Recognizing that your customers are choosing to do business with you means a lot and can help create a positive association with your brand. Use this type of outreach to humanize your business and convey its mission and values through your tone of voice and accompanying imagery. Your customers will value a tailored and unexpected email that doesn't require them to do anything, but lets them know they're appreciated by your business.
3. Optimize for mobile
If we know one thing, it's that people are using their mobile devices more and more. Optimizing your emails - from font size to image pixel ratio - is critical to customer engagement. If your email appears distorted on a mobile device, the reader will close it within a few seconds. However, when an email renders appropriately, it sends a message to your readers that you understand their email habits and that you want to make your communications as user-friendly as possible.
Optimizing for mobile sounds more technologically involved than it is. Try using responsive design that automatically adapts to different screens. This means your email will look its best on desktop, smartphone, and tablets because the design caters to whatever device the reader is using.
4. Convey value in subject lines
People's inboxes are flooded with mail every single day. In order to stand out - and have people actually read your email - you need to use persuasive subject lines.
Subject lines draw attention and help people assess what's worth their time. By communicating the value of the email in your subject, it tells the reader what's in it for them. To master your subject line savvy, channel what resonates with your audience and creatively work it into your subject line.
Before you do anything, assess what'll resonate with your audience and then craft your subject line.
Is your email all about top tips for organizing your kitchen? Or free Halloween cookie recipes?
Whatever it may be, ensure those connection points are in the subject line. When people perceive value, they're more likely to open, read, and click through your email.
5. Pay attention to posting times
Social media is only effective if your posting times are aligned with your audience's platform activity.
Much like the famous quote, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" so go social posts - if no one is around to see your posts, do they have an impact?
Use your platform-specific analytics and insight tools to monitor when your audience is most active and tailor your posting schedule to those times. If new content is published when your followers are on the platform, they're more likely to engage, comment, like, or share than when they see it hours, or days, after its original publish date. Integrate these specific times into your social media editorial calendar and social media marketing tool to develop posting consistency.
Real-time updates are also more exciting for followers, as they want to be the first 'like' or comment or be the first to share an update within their network. Timing is everything for social media and paying attention to activity times will enhance your customer engagement.
6. Strive to evoke a reaction or a pique viewer's curiosity
You may be thinking, "I already do that", however, there are small additions or tweaks which you can make that will help your engagement levels soar.
Some ideas are to pose questions and solicit feedback from your audience. People love to participate in contests or polls, and they like to provide their insight or wish lists to brands they care about.
Beyond asking questions, play with creative elements like emojis and GIFS and weave them into your social media posts. When used correctly, people respond well to emojis, and posts with emojis generate more interaction and dialogue than text alone. Emojis are used between friends, and by adding them into your social strategy, your communications can be better received, giving a more warm, friendly, and authentic feel, which is the perfect recipe for customer engagement. Just make sure you know what the emoji means before putting it to your post so you send the right message to your followers.
Remember, customer engagement is all about communication and showing your clients that you care about them, their time, and their interests. Use your brand voice to attract and retain their attention, while sprinkling in outstanding images, creative text, and light-hearted elements to really bring your business to life and build long-term loyalty.