Creating a buzz around a business and getting your target audience interested in your products or services is the first step to building a loyal community. In the short-term, this can lead to increased traffic and sales. In the long-term, this can establish a legion of brand ambassadors who function much like a team of guerilla marketers. Since winning over the hearts of your demographic is heavily dependent upon audience engagement, it's important to utilize effective engagement practices and get feedback. Here are some tips that will help you crush it and make your business thrive.
Calls to Action
Sometimes, all people need is a little coaxing and subtle persuasion to get motivated. Consequently, understanding the power of calls to action and putting them into practice can quickly improve audience engagement. When creating marketing content, it's important to capitalize on your hard work by incorporating some type of call to action to get your audience to take the next step. This might be responding to a question at the end of a blog post to spark a discussion or getting visitors to sign up for an email newsletter so you can form closer relationships.
When utilizing a call to action, it's important to place it in the correct location and have it follow a logical progression. In most cases, this will be placed at the end of content after you have provided value and/or answered a question. After you have proven yourself to be knowledgeable and trustworthy, your audience should feel more comfortable with engagement. This is the perfect time to incorporate a call to action and get people to interact on some level.
Even though the world and business practices have become more automated and less personalized in recent times, most people still long for the human touch. No matter how technologically advanced we become, good business is largely based upon relationships and creating connections with customers. That's why allowing your personality to shine through your content and being personable are so advantageous. Rather than lurking in the shadows, it's best to be transparent and let them get to know you on more of a personal level. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Using a friendly tone when creating content
- Avoiding overly-complex jargon that your audience may not understand
- Trying not to come across as being pretentious
- Promptly responding to comments and inquiries
- Developing a unique style that differentiates you from competitors
You may also want to include a few pictures of you and team members participating in activities outside of business. By letting your audience get to know you on a more personal level, building rapport should become much easier and engagement should increase naturally.
With 56 percent of people in the world using some form of social media, it's never been easier to be accessible. By making it convenient for your demographic to find your business and stay updated, you can keep them interacting on a consistent basis. This can usually be accomplished by running an intelligent social media marketing campaign and utilizing a variety of sites. Being on several sites is important because it allows you to reach the largest percentage of your audience. This also establishes a network for an all encompassing online presence that's helpful for branding. Otherwise, sticking with only one or two networks can minimize your impact and engagement.
When getting started, most businesses start with the most logical choices and create profiles on Facebook and Twitter. If you're looking to network with other business professionals, LinkedIn and Google+ are advantageous. For image centric marketing, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are good choices. YouTube is perfect for integrating videos. There are also social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Stumbleupon and Digg that can take it even one step further.
Get Your Audience in on the Action
Humans have a natural desire to be included, so capitalizing on this desire can be beneficial. For example, encouraging readers to expound upon a blog post and start a discussion could establish a level of inclusivity. Doing so kills two birds with one stone because it allows you to interact with readers and your readers to interact with one another. At the same time, it's the perfect avenue for gaining valuable feedback.
For a product-based business, you might ask customers to send pictures of them using the product and post it on your website or social media profiles. Another idea is having contests where the winner receives a cash prize, coupon or free product. A restaurant owner might ask Facebook followers to give ideas for a new type of dessert. Whoever offered the idea that is chosen would win a free prize.
The Importance of Feedback
To prevent a vicious cycle of mistakes and put your business on the path to success, it's important to continually receive unbiased feedback from your audience. While it may not always be pleasant to hear negative comments, constructive criticism can tell you what adjustments need to be made. On the other hand, positive comments will show you what you're doing right so you can rinse and repeat. Here are some ideas for getting feedback.
Feedback Box or Form
This is perhaps the most straightforward option and perfect for spotting problem areas. For WordPress users, there are numerous plugins available that will quickly install a feedback box or form. Typically, they should be placed in the sidebar as a widget or as an individual page underneath the header of a website. Some only allow simple comments, and others are more intricate and allow your audience to rate specific criteria of your business.
Surveys are a great way to determine the overall satisfaction of your audience and customer base. They are also one of the easiest ways to spot positive and negative patterns. By utilizing a platform like Survey Monkey, you can create surveys that are specific to your business. After creating a survey, poll or questionnaire, they can be sent to your audience via email, Twitter, customer contacts, etc. Since many people have busy lives and don't want to fill out long winded surveys, it's usually best to keep them simple with no more than 10 questions. Although, according to KISSmetrics, the ideal survey contains only five questions. Consequently, it's smart to ask only key questions that people can quickly fill out.
Finally, using a sophisticated platform for analyzing audience behavior can provide you with valuable knowledge. The platform of choice for many businesses is Google Analytics because it's free, easy to use and very comprehensive.
It displays a plethora of data including user language and location, traffic sources, how long users are staying on your site and which devices your audience uses to access content. It also has in-page analytics that shows which parts of a website are receiving the most clicks.
Business intelligence and data warehousing are two areas that are becoming much more important, as well. Collecting and analyzing customer feedback data (as well as user behavior, click-through data, and much more) is essential for identifying problems and opportunities, then capitalizing on them.
In terms of SEO, Google Analytics provides a list of keywords that users have entered to find your content. This platform also breaks each individual piece of content down so you will know which posts are receiving the most views. By putting all of this data together, you can get concrete feedback to help with future content creation and marketing.