Increase Your Sales and Engagement by Focusing on the Customer

Customer engagement is one of the most pressing issues for marketers today. Why? Because it underscores the whole reason why marketers market: To build relationships with customers that ensure they choose you over your competitors, enjoy and benefit from the product or service, keep returning for more, and tell others to try it too.

To acquire, convert, retain customers – and turn them into advocates – you need to engage them. To be able to connect with them in a way that is appropriate, effective, and meaningful.

Brands can’t just rely on catchy slogans and celebrity endorsements any longer. Social media and mobile devices have forced businesses and brands to be always “on”, ready to interact with customers anywhere and anytime.

Don’t worry if that sounds like a difficult challenge. There are lots of ways to increase client engagement, and they needn’t be complicated. Rather, they must come from an authentic place, target the right audiences, and provide compelling reasons for customers to engage, so they’ll truly want to.

What is customer engagement?

Before we get into the “how” of customer engagement, it’s important to properly define what it is.

Customer engagement is all the ways you interact with customers, both online and offline. Ideally, those interactions should cause customers to feel and act positively towards your business or brand. Here are a few customer engagement examples that happen every day: a customer receives an email newsletter about a new product release and clicks through to the company’s website to see it. Or a customer calls the support line about returning an item. Or a customer watches a behind-the-scenes video about how a product is made on a company’s social page.

There are endless examples of customer engagement, but the bottom line is this: Businesses that focus on customer engagement are focused on value creation, not revenue extraction. They give people something meaningful beyond a sales pitch: a brilliant end-to-end customer experience, great content, or interactive, real-time customer support. When executed well, a strong customer engagement strategy will foster customer loyalty and sales growth.

How to increase customer engagement

Here are seven customer service strategies for building a loyal client base:

  1. Create great customer experiences
  2. Make your brand relatable and meaningful
  3. Use push notifications
  4. Take advantage of conversational marketing
  5. Focus on retention
  6. Sharpen your social media marketing
  7. Capture hearts and minds with video

1. Create great customer experiences

If you need proof of the importance of customer experience, look no further than this: Among companies that work to improve their customer experiences, 84% reported increased revenues.

It makes a lot more sense than not doing anything at all. We’ve all had bad experiences with some companies which made us swear we’d never use them again! Waiting too long on the phone to talk to a customer service rep, having an online checkout that was too difficult to use, or (even worse) a transaction that don”t go through after entering everything correctly, reading a tone-deaf tweet – these are all examples of poor user engagement.

So how about creating some good ones?

Mapping out all the ways you communicate with customers is the first step toward ensuring they get great customer experiences. Regardless of whether you’re in a brick-and-mortar store, website, social network pages, email, customer support center, or any other place, do a thorough analysis and see where you can make improvements.

2. Make your brand relatable and meaningful

Successful customer engagement isn’t just about making the user experience smooth and efficient (although that’s a huge part of it). It’s also about creating a brand personality that customers will love getting to know and want to engage with.

This is where brand awareness comes into the picture. Before engaging with a brand, the customer has to be aware that it exists and that it has something special, relevant, or useful to offer.

 Companies must work to create a sense of meaning and connection with customers, to attract their attention and facilitate opportunities for engagement. Part of that will come from the sense of authenticity you can create for your brand (which is essential for the brand-weary and socially conscious consumers of today. 86% say that brand authenticity is key to deciding which brands they like).

Brands communicate that sense of authenticity in just about every way they do business. For some, it might mean sourcing materials from suppliers who support your values and ethics. For others, it could come from the personal story of how the brand was born and the passion that created it. Whatever it is for your company, look for ways to let that authentic character shine, so customers can become aware of it, relate to it, and engage with it.

3. Use push notifications

Sometimes engaging with customers effectively means reminding them about what they want. Push notifications are a great way for you to stay connected with your audience.

Push notifications are short messages that “pop up” on a user’s mobile or desktop screen, outside of the browser. They can be used for sending messages to customers about special offers, sales, events, or news announcements. Subscribing to push notifications means that customers are already choosing to engage in some way with the brand. Next, craft your push notifications with a compelling message that will excite your customers enough to click on them and engage even further.

The trick with push notifications is getting the content and timing just right. Don’t bombard your customers with too many push messages. The average app user receives about 46 push messages per day, and 32 percent of users will disable push messages if they receive more than five messages per week. Segmentation is another important factor to consider when creating content. Some notifications won’t be relevant to all customers. Segment your audience into different groups so that you can send messages tailored to their needs.

4. Take advantage of conversational marketing

Digital marketing has become increasingly sophisticated, and so have customer expectations. The idea of a 9-to-5 job is no longer relevant. Customers want and expect brands and companies to be available when and where they need them. If a customer buys something online at midnight, and there’s a problem with the payment process, he wants his issue resolved as quickly as possible.

Some companies can’t necessarily provide that level of interaction at every moment of the hour, and that’s why conversational marketing tools, such as chatbots, can be an enormous help.

Chatbots are those online services that appear online to guide customers through their experiences. Artificial intelligence technology can be used to create engaging experiences that feel very real. Even if the customer realizes they’re talking to a bot, if the conversation is effective, they won’t mind. What matters is that you’re attending to the customer, which creates engagement.

One of the most important aspects of developing successful conversational marketing is writing scripts and conversation flows.

5. Focus on retention

How to Improve Customer Loyalty with Digital Marketing | Martech Zone

Every marketer knows that retaining customers is far more cost-effective than attracting new ones. Significantly. Existing customers tend to spend more, spend more frequently, and recommend the brand to their families and friends. Some of these people also become customers.

A customer will only return to your brand or business if they had good experiences with it. If you consistently provide good customer service, you’ll be able to maintain long-term relationships with your customers and ensure they come back for repeat purchases.

When customers feel appreciated, looked after, and excited by new and innovative offers, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Retention and engagement go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. So any solid customer experience strategy will need to include strategies for retention—keeping customers satisfied in the long run and throughout the entire life cycle of their interactions with a business.

6. Sharpen your social media marketing

Social media marketing is a no-brainer these days for any business. Social media marketing is important for every business. But the question is, how to best use social media to engage customers.

Social media networks are overcrowded spaces, full of brands competing for customer attention For this reason, customer engagement activities must be very focused.

  • How to engage your customers on social media

It might seem like a chore but it’s really essential to reply to customer comments on social networks, especially the negative ones because they help you improve your product. Complaints from customers are also an opportunity for engagement, and companies must take the time to address these complaints carefully and properly. This can turn a negative interaction into a positive one.

It’s also very important to post regularly and frequently. It doesn’t necessarily mean posting every day; however, there should be a consistent flow of content and communication that consumers can engage with. Check out this post for some tips on posting frequency. Also, try to start conversations on social media, rather than just talking to customers. Invite them to participate and engage with interactive content, such as polls, contests, and quiz questions. And be sure to send them a thank you note after they’ve engaged.

7. Capture hearts and minds with video

Videos are definitely one of the most powerful forms of marketing available. And with global audiences now spending more time on mobile devices, engaging customers with enticing bits of video at different times has become one of the top tactics for marketers.

To create great engagement, you need great video content. Despite the fact that digital technology has completely transformed our lives, there are certain things that humans will always enjoy, including storytelling. Human brains are drawn to narratives. It’s how we make sense of the world and everything that happens around us. Companies that create interesting and moving stories with their brand video content will go much further in driving customer engagement.

Besides telling stories through video, it’s equally important which audiences you choose for your story. Targeting relevant videos to your customers via social media means you’re more likely to gain their interest and engagement.

Engagement campaign examples

You don’t necessarily need to use complex customer engagement campaigns to get good results.  Here are four examples that show how companies used original customer engagement campaigns and techniques to entice and engage their users.

1. Push notifications

The Growth Marketing team uses push notifications to alert customers to new content that they might be interested in. Because customers must opt-in to receive these notifications, the emails are already interesting and engaging. Next, decide what content to push and then figure out how to push it. Here are two examples of push notification messages that got good results, around a 3 percent open rate. Both of these promote recent blog posts, and the notification contains emojis and friendly language to catch the user’s attention and inspire them to interact. And of course, the Valentine’s Day notifications were sent just a few weeks before the actual holiday, when marketers are thinking about how to promote their Valentine’s Day offers, so engagement naturally increased.

2. Video storytelling

This next example of engaging customers is so brilliant, it’s been mentioned before on our website. Even small businesses with minimal budgets are able to achieve huge customer engagement rates when they share a compelling story in the right way!

3. Social media campaign

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the whole world went into lockdown. The brand created a funny video looking back at all of the “sucky times” in history, using a beer to boost the mood. The video was promoted using Twitter with an offer of free beer for anyone who could use a beer. Customers just had to tweet at the brand using the hashtag. The company provided its customers with 500,000 complimentary beer cans in what was an extremely successful customer engagement campaign.

4. Native advertising

Native advertising has evolved over the past few years to include a wide variety of ad formats, including video ads, app installs ads, and carousel-style ads, among others. This is great news because marketers now have many more ways than ever before to capture user attention and get them to interact with their content.

How to measure customer engagement

Like any marketing activity, tracking and measuring the performance of user engagement is essential. By measuring customer engagement over time, brands can learn how users are responding, and adapt and optimize their activities to achieve better results.

Customer engagement metrics provide a strong indication of user engagement based on actual behavior.

Here are three metrics used by marketers to measure customer engagement:

  1. Conversion rates: This is the best way to determine whether a campaign is successful. Regardless of whether the conversion action is completing an online form, buying a product online, or downloading a catalog online, the conversion rate will show that customers are engaged and willing to actively follow through.
  2. Time on page: The amount of time people spend on web pages is an indication of their engagement with the content. Optimizing pages that have high time spent allows for even more engagement from users. Pages that are not engaging to visitors can be improved by analyzing them and even rewriting them completely.
  3. Video view completion: Think about how many people are watching the entire brand film, and this will help you understand whether the content and story were engaging for customers. If a video has a high completion rate, it means that the message and medium (e.g., YouTube) are working.

Why customer engagement matters

With so many ways to interact with customers today, there are more opportunities than ever to connect with them. It means there are lots of opportunities for brands and companies to capture consumer attention and encourage them to join their cause.

To increase customer engagement, brands need to actively engage with their customers, at every possible moment. Whatever customer engagement strategies you use, be consistent. Craft messages that are appropriate for the target audience and create positive customer experiences from the moment they interact with your brand until the point where they become loyal fans.

Make sure they get a consistent (and exceptional!) experience and you’re likely to earn their trust, loyalty – even engagement!

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