What is customer engagement exactly?
Many small businesses and startups beginning their journey might have this question in mind.
To put it in simple words, customer engagement is the process of connecting with your target audience through different channels. It can be both online and offline.
Online interaction commonly takes place through a social media campaign, email marketing, or other channel-specific advertising techniques.
The aim of the strategy is to develop and strengthen the relationship between your brand and the customer. Its end goal is always to improve and retain loyalty.
Customer engagement is synonymously used to explain brand engagement. So, when your business is gearing up to engage customers, the first and foremost step you need to take is branding.
If you are jumping the gun to directly focus on engagement without converting your business into a brand, you will end up losing the game.
Focusing on brand engagement without branding is like hitting a party in a clumsy nightdress. Nobody would probably pay attention to you or will hesitate to interact with you. Though the example might seem weird, it clearly explains the power of branding.
Why is brand engagement so important?
In layman’s language, brand engagement is important to stay in the customer's heart and mind. If your brand is not present there it is unlikely that the customer will remember your product or service and come to you for purchase.
Now, in technical terms, customer engagement directly impacts your brand loyalty, customer retention rate and repeat purchase rate.
To make the engagement long-lasting and powerful, it is vital that interactions happen across various channels. Do this and you are most likely to get them to spend more time and money with your brand.
Research by Salesforce shows that 76% of consumers prefer different channels to interact with brands based on the context of the message.
The same study finds that in 2020, 74% of customers used multiple channels to start and complete a transaction. The number rose from 71% in 2019.
Diverse brand engagement leads your target audience into discovering more value in your brand.
Eventually, it leads to the improvement of your bottom line as up to two-thirds of a company’s profit depends on effective engagement.
Then comes the development of your website — your permanent address online. It’s the place where all your users get to know you, your products, or services in detail.
The final step involves the launch, which takes your brand in the marketplace amongst your potential customers.
But while traversing these four steps, do you know what critical aspects your business touches? Let’s take a look at each one of them:
The biggest mistake any business does is trying to appeal to everyone. It is important to know that your product or service is NOT for EVERYONE.
There are specific groups of people under definite demographics or psychographics that will be interested.
So, when you begin creating your brand strategy, the first step you take is to determine your target audience. It’s perhaps the best business practice that helps you in understanding who are the MOST LIKELY customers.
Even better, when you filter your target audience, you reach your core audience. These are the people with much HIGHER chances of becoming your loyal customers.
WHY? Simply because they are the ones on the hunt for the product/service that you are offering.
It is impossible to create an effective brand engagement strategy without knowing what your customers need and desire.
You need to know how they interact with your brand online and offline at different touchpoints.
The best way to begin is by mapping your customer journey.
Find out all the essential touchpoints, bottlenecks, and hurdles your customers face.
Now you may ask. How to start mapping?
Well, the user persona information you gathered while developing the brand strategy is your lighthouse. That will help you in mapping the customized journey of the specific persona.
By identifying customer journey, you get the opportunity to find out the needs, pain points, passion points, and behaviors of your customers.
This step can further help you in driving multichannel brand engagement more strategically.
According to Aberdeen Group research, companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers.
This is as compared to businesses with weak omnichannel strategies that are able to retain only 33% of their customers.
Branding is a beautiful way to create humane connections with your core audience and customers.
If you take one step wrong in creating your brand, it may appear inhuman or unrecognizable.
Or, to the world outside your targets, the brand may look like a profit-making machine.
Hence, the only way to build a memorable brand is by humanizing it. Adding a few ounces of emotions could do wonders.
How do you add a few ounces of emotions?
Just be yourself. Educate your audience instead of selling. Stay consistent with your brand communication.
But before moving on to that, you need to successfully tap into the psychology of your customers.
So, pick one emotion that best suits your brand personality. And then use that emotion to build relationships.
That’s the ultimate way to personify your business and stay meaningful and memorable.
And, not to forget, that’s also the road to increasing your brand engagement.
Crafting a personalized brand communication system is an indispensable part of branding.
Your brand communicates with your target audience and customers on social media, email, blogs, podcasts, and other text, audio, and video related ways.
Wherever and whenever you communicate, your brand messaging should make them feel like they are being taken care of.
Things should be transparent, genuine, and valuable.
That’s how you can build personalized brand communication consistently.
If you are communicating via email, the best way is to greet your customers with their names.
You can also find out their birthday and drop a heartwarming message on that day.
Such personalized messaging improves the overall experience for your customers and improves brand engagement.
Branding bestows your business with a unique visual identity that acts as the face of contact for your audience.
That’s how they recognize you and remember you over other brands in the oversaturated marketplace.
Engaging your core audience and customers by leveraging the power of visuals is one of the most impactful ways.
Aberdeen Group reports that companies using visual engagement tools experience up to an 83% boost in annual revenue. It also results in other positive growth.
One of way of enhancing brand engagement is by using visual design across online and offline channels.
But when it comes to customer experience, there are other ways increasingly adding to the ‘relief moments’ of the customers.
A Forrester Research finds that organizations can make the most of visual engagement using solutions such as co-browsing, screen sharing and annotations.
This can help the brand in cutting through the “customer conversation clutter, to be better understood, and to connect emotionally.”
Such visual engagement tools in solving consumer challenges can go long way making a lasting impact.
Of course not!
Branding determines how your business will look and feel in the overflowing market pool.
The next crucial step to stay consistent, relevant and always in the people’s favorite talks is brand marketing.
Customer engagement definitely starts with branding. But it continues with brand marketing.
That’s how you constantly communicate with you audience while providing them valuable information they are looking for.
Take the right step forward, establish meaningful relationships, keep up with the customer’s ‘exact’ expectations - and hit the harmonious chords.
We can be the low-hanging fruit for your business!
Begin the beautiful journey with us :)