Thanks to the broad reach of social media and other digital tools, engaging customers has never been easier. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can take your foot off the gas. Those same powerful engagement tools are being used by your competitors, so the battle for customer engagement and retention has never been fiercer.
Keep your engagement tactics on point, and follow the best ten ways to reach and engage your customers.
Transform loyal customers into brand ambassadors
The only thing more valuable than a dedicated customer is a dedicated customer who raves about your company to friends, family, and social media connections. Turning your biggest fans into advocates is a savvy way to boost public awareness. Best of all, this approach doesn’t require a large financial outlay — though it does require significant outreach and engagement efforts.
Use guerrilla tactics
If your reserves of creativity are greater than your promotional budget, there’s no better way to engage potential customers than a well-executed guerrilla marketing campaign. The setup is simple — you just employ unconventional promotional tactics designed to create buzz. Examples are inserting your business card into every book related to your business in a bookstore or library, or advertising a special at your restaurant where bald men eat free on Wednesdays.
Overhaul your social media strategy
Let’s face it, after a certain amount of time, even the freshest approach goes stale. That goes double for the dynamic social media realm, which cycles through changes at a mind-bottling rate. If your current strategy isn’t paying off, it’s time for a refresh. Consider upgrading your content and images, increasing your engagement with other pages and profiles, and posting more often. If you’re stumped for time or ideas, consider hiring a social media expert to manage your platforms for you.
Turbocharge your website
There’s no excuse for having a static and dull site that looks straight out of Websites 101. Your company website should use design elements and content to engage customers. If you haven’t started a blog, do so. If you have a blog, ensure that your content is high-end and interesting, so that your readers keep coming back. Make sure your search optimization techniques are current so potential customers can find you when doing a Google search. In short, do everything your competition is probably doing — but better.
Pick a winner
Staging a contest is one of the tried and true methods for building or cultivating a client base, and the return usually brings volumes of personal data and valuable sales leads. Contests are also a great opportunity to engage potential customers and build buzz, especially when the prize is a product or service you offer. A good contest is often topical, designed to pique the interest of your target demographic and successfully marketed across high-impact digital platforms.
Practice total engagement
Acquiring a new customer is just the first step in an ongoing battle for retention and cultivation. That’s why it’s important to engage customers regularly in order to maintain their attention and affection. Just because you’ve won the opening round doesn’t mean your competitors will give up. Personalized messages, contests, rewards programs, and other similar tools deepen relationships and help generate priceless word-of-mouth advertising. Don’t let your customers forget about you.
Fine tune your brand identity
All the marketing and promotional efforts in the world are going to be of limited use if your core message is incoherent. Your company branding needs to be, at minimum, professional and refined. To truly reach customers, however, you need a consistent and compelling voice — a story customers respond to and believe in. Well-executed branding is a customer engagement cornerstone. At its highest level, customers will incorporate your company’s voice and vision into their own consumer identity.
Enlist the help of your employees
When it comes to getting your message out, who knows the strengths of your company better than your own staff? Inspired employees make great ambassadors at conferences, networking events, and in the public sphere. Company-branded promotional items such as pens, buttons, clothes or bumper stickers generate interest. When these items are delivered by an employee eager to engage prospective customers, that interest multiplies considerably.
Refine your customer service approach
We all know the high value of word-of-mouth marketing. Sparkling customer service is one of the best ways to get people talking about your business. If you provide great products and services, deliver results quickly, resolve issues promptly, and employ a personal touch, you’ll be in position to create lifetime customers — and great public advocates for your brand.
Give something to get something
Charitable giving doesn’t just benefit the recipient — it builds goodwill among the public and, more importantly, with potential customers. A well-placed donation to a school, church or non-profit agency fills a charitable need and helps elevate your corporate reputation. It’s smart to highlight this kind of giving subtly, as it should not appear to be a transparent effort to generate good feelings with money.
To reach today’s customers you have to be smart, vigilant and diversified in your approach. Follow these tips and you’ll see happier, more engaged customers — and an improved bottom line.