Engaged customers are your biggest asset. They are the lifeblood of your business and your bread and butter depend on them. If you’ve just come to realise this, there may still be hope for you before your audiences start flocking towards providers who recognise their importance.  

In this article, we’ll help you to appreciate your customer base and we’ll share advice on how you can encourage continued loyalty. But first –  

What Is a Customer Base? 

According to Wikipedia, a customer base is a group of individuals who repeatedly purchase the products or services of a business. These shoppers are the main source of revenue for a brand and form what marketers like to call the “target market”.  

If you can keep your company’s target market enthralled with your offerings, then you’re more likely to attain your business goals. It’s that simple, really.  

Why Is It Important To Keep Your Customers Engaged? 

Did you know? Customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% higher share in profitability, revenue and relationship growth.  

Engaging your audiences is an ongoing process, but it’s one that’s worth the effort. Essentially, it can be compared to a person who’s maintaining a friendship. The more you put into a friendship and the better your communication is, the more likely your friend will continue to support you and hold you in high regard. 

In business terms, the result is a steady customer base, natural word-of-mouth marketing, and conversions that stream in abundantly.  

This type of customer-centric approach can help your organisation to: 

  1. Enhance brand awareness. 
  1. Give your brand a competitive edge. 
  1. Reduce the number of returns and/or non-payments. 
  1. Continuously grow and improve. 
  1. Increase its revenue.  

Keep in mind –  

Brands that make customer engagement a priority are focused on creating value creation, not revenue extraction. They give audiences something meaningful beyond an “old-school” sales pitch. They give them an excellent end-to-end customer experience that’s filled with meaningful and timeous content and real-time or interactive customer support.  

And that’s why businesses both big and small need a customer engagement strategy. 

What Is a Customer Engagement Strategy? 

A customer engagement strategy will help you to nurture relationships from the start of a customer journey and onwards.  

It involves forethought and planning with an end-goal in mind.  It begins with identifying audiences and learning their language (what they want to hear and how they want to hear it), and it involves finding new and innovative (sometimes trendy) ways to meet the needs of customers so that their experience with your business is one that they want more of!  

FACT: 72% of businesses say that improving customer experiences is their number one priority. Why? Because customer relationships are the be-all and end-all of any brand. But more on that later.  

What Does A Customer Engagement Strategy Include? 

  1. Data collection. The first step in creating an engagement master plan that works is to collect and analyse customer data. With technology on our side, this data can be collected easily and in several ways. You can use the insights and analytics provided by social media platforms, you can conduct surveys, request direct feedback, and you can even invest in software that has been tailored to collect data, organise it, and then unify it for the best results. This data will help you to identify your target audience/s and will provide guidance when it comes to deciding on which marketing and communication tactics to apply.  
  1. Your approach. This part of the strategy focuses on the “what, how and when”. That is, what are you going to communicate to your customers, how will you engage them, and when is the best time to ask for their attention? We suggest that your approach is one that connects you to individuals on an emotional and meaningful level using popular communication portals such as emails, text messages, content (think blog posts and videos), and social media. Print media is also still alive and kicking and shouldn’t be thrown to the wayside just yet.  
  1. Making sure everyone is on board. A crucial part of your engagement technique, especially if you’re dead-set on making it work, is to ensure that your entire business is on board with the approach and the goals you have in mind. Your employees and your suppliers need to be on the same page with you so that your message, values, and intentions remain consistent and applicable throughout the customer journey.  
  1. Feedback and metrics. By monitoring customer engagement metrics and requesting feedback, you can determine if your strategy is working or if there is room for improvement. The type of metrics and feedback you need to collect will depend on your goals, that is, what actions did you want your customers to take? If they didn’t take action the way you hoped they would, then try to find out “why”. It’s this step in the process that will help with customer retention and results that prove to be of value.  

This type of detailed plan may seem like a lot of admin but as we’ve mentioned, your customers are the ones who are going to determine the success of your brand. It’s worth putting blood, sweat, and tears into seeing that they’re catered to. Happy customers = a happy business.  

The Benefits of Customer Engagement Strategies 

Some may have succeeded by “winging” their way to success. Others, however, prefer to put thought and consideration into their plans, especially where customer service and customer experience is concerned.  

A customer-centric strategy can open up several windows of opportunity. It can: 

  • Help you to discover audiences (you may find that there’s more than one type of person interested in what you have to offer). 
  • Give you detailed insight into what will make your customers happy, and why. 
  • Encourage you to shape the identity and values of your brand,  giving you a clearer view of what your goals are.  
  • Help you to improve on your products and services – and it can even encourage you to establish new offerings that your target auddience/s will be interested in.  
  • It can be used as a manual on how to keep customers engaged even while trends and expectations are evolving.  

Referencing Gallup – 

Brands who successfully engage their customers will go on to see 63% lower customer attrition, 55% higher share of wallet, and 50% higher productivity. 

To summarise – a well-planned customer-centric approach is one that will help your brand to turn effort into value. Which brings us to our next question: how is this value determined? 

How Customer Engagement Translates to Value 

If value is not created at every point of communication, then there’s no meaningful engagement.  

Remember, value must be reciprocal. It must be enjoyed by your followers, customers and your brand. This mutual enjoyment is what creates a feeling of trust and where there’s trust, there’s a relationship. This relationship is what forms the roots that will help your business to flourish.  

To calculate the value of customer engagement, Thunderhead suggests that you place emphasis on the trust generated and knowledge used, over time. This calculation will yield two values: one for customers and one for your brand. If you can maintain these values and keep them sustainable, then you’ll have the perfect formula for long-term engagement. 

How Can Social Media Increase Customer Engagement? 

We’ve singled out social media as a means to keep customers engaged because this is where most modern audiences are found. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook users are ready to socialise and are more open to receiving your communications when they access their accounts.  Facebook alone has nearly 2.5 billion monthly users

A truly valuable social media engagement plan consists of setting goals, creating content that your viewers connect with, providing an excellent customer service (responding to comments and fulfilling requests, etc.), teaming up with influencers, and using metrics and insights to help maintain a growth mindset.  

If you can master these principles, then you’ll soon discover how powerful social media can be. It can be used to source potential customers whilst keeping your loyal customers happy and responsive and it will help you to communicate with people on a personal level. You’ll even have the ability to guide purchasing decisions (74% of customers rely on social media to help them with their purchasing decisions).  

Examples of Customer Engagement Strategies That Work 

If you’re looking to increase conversions, you can apply one or more of the following engagement strategies. These techniques can be adapted for businesses both big and small – just remember to add emotion and a feeling of trust to each of your applications for optimal results.  

1.Keep in touch with your audiences. 

Use social media channels, SMSes, emails, and web content to touch base with your audiences. Take note that not everything you share has to be “salesy”. A simple “hello, how are you” type message will remind people that you still exist, that you’re still available to be engaged with, and that you’re in their thoughts (that they’re worthy of your time and efforts).  

* There’s no need to spam individuals with this type of content, just ensure that it is included in your calendar among the “juicier” bits.  

2. Run reward or loyalty programs. 

We all love freebies, so why not use this as a means to keep audiences intrigued? You can reward loyal customers with vouchers, give early access to promotions or new products/services, or you can issue them with cash-back rewards. These perks will make people feel appreciated and inclined to engage with your brand again…and again.  

3. Show your audiences that you take their feedback seriously.  

We discussed that requesting customer feedback is an important part of a customer-focused solution where successful engagement is concerned. Showing people that you take their feedback seriously is another vital part of the process. If you can meet your audiences’ needs and then use channels to prove the active role you’re playing in meeting them, you’re likely to generate yourself a loyal fanbase that’s always up for a chat.   

4. Share content that stimulates a response.  

If you’re looking for engagement, then your communications need to be engaging. It’s as simple as that. Share content that’s edgy, trendy, and optimally captivating. Ask questions, stir emotions, and encourage “fun” interactions. If your messages and posts are good, you may get a share or like. However, if conversions are your goal, your communications need to have a little more “oomph” to them. You may want to pull in your creative team for some inspiration.  

5. Run contests. 

Contests are fun for everyone! Encourage audiences to “tag a friend” and you’ll be introducing new individuals to your brand without much effort. Entrants are also very likely to “check in” to view the progress of the contest, which will give the rest of the content you’ve released more exposure. The competitions aren’t only reserved for social media, however, you can use other channels too, such as print media, email newsletters, SMSes, and in-store prompts. Remember to keep your prizes in line with your brand’s values and intriguing enough to draw in enthusiastic competitors.  

These are just a few of the strategies that work well at maintaining customer satisfaction and engagement – they also complement marketing initiatives, which is always a bonus! Don’t limit yourself to these ideas, however. We encourage you to use innovation and apply ideas that may be unique to your brand. Follow social media yourself so that you can stay informed on new trends and cultures – this will help you to stay on the ball!  

Whether you’re a service provider, a restaurant owner, a retailer or run an eCommerce store, the success of your operations relies on personal interaction, transparency, and the aforementioned – trust.