3 ways to drive customer engagement

Customer engagement is earned through trust and over time. It’s no easy feat for brands; our noisy digital age means that connecting with customers is rather challenging.

What’s more, customer engagement is intrinsically hard to measure. Sure, you can track email opens, clicks, and conversions. But what about word of mouth and brand awareness? The important stuff.

What is customer engagement?

Put simply, customer engagement is attracting and influencing customers in order to capture and retain their attention. Brands seek participation from consumers at length: a collection of individual moments that make up a customer’s experience or journey.

Customer engagement is a persuasion game and has more than one facet. To nurture prospects into customers effectively, you’ll need to tap into the following three layers of the consumer psyche:

  • Emotion

In the very first instance, you should look to engage your customers at an emotional level. They need to ‘feel’ something for your brand and trust your proposition.

  • Rationale

Secondly, you need to lock in commitment and ensure that what you’re offering makes logical sense to the customer.

  • Ethics

Lastly, and most importantly, you’ll have to communicate your brand virtues. Ethical marketing helps nurture promoters – people who will actively advance your brand’s influence.

Let’s look at the best tactics for smashing all three:

1. Trust-building

Inspire emotions to engage customers.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou, American poet

As human beings, our decisions are influenced by our emotions. We love authenticity and hate deceit, so brands need to come across as trustworthy. Only then will customers respond positively.

Design beautiful emails

Make an offer of trust at your debut; design carries a lot of weight in trust-building, so you want to be looking your best in your welcome program. Let your color palette intertwine with copy, and ensure those social links and calls to action are clear. Design email for mobile, too. Did you know that mcommerce sales reached 59% of ecommerce spending overall in 2017? Adopting a mobile-first strategy has never been more important.

You can download our customer engagement guide for some stellar examples of email creative.

Personalize your message

74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases engagement. A first-name greeting, albeit a simple tactic, can put a smile on your customer’s face and prompt them to act. Why not try embedding their name onto an image using liquid script?

Tell, don’t sell

An authentic brand narrative is important for creating brand relevance. Millennials in particular will respond better to emotive marketing than promotional ads. Enchanting subscribers with storytelling means activating memories, feelings, and desires. Relevancy is key: Use the customer data you hold to create meaningful campaigns. EasyJet’s anniversary story is a lovely example.

Put your social proof to use

Customer-first businesses earn social proof. The important thing is to let the customer do the talking. Ratings, reviews and testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC) are all great examples of social proof that can influence broader engagement. Shout about your endorsements and broadcast what other customers are buying. You’ll soon spark interest from similar consumers who are in the market for your product or service.

2. Commitment-building

Now that you’ve struck up an emotional connection with your customer, it’s time to appeal to reason. They’ve built up enough trust to hear you out.

And while impulse can sometimes mislead, logic isn’t as easily fooled. Rational engagement will consolidate emotive desires with reasoning: Do I actually need this Klimt print? Can I afford it? Where would I hang it? I’d need to buy a frame, too.

Convincing customers of your products or services requires some fine-tuning. You need to align your proposition as a solution to an existing want, need, or problem. After all, no one likes buyer’s remorse.

Position your product to meet a need or desire

53% of consumers rate quality over price when making a purchasing decision. Focusing on feature benefits will reassure consumers, while banging on about price can sometimes dissuade them from engaging further. Content needs to be relevant and sell the dream: Paint a picture of where your customer is going to be once they’ve purchased your product.

Use data to segment your audiences

While stories can be broad in their message, communications such as email need to be tailored to specific individuals. Base campaigns on personas or use preferences and behaviors to customize your content. Remember that, to satisfy the customer’s rationale, there should be a reason behind every message.

Relevancy improves the likelihood of engagement. The knock-on effects include: increased customer satisfaction, retention, and cross-/upselling. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize and provide relevant recommendations. Plus, 83% are willing to share their data to make this possible! Do you have a preference center?

  • Segmenting based on explicit preferences, like product tastes, enables you to power dynamic content in email.
  • Tracking implicit data, such as online activity, allows you to recommend highly relevant products.

Leverage different channels

Armed with a mobile device, consumers can shop wherever and whenever they please. And while email is the undisputed king of ROI (£42 for every £1), other channels such as SMS and push notification warrant equal attention.

Consumers, who perceive SMS as a direct and service-based communication channel, are super-responsive on mobile. They engage with messages instinctively. It’s no surprise that SMS has an unbeatable open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%.

Marketers have a real opportunity to capitalize on this near-perfect engagement score. Sending highly contextual and timely SMS messages, such as dispatch notes or appointment reminders, can instill consumer confidence in your brand.

Drive context with lifecycle automation

Lifecycle marketing is about taking your customers on a journey. Automation empowers brands to logically structure their campaigns and content around the customer. The premise is context; every message should be relevant to the customer at their point in the journey. Think: welcome series, birthday trigger campaigns, post-purchase content, and loyalty programs.

Fancy your hand at lifecycle automation? Download our worksheet here.

3. Promotion-building

Lead the charge on ethics! Happy customers aren’t always active promoters; brand promotion is at its strongest when they experience a sentimental connection with your brand.

Remember, customers love companies who show they care for something other than the bottom line. Putting ethics before profit not only builds trust, it inspires customers to become actively involved in your brand. And that means more sales.

66% of consumers are willing to spend more money with an ethical businesses. What’s more, 92% of millennials are more likely to buy products from companies that value their ethics.

Engage customers in ethical conversation:

  • Business transparency
  • Charity work
  • Fair trade practices
  • Gender equality
  • Good working conditions
  • Respect for the environment

Ask yourself, what does your business care about?

Make a commitment – and stick to it

Commit to something that both your brand and your customers care about. You might want to donate a percentage of your profits to charity, or plant a tree for every 10 products you sell. Showing that you’re making a difference can earn you more trust and cement your brand reputation.

Use holidays to inspire giving

Anniversaries are a great cause for celebration. They’re a time for reflection and inspiration, so brands need to get stuck in. Making a campaign all about compassion – rather than promotion – can go a long way in customer engagement. Perhaps organize some business-wide charity work on your company’s birthday, or use Black Friday sales as a reason to donate to an important cause. Maybe your customers will follow suit?

Download our customer engagement guide for some killer examples.

Make customers feel after they’ve purchased

Let customers know what their purchases go towards. A compelling aftersales moment can stay with customers forever. That feeling is something brands can’t buy. Go up in customers’ estimations by highlighting the contributions you’re making to a specific cause.

Make it about more than the transaction

Promoters will advocate brands that provide special customer experiences. You’ve got to make the transaction extraordinary so that it sticks out from the others.

Customers will, for instance, be delighted that their purchase is helping others in need. Having felt something meaningful, they’ll continue to purchase with the brand and recommend it to their peers.

So, whether it’s on your homepage or product pages, in email or on social, communicate your ethical activities. They’ll draw the eye, because your actions speak louder than your words.

Customers buy brands, not products

Remember that an authentic narrative will always inspire customer action. People will always pay attention to your business if you’ve got something worthwhile to say. Engagement is the result of a good brand story. It’s just a case of getting the balance of emotive and rational marketing right.

Your brand proposition needs to feel right, make sense, and convey compassion.

For more customer engagement tips and some great examples, download our full guide here.

The post 3 ways to drive customer engagement appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

How to increase online engagement

During a recent webinar hosted by Gavin Laugenie, Head of Strategy and Insight at dotdigital, and Chris White, Senior Partner Manager at Styla, a poll revealed that high bounce rates on websites and landing pages are one of the biggest challenges marketers are facing.

This can be for numerous reasons, from a lack of planning or consideration of website design, to a lack of relevant and inspiring content conveying your brands’ message.  It’s preventing visitors from converting and damaging your bottom line.

To stop this from happening, it’s important that marketers create shopping experiences which are relevant, exciting, and make it as easy as possible for customers to complete their purchase.

Tactic #1 – Create stunning content

Web page design

Three seconds is all a consumer needs to absorb the visuals on your web or landing page and decide whether to stay or not.

In the Amazon-age we live in, online retailers need to work harder to differentiate themselves. The best way to do this is by creating unique digital experiences and curating engaging product stories that Amazon can’t. Using a consistent mix of eye-catching visuals helps to guide visitors down the page and clearly tell your brand’s story.

To keep your returning visitors engaged, these pages need to be updated regularly. Unfortunately, the process, from planning through to development and implementation, can often be a slow one. An automated design process that takes minutes to update will help you maintain a high level of engagement and encourage new guests to browse. This is where Styla is here to help.

Tactic #2 – Shoppable content  

Shoppable content

Connect content and commerce by delivering branded content
with relevant product information.

Help your customers mentally commit to their purchase by populating your content with important product details. Making your page directly shoppable significantly shortens the path to purchase and improves your conversion rate by 3.5x.

After successfully driving shoppers to engage with your ad, social, or email campaign, you don’t want to leave them with choice paralysis. Most failures to convert are caused when they can’t find the product or service information that they want. Including shoppable content prevents this from happening.

Including user-generated content will increase your conversions even further. But, as your designs need to be updated regularly, you also need to keep your content fresh to ensure new and returning customers alike are staying engaged.

Tactic #3 – Segmentation

Segmentation

After taking the time to design and regularly update your content you need to ensure you’re successfully driving visitors to your page.

Hitting the Mark 2018 found that 66% of brands still aren’t segmenting their audiences. By segmenting your audience, you can get a clearer picture of their likes and interests, which will improve the relevancy of your content. The more relevant your content, the more inspired customers will be to act.

When building your segments, it’s essential you fuse your
implicit and explicit data. This includes data gathered directly from the user,
such as through a preference center, and behavioral data like online browsing
habits. Using advanced segments really brings your communications to life.

By targeting your segments, you’ll be delivering the right message to the right person, in the right context.

Tactic #4 – Personalization

Personalization

Further increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by personalizing your customer engagements.

The conversion rate for personalized emails are 6x higher
than generic emails. After all, who doesn’t like content specifically designed
and chosen to meet your unique needs?

Hyper-relevant content, such as abandon cart emails are proven to drive results. 50% of users who engage with abandon cart content go on to complete their purchase. But, the impact of these communications would be significantly reduced if customers were directed to generic product grids, once again emphasizing the importance of creating visually appealing and shoppable landing pages.

Personalization drives a response from audiences, but the relevancy
of your landing pages is was makes them act.

Put it into action

Using rich content across all stages of the customers’
journey helps you build stronger relationships with them. This, in turn, helps
you pave the way to purchase and customer retention.

To learn more how to put these tactics into action, check out our webinar: 4 tactics for increasing online engagement.

The post How to increase online engagement appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

4 ways to achieve customer engagement on a mobile device

Marketers who want true customer engagement, take heed!

The opportunity to engage on mobile is now! Brands (like yours) need to adopt a mobile-centric strategy if they wish to extend their reach, acquire and retain customers, and increase their marketing ROI.

Why’s that? Ultimately, it’s because consumers’ shopping habits rely heavily on the smartphone and its capabilities. Today we’re inseparable from our mobiles.

The device equips customers with:

  • quick access to information
  • social proof
  • convenience of purchase
  • easy selection process and checkout
  • extensive product and service choice

Brands are under pressure to deliver a seamless ‘at-home’ experience now that the shopfront sits on the consumer’s coffee table. Since mobile is inherently personal to the individual, marketers need to be prioritizing personalization at every stage of the customer journey.

 

Here are 4 ways to deliver the best experience on mobile:

1. Implement a welcome program that’s fit for mobile

First impressions are what build the initial foundations of a long-lasting customer relationship. Brands aiming to nurture a loyal customer base should take an active interest in new subscribers. Winning them over on mobile can make all the difference.

  • Confirm subscription via SMS
  • Send a mobile optimized welcome email (promote your app if you have one)
  • Invite subscribers to fill in a fully responsive preference center
  • Segment contacts based on the information you capture

2. Deliver an on-the-go aftersales experience

The post-purchase journey is a honeymoon period (your customers are really into you, so it’s important to be really into them, too). This is where you can drive valuable mobile moments that build that all-important brand love.

Customers expect:

  • timely transactional notifications
  • informative delivery updates in real time
  • value-add aftersales content (‘how-tos’, reviews, promotions related to past behavior)

Whether these messages are delivered via email, SMS or push, they need to be contextual and relevant. Every mobile moment should mean something to the customer.

3. Engage customers at meaningful moments

Loyalty doesn’t come from one single purchase. Brands have got to invest in their customers – that means providing rich content and tailored product recommendations. It costs five times more to acquire a customer than to retain one, so nurturing tactics should be the cornerstone of your mobile marketing strategy.

Top tips:

  • Trigger a product review via email/SMS and offer an incentive to boost responses
  • Combine preference data with behavioral insight to power relevant communications
  • Send broadcast promotions/event-based notifications via SMS and push (flash sales, content drops, new arrivals, appointment/renewal/replenishment reminders)
  • Anniversaries are a great conversation starter – think birthdays, throwbacks, one-year-since-first-purchase etc.

4. Keep customers hooked wherever they are

Customers inevitably fall off the radar, and it’s a challenge for every business. Since acquisition is pricier than retention, marketers need to refine their re-engagement tactics and prevent customers from lapsing. But fear not: if you’re going to win them back, it’s going to be on mobile.

  • Agree on your lapse criteria (i.e. customer hasn’t opened an email in three months or purchased in six)
  • Build a winback program that incorporates SMS, push and email (using whichever channel subscribers are likelier to engage on)
  • Consider retargeting ads on Facebook and Google

 

Audience segmentation is the most important tactic for marketers to practice. The experience on mobile must be as personalized as possible; consumers won’t engage with messages that lack context or relevancy.

So, when planning out your mobile strategy, think about the reasoning behind every communication in the customer lifecycle. The devil is always in the data.

For deeper insights on how to engage customers on a mobile device, download our best practice guide here.

The post 4 ways to achieve customer engagement on a mobile device appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 7 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Omnichannel: 5 elements that encapsulate the experience of simultaneous engagement

Omnichannel experience is one of the big buzzwords in the business world for good reason. Offering an omnichannel experience to customers goes above and beyond a multichannel experience. The two are very similar, but there are some key differences.

Instead of simply offering customers multiple channels to make their experience more personalized, businesses are bringing these multiple channels together to work simultaneously. Here, we’re going to break down why this practice is important for your business and what elements encapsulate the omnichannel experience.

What is omnichannel?

The omnichannel experience brings multiple channels together for customers to use simultaneously. While it is mostly a marketing tool, it can easily and effectively trickle down to other aspects of business, especially customer experience. The simplest example of this might occur when a customer walks into a retail store looking for an item. They want to be in and out quickly, and there are no employees around. Instead of walking around the store looking for an employee to direct them to the item they need, they pull out their phone and go to the website to see a) if the item is at the store; b) if the item is in stock; c) how much the item costs; and d) what aisle the item is located in.

Rather than having to choose between ordering an item online or going to the store to buy the item yourself, you can do both simultaneously for a better experience. This could also apply to the experience of customer service. In an ideal omnichannel world, a shopper can speak to someone behind the desk while pulling up the item on their phone if, for example, there’s a price discrepancy at that particular location, or if the customer has a question about the return policy.

Omnichannel experiences help improve many aspects of customer experience. Sales, marketing, and customer service teams can all take advantage of what omnichannel brings to the table to drive ROI and increase brand loyalty.  

Elements of the omnichannel experience

Now that we’ve defined an omnichannel experience, we can talk about what actually goes into it, and why it differs from a multichannel experience.

Multiple channels

Offering an omnichannel experience requires multiple channels for customers to use. These channels are simply different ways for people to interact with your business. They could come in the form of a website, a brick-and-mortar store, an app, or a phone service. There are other ways businesses and customers can interact with each other, but the key to separating a multichannel experience from an omnichannel experience is that customers can use multiple channels simultaneously.

Channels Are used and updated regularly

One major problem with multichannel experiences is that, although they offer customers different ways of interacting with businesses, what often happens is that one channel isn’t as strong as the other and gets ignored. This can affect the efficiency of your ROI. If we go back to our original example of a person walking into a store and relying on the app to improve the experience, but the app doesn’t work, then the omnichannel experience becomes pointless and can even have detrimental effects.

Scalability

It’s not enough to update and use certain channels regularly. If you’re offering an app that lets users go back and forth between their computer, phone, and even a tablet, the website and app have to work together seamlessly — meaning there’s no loss of information, the channel easy to navigate, and buttons and menus actually work. Multichannel solutions are often not fit for purpose because some channels are better than others. Omnichannel solutions look to take the best from each channel to provide an all-round positive experience.

Combining online and offline channels

This is especially important for retail stores and e-commerce websites who either spend all day face-to-face with customers or never see who they actually are. Let’s say you’re looking for an item and can’t find it on the shelves. You look to the app and see that they have it in stock. You go find an employee to ask if they have any more of the items in the back, and they immediately tell you no because they checked before. Instead of leaving the store defeated, you can show them the app and correct their mistake. Disney provides a prime example of this with its omnichannel guest experience.

If you’re an ecommerce business, and customers have a problem with their order, it’s important to offer omnichannel customer support so they can reach you via email, phone, via a form on your website – or even on social channels like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. If a customer has a negative experience and they have no one to engage with to rectify their issue, they’re going to think your only concern is taking their money. This kind of experience can drastically hamper your brand’s reputation – and ultimately your bottom line.

What about social media?

Social media plays an important role in the omnichannel experiencesbecause social media itself is an omnichannel experience. Let me explain. If you’re marketing on social media, that usually includes incorporating more than one platform. Think of platforms as channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. If your business uses Instagram primarily, change the settings so posts also go live on Facebook and Twitter. That way, you’re more likely to reach customers earlier. Plus, you’ll expand your reach to audiences that only use one platform over the other. When social media is one of the channels you use in your omnichannel experience, you achieve omnichannel inception. Who doesn’t want that?

Final thoughts

Omnichannel experiences are an absolute essential for businesses. In fact, 73 percent of consumers are already using more than one channel for shopping. The key is to bring these channels together into one 360 degree marketing strategy. The best part about the omnichannel experience is that it’s adaptable to multiple departments; customer support, sales, and marketing can all take advantage of the channels they’re already offering customers. Sophisticated, personalized customer experiences are the new standard going forward; if you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, it’s time you start.

Check out our resources page for free cheatsheets on your marketing challenges

 

The post Omnichannel: 5 elements that encapsulate the experience of simultaneous engagement appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Aiming for higher engagement rates? The Stroke Association got quizzy with it

In a recent report by the DMA, sponsored by dotmailer, two in five consumers said they receive more than 164 messages from brands per month. That’s a deluge of content arriving in people’s inboxes every week.

The good news is that the majority of consumers still feel favorable towards email as a marketing communications channel, with just 14% disagreeing that email is the best medium for status updates. It’s therefore not a matter of whether recipients want to receive emails from you; rather, it’s finding the content that gets them hooked and hungry for more.

The Stroke Association, the UK’s leading charity changing the world for people affected by stroke, made it their mission to do just that.

Amy Smith, who’s Digital Marketing Officer at the Stroke Association, found that while open rates for the charity’s monthly supporters’ newsletter were achieving solid results, click-through rates were in need of an extra lift. The appetite for the charity’s communications was clearly undeniable; Amy just needed to find a way to pique people’s interest with the content that sat beyond the subject line.

For the Stroke Association, the answer was a quiz. The FAST quiz was designed to educate readers and test their knowledge on how to identify the early warning signs of a stroke. Amy used a bright copy-led graphic to create standout in the email, along with super-persuasive wording urging subscribers to take action.

Stroke Association supporters’ newsletter

The new content initiative blew February’s email engagement rates out of the water. Clicks more than doubled compared to the previous five months, as did the click-to-open rate.

Amy used a tool called Qzzr that enabled her to create the branded seven-question quiz:

“Our FAST project team knew they wanted the campaign to include an interactive element, but they weren’t sure how to deliver it. I was confident that a slick, shareable format would encourage our supporters to engage with this potentially life-saving message. We’ve now included quizzes in the planning for our upcoming marketing campaigns and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact they’ll have on our email engagement rates.”

Congratulations to Amy and her team for seeking a new initiative to engage supporters and achieving amazing success. Why not take the FAST quiz for yourself and discover how you could help save a life. You can also visit the Stroke Association website for more information on the charity and its work.

The post Aiming for higher engagement rates? The Stroke Association got quizzy with it appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com