How To Talk So Your Customers Will Listen
The parenting classic, ”How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen,” has helped millions of parents around the world learn how to communicate in a way that grabs the attention of their difficult-to-please and disinterested children and teenagers. Every parent knows it is possible to speak clearly and with intent and yet elicit ZERO response from your intended audience. And the same, unfortunately, holds true for businesses trying to increase customer engagement.
Publishing quality content online is one of the most effective ways to connect with and engage prospects and customers, and many businesses invest time, effort, and money into the endeavor. But what if your customers and prospects are not engaging with your content as much as you’d hoped?
Fortunately, there are tried and tested techniques and strategies to help you increase customer engagement by developing a digital engagement plan or strategy, and by regularly publishing effective and interesting online content.
Ready to learn more? Read on to find out more about how to increase customer engagement digitally.
What is Digital Engagement?
Digital engagement refers to how a customer interacts online with your business, and how you interact with them. Customers can use your digital communication channels to respond and communicate with you. By building positive interactions and a good experience, an effective digital customer engagement strategy can help build customer connections and increase the number of clients happy to return.
What is a Digital Engagement Strategy?
A digital engagement strategy is a plan businesses create to capture their prospects’ and customers’ attention and interest through various digital channels.
Whatever the nature of your business, chances are that your customers are using the internet to look for answers to their problems and find the services they need. For this reason, it is not enough to simply update your blog regularly. You also need to promote that content correctly, and participate actively on the social media channels relevant to your business and through email, messaging, and other online media.
Three Advantages of Digital Customer Engagement
There are many benefits to digital customer engagement.
Here, we explore three of the more common advantages.
1. It’s a Two-Way Street
Even if you’re satisfied with your customer pipeline (but seriously, what business ever feels they have enough customers?) and feel that your sales team is doing a good job, digital customer engagement is still important because it introduces a two-way communication interface.
Not only can you use digital channels to reach customers who have chosen to follow you or who have opted in for your emails, but you can also use the same channels to enter into a dialogue with your customers, ask for feedback, and build meaningful relationships.
2. Engaged Customers Convert More
When customers are engaged, they hang around your website to read more. They bookmark your page and return often. They may even sign up to your email list, participate in your webinars, or contribute to your Facebook page. The more they enjoy engaging with you and feel the benefit, the more likely it is that they will convert and become a customer somewhere along the line.
3. You’ll Recruit Your Own Ambassadors
Engaged customers are highly likely to share the joy with their colleagues and friends after a good experience. They act as unpaid ambassadors and promoters, helping you gain even more followers, admirers, and customers without much extra effort. It’s so easy for a customer who is accessing your content through web, social media, or email, to share your information with their tribe. You only need to worry about motivating them to do so!
All this power will be in your hands when you know how to create and leverage your digital customer engagement plan.
How to Increase Customer Engagement: 10 Strategies You Can Try Today
Excellent engagement marketing focuses on thinking about what your customers might need, and providing it to them in a usable format that actually helps them. Below we take a closer look at how to engage with customers online, and different strategy ideas you can use.
1. Educate Rather Than Sell
In Jay Baer’s marketing bestseller, “Youtility,” he advocates for the strategy of “sell more by selling less!” Jay points out that by selling, and only selling, you are effectively “bombarding people with unwanted messages” and thereby losing “the trust that’s vital for building audiences.”
For most people today, the internet is the first port of call when looking for a solution to a problem in either their business or life. You want your solution to be found easily by the searcher, even though they may not know that it’s you they’re looking for.
Customer Engagement Strategy Example
Let’s imagine for a minute that your business sells a productivity tool. Your ideal customer has productivity issues, but they may not yet know that there’s a productivity tool that addresses many of their problems. As they begin searching things like “how to be more productive,” they stumble across your website and are delighted to find a repository of information on the subject of productivity.
Fortunately, your content team has taken the time to consider how best to help your target customer. They have commissioned well-written and detailed articles covering such topics as “tips and strategies for increasing productivity,” “when you know it’s time to invest in a productivity tool,” and “what to look for in a productivity tool.” They have also included a well-organized FAQ page and a whole lot more!
Gradually, your web visitor forms the impression that your business is an authority on the subject. They may bookmark your website so they can easily visit again, sign up for your email list, or subscribe to your next webinar. Even though it may take some time, by regularly engaging with your content and finding it helpful, this prospect has a high chance of eventually becoming a customer.
Contrast this to how a prospect might feel about a website that overtly sells their product, claiming to be the best productivity tool. However, there’s no explanation why, no answering common questions – they have spent no time trying to enter the customer’s mindset and provide information that would help them.
The secret to increasing customer engagement is knowing how to provide content that educates, elucidates, explains, and inspires – without trying to force the customer to buy before a relationship has even been established.
2. Learn Your Customer and How to Talk to Them
Customer engagement is all about relationships, and the best relationships come about from taking the time to learn about each other. Before you even hit the keyboard and start writing, you must be very clear about who you are selling to and what problems they may be experiencing. This will help you find topics to write about that will likely strike a chord with your audience and keep them on your site for a long time, happily consuming the content you have carefully curated.
Being clear about your customer’s likely search habits will also help you find the right keywords to incorporate into your site and boost visibility through SEO practices.
One way to learn about your customers and how to talk to them, is to spend time hovering around online forums where people discuss topics related to your business. This will help you learn the language your customers use to frame their problems and the information they are generally looking for. If this sounds daunting, don’t stress. Professional content writers will often include this level of research – and more – as part of their research process.
3. Show Empathy
As well as writing about the right topics, your content needs to display that you understand your potential customer’s problems and are able and willing to help. You can achieve this by careful positioning of your content.
Rather than talking about the specific features of your products or services, it is more compelling to talk about how these features address your customers’ challenges. Use lots of real-life examples in your publications and provide case studies demonstrating clearly how customers experience similar problems to those of your ideal customer, and overcome them with the help of your products/services.
Of course, it helps if you adopt a professional yet friendly tone and are clear and concise throughout.
4. Distribute Your Content Widely
Once you start generating thoughtfully designed content to appeal to your audience, you want to do all you can to ensure that the right people see it. If you select great topics and keywords and write high-quality pieces, your content will rise in the ranks of Google organically, but there are also other things you can do to help the process along.
This includes regularly posting your content on your social media channels, creating an email newsletter or digest showcasing new and relevant content, publishing articles in online or print industry publications, or writing guest posts for other websites publishing related material.
5. Pay For Advertising (If You Need To)
It’s okay, and sometimes even necessary, to spend money on advertising. Of course, you have to know what you are doing, or you might pay more money than you need to. Targeted advertising via GoogleAds or social media can rapidly increase your visibility, boosting your content and your business when needed.
6. Use the Power of Social
Most people are active on at least one social media platform which they visit several times a day. You must consider your target audience to know which social media platform to invest in for your business purposes. A more business-minded audience is likely to be found on LinkedIn, whereas B2C customers could be easier to reach through Facebook or Instagram.
The communication style should also vary depending on the platform. Hashtags and @ signs are also incredibly helpful in ensuring your content is filtered to the right pairs of eyes.
It also helps to appoint someone in the organization to manage your social media accounts and devote at least half an hour a day to interacting with customers via these platforms. This is a powerful way to build relationships and learn what your prospects and customers like and dislike about your content and offerings. Feel free to actively ask customers to give their feedback, or launch opinion polls to get feedback. If customers are already engaging with your brand and content, they will be happy to chip in with their thoughts.
7. Don’t Confuse
Remember that the online medium is very different to print media. Your reader will quickly lose patience if you confuse them with industry jargon, write too many details, and fail to break up the text with interesting subheadings, bullet points, or images and diagrams.
Even if you operate in a complex field that uses a lot of industry jargon, a competent writer will be able to explain the complex in a way that sounds simple, and communicate with prospects in a way that’s clear, compelling and interesting.
8. Reduce Barriers to Entry
Different people absorb information in different ways. While some enjoy reading a full-length article, others only want to quickly glance at an infographic, scan bullet points or read a short case study. You don’t want to inadvertently repel many prospects by only providing one type of content – blogs, for example.
A best practice for engaging the fullest audience possible is providing various types of content across all your digital channels. As well as blog posts, you could have guides, ebooks, a Q&A page, case studies, infographics, videos, and more.
Learn more about this in the second blog in this series, “5 Types of Content to Suit All Types of People.”
9. Give Things Away for FREE!
Everyone likes a freebie. If you’re already publishing valuable content regularly, it probably won’t be a lot of extra effort to combine some information into a helpful guidebook, ebook, or white paper that you can offer for free on your website and social channels.
As a bonus, you can collect prospects’ email addresses in return for your freebie, offering you a direct path into their email accounts for future communications.
10. Capture Analytics
You can’t fix what you don’t know. One of the best ways to ensure your content is hitting the mark and engaging customers, is to track analytics. There are several tools you can use, including Google Analytics and other paid-for tools, that can help you learn whether you’re reaching the right audience and measure the impact of your content. If you see that something isn’t working, you can reiterate and try again.
Rather than trying to do it all yourself, you can hire a content marketing agency to do this for you, saving time and frustration.
The Best Way to Increase Customer Engagement
To sum it all up, the best way to increase customer engagement is to offer your customers as much useful information and engaging relevant content as possible.
Put more effort and energy into being helpful than you do into selling, and you’ll have far fewer problems getting people to listen. You’ll be able to watch your customer engagement metrics skyrocket!
Putting Engagement Marketing into Practice
Following the strategies detailed above is a surefire way to help improve your business’s engagement marketing.
Not sure exactly where to start? At Purple Chia, we’ve implemented value-added content marketing to help countless companies boost customer engagement.
For anything from targeted advice to a full digital engagement plan, book a free call with us today for customized service and content that delivers.