9 Simple Strategies to Increase Your Customer Engagement

Customer EngagementAccording to blogging expert Adam Connell, over 75% of visitors to a blog will never return.

That sucks, huh?

Wouldn’t you like your customers to visit your website again and again, purchase your products and services, and spread the word about you on social media?

If you want this to happen, you must increase your customer engagement.

But first, what do we mean by customer engagement?

Defining customer engagement

Customer engagement is all about having customers who want to interact with your business, then come back and interact some more.

Businesses that are focussed solely on extracting revenue are not building customer engagement.

Don’t be like them.

Be a business that focusses on creating value, whether that’s superb customer experience, outstanding content, or exceptional customer support.

If you do it right, a strong customer engagement strategy will reward you with a devoted and loyal following.

It’s like this: Give and you will receive.

Here are 9 simple strategies to increase your customer engagement:

1. Be human

Humans like to interact with humans.

So be human.

Your blog posts should be written in a conversational style. This will make them more accessible and less intimidating, especially to newcomers to your industry. You want to market to the widest possible audience, not a narrow, technically sophisticated elite.

A conversational style will help you convey some personality and emotion. Emotions are pretty powerful when it comes to building engagement. Your blog posts should read like you’re talking to a friend over coffee, not giving an academic presentation.

You can use your blog posts to promote yourself or selected personalities in your organisation to humanise your brand. Take some friendly headshots and make it easy for your customers to connect with you.

Social media is a great way to have spontaneous conversations with your customers. You can do the same in the comments section of your blog. By showing you’re willing to listen and respond to your customers, you can gain their loyalty and win new fans.

2. Be relevant

Do you truly know your customers?

What industries are they in? What size companies do they work for? What job titles do they hold? What income range do they earn? What newspapers, journals and blogs do they read? What words and phrases do they like to use?

What are the concerns of your customers? What are their problems and what can you do to help them?

Keep on top of trends and hot topics in your industry. Regularly check Twitter, Google News, and relevant Subreddits. Keep up with industry blogs, podcasts and forum discussions.

Listen to what your customers are saying. Now commission blog posts to address their needs using their words and their phrases.

Don’t push your products and services in your customers’ faces. Start your content by addressing your customers’ concerns and gradually introduce your brand into the conversation.

3. Show your expertise

Your customers are looking for an expert they can trust and rely on. So be that expert.

Create high-quality blog posts that are authoritative and demonstrate your experience and expertise in topics relevant to your business. Offer insights that can’t be found elsewhere. Show confidence in your opinions and make it clear that you stand by your convictions.

Don’t be afraid to tackle controversial topics and go against the grain. If you can make a strong case, you can win new converts.

Back your expertise with facts. Wherever possible, cite relevant data and statistics to make your case. If you have your own data to draw upon, that’s great. If not, relying on authoritative industry sources can work too.

4. Tell your brand story

A good brand story sets you apart from your competitors. More than that, it allows your customers to connect with you on a human level.

Don’t be generic. Don’t blend in and be like all the others.

Be bold, be different, be memorable. Don’t be afraid to be polarising. You may turn some people off but there will be others that share your values. They will become your devoted fans.

To tell your brand story, ask yourself what aspects of your brand are especially unusual or interesting. How did your company come to be? How did your products get developed? What motivates your team to do what they do? What do you stand for? What types of customers do you deal with? What is your unique value proposition?

But remember, for brand storytelling to be effective, it shouldn’t be all about your company. It should be about the experience that you offer your customers.

Your brand story should be told on your “About Us” page. But it should also guide and inform every blog post, every email and every customer service response.

5. Offer something valuable

Don’t rehash the same old information that everyone else in your industry is covering. This is not going to impress your customers. Offer fresh content that is useful and actionable. Target the needs and wants of your customers. Provide information that your customers can use to help their lives or their businesses.

This means producing high-quality content which cannot be easily found elsewhere. For sure, it’s not easy, and it will require some investment on your part. But the very fact that it’s not easy will eliminate most of your competition.

If you have to sacrifice quantity for quality, do it. It’s worth it. The engagement on one high-quality blog post can easily exceed the engagement on four low-quality ones.

Once you start producing valuable high-quality content, you’ll become a resource in your niche. You’ll build authority. People will come to check you out. They’ll remember you. They’ll want to discuss your content and engage with you. They’ll want to share it on social media.

And they’ll be back for more.

6. Share customer success stories

Telling your audience you can cut their processing costs by 20% is one thing. Having one of your customers tell them the same thing is much more powerful.

Customer success stories are like testimonials, but in greater depth. If your audience is new to your business, they may find it hard to imagine how your products or services can help them. They might find it hard to picture themselves using your offerings. Customer success stories provide what marketing expert Robert Cialdini terms “social proof”. Furthermore, they give a customer’s perspective on your business that your audience can identify with.

For maximum impact, you should find customers that most closely match your target audience. This could mean matching their industry, size of organisation, or location. Find the decision maker in your customer’s organisation that best fits the audience profile you are trying to reach. For example, if you’re marketing to IT managers, get an IT manager to relate their success story using your products or services.

Your audience does not want to have to make a leap of faith to do business with you. With customer success stories they don’t need to.

7. Ask a question

Using your blog to ask a question to your customers is the easiest way to engage them and build a connection.

Asking a question shows you are willing to listen to your customers. It shows you’re interested in understanding their concerns and needs. It makes them feel welcome and valued. It underlines your commitment to serving your customers.

Ask them about the challenges they’re facing, Ask them about their experiences in a field relevant to your brand. Ask them what they need help with. Don’t be afraid of asking provocative questions if they get the discussion going.

Allow your customers to respond to your question in the comments section of your blog or on social media.

Make sure you publicly reply to each customer. You’ll be making a positive impression not just on them but your entire audience.

You can bring the process full circle by expanding one of your replies and publishing it as a new blog post.

8. Make a call to action

Customer engagement is all about getting your customers to take action. And the best way of getting your customers to take action?

Just ask them!

Never be afraid to tell your customers what to do. If they’re reading your blog, they’re potentially interested in what you have to offer. Don’t miss the opportunity.

But first you need to think about what kind of action you want them to take. Customer engagement is a journey, with defined stages along the way. Remember that 96% of first-time visitors to your blog aren’t ready to buy.  With a well-placed call to action you can generate customer engagement that will lead to future sales.

Your blog can have a variety of calls to action, each aimed at a different stage of the journey:

  • Join your mailing list.
  • Request your ebook
  • Place an inquiry
  • Sign up for a free trial
  • Make a purchase

Try and match your calls to action with your blog content. For example, after a blog post on a particular topic, invite readers to request your ebook that explores that topic in greater detail. After a blog post sharing a customer success story, invite readers to sign up for a free trial.

9. Measure, tweak and repeat

You can measure your customer engagement using a variety of metrics. There are two broad categories of engagement metrics:

  • Attention metrics. Page views, time on site, social shares, blog comments
  • Conversion metrics. Subscribers to your email list, ebook downloads, sales enquiries.

Attention metrics measure how well you’re capturing your audience’s interest. Attention leads to conversions.

Conversion metrics measure how well you’re persuading your audience to interact with you. Conversions lead to sales.

Each time you publish new content on your blog, measure your success according to these metrics.

Analyse your results. What worked? What didn’t? What needs improvement?

Once you’ve got it figured, just tweak and repeat.

Be persistent and the rewards will follow

Building customer engagement is a gradual process. As you enlarge your customer engagement, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal customer base who love to do business with you again and again.

Your business blog should be a key driver in your customer engagement strategies. Hubspot found that businesses with blogs gather 68% more leads than those without blogs. It’s simple: engage your customers, and you’ll generate leads.

Is your blog engaging your customers?

Main Image Credit: dwphotos

I create strategic content with authority and personality. My work has been featured in Search Engine Journal, Problogger, and Jeff Bullas. Businesses hire me to grow their traffic and boost conversions. If you’d like to know how I can help you, click here.

Comments

  1. Hey Clement,

    Well I definitely agree with everything that you shared here. We would be nowhere if it weren’t for our clients and customers. They are why we do what we do.

    There are a lot of people out there who are probably doing the same thing. We have to stand out, we have to be different and I know SO many people who are still not building relationships with their audience and their own customers.

    Make them feel special and there’s a good chance they’ll be around for a very long time. Help them when they need it and they’ll love you forever. When they know that you care then they’ll want to keep coming back for more.

    I appreciate all your suggestions and I’ll be sure to share this post as well. I know that there are a lot of people who need to read this one for sure..

    Have a great week.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hey Adrienne

      Thanks for your insightful comment. Building relationships with our audience is so important. It takes time and persistence, but the rewards are huge.

      Have a great week, and thanks so much for sharing!

      Clement

  2. These are great points. We too often forget the point of a blog post is not solely to broadcast. It’s designed to generate engagement. That said it’s also to understand what counts as engagement. As mentioned it isn’t simply a comment. The social shares, the email signups and backlinks are engagement.

    Personally I also look at ‘new vs returning’. If I never see engagement BUT I know the vast majority of views are returning – maybe the engagement is them coming back. They’re simply lurking and will likely take action (purchase or referral) when ready.

    I focus less on time on page as Google has a tough time with measuring it unless a user moves to another page. You could spend 10 minutes on my page and Google would see it as 0.

    • Hey Robert

      You make a great point about looking at returning visitors. They may not have “engaged” as such but the very fact they’re coming back shows that they may be willing to engage in future.

      You’re right about the time on page metric. It’s not a completely satisfactory metric as the visitor needs to click to another page for Google to measure it. I try to have plenty of links on every page to entice users to click. It seems to be working. Most of my visitors click through to another page or more.

      Thanks as always for sharing your insight.

      Clement

  3. Hi Clement.

    I think that first point that you mentioned is the most important … be human. It’s so important to be ourselves, in order to engage with those who want us.

    That point about offering unique insights was also powerful. So many articles are exactly the same as so many others. Only by being ourselves and sharing our own experiences and insights can we offer something unique. And it definitely works with persistence.

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Have made some good notes for my file.

    Nathan.

    • Hi Nathan

      Showing some personality is always a good thing in marketing. The trick is do it in a way that doesn’t compromise your professionalism. It’s a fine balance.

      Offering unique insights is a sure way to stand out. Not easy by any means, but it comes with experience.

      Thanks for reading. I’m glad you got a few good notes out of my post.

      Clement

  4. Hello Clement,

    I’ve heard of so many bloggers who’ve been writing for months, if not years, without a single comment on their posts. Seems like they need to read this and learn to be human! I have found that the more I share, the more I get back. So being generous is a good strategy.

    Thank you for this!

    Carol Stephen

    • Hello Carol

      As well as engaging with our customers we should also engage with others in our industry in order to build our brand. As you say, being generous is a great way of building engagement.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

      Clement

      • Hi Clement,

        Good one about engaging with others in our industry in order to build our brands.

        And you’re welcome.

        Carol

        • Hi Carol

          Agreed. The more we engage the better for our brands. “No man is an island,” as they say. And this is particularly true in marketing.

          Thanks for your contribution.

          Clement

  5. adamfout2 says:

    Your advice about calls to action is great—I think so many business owners are AFRAID to ask their customers to do anything! As you well know, most people need a little push in the right direction, and it’s often not entirely clear what they should do next—the CTA tells them. Great post Clement, keep up the good work!

    • Hey Adam

      There’s no room for shrinking violets in marketing.

      We must be bold!

      Thanks for your great comment.

      Clement

      • adamfout2 says:

        Indeed! And you’re very welcome!

  6. Hey Clement.

    Excellent points across the board.

    Especially the “Asking A Question” approach.

    When we do evaluations, SEO or marketing, I often get asked the engagement question. Some try to blame it on the niche and I know niches respond differently. But when you dig down into it, I often see them giving their audience no lead toward engagement.

    So leading with a question, great approach for anyone. As well as the others.

    Will be sure to share this one with our audience Clement.

    Best wishes.

    • Hey Richard

      It’s good to hear that leading with a question is working for your clients. It’s a great way to connect and to learn more about our customers at the same time. Plus it’s simple to do.

      Thank you for sharing, and thanks for your valuable contribution.

      Clement

  7. Hi Clement,

    Far and away, being human raised my engagement through the roof. Almost like magic, this customer/client bit, when you are just being you.

    I formerly tried to be something I wasn’t to create some professional, contrived image. Did not work. Then I was me, real, authentic, raw. Personable. Genuine. I got more chatty. More folks found me, my blog, businesses and eBooks. How simple! Why do few get it, though? They try to be something else, for fear of not looking professional, squeezing themselves into a box, while their personality screams to get out.

    Super post!

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan

      I completely agree. Being human works. Even in the driest, most technical industries.

      Being personable and being authoritative are not mutually exclusive.

      Thanks for your input!

      Clement

  8. Being able to write conversationally and educate is quite a challenge. I’m often tempted, for my day job’s site, to approach the subject matters in a more journalistic fashion, but on my site, I tend to write conversationally.

    I’m glad you touched on human engagement. It’s sad when people don’t respond to their customers because it’s a missed opportunity. It’s hard to get data from our audience and there are comments on your social media profiles, blog, that are ignored.

    A shame really.

    My friends Carol and Adam are always sharing your posts so I thought it was high-time I showed up, too.

    Cheers.

    • Hey Bridget

      Engagement is key to successful content marketing. It’s all about building a two-way relationship.

      If you do it right, it’s a sure way of growing your audience and user base.

      Great to see you here Bridget!

      Clement

  9. Hey Clement,

    Great thoughts here. The “be human,” tip is definitely the most important one to me. I’m glad you put it at number one.

    Competition is stiff, and it seems like everyone is starting to sound like everyone else. The human element of personality definitely helps separate you from the crowd.

    • Hey Ayodeji

      Yes, knowing how be ‘be human’ is so important. Very few of us are in a position of offering products and services which are innately unique. However the human side of what we do, the way we interact with our audience, is a great way of generating that initial engagement. Of course, it’s easier said than done.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Clement

  10. I used to write boring Wikipedia-like blog posts, but then I learned how “to be human” and started writing posts that are conversational.

    • Hi Sammy

      Writing in a conversational style works for sure. And it feels natural. It’s just like talking to a friend.

      Clement

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