Posted by Monish Vora
September 19, 2013
Until the emergence of engagement, which has now gained the status of a high priority media solution, it was exposure that dominated media planning to a large extent. Brands are now generating deep, intuitive insights and encouragement, to get responses from those who matter the most. Thus, engagement is slowly and gradually taking overexposure in the online marketing circuit.
Earlier, in the exposure model, communication was basically one-way traffic. This required brands to reach a number of people and sift the consumers out of them, who matter the most. In contrast, the engagement model seeks the audience’s participation by interacting, sharing, commenting, and through other mediums. This model successfully helps brands in getting real-time feedback, when ideas echo, and the message is spread by your audience.
Hence, it is more important to build a deep and profound community with strong and enthusiastic connections, than a broader one that is strong but fails to spread the message. Engage your users deeply. Encourage their participation, devotion, interconnection and show how valuable they are. Turn them into your brand ambassadors, charging them with the idea of bringing more focussed and intent traffic.
According to Caren Fleit, Senior Client Partner and head of Korn/Ferry International’s Global Marketing Center of Expertise, “It is not surprising that customer engagement remains a top priority for marketers. The marketing team may not be directly selling a service or product, as the sales team does, but they are wholly tasked with engaging with the customer across multiple touchpoints to build brand value, and as a result business value.
The best marketers will know how to leverage all the moving parts to create a unique, long-lasting relationship with customers that can ultimately be monetized on behalf of the business.”
According to the Korn/Ferry Marketing Pulse Survey, which polled 124 CMO’s from its own database of top U.S. Companies, 35% of respondents believe that the marketing department within their organization is entirely responsible for customer experience and engagement. 31% believe that it is a joint effort of the sales and the marketing departments, 28% had to say that it was a multi-functional task force, 3% say that it’s not anyone’s responsibility, while 2% say that the sales department is solely responsible. This shows that data-driven marketing activities need to be backed up by strong customer engagement for a successful marketing program.
Get insights into your customers
Moving ahead is the key. Move beyond your products and services. Put your feet in the customers’ shoes and see how your life could change by using the products and services. The best way to attract customers to adopt your business culture is by creating customer personas. Persona is a consequent understanding of your customers driven by the physical, emotional, aspirational, intellectual, needs, and other aspects which propel the customers to embrace your products and services.
Your reward?? Well, when you see that the level of understanding is in fact producing outstanding results with enhanced customer engagement and user experience, you will know what you have been rewarded with?
Remember good content is read, but great content stands out. Content marketing is the new advertising. Companies need to know the importance of deciding the format in which the customers would like the content. Again this is where customer persona comes in.
In addition to having exceptional content, there are other elements that I have mentioned and explained in brief, and if implemented, are sure to bring in positive results.
Here I have mentioned the 6 very common ways of encouraging user engagement. Something that shows the consumers, how valuable are they for your business.
Website Search Box: The quality content on your website needs exposure, and it will not be possible that the user gets access to all the content in a jiffy. Your user knows why he/she has come to your site. Let them enter the keywords in the search box and check out the relevant content based on their needs.
Comment Box: Give your visitors the freedom to express themselves. Make sure that you have a comment box and let them know how valuable their feedback and suggestions are, and you eagerly look forward to receiving the same to innovate.
Social Media Buttons: You have some of the wonderful creations in various forms on your website. Give your customers the chance to share the same, whether they find if informative or hilarious. Help them with a “like”, “tweet”, “share”, or a “comment” button.
Images and Videos: Visual expressions are the best form of content marketing and why not give your visitors a visual treat. All those information and guides which take a lot of words and a lot of your visitors time could be incorporated into a video or an infographic. Representing the information in an entertaining, colourful and enjoyable form will increase customer retention.
Popular Posts Widgets: You could guide the visitors to some of your best posts by having a popular posts widget on the website. This will direct the visitors to those posts which have gained the maximum number of likes and reactions from other readers. Knowing that it has been liked by other visitors, there are chances that the visitors may get engaged with the content.
Surveys: The best method for gathering data so far, surveys could play a significant role in your customer engagement goals. This helps in understanding the customer persona in an effective manner.
In this era of cut-throat competition, where almost everything is common and the chances are very less that your products and services are unique. What you offer doesn’t necessarily have to be new, but how you offer is what actually matters. For a while stop thinking like a marketer, and start thinking like a maker. Find something in your product that is very much similar to people’s lives and show it with an alluring light.