How to develop an effective strategy

By Ashlee Nunez, Podium

The following is posted with permission from BrandSource partner Podium.

Retailers must maintain a level of engagement with their customers to drive repeat business and long-term loyalty. When dealers engage well with customers, those customers are much more likely to stay and even refer others to your business.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or seeking to revamp your tactics, it’s crucial to develop a sound strategy for engaging customers. This should not be guesswork; rather, there are tried and tested ways to develop an effective customer engagement strategy and put it into practice. Here are some ideas:

Understand Your Audience and Segmentation. Every good business should know who its audience is and what they want. Your audience may have unique demographics such as age, gender, socioeconomic status or location. Every sector and industry has different target audiences. Though competitors typically share the same audience, even these can have differences.

To understand your customer base, you can look at your competitors and see who they target. You can look at their successes and failures as well. Doing market research, sending out surveys and even interviewing prospective customers can help identify and understand your audience. You can also use customer engagement metrics and KPIs and examine industry trends and the customer journey of those you are targeting.

Define clear goals and objectives. Your customer engagement marketing strategy cannot be random. This is too important for you to simply try a few things or “see how it goes.” As with any business plan or endeavor, an engagement strategy needs to be well thought out, specific and targeted. You need to decide what you hope to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it and what the results will look like.

Make your goals measurable and relevant. Have a timeline that indicates when you will implement each step of your plan. Everyone involved in this plan should understand the goals and have a say in what the objectives are.

Craft personalized and valuable content. To improve customer engagement, you need content for people to consume. Good content can hit on several important touchpoints. First, review your website. This is often the first place a potential customer will go for information about your brand. Your site should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, and should have relevant, timely and helpful content for people to digest. You should make it fast and simple for people to contact the right employees, learn about your products and offerings, and understand why they should choose your business.

Always include a call to action on your site. You can also include blog posts, robust product descriptions and company history and milestones. Make sure your content reflects your tone and voice.

Multimedia content can also be an effective way of engaging your customers, as well as an efficient self-service tool. Use videos to talk to new customers about your products and services and recent developments. You can post testimonials from current customers to improve engagement with shoppers you hope to gain or retain. Webinars are also effective ways to provide information and boost engagement.

Social media engagement can bolster your customer engagement efforts as well. As you understand your audience, you can determine which platforms they use most, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok or anything else. In all your work to improve content, make sure you customize it to your audience’s needs in order to deliver personalized experiences. This can’t be a cookie-cutter approach; it needs to be focused and targeted.

Implement multi-channel engagement strategies. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. When it comes to customer engagement, using multiple channels is most effective. Use both social media and your website. Try email campaigns, too. Multichannel strategies can increase brand awareness and help you better connect with people.

Collect and analyze customer feedback. It’s hard to know how to improve customer engagement if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong — or what you’re doing right. Ask for feedback from customers and make it easy for them to give it. Soliciting feedback is a good form of outreach and can help make customers feel valued.

You can also gather feedback from social media by reading comments and even calculating likes and other engagement. But don’t make the mistake of simply requesting feedback and then letting it sit somewhere collecting dust. Analyze it, use it and implement the ideas and suggestions you get.

Remember, feedback can be both positive and negative. Don’t dismiss negative feedback. Though some of this could be unfounded and given by someone who is emotional due to a bad experience, negative feedback can help identify areas for improvement.

Next up: Six Customer Engagement Strategies That Work

Ashlee Nunez is a blog contributor at Podium, a premiere marketing and communications platform and BrandSource partner that connects local businesses with their customers. Get a personalized demo here.

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