Six engagement strategies that work

By Ashlee Nunez, Podium

The last of a three-part series from BrandSource partner Podium.

Retailers must maintain a level of engagement with their customers to drive repeat business and long-term loyalty. It is therefore crucial to develop a sound strategy of customer engagement.

If you have struggled in the past with a customer engagement campaign or if you are just launching your business, you may not know where to begin with developing an engagement strategy. Some offer a better chance for success than others. Consider the following approaches:

1. Implement an effective loyalty program. Loyal customers are ones you want to keep, but even they can leave to pursue other options for goods and services. To engage them and keep them happy, you should have a brand loyalty program in place. This is a good way to give them incentives to continue to use your business and reward them for their patronage. Loyalty programs help you retain your best customers and show them how much you appreciate them.

Loyalty programs can come in many forms, but they must be customer-centric. Some businesses use a tiered points system for e-commerce activities, which rewards shoppers based on how much they spend. Others use stamps for in-store purchases, giving customers a free item after making a certain number of purchases first. Find a program that works best for your audience.

2. Enhance customer service and support. Customers not only want great products, but also expect excellent customer service. You need to be responsive, helpful and sympathetic. Your customer service team needs to be accessible through multiple channels. You should have extended hours of customer support by phone, email and chat forums.

Personalize your customer service, making all customer interactions meaningful. Lastly, look for long-term solutions to satisfy your customers rather than quick, short-term answers that will only handle the problem temporarily.

3. Optimize user experience (UX) across channels. If your user experience strategies need an overhaul, now is the time to do it. Evaluate the user experience provided by your website and social media channels and bolster them where necessary. Test their functionality to ensure customers have a positive experience. Your customers need to be able to easily interact with you on any channel, and you need to have the competency across all channels to respond to them.

4. Create engaging content and experiences. You already learned that you need effective content to build successful customer engagement. But your content needs to be more than informative and interesting; it also needs to help customers take the next step or move to the next stage of the sales pipeline, including making a purchase.

5. Try video and content marketing. If your marketing campaigns and channels are too text-heavy, they can become bland and uninteresting. To improve engagement, a good strategy to use is video. You can use this visual media to talk about products and services or to encourage customers to take advantage of special offers and promotions.

6. Focus on connecting with your customers. You engage customers best when you treat them like people rather than a number. You need to understand what they feel and what they want. Customers are more likely to respond well to this tactic, and you can build customer relationships that last for years.

How to Measure Customer Engagement

Once you’ve developed a customer engagement strategy and implemented it, you want to know whether it has been effective. Fortunately, tools are available to help you measure customer data and how engaged they are. You need to look at specific metrics and KPIs to gauge whether your strategy is doing what you want it to or whether you need to make some adjustments.

Customer Retention Rate: While a customer conversion rate shows the rate at which potential customers take a desired action, your customer retention rate measures how well you keep customers over a given time. A poor rate helps you understand where you need to improve, while a good rate indicates that your strategies are working well, and helps you know what your customers like.

Customer Churn Rate: A customer churn rate shows you the rate at which your customers stop doing business with you. If your rate is high, your profits could suffer, especially if you don’t replace the customers you lose. If you have a high churn rate, you need to assess how you engage with customers and improve your interactions with them.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): CLV measures how valuable a person is to your business. It is the total worth a customer provides, not just from one purchase or another but across their entire relationship with you. It accounts for how much the customer has spent on buying your products and services and predicts how much the customer could spend on your brand in the future.

To engage with your customers, you need the right tools and strategies. Using automation, technology and innovation, Podium can assist you with surveys, reviews, online chats, customer activities, notifications, payments, integrations and text marketing to help you deliver a customized, personal touch to every customer.

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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