In the world of marketing, we often talk about “engagement” and creating an immersive user experience; but what really lies at the heart of these buzzwords?
In most cases, customer engagement marketing can be reduced to one fundamental challenge: finding a way to connect.
But here’s the problem: as digital marketers, it’s not possible for us to make eye contact or wow customers with our sales pitches in person. Instead, brands need to create content with charisma, which burrows deep into the consciousness of potential customers. They need to humanise the way they communicate and establish vibrant relationships with the people who buy their products.
At greatcontent, we know that’s not easy. But there are some ways brands can boost their engagement and really get through to the people that matter – so, here are 7 that we know can make a difference.
1. Listen to your customers
Maybe you already pay close attention to what your customers want, but could you go further?
Advanced social media listening tools can provide brands with incredibly detailed insights into who their customers are and what motivates them to praise or criticise the products they buy.
By understanding the ways people discuss your brand online, you can start to build realistic profile of influencers and customers – and then build your content around them.
2. Use a closer tone
The way you communicate with your audience is just as important as what you say and the technology you use to say it; this is where it’s really important to set the right tone.
Brands need to walk a fine line between professionalism and neutrality, on one side, and ‘wackiness’ and creativity, on the other; they can’t constantly mock competitors or tweet jokes about their products, but they can’t just put out bland press releases or featureless blogs, either.
The secret is finding a warm tone which blends humour and useful information. This tends to be the most attractive style from a new customer’s perspective. And it’s also where bringing in experts to handle tasks like writing blog posts can pay huge dividends.
3. Use blogs and video to humanise your brand
We noted earlier that humanising a brand is crucial, but it might help to revisit that in a bit more detail because how to do so isn’t self-evident. After all, brands aren’t humans – but they can communicate like them.
Try to come up with a brand persona. It may seem strange at first, but linking your brand to a personality can help to anchor the content you put out. Think about how “x” would talk and the kind of things they would find appealing.
Beyond that, work on including your brand in key conversations. Be a problem solver, a friendly helper – and one which is funny and approachable, but not pushy. It takes practice, but any brand can get there eventually.
4. Always create unique content
Another crucial aspect of customer engagement marketing is setting yourself apart from other brands.
Let’s get real: consumers know that brands aren’t really their friends and – deep down – that brands are, essentially, money-making machines. So, when many brands start communicating in the same way, it’s easy to write them off as generic and unappealing.
Successful brands work hard to create unique blogs, ads, videos, and social media profiles. They aren’t satisfied with merely keeping up with other successful brands. They assess their strategies in order to remain distinctive, to overtake competitors, and to stand out.
You need to do the same, so track what other brands are doing and add your own unique spin that’ll give you ‘the edge’.
5. Personalise your communications
In an age of automated email marketing and customer relationship management, it can seem tempting to outsource much of your communications strategy to robots.
But think twice about this. People are really turned off by the feeling that companies are treating them like cattle. They want to feel unique and well cared for. Ultimately, generic content will always fall flat.
So, when creating blog content to generate leads, back it up with personalised emails and customer support which treats each customer like they matter. If not, your whole engagement strategy could collapse.
6. Style yourself as the number-one expert around
Regardless of sector, companies are constantly competing to burnish their reputations. The way clients feel about their skills and track record really, really matters.
It’s essential to use ways of communicating that boost your position as an expert – and that, in turn, downgrade the competition.
That doesn’t mean trash-talking or creating fake reviews (please don’t do that). Instead, it’s much better to create expert blogs which have a clear argument. Make the case for what you do and what the benefits are for the customer that only you can provide (your USP). Be fair, but be firm, and you’ll do fine.
7. Be a conversation starter, not a killer
Finally, think about ways of creating a community of people who engage with your brand. With Facebook and Twitter, this isn’t as hard as it used to be, but it still takes skill to play the role of ‘community instigator’.
Ask questions, run competitions, be there with relevant content about topical issues (as long as they relate to your brand), and amplify the voices of your most influential customers.
That way, you can place your brand at the heart of something special – a community where customers connect with each other and look to your brand as a part of their lives.
None of this is impossible, even for small companies. But connecting with customers can be difficult. If you want to improve your reach and deepen your engagement, get in touch with greatcontent. We’ll find a way to promote your brand which really hits home with the people that matter.
Text: Sam Urquhart