In December 2014, Forbes published an article stating that “engagement will be the future source of customer loyalty.” 

Back then, Forbes was talking about ‘the future, something that will happen at one point in time, and it was a problem for future brand managers. 

Fast forward to today – no longer the future. 

It’s a well-known fact that engagement is one of the most powerful ways of creating customer loyalty (and growing your revenue). Therefore, customer engagement campaigns are a must in every striving business.

Check out today’s article to discover more about Customer Engagement as a concept, tips on improving it, and excellent examples of engagement campaigns coming from best-in-class global brands.

What Is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement means creating a more profound relationship between your brand and your consumers, one in which people actively seek to engage in your brand experiences and insert themselves into brand-related conversations.

To engage customers, you need to understand their personal level of interest, desire, and motivations.

Most commonly, these motivations have to do with the positive feelings they associate with your brand and the experiences you’re providing at every step of the way (from the moment they interact with your staff in stores, to the moment they unpack an order from your shop and the moment they start following you actively on social media, for example).

You’re creating customer engagement every time a customer engages with your business.

This can mean leaving a comment on your latest ad, email marketing clickthrough rates, or face-to-face conversations between a shopper and your sales agents. 

In time, these interactions add up and create the customer experience that can make or break a brand.

The Musts of a Positive Brand Experience

When reading about customer (or brand) experiences, you’re naturally inclined to ask what makes a positive one.

Firstly, the brand experience should appeal to both the rational and the irrational part of their mind and motivation, producing sensory, affective, intellectual, and behavioral effects.

The experiences you design for your consumers should be rooted in the feeling of pleasure so you should have in mind the kind of enjoyment that might be derived from that specific activity.

You should also consider the centrality of the customer experiencesyou’re designing:

  • How central/important is that brand-related activity in the individual’s lifestyle?
  • What place does your brand/product occupy in their day-to-day life?
  • What is the mindshare of your brand?

The latter has a lot to do with the branding process, the brand’s personality, identity, and tone of voice.

Don’t forget about significance: everything you include in your customer engagement strategy should take into account the customers’ need for self-expression and the symbolic value of the activity they’re involved in.

  • Is it directly relevant to them?
  • Are you addressing the core wants and needs of your specific target?
  • Are your tactics tailored to match the profile of your audience?

The “symbolic capital” is a central element in every brand-related activity that your consumers engage in: from choosing their favorite brand or products to commenting and sharing user-generated content on social media. 

Consider not only what the experience you’re generating says about your brand but also what it says about your consumers.

In other words: think about customer behaviors and how you can better integrate the insights you get from them.

The Smile Team defines customer engagement as follows:  “Customer engagement is the degree and depth of brand-focused interactions a customer chooses to perform.

So, as we stated above, some elements are out of your control, since it’s not the brand that chooses who engages with it but rather the customers who choose the brands that best fit their needs and the extent to which they will engage with them.

Here’s where customer engagement marketing strategies come in handy.

As opposed to leaving everything to chance and counting on human’s natural desire for interaction, you’re creating your own opportunities for building customer relationships.

Why Is Customer Engagement Important?

As customer acquisition becomes more and more expensive, you should focus most of your resources on the most loyal part of your customer base.

It’s that 80/20 principle (or the Pareto principle): 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales.

Engaged consumers are loyal, happy consumers that are less likely to leave you anytime soon if the experience they’re having with your brand matches or even exceeds their expectations.

Moreover, with positive experiences comes loyalty, improved customer retention, brand advocacy, increased Customer Lifetime Value, and an overall increase in your bottom line. 

In fact, up to 2/3 of a brand’s profits might rely on effective customer engagement, according to Hall & Partners, cited by Smile.io

Happy customers, happy business, right?

Of course, customer engagement is only a chapter in the story of your business, but an important one nonetheless. 

Customer engagement is vital for a variety of reasons:

Better Understanding of Your Customers

You can better understand your customer base when you track engagement across the customer journey. Their interests, needs, likes, and dislikes are in your data and customer behavior. 

More Efficient Problem-Solving

Customer engagement is an excellent source of identifying the issues faced by your customers. When left unattended, these issues can become pain points, so treating them as quickly as possible is essential. 

Higher the Customer Success Rate

When you measure engagement, you observe the periods when your customers go silent. Usually, this happens when they aren’t achieving the success they’ve been hoping for with your products. 

Noticing these gaps help you act quickly, fix the friction points, and deliver more positive user experiences. 

Using engaging copy and carefully designed on-site experiences may also help you reduce cart abandonment.

Indeed, many people who leave items in their online shopping carts are concerned by the price or are just prospecting.

But if you make the on-site experience seamless and memorable, and make the ads engaging and relevant to your target audience, there’s a high chance people will complete the checkout process and even register for an account.

And this step is a major one: it means they are more inclined to come back to you for another purchase.

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Why Do You Need a Customer Engagement Strategy?

Considering the importance of customer engagement, you shouldn’t risk leaving it to chance. 

Your safest bet is to deploy a customer engagement strategy and use engagement platforms to organize random customer interactions into a straightforward plan. 

In this case, the customer journey map will include all customer activities – before and after purchase. 

Moreover, with a clear strategy, you can measure your progress and be mindful of all customer needs. 

Monitor the strategy closely to collect feedback and customer performance data to adjust your process – if needed.

Improve customer engagement by looking at the metrics and your Social Media stats. When customers don’t engage with your content, you didn’t yet find the golden ratio that turns marketing strategies into engagement opportunities.

How to Build a Customer Engagement Strategy

Like with any Customer [Something] strategy, it all starts with your genuine intention and interest in your customers. 

And like any other relationship, your Customer Engagement strategy must become with research and getting to know your customers. You can’t engage strangers, but you can engage people you know and appreciate. 

So, begin by gathering all the info you can about your customers, then use this data to build your Ideal Customer Profile

If you don’t have an ICP, use this template as “square one.”

Fill it in with as much information about your customers as possible, by trying to put yourself in their shoes and by trying to imagine how a day of their life looks like, what challenges related to your brand/product they encounter, what motivates them to use your product/service, how it fits into their lifestyle, and so on.

Don’t stop here – segment your customers into multiple groups based on their RFM score and their place in the Customer Journey. 

Consider the customer journey at every step of the way.

If you want to create effective customer engagement strategies, you need to understand the emotional and behavioral motives behind the act of buying from a brand, trusting that brand, and engaging with that brand.

Moreover, you need to know how a person navigates this complex process we call the “customer journey” to create meaningful experiences that seem to “speak” to them directly. You may need a different approach to engage a prospecting customer than you will need for loyal buyers, for example.

Again, ICPs will help you fill in the gaps and offer you that much-needed inspiration to design memorable experiences that are relevant to your audience and to deliver them consistently, at every step of their way.

Different steps in the journey require different content. 

Prospects just getting acquainted with your brand need to be educated and reassured that you’re keeping your word and providing the value you promised. 

At the same time, long-term consumers need incentive programs, loyalty bonuses, and pricks that reward them for their loyalty. 

You can then use Social Media to address these customer segments and start conversing about your brand. 

A brilliant example of Netflix using Social Media to solve real problems while being relatable and down to earth.

Be warned, though.

Suppose you start creating content strategies to engage your customers. In that case, you’ll need to be alert and answer all your customers’ comments or questions. 

Otherwise, it will seem like you’re not listening and don’t care about their feedback. 

You can also use social media to run promotions and giveaways. This is an excellent way to improve brand awareness and get more people interested in your products or services.

Bonus: Your engagement strategies will boost brand awareness since so many users are present and active on social media.

Try to be as genuine as possible – connect with your customers personally

The problem with the digital environment is that brands tend to treat their customers as cashflows and forget about the human element of it all. 

Consider your Customer Profile when making decisions about your strategies and come up with tailored ideas your customers will resonate with. 

Whatever you do, be genuine and sincere. People can sense if you’re being fake, or have ulterior motives behind your actions, so better don’t do anything if you aren’t going to be authentic. 

Just be yourself and speak to your customers naturally. 

The Benefits of Customer Engagement

There comes a time when you must ask yourself: “ok, but is this worth it”?

Let’s review some of the advantages of customer engagement and determine whether or not you should direct your efforts toward building a successful customer engagement strategy.

  • Customer engagement increases Customer loyalty. 

Usually, customers only have positive interactions with brands they love. Your loyalty programs are perceived better with high engagement, and retention becomes more accessible. 

  • You get priceless insights.

Talking to engaged consumers reveals valuable insights that help you improve your products, customer experiences, delivery options, etc. 

Customer Engagement vs. Customer Experience vs. Customer Satisfaction

If you’re new to the eCommerce landscape or didn’t give much thought to customer interactions, you might be slightly confused with all customer-related terms. 

Customer engagement mainly refers to constant contact with customers. Don’t limit here to product-related communication. Customer engagement is all about keeping a relationship with your customers.

Customer experience is customers’ general feeling/ impression after interacting with your brand. From the buying experience to product quality, everything that encompasses the relationship can contribute to the overall customer experience.

Finally, Customer Satisfaction measures whether or not your products meet customer expectations. With customer satisfaction, you determine how happy customers are with your products.

Customer Engagement Tips

Engaging customers might seem complicated, but when you think of the core concept, you realize engagement marketing is just a matter of understanding human behaviors. 

Yes, there are no one-size-fits-all strategies, but your customers are only humans after all – we humans share the exact core needs.

The closer a need is to the base of the pyramid, the more stringent that need is. So strategies that tap into humans’ innate need to belong, to be part of a community, to share good and bad news, etc., are sure-fire strategies. 

Tip #1: Use your customer data to share insights

While users are cautious when sharing their data and are also paranoid about sensitive information, you can use the data without breaching any privacy laws. 

Tip #2: Involve loyal customers in the decision-making process

A brilliant example of a customer engagement strategy comes from Electronic Arts and how they involve their community in their game production. 

For example, let’s look at the development of The Sims – the life simulation video game published by Electronic Arts.

Over the past 22 years, strong gaming communities formed around the game. The community managers at The Sims seized this opportunity to increase customer engagement. 

They approached the most prominent YouTubers and Streamers. They invited them to build lots and create storylines, later included in the official game patches. All users can share their creations in a dedicated Gallery. 

They can interact with each other and build relationships on the platform. 

While you may not necessarily have the resources to create global meet-ups or create customer engagement platforms from scratch, however, this shouldn’t stop you from involving your customers in your business development. 

For example, you can organize Social Media polls to determine the new look of your website or ask customers what they’d like to see from you in the future.

Engage your customers by involving them in your activities, connecting them with each other, and creating bridges between them.

Tip #3: Talk about your customers and their success

Remember that your existing customer is the absolute rockstar of your business. They hire your products for a job. When the job’s done, that’s a reason to celebrate. 

Add up the fact that people love success stories from people they can identify with – from their peers. 

When you see someone succeeding and identify with that certain someone, you picture yourself in the hero’s shows and envision your own success. 

People seek truth, trust, and realness. 

So now it’s your turn to seek customers with excellent product results and incorporate their stories into your marketing strategies.

Customer Engagement and Ideas

Marketing strategies centered around customer engagement are part of a bigger trend- a shift from informational or factual marketing to emotional/emotion-driven marketing.

They must be purposeful and fit the brand’s voice and personality, while also managing to keep the “human element” at the very core of the customer engagement plan.

It might sound difficult and complicated but it’s not rocket science- it only requires a bit of empathy and a little creativity.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach because every business and every brand is unique (or so it is supposed to be)- they have different types of customers and audiences, they are active in different industries and niches, and you need to find the engagement strategies that suit you best.

Here are some ways in which you can increase customer engagement:

Build on the Participatory Nature of the Brand

Every brand can be designed or “made” to be dynamic and engaging.

You simply need to find the elements that connect the wants and needs of your consumers with the elements that define your business’ personality and identity.

Connect Consumers

Create bridges between them, maybe even a community around your brand in which active, loyal consumers can invite dialogue and foster this sense of connection with the newer members.

Offer them a space in which they can engage with each other and, ultimately, with your brand.

Leverage social trends

Just make sure that you insert your brand into conversations that are linked to it, otherwise, you’ll just be “trend jacking” (profiting off trends that have nothing to do with your domain of activity) and this might affect your reputation negatively.

Create your Own Engagement Opportunities

Connect directly with your audience, through the tools put at your disposal by the major social platforms (Facebook & Instagram stories, live streams, TikToks, Q&A sessions with your team where you actively involve and engage the audience, polls, open questions, quizzes, and so on).

These are just a few customer engagement ideas- there are many more out there, you only need to start exploring and use digital media at its full potential.

Open Customer Support Brand Accounts

This will help you solve the issues faster or get someone from the customer care team to deal with their problems/questions directly into the comments section of your page.

It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative feedback: treat them all equally, with a consistent tone of voice, and create this image of a brand that cares deeply about its customers.

Try to reply to as many comments as possible- engagement is a process that flows both ways, from customer to brand, as well as from brand to customer.

Incorporate Gamification and Loyalty Programs 

This may be easier said than done because gamification is a tricky trend to implement. But if you do it right, gamification offers measurable engagement, as well as positive ROI. I

t can help you get more reach for your brand and allow your customers to have fun and connect with your brand in a meaningful, long-standing way.

As for loyalty programs, our CEO – Valentin Radu – covers them at length in The CLV Revolution Book – an amazing CVO playbook/Bible for CLV practitioners.

In the short period from the publishing date it has received a perfect 5 Stars score on Amazon, and it’s highly praised by global readers.

You can buy it from Amazon at an insanely affordable price – check it out!

Use Conversational Marketing

It’s easier to engage leadswith chat instead of the traditional forms.

Chatbots can be programmed to simplify the user’s journey on your website, offer helpful advice, recommend relevant sections/products/services, or direct them to a real person that can help solve their issue. They also allow you to initiate the conversation with people that seem likely to buy, instead of waiting for them to reach out to you.

Plus, according to Drift, the typical approach to qualifying leads takes days of marketing automation and nurturing emails.

But a study from Harvard Business Review revealed that companies need to respond within five minutes of initial contact to have the best chance of qualifying a lead. Wait any longer and your odds of qualifying the lead decrease by 400%.

Chatbots can ask all the relevant questions you’d usually ask through a form or a cold call, offering you the opportunity to understand your prospects better. Then, the same bots can recommend the right next steps, in a more personalized way, to guide the prospect through your funnel.

Try out Native Advertising

According to Outbrainnative advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel, and function of the media format in which they appear.

Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads. They look like part of the editorial flow of the page.

The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive – it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Their studies found that users are 53% more inclined to look at native ads than display ads.

Moreover, native advertising fights ad fatigue because it is integrated seamlessly into the social flow or article that the user is browsing through/reading.

The most important part, though, is the fact that users are well aware of the fact that they are exposed to sponsored content but they do not care, as long as it’s not as intrusive as the traditional ads (and more relevant to them, given that their content matches what the user wants to read/know about at that specific time).

Yet native advertising still has a significant effect on purchase behavior- it’s just as engaging as it is “inconspicuous”.

Tell a story

Storytelling is a powerful marketing trend that’s here to stay.

Everything that you do- from your website copy to the way you design your packaging for shipping and the way you communicate through content marketing or on social platforms- must be part of a carefully thought-out story.

The story of your brand.

This gives you a purpose and allows you to decline communication on multiple pillars that can act as “chapters”, “dividers”, and so on.

Stories are an important part of our lives. We tell ourselves stories every day- this is how we construct our identity, communicate with others, and make sense of the world. Ancient myths and superstitions are just antiquated examples of storytelling, of the way people use their imagination to fill the gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Customer Engagement Examples

Spotify is an excellent example of using customer data to increase customer engagement. 

This music-sharing app uses data to offer personalized recommendations to its users and makes it fun. 

Besides people enjoying the data-driven suggestions, users also enjoy sharing their activities on Social Media. 

Every year, Spotify releases its Spotify Wrapped, allowing users to reflect on a year’s worth of activity.

Spotify users can learn more about their listening history through visualizations presented in an Instagram Story-type of format.

Listeners love sharing these stories on Social Media, exchanging music with their peers, and getting nostalgic when remembering certain songs.

Since we already mentioned The Sims earlier, it’s worth noting that the development teams regularly create polls, surveys, and contests over Social Media, allowing players to decide on the game’s future.

At the same time, they organize annual offline meet-ups for players to engage with each other, discuss with game developers, and generally celebrate their love for the game. 

So, what was once a silly game, transformed into a global phenomenon, creating communities of millions of players.

Customer Engagement Metrics

One of Omniconvert’s mantras is, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” – which is why we’re obsessed with data and metrics. 

So, you can’t correctly understand whether or not you’re deploying an effective customer engagement strategy if you don’t measure customer engagement. 

To avoid overwhelming you with data and KPIs, we’ve compiled a list of 5 must-watch metrics you should keep your eyes on. 

  1. Customer Lifetime Value

For good reasons, customer Lifetime Value (CLV) has become the North Star metric for many eComm businesses. 

CLV allows you to predict the total value the customer will bring to your business during their lifetime. In this context, lifetime means the time the customer will spend with your business. 

The longer he stays your customer, the higher chances are they will bring more monetary value to your business. 

Besides the monetary value, loyal customers are more likely to bring in new customers. 

When customer satisfaction is high, shoppers recommend you to their peers, so you get free word-of-mouth advertising. 

To calculate the Lifetime Value for each customer, you need to multiply the Average Order Value by the number of transactions AND the retention period.

LTV = Average Order Value × # of Transactions × Retention Time Period 

  1. User Activity

There are two ways to measure user activity:

  • Daily active users (DAU)
  • Monthly active users (MAU)

This metric shows how often users log into their accounts, share your content, or create new accounts (for referral programs). 

There isn’t an exact formula to calculate active users, so the safest bet for online businesses is to compare the daily and monthly active users. If there’s a severe breach between DAU and MAU, your customers aren’t sticking, and you’re dealing with the leaky bucket syndrome. 

The leaky bucket syndrome appears in businesses with poor customer loyalty. Hard-earned newly acquired customers are churning quickly, and you don’t see them again for a second purchase. 

It’s normal to see customers churning, but you have a problem when they’re leaving in bulk, and you lose more than you retain.  

Fortunately, you can quickly identify and rectify your issues with the following metric. 

  1. Customer Stickiness

Stickiness refers to the likeliness of a customer “sticking” to your brand with repeat purchases.

Effective customer engagement leads to more involved customers, which in turn leads to more loyal customers. 

Customer retention is cheaper than acquisition. Therefore stickiness reduces your marketing budget. 

Here are some factors influencing stickiness: personalized customer experiences, quick problem-solving, and general product quality.

  1. The Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer satisfaction with your business. 

It’s compiled of customer surveys, sent in two critical moments of the journey: pre and post-delivery

Generally, the most important question to determine your NPS is, “How likely are you to recommend us to your friends”?

Users give scores from zero to ten, ten being the highest. 

To calculate your NPS, you need to subtract the number of Detractors (users who gave a score between 0 and 6) from the number of Promoters (scores 9 and 10).

If you weren’t measuring NPS before, it’s high time to start now. The score allows you to be alert about your business health and highlights the problems inside your organization. 

Check out this ultimate guide on NPS and learn more about this metric and how to grow your business with effective customer insights.

  1. Customer Satisfaction Score

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) measures the satisfaction level of the latest customer interaction with your brand. It might be completing an order, trying out a new feature, or talking to a customer care representative. 

Like the NPS, you send out customer surveys to get your CSAT, asking shoppers to rate their satisfaction and experience on a particular scale. Usually, the scale ranges from one to five, five being the highest.

Even if the execution is the same, you shouldn’t confuse the CSAT with the NPS

To calculate your CSAT, you need to divide the number of satisfied customers by the number of survey respondents and multiply it by 100.

CSAT = # of satisfied customers ÷ # of survey responses x 100

Of course, you could monitor many other metrics to get a clear picture of customer engagement, such as:

  • Your Social Media Stats
  • The Bounce Rate on your Website
  • Website Pageviews

You decide what’s essential to grow your business and how you should approach it. It’s undeniable that the customer is the essential stakeholder inside your business, so the metrics illustrating their satisfaction with your business are crucial. 

Improve Customer Engagement with Omniconvert’s Reveal

If you want to engage your customers, you must know first and foremost who these customers are.

Your customers are different and have different needs, expectations, and buying behaviors. From Soulmates to Ex-Lovers, Reveal helps you discover which customer segment is most valuable to your shop using its high-performing RFM Segmentation module.

For each segment, you will be able to discover the main goals and the next steps you need to satisfy them and “convert” them into loyal fans of your brand.

The simplicity of the navigation, coupled with the rich dashboards that turn data into actionable, ready-to-use insights make Reveal the best ally you could possibly wish for on your customer engagement journey.

Reveal is a customer intelligence platform that helps you understand your customers and customer segments in a way that’s completely different from the approach offered by any other analytics tool or platform you’ve been using so far.

Apart from offering you an in-depth understanding of the ideal customer profile, the core reasons behind the purchase decision, the performance of your website, and your product portfolio Reveal also helps you monitor the voice of the consumers (VoC), tracking metrics such as customer effort, the NPS score, and customer satisfaction, along with the retention rate and the lifetime value of your consumers. 

Going even further, this platform helps you nurture the relationships you have with your customers, be they latent, active, recurring, or about to leave you.

You can leverage the insights offered by Reveal to personalize their experience on your website, the ads they’re shown, the email communications they receive, and so on. You can prioritize customers that matter, based on your business goals, and even solve their problems faster. 

Integrating it with your eCommerce store is even easier than obtaining the insights you’ve been looking for for so long: install it, import the data, wait for Reveal to do its magic (crunch that data you’ve “fed” it), then get ready to see your customers in a completely different light.

All this within minutes.

With all these details at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to create a compelling customer engagement strategy. Just get back to this article, choose from the numerous tactics we’ve listed here, and offer your consumers the experience they deserve.

It’s time to find out the truth about your customers. Empower your eCommerce team with unique insights into customer behavior.

You can book a live demo to see how it can work out for you.

Wrap-up

While this guide to customer engagement gave you a solid starting point, the ball will always be in your court. 

One-size-fits-all strategies don’t work in the long term since your customers are unique individuals, and you need to adapt to their behaviors. 

Keep in mind that people crave connection, clarity, and, ultimately, a happier life. These pillars should sustain the journey across the complete customer lifecycle.

In the age of lifecycle marketing, customer engagement plays an essential role inside your business – it helps customers form bonds with your brand, increasing loyalty and, in turn, increasing the overall value of your customers.

Be genuine in your intentions, quick on your feet with problem-solving, and flexible in adapting your strategies – the results will soon come. 

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions about Customer Engagement

What does Customer Engagement mean?

Customer Engagement represents the interaction between a consumer and your company, using different offline and online channels.

What is the Role of Customer Engagement?

Customer Engagement helps you build stronger relationships with your customers, increase brand loyalty, and, ultimately, earn more revenue and recommendations from your existing customers.

What are the 4 I’s of customer engagement?

Involvement – customers getting involved with your brand with store visits, website visits, etc. Interaction – purchasing, clicking on ads, leaving Social Media comments. Intimacy – happiness scores, feedback, blog sentiment. Influence – Shares on Social Media, recommendations, event invites.

How do you build customer engagement?

So strategies that tap into humans’ innate need to belong, to be part of a community, to share good and bad news, etc., are sure-fire strategies.