Today, roughly 73% of marketers believe that a customer-centric approach is critical to a company’s success. Why do marketers feel this way? It may have something to do with the fact that almost 70% of purchasing experiences are initiated because of the perceived customer service quality a client feels they will be given. With customer engagement playing such a large hand in a company’s sales and public reputation, it’s critical for entrepreneurs to understand how to drive engagement to their small business. Today, we’ll take a look at five effective ways you can propel customer engagement using digital and traditional marketing strategies.
Understand your Target Audience
Successfully developing and marketing a product is impossible without first assessing your target audience. For those who don’t know, a target audience (occasionally referred to as target market) is the particular social or cultural demographic an advertising campaign is aimed at. By identifying a target audience, small businesses are able to determine how valuable their product or service will be to their intended users.
Although your company may have already established a target market, it’s quite possible that your methods of reaching them haven’t been optimized to maximum efficiency. To attract the most qualified and engaged customers, start by determining who will benefit most from your products or services, and why. Then, determine how those individuals collect information about upcoming purchases. For example, a clothing brand may find that their target audience prefers to collect information through social media, while a construction company may find that their target market prefers to seek information through other known contractors. Understanding how your potential customers shop for services will help you successfully sell to new and existing clients.
Develop an Engaging Digital Presence
Today, there are over 3.17 billion internet users; in 2014, the U.S. alone recorded 198 million individuals who made purchases online. With e-commerce becoming a preferred way to shop, developing an engaging online presence is essential for not only business growth, but also small business survival.
Start building a relevant online presence for your small business by creating a website with a responsive, mobile-friendly web design. This will allow shoppers using different internet browsers and mobile devices to access and navigate your page with ease. Then, consider creating a digital sales funnel that maps your target audience’s purchasing process, starting from their initial point of interest in the product. For many businesses, a client’s initial interest point stems from content and informational resources written on their website; usually, these methods of engagement stem from blogs, e-books, and other valuable digital content. By incorporating content assets onto your site, you will have a better chance retaining clients in the early stages of their purchasing decision, while converting the qualified clients who are ready to purchase.
Create Valuable Avenues for Client Engagement
Now that you’ve developed an understanding of your target audience and built a sales funnel to cater to their purchasing process, it’s time to implement sales avenues that will give them the opportunity to engage with your brand. Some of these marketing avenues can include:
Social Media: Because of its effectiveness, affordability, and ease of use, social media has become an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to share and engage with their potential customers. In fact, 71% of online consumers have stated that they are more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow (or have heard about) on social platforms.
Content Marketing: Because of its informative, inexpensive nature, content marketing has also grown into a preferred method of engaging clients. Although the term “content” can include a number of things, it is most commonly tied to blogs, e-books, white papers, polls, surveys, infographics, and more. Studies conducted by Kapost, an effective content marketing agency, have concluded that using content marketing operations has resulted in a 133% increase in return visitors to a website.
Pay to Play
When organic content marketing and traditional advertising aren’t reaping the results you intended, it may be time to focus your small business’s attention on paid digital advertising such as SEM, SMO, e-mail marketing, and PPC. Although these paid search marketing practices will cost a percentage of your advertising budget, it is one of the most effective ways to drive consistent traffic to your website or social pages. Before getting started in paid search or social advertising, be sure to define your KPI’s and develop a budget and timeline; not only will this keep you organized, but it will also help you stay on track as you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Analyze and Optimize
When your small business sets out to drive client engagement, it’s important to keep in mind that even the best engagement plans will require analysis, optimization, and adjustment. As you develop an effective engagement strategy, remember to stay focused on the quality of client-brand interaction, rather than social popularity stemming from likes and follows. As you test and analyze your existing engagement strategies, don’t forget to optimize them for SEO, which will help your website’s ranking and assist with in-bound site traffic. Once you begin to notice higher levels of customer engagement, it’s time to determine a unique way to track your ROI. Remember that enhancing digital engagement is an ongoing process of identifying and addressing the needs of your customers. As your online brand presence grows, prioritize strategy adjustments and SEO optimization to ensure the ever-changing needs of your target audience are being met.