Customer engagement strategies in 2016 will be shaped largely by technology and usage habits.
To keep up with these changes, you’ll need to adopt strategies that can meet the always-on consumer, target them with personalized messages, and deliver value at the right time and place. Finding and using those moments is key to the success of any marketing or monetization strategy.
No matter what business you’re in, it’s vital to keep customers engaged with a brand, product, or service. The right customer engagement strategies will ensure that you will have them captivated when it’s time to make a purchase, click on an ad, or opt in to an email list.
Here are 5 strategies to help you engage customers in 2016:
1. Personalize Your Marketing
Segment and target. Demographics are one way to segment an audience. Knowing where they are from, age ranges, economic status, and other factors can help you find out what makes them tick.
Behavioral targeting is another way to segment an audience. You should be using both demographic data and behavioral data to understand your audience. Behavioral data will tell you more about who your customers are and why they do what they do.
2. Predict Your Customers’ Needs
When you have detailed profiles and personas that define your audience, you can predict what they’ll need before they need it.
In today’s marketing world, the customer is “always on.” But they have begun to carve out habitual usage patterns that define moments of opportunity. These moments must be taken advantage of in order to maximize profits.
3. Listen to Consumers
Keep your ear to the ground.
There are several audiences you should be listening to if you want to meet the needs of the marketplace:
- Your Existing Customers – Your existing customers are your most important audience. They are easier to market to and they are already existing parts of your upsell chain. They have tried your products, they know what works, and they can tell you what they don’t like.
- Disengaged Customers – These customers have left your brand. Perhaps they have had a negative experience or perhaps your products don’t meet their needs. While these disengaged customers may be the least pleasant audience to listen to, they can be the most important. When they identify actual problems that need fixing, they can actually help you repair or improve your profit margin.
- Web and Social Traffic – These visitors aren’t necessarily engaged or disengaged. They merely aren’t actively participating in your funnel. Keyword research, social media research, and market research can help you discover why they are or are not engaging with your services. Feedback from those who aren’t yet customers can help you improve your campaigns and services, then engage them over time.
4. Analyze Data
Analytics continue to become more robust and more powerful. Each year that goes by, we see new forms of analytics that add more insight.
While self-reported feedback can tell you what customers think they think about your product, behavior speaks louder than words. A demographic profile of an audience can give you a cross-section of an audience, but the only way to understand the motivations that truly drive customers is by studying behavior.
In many cases, what people do and what they say are at odds. A customer may say they want one type of product or service, but their wallet often speaks differently.
Use data to pick apart these actions and develop personas and profiles that map out this behavior. The right analytics and analyses will help you create personalized, predictive campaigns that meet customers’ actual needs…not what they think they need.
5. Become Personable
Personal is one thing, but personable is something else.
Emotions always drive buying decisions and engagement rates. Even when stakes are high, as in the B2B industry, emotions make the decisions.
Loyalty and customer engagement depend largely on perception, reputation, and trustworthiness. Aloof brands that hide behind the corporate image don’t make people feel comfortable.
As a backlash against overly aggressive marketing and detached brands, consumers have gravitated towards more authentic content. User-generated content and ad blockers rule, for many.
Personalized marketing, content, and services certainly drive higher customer engagement rates. But so does personality.
A brand should “humanize” itself as much as possible:
- Be casual. Stiff, professional talk doesn’t work as well as it used to. In many Western cultures, particularly the United States, this is also true in business settings.
- Interact. Companies need to prioritize customer service. Brands should talk back on social media, respond to blog comments, and be prompt when returning emails.
- Put faces behind the corporate name. People respond to people, so put staff names and faces everywhere. This will help humanize a brand, make it more palatable, and increase the likelihood that customers will trust you…and engage with you.
In 2016, these trends will become more important than ever. Customers are always on and always able to engage, so brands will need to adapt to this changing landscape. The best way to do that is by focusing on personalized, personable customer engagement strategies.