Amid today’s digital marketing mayhem, a customer can quickly become lost. I’m not referring to the customer struggling to find what they want. I’m talking about losing a current tried and true customer. Perhaps someone loyal to you for years. Someone you worked hard to find and convert. Someone who likes what you offer. This is true for direct consumers, as well as business to business relationships.
Some may say, “We let one get away, but we kept to big ones.” Do you recognize the brands “Mod Cloth, Bonobos, Moosejaw, Hayneedle, or Bare Necessities”? These could easily have been considered the “small ones.” One client that got lost amongst the “big ones.” No big loss. At least you kept the big ones.
Walmart acquired all of these clothing brands in 2017. As reported in Business Insider, these were just a few brands acquired by Walmart to supply its entrance into e-commerce under Jet.com, which was acquired one year earlier. Hmm. If you lost one of those “small ones” before 2017, you let a “big one” get away. Here are some ways to fully engage your customers using digital marketing.
Here are some customer engagement Strategies.
1. Personalize Their Experience
Companies and devices have been collecting mountains of data from the Internet for decades. We can see the effect in nearly every aspect of our lives. Data-centric recommendation models generate online shopping options for us. Which movie should we watch? What do we want for dinner? Do they deliver? When we shop for groceries using an online service, they know the foods we buy, the brands we like, and the quantities we need..
These data can also drive your digital marketing efforts. Which campaign works best? Which website did customers respond to best? When is the best time of day to launch a social media campaign? Which social platform is best for the age group you are targeting? These questions are answered in real-time. You can make instant adjustments to improve your outcomes.
If someone from just ten years ago observed what can be done today, they would be beyond shocked. Novels wrote about this. Movies showed this as other-worldly. Today, it is here, and tomorrow, it will change again. Data knows where you go, what you purchase, what you like, and what you avoid. On a personal level, it’s all a little frightening. From a marketing point of view, it’s a godsend.
2. Measure What is Working
To engage a customer, you need to listen to them. You don’t have to physically communicate with them, although some human interaction will go a long way. You need to understand their actions and needs. What are the shopping patterns of your customers? Do they leave items in their carts? Do they revisit an item several times before making a purchase? What made them purchase the item this time and not others?
Answers to these types of questions can be found using web analytic tools available today. Websites are built not just to display and promote an item. They are designed to collect information. Time spent on a page. The path that brought them to the page. The items on the page that caught their attention. All this information is available due to advances in the dynamic nature of websites. Google Analytics used to be the only one collecting internet traffic information. Now, your customer is collecting their information while you are collecting information about them.
Google still collects data, but according to CNN Business, two-thirds of the information is now collected without any input at all from users. Mobile operating systems (your phone, tablet, watch), web browsers, navigation apps, web searches, even household devices collect and share information. All of these without you even knowing. CNN Business also reported that the majority of Google’s income, 86%, comes from advertisements. All of their ad delivery is done using the data collected.
Everyone is collecting. Who is analyzing? You need to be answering, “I am analyzing the data.” If you aren’t, you are wasting valuable information that could improve your customer engagement and relationship with your customers. You need to know what works for them and how you can help it work even better.
3. Understand Digital Marketing
In the recent past, it was good enough to slap call to action links and buttons all over their website and everything would come up roses. Your marketing methods may have come up roses in the past, but if you don’t tend to the roses, they turn wild and can get away from you fast.
Digital marketing changes quickly. It no longer works to create social media accounts and post regularly. Changes over the past few years demand much more attention. You need to use new techniques, new tools, and new connections.
That being said, social media channels cannot be ignored. With so many new channels available, how is one to manage all of them without hiring a social media team? There are tools available that allow you to manage several media channels at the same time. Create one post and it is formatted to the look and feel of each channel. These tools are appropriately called Social Media Managers. There are many available today (i.e., Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, and more). Choose one and discover how much you can extend your reach without investing much more time. Make sure you understand how to use the Social Media Manager you select before you start posting. You can easily appear to be spamming, which will bring your social media marketing efforts to an abrupt end.
Our economy is too connected to think of a customer as more or less important than another. Businesses talk to other businesses all the time. Consumers talk with consumers. The Internet connects us all. Just one negative post or review can be devastating. Everyone has a voice today. Keep this in mind when serving your customers.
The Internet has changed the face of digital marketing. It is both a blessing and a curse. With all the data collected, you can focus and fine-tune your marketing to fit each of your customers. The Internet provides you with a seat at the table of every one of your customers. Choosing to miss dinner too often could easily cost you a customer, and maybe much more. Make time for your customers. They are the reason you are in business – and they can become the reason you are not.
4. Ask and Listen
If you want to know if you are providing for your customer’s needs, ask. When anyone mentioned surveys a few years ago, you would roll your eyes. No one has time to take a survey, and if they did, would they finish it?
Creating a survey today looks very different than it did in the past. Gone are multiple pages. No more selecting ‘1’ for “very dissatisfied” and ‘10’ for “very satisfied.” Grub Hub surveys every delivery. They ask you to rank the restaurant’s food and to rank the delivery quality. Optionally, you can leave a comment. The way they conduct their survey only requires two touches on your mobile screen. It’s a five-star rating system. Simply select the star that represents the food and deliver quality. If works because they ask you to rate your previous order when you want to order again. If they conducted the survey right after the food was delivered, not many would take the time to respond. After all, they are eating. Conducting the survey when you place your next order was a smart decision. You are going to be selecting food items – why not ask for two more clicks before you see the menu.
There are many ways you can ask your customers for feedback. Provide an incentive for their participation. Run a contest for all who respond to a short set of questions. Whichever method you choose, make it quick and simple. You will increase participation and also the quality of the response.
Perhaps the most critical part of a survey is that you take the time to review the responses. Grub Hub uses the answers to generate ratings for their drivers and the restaurants they serve. I know they review the survey comments because I have written a few. Each time, I have received a response no later than the next day. If I leave a positive comment, they thank me for leaving a comment. It might be an auto-generated reply, but it still works. If the comment is less than favorable, I get an email asking me for more details. Twice, they have asked me to call and speak with someone. I have found them to be very responsive to survey comments. This is one way to “listen” to your customers.
No matter what – send a response. Recognize the efforts of your customer to provide you with the feedback you requested. Many digital marketers have email templates they use, which insert a personalized word or two to try and make it seem more personal. The important thing is to respond. You would be wise to write a personal response to a few customers occasionally. It will not go unnoticed.
You need to keep all of your customers. You can’t afford to lose any of them. If you follow these practices, you will have loyal customers who won’t give the time of day to anyone else. If you are fortunate, they will sing your praises to their networks, and you will reap the rewards.
Imagine losing a customer who later becomes an Internet Influencer. What a shame. On the other hand, what might happen if you had taken the time to engage with that customer and they had remained loyal and satisfied for years. That is success.
Pramod Dhakal is a Tech entrepreneur at heart, a natural leader and Agile practitioner. He has spent over a decade in implementing various large scale transformation initiatives in large multinational organizations. He is an author and contributor at Hitechies largely in the technology space.
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