By Neil Patel
In order to run a successful business, you’ll need to do more than just acquire customers.
One of the best ways to have a successful customer retention strategy is by creating customer engagement.
That goes for all companies across every industry.
Whether you have a brick and mortar location in a small town or have a global ecommerce distribution network, the customer is the lifeline of your business.
While it may not seem like an issue or concern right now, failing to keep your customers engaged could be detrimental to your business.
Fortunately, it appears as though you’ve recognized the importance of customer engagement and that’s what brought you here.
You’ve come to the right place.
I’ll show you my proven strategies to help you improve your customer engagement strategy.
Following these techniques will show the customer how much you care about them.
When customers don’t think you care, they’ll stop using your services and find another company to treat them better.
Part of successful engagement and retention involves going above and beyond to connect with your customers.
Big retail companies are even spending upward of $1 million on artificial intelligence technology to improve their customer engagement strategy.
It’s the top expected benefit from such a big investment.
I’m not expecting you to do this, but I wanted to show you how much stress big brands are putting towards improving their company.
My strategies are much more cost efficient and will yield a high return on your investment.
They don’t require too much time or effort either.
You can implement these tactics to your marketing plan right away too.
Here’s what you can do to get started.
Create interactive emails
How much time have you spent in the last few months making sure that your email marketing strategy is performing at a high level?
I see this mistake far too often when I’m consulting with various businesses.
They send the same boring weekly newsletters and promotions.
While your customers definitely want to hear from you, the constant repetition won’t keep them engaged.
That’s a problem.
You can spice up your email campaigns by incorporating interactive emails to your messages.
One way you can accomplish this is by getting your email to mimic the look and design of your website.
Include different menus that give the subscriber a reason to actively click to find out more information.
Accordion menus work well too.
It allows you to pack more information into a small space.
When a customer sees something that they like, they can click to expand the accordion.
This also improves the chances that your subscribers will see more of your content because it eliminates the need for scrolling.
Adding GIFs and videos to your messages can help increase engagement as well.
It’s much more exciting than just reading a plain email.
If you have a retail or ecommerce business, you should include live shopping carts in your messages too.
This is a great strategy to improve your shopping cart abandonment rates.
When a customer doesn’t finish the checkout process, send a follow-up email with the shopping cart embedded in the message.
That way the consumer can complete the transaction without having to go back to your website.
It’s quick and efficient for everyone, which will help generate more revenue for your company.
Use Facebook Live on a regular basis
Facebook Live is one of my favorite trends of the year.
It’s the perfect resource for businesses to engage with their customers.
More than half of marketing experts agree that video content yields the highest return on investment.
First of all, it’s so easy.
Second, if you’re using Facebook Live to promote video content, it won’t cost you anything except for your time.
Treat your live stream as if it were a television show.
Don’t just come on randomly whenever you feel like it.
Set a scheduled time once or twice each week to go live.
This will help you build a loyal audience, which will impact your conversions and revenue.
One of the best parts of going live on Facebook is the ability to interact with the viewers in real time.
As you broadcast, users have the option to comment on your stream.
These comments could be directed towards you or even other people who are watching the stream.
Make sure that you respond those comments.
Acknowledge those users.
“That’s a good point, John Smith. I’ll keep that in mind.”
That recognition will help make the viewers feel special.
It encourages them to keep watching each week and it inspires others to comment as well, knowing that they could also get mentioned.
Facebook live videos are native, which means they are embedded on a page or feed as opposed to an external link.
Native formats increase the share rate of your content compared to other channels.
Don’t do a quick stream.
Longer live videos increase your chances of getting a larger audience.
Facebook allows you to go live for up to four consecutive hours.
You don’t have to stream for the full four hours, but I’d recommend doing at least two or three hours.
Not sure what to talk about during this time?
Don’t worry about it.
Just be yourself.
Obviously, you want to keep things professional, but this stream will give your customers a chance to see the human side of you.
Recognizing that there’s a real person behind the brand name will help them establish a closer connection with you.
This can ultimately increase customer loyalty.
Here’s something else you’ll want to keep in mind.
85% of videos on Facebook get viewed with the sound turned off.
So use lots of visuals in your stream.
You can also add captions to your video so the viewers can read what you’re saying.
Take a look at some of the top Facebook video statistics from 2016.
All of these numbers reiterate what I’ve been saying.
So add this strategy to your marketing campaign to improve the relationship between you and your customers.
Run a contest or sweepstakes
Promotions are a great way to get the attention of your customer base.
Everyone wants something for free, so give the people what they want.
First, you’ve got to understand the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes.
A contest means that the customers need to put forth some sort of effort to win.
There’s a judgment involved in selecting the winner based on skill.
A sweepstakes means that the winner is completely random.
Personally, I recommend running a contest as opposed to a sweepstakes because it gets the customer more involved and genuinely interested in your brand.
If they enter a sweepstakes, all they do is enter and forget about it.
I would recommend running your contest through social media platforms.
When analyzing the top benefits of social media marketing, we can see that the list applies directly to our discussion about customer engagement.
Developing loyal fans will help increase your revenue.
Running your contests on social media will also increase exposure for your brand.
One suggestion could be a photo contest on Instagram.
I like this technique because it’s so easy.
Plus, it encourages user-generated content.
Tell your customers to post a photo that relates to your business.
The user who has the most likes on their picture will win the contest.
Now your brand is all over social media exposed to people who may not have known about you before.
So in addition to improving engagement with your existing customers, you have the opportunity to acquire new customers at no cost.
It’s two birds with one stone.
Here’s an example of a contest that Infiniti ran on social media.
Using a hashtag to enter the contest can also help increase the chances of your promotion going viral.
Contestants know that their photo will be compared to other customers, so they’ll have a chance to check out all of the other entries as well.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re running a contest.
- Make sure the rules are clearly posted
- Set a deadline
- The prize needs to be relevant to your brand
- Allow mobile users to participate
- Your hashtag should be creative and unique
- Make sure the contest is shareable on social platforms
- Announce when you’ve selected a winner
Since contests are so easy and inexpensive to run, I recommend doing this frequently.
Just because the contest is over, it doesn’t mean you can’t start another one up right away.
In fact, running these promotions often will give your customers a reason to keep entering and keep them actively engaged with your brand.
Post on your Instagram story
Take advantage of everything that Instagram has to offer.
Don’t just post to your profile.
Add photos and videos to your story as well.
Similar to Snapchat, anything on your Instagram story lasts for 24 hours.
So be active and add to it every day.
These are my top suggestions for what you should put on your story.
- Promotional information and discounts
- Social proof
- Content from your website
- Behind the scenes clips of your company workspace
- New product launches
- Introduce your staff
All of these will keep your followers engaged with your profile.
If you want to run an enhanced version of Instagram story, you can go live on this platform as well.
We already discussed the importance of this strategy when we talked about Facebook Live.
I recommend using Instagram live story for something different than your Facebook strategy.
With Facebook, you should host a weekly stream.
But with Instagram, you should go live when you’re at an event or doing something cool.
This will create an authentic interaction with your viewers.
As a result, they will stay engaged with your profile and brand.
Write a double opt-in landing page
Here’s a strategy that’s often overlooked.
To increase customer engagement, you need to acquire customers who want to be engaged in the first place.
Here’s what I mean.
If your customers can create a profile or join your subscription list with just one click, you may get some people who aren’t genuinely interested.
Making customers take an extra step to join a list will increase engagement.
The best way to do this is with a double opt-in landing.
So when a customer subscribes to your email list from your website, make them confirm their subscription with a welcome email.
It will help you filter out people who don’t want to be engaged.
Double opt-in emails will also improve your open rates.
While you may end up with fewer subscribers if you implement this strategy, you’ll get more active subscribers.
This will make it much easier for you to apply the other engagement tactics that we discussed.
Improving your customer engagement strategy will positively impact your revenue.
Not sure where to start?
Follow the tips that we outlined.
Start by developing interactive emails.
It’s easy. Just continue to email your current subscriber list but include videos, GIFs, live shopping carts, and menus to increase engagement with each campaign.
Schedule a time each week to go live on Facebook.
Interact with the viewers who comment on the stream.
This is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your customers in real time.
Run a contest or sweepstakes that encourages UGC.
Contests will give the customers a reason to interact and engage with your brand.
Take advantage of the Instagram story feature as well.
Another way to make it easier to engage with your customers is by filtering the most viable candidates to your subscription list.
Create a double opt-in landing to ensure that your customers are interested and actually want you to keep engaging with them.
What type of content will you include on your Instagram story to increase engagement with your current customer base?