So what exactly is Digital Engagement and how can you make the most of it?
Digital engagement is about opening a new dialogue with your customers. It is the introduction of a new communication channel that drives business growth. Digital engagement is built around proven techniques, it is a way for brands to deliver their message in a way that is consistent, personal, dynamic and contextual. Done well digital engagement leads to increased sales and can create an organic marketing machine, through social media, which again leads to more sales.
Engaged customers spend more and they spend more frequently, FACT…
Essential Questions to ask before embarking on a digital engagement project
Before you begin to create an engagement strategy or invest in a customer engagement platform, the following questions must be answered in order to avoid coming up short.
Who and how?
It is the case in the modern era that access to your business can be had through a variety of devices from a smartwatch to a smartphone to a tablet through to a laptop or a PC. Formats and orientation are different across devices. Identifying the who and how and applying segmentation will enable you to optimize your message delivery for your customers preferred device thereby improving their overall user experience.
What content best fits the customer?
It is rare that the same message is perfect for every single customer. We are humans after all and as such we are very diverse in our tastes and preferences. Identifying the right message for the right customers can be done though through segmentation, this is where the personal aspect we touched on earlier comes into effect. When people feel that a company knows them and understands them they are more engaged and receptive to the brand message. Some of your customers only want to know when there is a big discount on, some wish to see you in the news or have updates on new product lines and new services. Some may wish to know about charity work the brand has done, and so on…
When to reach out?
This point will depend very much on the type of customers and the product. A beer or wine manufacturer might get their message out on a Friday early evening. A pizza delivery company might send on Tuesday just before lunch. Timing is essential and segmentation can help boost message delivery efficiency too. If a supermarket knows that a family do their weekly shop on a Thursday afternoon like clockwork then a message can be sent highlighting the specials on Thursday at lunchtime. Conversely, reaching out to anyone at 3am on a Sunday morning is probably not the best course of action.
Digital engagement tips to write down
Check your Social Networks messages
One of the most important elements with digital engagement is a fast response. You need to be all over your social media accounts, as customers with questions and problems will contact you there first. Social Media has overtaken the phone for simple questions and answers between customers and brands now. The time taken to respond is also measured and recorded. Facebook for example adds the time to your responses. If a complaint crops up and it shows 36hours for your response this will send out the wrong signal. A swift response that is perfectly aligned with company values and leads to a resolution will boost engagement as it identifies your brand as caring, people want and need to know you care.
The average twitter user making a complaint to a brands twitter account expects to wait no more than hour for a response
The main reason for the explosion that was online shopping is convenience and time. No more queuing and traveling. This however is proving to be a sticking point for some businesses that have not spent time honing their online checkout. eCommerce and M-commerce are the future and online shoppers who have a bad shopping experience like complicated forms, sluggish loading or excessive information requirements will not come back. Likewise those shopping from their phone in a browser not optimized for mobile will not enjoy the experience. Any company wishing to win needs a simple and efficient checkout, they need it to be optimized for mobile and web and they need to offer multiple payment methods, oh and it need to be fast…. In 2013 a poll by Harris established that 47% of mobile shoppers abandon the purchase before checking out if it’s too slow or not intuitive, of those 57% never complete their purchase. That’s a lot of sales not going though.
Customers want to receive recommendations of things they might like. That’s why it’s so important to have a wish list section and to save the purchase history. Segmentation can again be leveraged to deliver highly relevant product recommendations that are much more likely to convert to sales. This information can be used to deliver targeted content when the website is accessed making the user experience far more personal and engaging.
Almost every customer that has enjoyed their purchase experience will be willing to share their opinion on social media. To encourage this and increase the digital engagement, companies can reward customers for doing this. A very simple game mechanic can boost referrals and help identify loyal brand champions. If, for example, every user is provided with a unique promotional code then when any of their friends sign up using this unique code, the company will immediately know which customer made the referral happen. In this way a brand can identify who is AND who isn’t sharing meaning it can reward more the ones who do and try to incentivize further the ones who don’t.
71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others
When social media users are at your online store, they want non-commercial content, they wish to learn about the best way to use your product, how to take care of it or even new ways to use it. They have spent all day being bombarded with unsolicited adverts in both online and offline channels. If they are at your site now you need to present them with something that is fresh and aligned with their interests, otherwise they will leave. Here is an example of some content marketing designed to attract the attention of users and become viral: Coca-Cola experiments. This is a great effort to engage customers with rich content that will be shared over and over again delivering Coca-Cola’s images everywhere in a positive light.
Easy mobile access
Nowadays M-commerce makes up around 40% of all eCommerce and it’s growing very quickly along with the advances in mobile capabilities. The M-commerce market is set to tip over $31 Billion in the USA alone this year. This makes it crucial for any company with a hope of making online sales to have a mobile optimized site or even better a dedicated APP. This will not only boost digital engagement but positively encourage it. Be careful though a recent poll in the UK established that Millennials are once bitten twice shy, if they have a bad in app experience they will not buy any product from the brand again, EVER!!!
The fact is people use their smartphones to research items, if they can complete the purchase at the same time easily then ‘Spontaneity’ is introduced where there was none, and this is a real clincher for online sales. Spontaneous purchases are nothing new, this is why certain items are always within easy reach in stores, it is new to the digital arena though and it is a powerful tool to employ within the fold of a great mobile user experience.
61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience
Social media has become the new search engine of choice when looking for any content in which we are interested. The environment, fashion, cars, holidays, you name it there is an expert to follow. Brands have lots of information on their clients, more so than in the past for sure. They can identify, through segmentation, the different groups they have and make relevant content and a strategy for each group, this increases the likelihood of a post being shared and seen by likeminded people in the customers’ social channel.
How to take advantage of digital engagement
The first thing that needs to be taken into account is the importance of the messages that are spread on social media. These posts reach huge numbers of consumers and can provide brands with the power to gain the positioning they desire. Once the different customer types and their preferences have been segmented the content can be tailored. The more relevant and appealing the content the more likely it is to be shared. The goal is to have customers share your content again and again so your brand will find itself exposed to new consumers who will want to know more about you.
Social media allows brands to broadcast their values and unique message in an engaging way that will lead to increased brand awareness and recognition. It can be used to announce new products, promotions, deliver coupons, and much more. It can be used to change perceptions and influence customers. The content being delivered and shared goes through a far more organic growth starting with your existing customers and your true brand champions and then it snowballs, the money saved vs. getting your message out using traditional advertising can be put to use innovating and creating great new content with which to repeat the process. The better the content the more likes, shares and comments it will produce. This is the key to social media engagement; it’s the key to making sure your message goes further.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- Highly engaged customers buy 90% more frequently and spend 300% more vs. others each year and they are 5x more likely to choose the brand again in the future – ‘Rosetta Consulting’
- 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels – ‘Yesmail’
- 1 million new active mobile social users are added every day – ‘Brandwatch’
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others – ‘Ambassador’
- Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content – ‘HubSpot’
This post is also available in: Spanish