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What is Customer Engagement? Definition, Importance

Engagement has been becoming an increasingly important metric. Social media platforms are measuring performance of videos, posts, and images by taking stock of the engagement generated.

Nov 22, 2021 - By Adomas Sulcas

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Engagement has been becoming an increasingly important metric. Social media platforms are measuring performance of videos, posts, and images by taking stock of the engagement generated.

At the same time, ecommerce giants are looking for ways to keep customers on their website for as long as possible.

Engaged customers now stand at the forefront of marketing strategies. Companies are looking for ways to fully engage every visitor as they have noticed that the return on investment is enormous.

For some, however, the concept of customer engagement remains obscure. After all, it’s a complex metric, much unlike the ones used in marketing previously. A multitude of aspects goes into it, which makes it more difficult to accurately measure and improve.

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement, by definition, is the (amount) of interactions between a customer and your brand.

There are also other fancy ways to define it such as a consistent approach to providing value to the customer at all stages of their journey.

Although such a definition is closer to what causes higher customer engagement than the concept itself.

Nevertheless, it’s all about interaction. In this case, however, we generally mean continued interaction as the metric is supposed to be an average over many customers.

While every one of them will be different, a higher overall engagement with customers means they spend more time with your brand. Spending more time, of course, means dealing more with your business.

Hubspot expert Paul Greenman makes an important point when he defines customer engagement. He adds, at the tail-end of the definition, that the engagement is “chosen by the customer”.

A lot of businesses try to drive customer engagement metrics upwards synthetically. Dark patterns in user experience (such as making it hard to log-out, cancel subscriptions, etc) increase overall interaction count. But it usually leads to worse outcomes rather than better ones.

One final note before continuing onwards is that “interaction” will mean different things to different businesses. In retail, an interaction with your brand can be a lot of things – visiting the online store, adding products to carts, checking out, adding products to wishlists, etc.

For a SaaS technology business, an interaction can be reading case studies, browsing technical documentation, leaving contact details, etc.

Customer Engagement Model

A customer engagement model is the approach taken by companies in order to foster relationships with clients. Usually, the end goal of a model is to build client engagement to reap all the benefits associated with it.

In order to be effective, a customer engagement model should encompass the entire journey someone takes from before the initial visit until purchase or, in some cases, even further. Where the journey ends depends on the business model as, again, in retail and in SaaS things will be different.

Once a model is in place, analytics can be used to understand efficiencies and inefficiencies in consumer brand engagement. For example, an important aspect of customer engagement is the interactions with non-sales content. 

For a SaaS business, these can be quick-start guides, documentation and other materials. Understanding what content helped a customer make a buying decision can go a long way in improving overall experience.

Additionally, interactions with customer service should be taken into account. Frequent interactions on basic questions might indicate, for example, that the company forms a positive customer relation initially, but lacks informational content.

As such, a customer engagement model is used to conceptualize the interaction points and how well they work. It can then be utilized to create highly involved customers through natural means (i.e. by providing a great experience).

Why is Customer Engagement Important?

Customer engagement isn’t just some marketing jargon you read in a textbook for university. It has been studied in-depth and is being used by some of the most successful companies in the world. There’s a good reason Amazon called themselves “the most customer-centric company in the world”.

First, there are some scholarly articles comparing customer engagement versus employee engagement. While both, obviously, have a positive impact on company performance, customer engagement has a greater effect.

Additionally, customers seem to almost overvalue good experiences over products and services. Customer experience is closely related to engagement. Obviously, one without the other is nearly impossible.

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Finally, according to Salesforce research, customers expect to be offered tailored content. These expectations cause a feedback loop, where the fulfilment of them creates loyal customers. But tailored content, one which fulfils expectations, can only be created if there’s a lot of interaction. In other words, improving customer engagement has a lot of effects on nearly all parts of the business.

Customer Engagement Marketing Management Examples

Customer engagement follows the old sales truism that staying on the mind of your lead is the best way to keep them involved.

Marketing strategies for customer engagement, therefore, involve similar approaches. Careful consideration has to be undertaken, however, in order to avoid spamming people.

A Warm Welcome

Additionally, the introductory email should provide the suggested further steps. Even if your business is in retail, giving a small nudge is usually welcome. After all, a newcomer isn’t all that familiar with your website and brand. Showing them the ropes is simply a good customer experience (CX).

Three actual steps you can do:

  1. Create a welcome email and send it automatically to your new customer.
    *open rate avg. more than 70%, this is twice as much as regular email.
  2. Create an automated welcome SMS message, which has a very engagement.
    *open rate avg. more than 90%.
  3. Create a welcome push notification on your store or app.

To create and send automated emails and SMS messages you can use an email marketing tool like Sender, which has easy to use interface and high deliverability.

Here are few welcome examples you can apply:

Artlist Welcome Onboard Message

artlist_welcome_onboard_message

Wework Personalized Welcome Message with CTA to Setup Account

Zapier Welcome Message with Video

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Set up a Newsletter

Scarcely a business doesn’t send an email newsletter nowadays. Even if the reading frequency is quite low, they serve a purpose. That purpose is to increase customer engagement.

There’s no other way to boost engagement that is as good as a newsletter. They are incredibly cost-effective for the impressive impact they have on the brand.

Explaining how to create an email newsletter deserves a blog post of its own. We’ll be only giving you a couple of pointers here. Most importantly, it has to be decently frequent (at least once a month), always deliver some form of value (usually, through content or discounts), and has to be relatively short. People simply get bored of long newsletters that ramble on about nothing.

As such, it’s highly recommended to plan each newsletter far in advance. Additionally, you should be using high-quality email platforms as part of your marketing process.

If you want to send newsletters without breaking your bank or having to learn a completely new system, try out our own platform. All of our plans, including the free one, include every feature we offer.

Additionally, we developed Sender with SMBs in mind and thus included all the necessary email marketing features, but built them in a way that they would be easily understood by anyone.

Implement a Multichannel Strategy

We’ve talked at length about multichannel and omnichannel strategies on our blog previously. The central ideas of these strategies are to create a congruent customer experience across all platforms and channels you own.

Part of the process is integrating data from all channels into one system. While it’s significantly more complicated than building a newsletter, creating a multichannel strategy for customer engagement is the next big step.

For those who haven’t begun utilizing multichannel marketing, we’d recommend picking two or three channels that are going to be combined. Trying to do everything at once will just end in failure. Two of the simplest picks are either email and SMS or email and social media.

Customer engagement in social media is usually already important as the algorithms rank content based on those factors. As such, combining email with social media is often a great choice for B2C businesses.

Also read: How to Write Re-Engagement Emails That Reactivate Old Subscribers

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