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“Customer engagement” peaks as Google trend – 5 quick wins to improve your strategy

“Customer engagement” is the latest concept to take the marketing world by storm – so use these five tips to maximize your engagement strategy.

Customer-engagement

“Customer engagement” is a hot topic. According to Google Trends, the term has seen a substantial climb in relevance since 2007, which looks set to continue.

But why?

Marketing is moving away from the traditional funnel and replacing it with the “customer’s journey”.

According to Forrester’s report, Rethink Marketing In The Buyer’s Context, customers are no longer waiting to be contacted and told what they need to solve their business pains. Instead, they are empowering themselves first by researching a product/service intensively using their peers and online resources.

The potential of this “customer-centric” approach is now being exploited by marketers – but questions remain about how best to engage with potential clients during their purchasing journey.

How to exploit

You need to adapt your strategy so it:

  • maps each key stage of the buyer’s journey.
  • offers relevant, engaging content for each stage so you can snare the buyer’s attention wherever they are in their journey – and help accelerate their purchasing decision.
  • provides unified and consistent messaging throughout the buyer’s journey.

70% of buyers stated that “consistent and relevant communications” from both sales and marketing departments were paramount in their final purchasing decision.

Five quick wins

To give your customer engagement plans a boost, deploy the following five strategies:

1. Personas personified

At the heart of successful customer engagement lies knowledge of who the customer actually is. Inevitably, there are a host of different stakeholders involved in any purchasing decision, so your customer engagement strategy must reflect this.

First, identify who your main type of buyer is – what their job role is, what their business pains are, and how they make decisions (whether cost- or data-driven). Analyze what it is about your product that fits their needs.

From there, create a persona, detailing the information with a name and full personality profile. Do the same for other stakeholders, drawing up personas for all those who may be involved in the purchasing decision. Now use these personas to generate specifically-targeted content addressing each stakeholder’s exact needs.

Hone your personas via sales calls, data analysis, customer interviews, and survey results.

2. Increase your IQ

Don’t underestimate the importance of customer intelligence and analytics – to opitimise your data analysis, consider creating a dedicated in-house team. This group can be brought together as and when it is needed and should ideally feature staff who have the skills necessary to be able to extract vital information from reams of data. Best of all, hire in data-focused staff members who can then be trained in marketing techniques, offering you the best of both worlds.

Their research of your customer intelligence sources – such as primary research and win/loss reviews – will unearth further insights into your potential customers and their journey, increasing your chances of engaging with them.

3. Generate content that connects

Customers are experts in their field, so you need an expert in house to ensure your content engages, educates and resonates with potential clients, whether it be via consideration documents or blogs.

Hire a journalist to review all your content and offer suggestions on how you can hone your content strategy further so it engages fully with your personas – and, more importantly, identify what key content elements might be missing from key stages. Plug those knowledge gaps.

95% of purchasers stated that the vendor they ended up choosing offered them “ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”.

4. Share, share, share

Create “bite-sized” content that can be used to snare a customer’s attention – even if they are only at the beginning of their purchasing journey; the sooner you reach out to them, the better.

Using short, punchy videos, surveys or assessments, create content that can be posted to targeted forums on social media networks such as LinkedIn. This dramatically increases the chance of your buyers coming across your content when they begin investigating product/services – and can trigger the engagement process right from the off.

Consider using personalized rewards for existing customers who are willing to share their recommendations and reviews of your products/services in the online space.

5. Eight seconds and falling . . .

Research has shown that our average attention span was just eight seconds in 2013, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Just to put that into context, a goldfish has an average attention span of nine seconds. So what does this mean? That people’s attention is limited – so engage them by using content that leaps off the screen.

As well as using traditional blogs, also deploy visual media messaging such as VideoScribes, infographics and magazine-style PDFs such as Uberflip – these can snare the customer’s attention far quicker than text and are more likely to be shared.

60,000 times – how much faster the human brain processes visuals than text.

Remember:

  • Identify your main stakeholders, create a persona for each and generate specifically-targeted content for each one.
  • Consider creating a dedicated in-house team to boost your customer data analysis skills.
  • Consider hiring a journalist to ensure that your content engages, educates and resonates with potential clients.
  • Create “bite-sized” content to snare a customer’s attention on social media and trigger the engagement process.
  • Exploit innovative kinds of visual media to grab and hold the customer’s attention and encourage sharing.

For more information about the customer’s new hold over marketing, download our free eGuide: CMO’s quick reference: how to map the consumer buying process


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