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Article 5 min read

How digital customer engagement can boost your business

By Erin Hueffner, Content marketing manager, @Erin Hueffner

Last updated November 9, 2020

Every business owner wants to keep their customers happy and loyal. But in today’s digitally connected world, word spreads faster than ever before, so if a customer isn’t pleased, they might let their entire social network know about it. Your customers want to get in touch with your business the same way they would with friends and family—so you need to be present on the channels they prefer. A digital customer engagement strategy can help you provide a better customer experience, resulting in better customer relationships and a boost to your bottom line.

What is digital customer engagement?

Digital customer engagement is all the ways a customer interacts with your business, and how you interact with them. Think of it like this: it’s all the digital touchpoints your customer has with your brand, including email, social media and even your website. These experiences work together to build (or hurt) your relationships with your customers.

Why is digital customer experience important?

Customer loyalty is hard to earn, but easy to lose: nearly half of customers say they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. That number rises to 80% when there is more than one bad experience, according to the 2020 Customer Experience Trends Report. Gone are the days when a business could take a one-size-fits-all approach to their customer experience.

The data is clear: customer expectations of your company are sky-high. Customers wish to be treated as individuals, meaning they expect companies to know their preferences and purchase history. To do that, companies need to be able to harness customer interactions across platforms and turn that data into actionable insights.

Companies that do this the right way can build on their success. Customers want companies to keep track of their data if it leads to a better customer experience. So better digital customer engagement leads to more customer data and better customer experiences, which can lead to higher profits.

Essentials of digital customer engagement

Digital customer engagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum—it takes a plan. “You can post on social media all day long, but without a plan, there’s no goal,” says Andy Crestodina, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Orbit Media Studios. “If your business is present on a digital channel, you need to have a strategy.”

Here are three key things to consider:

1. Digital engagement strategy

The first step is to determine your business goals. As with any other plan, your goal should be based on data and it should be actionable. “How can you know you achieved your goal without data?” asks Crestodina. “Every plan needs to have numbers.”

For example, let’s say your business has launched a new product feature, and you dig into the analytics and find that awareness among your customers is low. Your ultimate goal is to get 200 demos through digital channels. That’s a solid goal to shoot for—now what do you need to do to get there? Once you set a strategy, you can look at all your digital channels to identify the best ways to reach your target.

2. Digital channels

Each digital channel needs a tailored strategy—they are levers that can be pulled for different goals. “The channel determines the promotional strengths of your content,” says Crestodina. Here are some examples:

Webinars are live, virtual events that are executed online. They present an interactive format with video and audio that gives you an excellent opportunity to listen to customer questions. You can use these questions to inform your next piece of content.

Paid search is a type of digital marketing where search engines like Google allow advertisers to show adverts on their search engine results pages (SERP). Search works on a pay-per-click model and is a good way to drive traffic and build brand awareness.

Social media marketing helps build brand loyalty and stronger customer relationships. Show how you’re living your brand values, post eye-catching content, and hear what your customers have to say. Most social media users log in at least once per day, so keeping fresh posts in their feed keeps you top of mind.

Live chat and messaging create a personal connection with customers looking for support. Live chat lets customer service agents help more customers in less time, which means happier customers more of the time. And, customers are 3 times more likely to make a purchase when you reach out via chat, so it can be profitable too.

Trying to work out where to get started? You can create a matrix of your channels and topics to see where your opportunities are. “You’ll start to see some interesting patterns in the data when you map it out,” says Crestodina. “You might see a topic is doing really well, so that means your customers want to know more about it. Create more content around that topic and push it through your channels.”

3. Customer engagement platform

Using all your digital channels is one thing, but keeping track of all your customer data is another story. Delivering a great customer experience means knowing all your customer interactions with your brand, how they prefer to be contacted, what products they have purchased, and a lot more.

A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can bring this data together and provide valuable insights to help you manage your business. It lets your team see everything about a customer in one place, including every step of the customer journey. This gives you the ability to deliver a truly personalised experience to each of your customers.

Keep your loyal customers

Good customer experiences drive loyalty, and bad ones destroy it. As competition heats up and economic uncertainty is an ever-present wild card, one thing is sure: customer loyalty can help drive the success of your business. Loyal customers will continue to do business with you while referring others to your company—and when the going gets tough, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

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