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7 Simple Strategies That SMEs Can Use to Increase Customer Engagement

Do you engage with your customers? Does that show in your bottom line?

Fully engaged customers offer a 23% increase in profitability and customer relationship growth. In contrast, those who aren’t engaged will drag that number down by 13%.

Customer engagement is the emotional connection between your brand and a  customer. It can be summarized in one word:

Relationship

Are your customers receiving the experience they deserve? Is there anything you can do to improve it? How can better relationships help everyone?

Here are 7 customer engagement strategies that can help engage and keep a loyal customer.

1. Customer Loyalty Scheme App

Eighty-nine percent of customers are more loyal if they’re a rewards member. And over three-quarters have downloaded a branded app they are loyal to.

If you currently have a loyalty scheme you could extend it to a dedicated mobile app. The most popular sectors are restaurant and retail with bank apps being number one.

Creating a loyalty app doesn’t have to be expensive.

Build an app for free online using services like BuildFire to see the benefits. Features include push notifications so you can promote new products or announcements.

But, be careful.

A positive app experience will be shared amongst your customers but so will the negative. This survey found poor apps were deleted, purchases diminished, and bad feedback was shared.

2. Social Media to Engage Not Announce

Many small businesses see Facebook, Twitter, etc. as a way to make announcements. But social media is about interaction so improve customer engagement by rewarding feedback.

Create a competition to run parallel to a new product release.

To enter, a customer uses a special #hashtag in their feed. Not only will you gather more client data but the customers look forward to winning.

Adding bonus content like a special podcast could reward likes on your business page. State the rules clearly. You aren’t buying likes but by the end of a certain date if your subscriber count is e.g. 10,000 you will release the bonus.

Friend referrals are a great way to build your social media client list.

Customers receive discounts by referring a friend using a special code in their feed. Or they could upload an image promoting your brand on Instagram to qualify.

Need a celebrity to endorse your website?

Social media influencers have a huge fan base. Tap into their followers to promote your products. If you pay for this service, then their posts must be clear to show this. Negative press for fake commercials isn’t a great idea.

Any content you add to social media must be part of your more extensive customer engagement program. Don’t announce – engage. 

3. In-Product Interaction

Use your product to engage your customers further.

Digital services are the easiest tool to tweak to encourage communication. If your existing app doesn’t yet have a support screen, then add one. FAQs don’t offer interactivity so provide a contact form within the app.

Seventy percent of consumers trust online and in-app reviews. Reviews act as advertisements too, as customers share their feedback with their friends.

If your staffing level permits, offer live chat tools. Yes, AI chatbots are on the rise, but the majority of customers want to talk with a real human. One simple answer to their question may make a big sale.

One word of warning – make sure your communications are secure.

Any chat, message, voice mails etc. should adhere to your state or federal laws. Certain industries require stricter regulations.

For example, the health sector requires HIPAA compliance when sending communications securely. You can read more information about HIPAA here.

Use your instruction manual and packaging to increase customer engagement with QR codes.

QR codes let mobile users interact with your product. They can link to images, video tutorials, PDFs, etc.

Think about how you can make them fun. Add a hidden page on your website with a discount code, for example.

4. Targeted Custom Content

To improve your customer experience online ensure your website offers targeted content.

Amazon is the perfect example. When you return, their site welcomes you by name. You have a dedicated shopping page with product suggestions based on your purchases. The layout becomes interactive based on what you search for.

You may not have Amazon’s resources but most eCommerce websites like Shopify or Wix include these features.

Tailor discounts based on past ordering. Offer gift cards to use in your offline and online stores. Everything should tie together so customers see a unified experience.

When marketing on Google, create targeted landing pages for your products. These are optimized to promote a single item or service. Customers will find it easy to navigate and buy exactly what they’re looking for. 

Cater to mobile users first.

Forty percent of all online transactions are now made on a mobile device. Voice queries using phones and services like Alexa account for 20% of Internet searches. Make sure your website is mobile responsive.

5. Tiered Customer Promotions

Why not reward your best customers more than the others?

Tiered customer engagement ideas include:

  • Offer restricted content e.g. downloads
  • Access to higher-level member areas
  • Discount codes for premium users
  • First-in-line about upcoming releases

Patreon offers customers content depending on their buy-in.

Patrons buy monthly pledges to access your services which creates a sustained income. You can identify and connect to those who engage the best, offering unique content for a selected few. Release your content to become available to each tier.

6. Personalized Communication Customer Engagement Strategies

Does your customer database offer personalized communication? Does it give accurate reporting on feedback?

Good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps like SalesForce and Netsuite help:

  • Build customer relationships
  • Generate and map leads
  • Track conversions across channels
  • Personalize marketing messages

You can view every customer’s interaction with your business from one screen. Any complaints or queries are highlighted so you can answer them quickly. The system is shared amongst your staff so everyone’s on the same page.

7. Polls and Prizes

Use an interactive poll to encourage interaction. This can be shared on your website and social media platforms.

Twitter polls offer four simple choices and identities remain hidden. To promote them, offer a prize to participate. Winners will be announced on your website to drive traffic there.

Customer engagement ideas and strategies shouldn’t be limited to your business.

Find out what other interests your customers have. Show that you care. If they want to buy ethical products create a poll on Fair Trade. Ask them how you can improve in all areas, not just service.

Real Relationships Not Robots

Your customer engagement strategies should always focus on building relationships.

Encourage customer feedback and be prompt in your replies. Engagement is a two-way street, so answer every query and comment – even the negative ones.

Revenues grow, and customers are happy when a real relationship is made. The tips in this article help nurture that relationship for years to come.

Don’t be a robot. Be real. Your customers will love you for it.