September 22, 2013
The need for a well thought out, multi-channel Customer Engagement is more important now than at any time in our marketing history. Why? Because there have never been so many channels in which it's the customer that dictates the conversation, not the brand. Gone are the days when a 30 second television spot or a well placed print ad was all that was needed to articulate the brand.
As we settle in to the realities of interactivity and the complexities of the digital medium, we can't rely solely on "user generated content", "viral content", "Followers" and "Likes". Brands must participate and articulate their values, respond to customer engagement in a controlled way and have a crafted message that the digital marketplace can respond to as customers interact with the brand and each other.
Customer engagement is important and the more engaged customers are with businesses and brands, the more likely they are to maintain a longer relationship. A recent article in Forbes suggested that 80% of future revenues will come from 20% of a brand's existing customers. Loyal customers place larger orders, keep their accounts longer, are more forgiving of negative experiences, and refer their friends and colleagues.
Engagement can be a hard thing to measure, there are a lot of agencies and individuals making all kinds of bold promises, and it's easy for someone to say they are an expert without generating any real, verifiable results.
But it doesn't have to be like that. There are several ways brands can measure engagement on a business website. While individually none are perfect, they should show trends and help to understand whether a business is moving in the right direction when it comes to how its marketing messages and customer responses are working.
Is the amount of time being spent on the website and significant landing pages growing?
While getting traffic can be fairly easy, keeping customers engaged, on the other hand, can be a real challenge. By measuring time spent on a website, or sections of the website, brands can get a sense of how interested and engaged potential customers are. And by measuring user interaction with landing pages, a brand can see if customers respond to calls to actions.
Is the same happening on social media?
While a brand's website is their single most important digital touchpoint, the realities of social networks cannot be ignored. There are a number of ways to attract fans, followers, and "likes." But, how long can a brand actively engage with their customer on those networks, do they respond to the engagements or share? This is the true test of the strength of a campaign.
Are customers responding to posts, infographics, videos and other content?
Using the smart SEO tactics, you can influence your customers to visit you once. But, generating thoughtful feedback to a blog post, a video, or a white paper is much more challenging. Real customer engagement is a continual, thoughtful and strategic effort.
Are customers sharing, tweeting, and are they socially involved?
This represents an deeper level of customer engagement. If a customer takes the time to comment on a brand's engagement, they’re likewise engaging with that brand. If they pass it along, they have seen something of enough value they feel they can share it. When a customer shares a brand's content with a friend or colleague, they are giving it their stamp of approval. That's a great compliment, should not be understated and should be the goal of every engagement.
Are sales opportunities growing?
Engaged customers will buy from a brand over and over. If new sales opportunities are being generated on a regular, measurable basis, and it isn't due to simply having the lowest prices in the market, then the customer engagement effort is a valuable effort.
Unfortunately there are those selling services by hanging on low-hanging metrics like traffic and returning visitors. Those stats are helpful, but they don't measure the levels of customer engagement, which is more important to a brand's relevance in the marketplace. And while in the end its meaningful data that will paint the best picture, by monitoring this key touchpoint, brands can make sure they are on track.
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