Not all businesses have the resources to home their own marketing departments, nor the access to qualified and experienced marketing and advertising staff. However, all businesses need marketing; so it’s not just something that can go unchecked. As society turns much of its attention to content online rather than off, the ways in which companies interact with potential and existing customers has developed and changed along with the new digital world. Regardless of big budgets or social media algorithm ‘hacks’ or reams of paid advertising content, consider the following customer engagement tips with an open mind… you may not have thought of them before, but they could well prove invaluable.
Find Your Niche
Marketplaces often seem crowded but the truth is that no two snowflakes are the same. Upon identifying your USP (Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition) and ideal audience, all marketing can be tailored toward differentiation from competitors in a language appropriate and a channel relevant to the audience you’re looking to communicate with. No matter how niche or specialist your brand, product or service is, fear not – there will always be someone out there who wants it or could benefit from it. An interested customer is an engaged customer!
Be Upfront About Who You Are And What You Do
All too often, businesses assume that consumers know who they are. Instead, it should made clear on all communications and channels. Ensure all social media biographies are clear and concise on who the business is, who its for, and what it does. Keep any straplines or branding obvious and relevant, and don’t convolute any marketing messages unnecessarily. Customer attention spans can be as short as seconds, and if it’s not immediately obvious how a brand could work for them, they shall move to engage elsewhere.
Get Customers To Create Their Own Content!
UGC (User Generated Content) is one of the most powerful tools any business can harness – and one of the least resource-heavy. UGC refers to content created and produced by a consumer, and not by a business, but about them. This could be text, images, graphics, videos or review content that is usually shared onward. UGC allows for the positive promotion of a brand without them having to do anything at all – and is often seen as more authentic than brand communications, because it is perceived to be without bias. What’s more, Google now treats UGC with as much authority as website content; so there’s clear SEO wins to be had to those businesses receiving it. UGC can be encouraged through the writing of reviews, the sharing of images and/or the incentivisation of social sharing.
Listen And Learn
Marketing only works if it is pitched the right way for customers. Truly listening and incorporating customer feedback into business practices not only transforms customer experience but also permits for marketing products, services and features in ways that will engage, surprise and delight consumers. If a customer has previously expressed an interest in something changing, and such a change is later promoted, they’re likely to tag others in to the post or share onwards to express their satisfaction with the development.
Surprising customers with a Random Act of Kindness can be a cost-effective yet impressive way to encourage onward sharing and positive ‘buzz’ around your brand. One Valentine’s Day when Jimmy Fallon noticed that none of his employees had had flowers delivered, he ordered a bouquet for every staff member. He didn’t have to, but he did – and the positive feeling and buzz it created was huge. While businesses don’t have to spend big bucks in a florist to have the same gravitas of momentum, adding in a little something extra to a transaction can make a huge difference. Include a tea bag with orders and a handwritten note to enjoy a cuppa and a break. Include a discount card or coupon code or freebie for randomly allocated deliveries. Make a charity donation for every purchase made – and let the customer know you’ve done so. The possibilities are endless, and all help foster positive customer relationships and brand image as a result.
Marketing is, indeed, its own professional discipline, and quite rightly so. Yet word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most powerful channels for any business; and is often organically created with little business intervention. Getting well informed on your business’ audience before getting creative and clever with marketing can really make all the difference – and with a little trial and error to find the right fit for your brand and customers, even the least seasoned of marketers can have fun doing it, too!