By now, we should all be aware that one-way communication is a thing of the past. Marketing today is more about listening, refining and engaging with customers. It’s really about following the ABCs of marketing: Always Be Connecting. The brands that stick to this motto will achieve success.
So, how do brands build effective engagement strategies and where should they begin? In this rapidly changing media and marketing environment, there are numerous opportunities for brands to position themselves and engage with their target audiences. Ultimately brands are looking to create “the total experience” across all platforms and mediums. But, before brands start to put the pieces together around what that “total experience” looks like, they must determine right from the get-go what their business objectives are and the conversions they wish to achieve. Next, brands need to take time to listen and learn from their current, past and prospective customers to really dial in to what their needs, wants and desires are. Take some time as well to evaluate the competition in your space. What is your competition doing well and what can your brand improve on? Once you have established your business objectives and have taken time to listen and learn, then you can really start to engage and build mutually-beneficial relationships with your customers through the “total experience”.
Create Compelling Content
If you took time to listen, you should know what your customers and prospective customers are looking for. Creating valuable content that delivers upon what your target audience is looking for is crucial. We’ve all heard it before, but it doesn’t hurt to be repeated over and over again…CONTENT IS KING.
Determine Engagement Strategies & Channels
The opportunities here are endless. Again, think about where your current and prospective customers are and where they get their information. Be there. Think about ways in which you can provide them more value and make it happen. Basically, build “the total experience”.
For many, "the total experience" starts at the hub, or the brand’s website. Make sure your website effectively communicates who you are as a brand and what products or services you provide. Make sure it is easy to navigate and is optimized for mobile. Make sure that any and all campaigns, promotions, contests, etc. are promoted on your website. Don’t forget to optimize your site for search engines – SEO should be a top-priority for all your marketing and engagement efforts.
Google PPC/AdWords Campaigns
With Google PPC and AdWords campaigns, you can effectively drive people to your content. Are you pushing a new contest or launching a new product? Build an AdWord campaign around this. Think of all the keyword search terms customers are using to find you and consider the terms your competitors are using.
Keyword optimize your press releases and get the word out online.
Mobile & Traditional Advertising
Again, think of where your customers are and be there. Communicate with them where they want to be communicated to. Personalize your marketing and advertising to these channels.
Are you engaging with your customers and prospective customers within social channels? If not, you are missing the boat. When running a contest on your site, run the same contest within Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest. Promote this contest via Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. Use these channels as a listening and learning tool. Truly connect and respond to your customers.
Email still plays a huge role in engaging with your customers and prospects. Make sure to incorporate email into your marketing campaigns and encourage sharing and ways to drive your customers to take action or engage with your brand.
Mobile Applications & Games
What other ways can you engage with your customers and prospective customers? Would it make sense to create an app that would provide them with an additional value beyond what they can find and engage with on your site or via your social activities? Maybe an interactive game that encourages sharing would help you connect to other potential customers and brand ambassadors.
Develop Thought Leadership
Maybe it’s a blog. Maybe it’s video tutorials, webinars, digital whitepapers, etc. Provide extra value to your current and prospective customers beyond what they expect. This not only establishes credibility and proves expertise, but again allows your customers to engage with your brand.