You know the saying “If you build it, they will come?” This might have been true once upon a time, but if you follow this advice in the online world, you might be waiting forever. And in business, time isn’t always on your side.
One of the keys to success is the ability to gain loyal customers. And that is done by engaging your audience. So how do you make it happen when there is so much competing for their attention?
We’ve outlined five of the best ways to engage your audience online:
- Create Relationships
Marketing works best when a customer feels they have a genuine and authentic relationship with a brand. Instead of “push marketing,” relationship building requires engagement marketing. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Create conversations
- Encourage opinions
- Address customer needs
- Respond to questions and concerns
A relationship is built on trust, so give them a reason to trust you by being consistent, personable and helpful.
- Build a Sense of Community
Answer this question when developing content: How do I want to be perceived by customers? Brands that add a personal touch help customers feel more connected.
Adding a personal touch is easy to do when conversing with customers. Interact on social media with a team member’s profile instead of the brand’s profile. Using a brand ambassador like this will help personalize your company. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are perfect for creating community and encouraging engagement.
Remember that advertising your product on these platforms should be secondary to providing value to the customer. Once you’ve gained a loyal customer, they will seek out your content and share it. That is the ultimate goal; creating customer ambassadors.
Your website should continue their experience so that they feel connected through all touchpoints. A well-designed website will entice customers to take the next step.
- Offer Exclusive Content
Customers want to feel appreciated and valued. Create content that isn’t available to the public, but requires targeted customers to login and access exclusive, valuable benefits. Provide members with exclusive discounts and special pricing as well. This is a great way to say thank you to members for being valued customers.
Think about larger companies that have used this successfully. Amazon Prime is the perfect example of a membership with exclusive benefits. Target recently renamed their Cartwheel app as Target Circle, which offers discounts and limited-time coupons for members. As a smaller business, you can offer a similar experience at no cost to customers.
- Make Your Customers Part of the Team
Customers love to be involved with brands they are invested in. If you’d like to encourage stronger engagement consider asking for customer opinion and input. This is valuable as well because you can glean some great advice from those that are loyal to your brand.
Take this one step further and let customers co-create with you. If you are creating a new website, an e-book or new products, there is plenty of opportunities to get customers involved. This type of co-creation gives loyal customers an additional way to engage. Once the project or product is released, give recognition to those involved. You can even offer rewards or prizes for those that provide ideas that are implemented.
- Celebrate Together
Work hard, play hard, right? Celebrate successes with your customers! Showing gratitude for their support is important too. When you reach milestones, share it with your audience and give them props. This is a great time to offer special discounts. Customers love to feel like they contributed. Embrace their desire to be part of your success.
There are so many opportunities to interact with your customers and you can bet your competition is doing the same. The difference between a successful business and a struggling business can largely be how you engage your audience online. Use these tips to engage and build loyalty and you’ll be building your business too.