Sawaram Suthar is CMO at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.
For a successful content campaign, user engagement is as important as visibility in the search engines. Not only does it increase the awareness of your brand, it also helps to boost your SEO rankings. The problem with user engagement is that there is no method to measure directly if your customer engagement is a healthy one or not.
When a prospect visits your website or more specifically a landing page you designed exclusively for your services, you have a maximum of 8 seconds to impress the customer before he/she leaves your website. In this limited period of time, you have to assure them that your service is useful for them. If customers start leaving your website within a short duration of time, it will increase the bounce rates and decrease your position in the Google SERPs.
Further, according to reports by Intercom, the first impression that you make on a customer are the only chances you get online. The stats turn worse for businesses as reports by Kissmetrics state that 96% of customers who visit your website don’t return.
Therefore, to establish yourself as an authority in your business niche and enjoy a loyal customer following, it is imperative that you engage your customers once you have employed the proper SEO measures and marketing campaigns to bring them to your website. While there are many subjective methods that experts advise you such as creating distinct and excellent content or designing an immersive experience for the customers, we have five methods for your content marketing campaign that can provide you quantifiable results.
1. Offer Rewards or Incentives for users when they engage with you:
Everyone loves a freebie and users would not mind going the extra mile for a free e-book or a 30-day trial of a subscription you offer. You need to show your users that you appreciate their engagement on your website. This can be done in as simple a way as assigning levels to them as they indulge in more engagement activities such as comments, discussion threads, questionnaire forums , app installs etc. or praising the efforts of one of your dedicated users in a blog post. Similarly, there are more complex methods like providing free goodies as we discussed earlier.
What most of businesses and marketers don’t realize that by incentivizing their initial part of the sales funnel, they can achieve more loyalty and a higher number of purchases later on from the users who enrolled? According to reports, by offering something small or minor for free, users are encouraged to indulge for longer and are more likely to go for monetized schemes in the future. This further encourages other readers to engage more enthusiastically on your website. So go ahead and don’t hesitate to offer something free upfront to your loyal followers.
Live Chat is a very powerful and cost-effective method to increase user engagement on your website and provide them personalized service. This is one tool that prevents customers from closing your website when they feel confused about your services. Instead of waiting to talk to a customer representative on a phone, customers often prefer talking via live chat.
In fact, according to reports by Econsultancy, live chat has the highest level of customer satisfaction- standing at 73% as compared to 61% for emails and 44% for phones. Perhaps the best feature about live chat is its ability to gather consumer data while catering to customers’ issues. You can use this data to provide them better services later on or for better targeting in your marketing campaigns.
Data which you can collect varies according to the services you provide, but common data sets include demographics, preferences, and interests. Upon properly integrating this data with your CRM, you can provide personalized offers and services to your customers based on their geolocation and time zone.
Further, there are live chat applications that allow you to track the user’s activity right from the point where he/she entered your funnel to where he/she abandoned it. This allows you to identify steps with low and high conversion rates and engagement rates and accordingly modify your funnel. Live chat apps also help you identify new and returning users, allowing you to access their purchase history instantly and provide fast service.
Social Media plugins:
Including social share buttons on your website not only engages your customers but also leverages their own networks for increasing your website traffic. You can either ask customers to like your page and follow you on social media or to share the content on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Pinterest etc.
To ensure that customers do interact with your business on a social platform, you need to have a solid content marketing strategy. The content should be relevant and personal to the customers and their needs. Based on your business and the services you provide, you need to come up with a perfect blend of visuals and written content. Remember that visuals are appealing and easy to absorb, as is the case with infographics, but cluttering your web pages with images and media makes the page slower to load and harder to navigate.
Further, social sharing and like plugins also enhance your social media stature. Customers are more likely to indulge with your products when you are backed up by a good social media following. Also, it boosts your page rankings as Google gives preference to posts which have been shared a good number of times on social media platforms.
Use surveys to understand motive of customers:
Including polls and surveys is a good measure to increase customer engagement as well as retention. All the methods we saw above are good at making users engage with your business and each other, as in discussion threads and forums. But they do not provide insights into key metrics about your user. Of course, by using various analytics tool you can see when your site gets the maximum traffic and from which location, but you do not get insights into customer motives and requirements.
This is where surveys and polls come in. It is not necessary that you send an individual email to each of them as it will have relatively fewer response rates. You can simply include a generic poll in the middle of your webpage or in the side or bring it up as a polite pop-up. You can ask the users what was their motive for visiting the web page and if they got what they intended or you can use this chance to analyze the efficiency of your traffic sources and ask them how they learned about your business.
Be sure to include options with check-in boxes so that the user can simply select the option they think is the best. Also, if you have included a comment section, make it optional so that interested users can fill in their feedback and those who do not want to can skip it.
Discussion thread/ Comments section:
You must have often heard it- Content is king. By producing interactive content you can increase customer engagement while educating your customers and increasing your brand awareness. According to reports by Demand Metric, 45% customers reports that Interactive content is highly effective in educating customers and thereby, increasing customer engagement.
There are many ways by which you can make your customers interact. Slightly spice your content up and ask readers for their opinion. Similarly, you can create discussion threads and forums, where users can discuss your services. This also helps you in identifying issues faced by customers if you go through the forums as users are often open-minded and freer to express their opinions in a forum with like-minded people as against an email where you ask them for a feedback. Further, a highly active comment section is also known to boost rankings in the SERPs.
Additionally, there are many ways to increase customer engagement such as providing pop-up notifications or the highly popular options such as live streaming and podcasting. But above all, you need good content that your customers are able to relate to. Providing irrelevant content and simply stuffing up your website with keywords will bring users to your website but it will not be effective enough for your business in the long run.
Moreover, you will have a very low percentage of engaged customers and that will hamper your business. Engaged customers will represent your business more effectively through social media, blogs, videos and even word of mouth. The measurable returns are rewarding as well, as reports by an Influitive state that engaged customers to drive up cross-sell revenue by 22%, up-sell revenue from 13% to 51% and increase the order size from 5% to 85%.
Your website is the backbone of your online presence. Therefore, make sure you employ the proper customer engagement tactics apart from a well-targeted advertising campaign. Test out a number of methods and see what turns out best for you.
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