Taking into consideration the role of customers as paramount in a company’s business processes, marketers are adopting marketing efforts that take customers into account more and more every day.
This relatively new customer-centric approach is ultimately contributing to the level of customer satisfaction, but at the same time, it is impacting the performance of the business and its revenue streams. Right in the middle of this intersection is customer engagement.
Generally, brands need to understand that user experience is much more than the sales journey, but rather extends much further beyond the sale itself. By focusing your business on increasing customer engagement, you focus on creating seamless and valuable experience resulting in increases in customer satisfaction, and more importantly - customer lifetime value.
Luckily, we’ve coined 5 proven and tested tactics that will help you maximize your customer engagement and improve user experience through cross-channel marketing efforts. Here they are:
1. Enhance the “Email Follow-Up” Tactic with Multiple Channels
With all the cutting-edge technology like chatbots, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, emails can seem a bit obsolete. But make no mistake, email marketing is going pretty strong and is still one of the most efficient strategies to increase your engagement.
According to a study made by Iko Systems, the response rate they saw on the first email they sent was 18%, 13% on the fourth, and up to 27% on the sixth. Having this in mind, resending your emails seems like a logical step.
By now, you have probably heard about the proven tactic of follow up on unopened emails. It is a simple process of following up on your non-openers after some predefined time with an improved subject line. Consider this as a second chance to leave a great first impression.
What you should do is create the ultimate user journey flow to deliver a relevant and meaningful user experience to each of your customers. But how do you do it? Not everyone enjoys reading emails. Some of your customers might prefer using your mobile app, while others like to browse your website. Instead of using the old-fashioned way of sending follow-ups by email only, combine this proven tactic with multiple other channels to maximize your engagement.
In recent research by Braze, the metrics show a significant increase in engagement with the process of combining email and in-app messages. They identified 185% more engagement when using email and in-app, than email only. Also, the increase in engagement when using push notifications and in-app messages was 224% higher over push notifications alone.
These messaging channels allow you to virtually communicate with your customers in different ways: whether that’s by push notifications on their phone or web browser, in-app messages, in-browser messages, emails, etc. Many of the currently used marketing automation tools allow you to easily set up and automate such follow up journeys as previously mentioned.
Example cross-channel follow up funnel
So for example, imagine you’re having a promotion on one of your products - you send out an email informing your client base, but 80% of them have not opened the email. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to target this 80% with additional messaging, and not just anywhere - but show it as an in-app message to all who open your mobile app the next day, or as a pop-up on your website to those who come to visit it!
2. Provide Unique User Experience Through Hyper Personalization
When customers engage with your brand on a daily or let’s say a regular basis, they expect a personalized experience and relevant content, online and offline. In order not to fall behind the competition, you must strive to exceed customers’ expectations by putting personalization at the top of your priority pyramid.
A recent statistic from Salesforce reveals that high performing businesses implement segmentation and data-targeting 51% more than underperforming businesses. Also, 34% of the customers say they would be thrilled to promote their favorite brands online if the content they offer suits their interests.
While engaging with your brand through different devices and channels, customers leave a trail of data about themselves - what they’re doing, who they are, what they want to purchase, etc. In order to deliver highly personalized user experience, you must collect and manage this data very carefully. Furthermore, you have to enhance it and finally integrate it into a complete customer view. As simple as it sounds, this is the trickiest part to master.
“With personalization, you pay attention to what the consumer is looking for and then match them with the most relevant products or content. When personalization is done right, the consumer may not even notice, but the benefit is a more relevant experience that cuts through the clutter. The benefit to the retailer is increased revenue or engagement.” - Dan Darnell, the VP of product and marketing at Baynote.
What should you accomplish before creating the supreme personalized campaign:
- Capture customer data - use the gathered online behaviors, customer demographics, interests, attitudes, and perceptions to better decide who exactly you are targeting.
- Create data-driven personas - define a real-life persona from each of your target groups and personalize your content and offers for each of them.
- Define digital channels - decide which channels your target audience prefers the most, what type of content works best for them and what time they’re likely to be online.
- Deliver dynamic content - personalize your customers’ experience by delivering dynamic content within the messages you send - based on the data you’ve captured, the personas you’ve defined & the channels you’re targeting.
Example personalized promotion in an in-app message
With a good amount of data about your customers, you have everything you need to create a flawless customer journey. For example, when your customers browse on your website for a specific product or service, you will gain insight into what they need and when they need it. The next step is to use that and, let’s say, craft a particularly timely message that is highly relevant to them.
The idea of personalization is to start small and move towards more progressive tactics as you dive into the journey. All the less or more significant steps you take will ultimately contribute to your customers’ satisfaction and will keep them coming back.
3. Using Action-Triggered Push-Notifications to Deliver Real-Time Value
Since customers always have their devices with them, one highly straightforward tactic that can increase your engagement is to give them real-time value based on their actions or location. One powerful tool that can help you give your customers more responsive and relevant user experience is triggered messaging.
Triggered messages are an outreach to your customers, such as push notifications or email, which are sent right after a user completes a predefined action, such as making a purchase or opening an app.
According to Entrepreneur, up to 75% of people on the age of 18-35 have enabled push notification on their devices. This is to the advantage of retailers since action-triggered messages allow brands to quickly respond to customers in real time, making the outreach highly relevant and valuable.
There are plenty of automation tools that make this feature powerful when it comes to the sophistication of its elements. You can set goals and triggers based on the users’ actions, like page visits or URLs, and you can choose your audience based on attributes that apply to them, such as devices they use, location, etc. What you get at the end are well tailored and relevant messages that will ultimately increase your conversion rate.
Example of a triggered push notification for an abandoned basket
- If your brand depends on web or in-app purchases, reminding customers to complete their purchase is of great importance. Let’s say, your customer has browsed some items, selected them, and put them in their shopping cart. However, they abandoned the shopping cart and left, without buying the items. After a certain period, a few hours maybe, you can send a triggered message to remind your customer about the almost-finished purchase and encourage them to complete it. You can additionally give them a 10% discount. It’s a win-win.
- You can create a “store companion” to enhance your user experience in store. It can turn on the moment they step into your store, giving customers information about their past purchases, product reviews, and recommendations. You can also set it up to provide additional information on limited-time offers, daily happenings in store, etc. Also, if your users have a gift card they haven’t used before, you can send a reminder.
- Another way of using this type of messaging is to celebrate milestones or express gratitude for your customers’ loyalty. Let’s assume your customer has logged in your app for the 100th time. You can set triggered messages to reward them for their loyalty or achievements. This way you encourage them to stick around and further engage with your brand.
These action-triggered push notifications allow you to constantly engage customers, building a durable and beneficial customer-brand relationship while, at the same time, strategically guiding them through their customer journey.
4. Retargeting Ads as Your Secret Weapon for Customer Engagement
What should you do when you see the interest shown by your customers, but they somehow end up abandoning your site before they do any action? The answer is retargeting - the most effective way you can market to all the potential customers who have already shown interest in your product or service.
Only 2% of your web traffic actually converts, according to Search Engine Land. The rest 98% are still browsing somewhere, waiting to be converted. In addition to that, you can use retargeting as a strategy for online advertising by showing ads to your customers, who visited your site but didn’t complete the purchase. You can do this through display marketing (Google Ads), paid social advertising (Facebook Pixel), etc.
The most commonly used method is Pixel-based remarketing. It is as simple as a code installed on your website that targets visitors right after leaving your site, thanks to the infinite number of modern technology advantages. You don’t want to scare people with creepy retargeting though. Use the data you have very wisely to build a strong and long-lasting relationship.
Let’s say you wish to target your potential customers with Facebook Ads. You can use Facebook Pixel to retarget all the Facebook users that have visited a specific webpage on your site (for example, the info webpage for a particular product or service) in the last 7 days with Ads offering them deals or discounts for that particular product or service.
If you aim to retarget those visitors that clicked away from your site to other websites (even competitor ones!), you can set up display retargeting ads. You can implement this type of retargeting by placing cookies that keep track of your website visitors while they browse elsewhere. This way, past visitors will see your ads while browsing on other sites and will keep you, as a brand, on top of their mind.
The reason why retargeting pays off is that past visitors are already familiar enough with your brand and are more likely to complete the next action at this stage, than people seeing your ad or brand for the first time. This strategic way of targeting will demonstrate increased conversion and, of course, solid ROI if done properly.
5. Always A/B Test and Optimize
A/B testing is an essential act of comparison marketers use to determine which version of an email, push notification or other types of customer messages performs best in terms of engagement, conversion metrics, etc.
This process will allow you to make some careful changes to your user experience while collecting all the data from the results. Furthermore, you can use it to continually improve a specific goal over time. For instance, if a B2B company wishes to improve the volume from their campaign landing page or the quality of the sales lead, they can A/B test the headlines, visuals, CTA, etc.
Three practices you should keep in mind when doing A/B testing:
- While running a test, ensure you do it on a statistically large enough number of users. The larger the sample, the bigger the chances of reflecting the preferences of the average user in your target audience.
- Make sure you know exactly which elements you are willing to test. Both (or all) variants you create must differ in a way that can be easily identified. Always test on one, or two elements only.
- Be careful while crafting the A and B (or C and D) variants. Let’s say that, for the A version, you use the original message you have been rolling with for some time now. On the other hand, the B version consists of emojis, creative content, text personalization, etc. Overloading the second variant with several different elements will complicate things. It will put you in a position where you don’t know which element exactly is causing the lift or the drop in your metrics. Make sure the variants you craft are similar in context with only a few major differences.
Keeping these few tips or practices in mind while you perform your test across your engagement strategy, will put you in a much more confident position to drive conversion and retention.
Word of mouth can spread like wildfire when it comes to customer engagement. Giving your customers the choice to engage with your brand where and how they want to, allows them to enjoy the experience while using the medium they are most comfortable with.
No matter the approach and tools you are using, the truth is that customer engagement can take you far or at least farther than others in the competitive business environment.
So, creating momentum to drive your customers forward should always be on top of your list. And remember, there is no silver bullet, only constant commitment to observation and improvement.