Business owners who have had great ideas know this feeling. You’ve had the stroke of inspiration, and you’ve used it to develop this excellent product. You know that people need it, and you can see how it can be innovated in the future. You’re all set.
But then there’s the customer. Finding them is one concern, while keeping them and keeping them happy is another. Suddenly, you’re faced with not just being an entrepreneur, but a customer outreach and service agent?
We all know that our smartphones have changed everything. It’s really amplified eCommerce, it’s brought a world of information to everyone (not just academics), and more than that, it’s presented all of us with choices.
Instead of opting for the thing we saw in a magazine, or what’s available right in our neighborhood, we hunt around waiting to be captivated by the best. Moreover, price as compared to the value of your product is only one factor influencing a purchase.
In fact, price can be secondary to engagement. People are more likely to spend money (and even go a bit over their budget) for businesses that they identify with, relate to, or that make them feel supported and cared for. Businesses that align with their ethics, worldview, or aspirations get more loyalty as well.
Yes, loyalty. Ultimately, customer engagement is inextricably tied to customer retention. Gallup, the top research and polling consultancy, notes that disengaged and indifferent customers like to brand-hop. Engaged customers stick with your business, and actually consider your competitor’s product a “substitute” for the real thing – you.
The Engaged Customer is The Future of Your Business
Obviously, you see the number one perk of the engaged customer as a sale, and then another. But too often, we don’t consider how that group of engaged customers will influence our growth and help us target a wider audience.
Your engaged customer can share valuable insight and help you determine which direction is best for your business. They’re also the people that inspire others to purchase your product or services, through reviews, instructional videos, and more.
And depending on what you have to sell, they make you a part of their visual identity on social media. Are they always pictured on Instagram wearing your merchandise? Is your product visible in the background? It’s not always about the sponsored advertisement; it’s a seamless, natural integration that builds familiarity to your brand with people who may come across your products again, recognize, and purchase.
There are a number of ways to make customer engagement a bigger priority for your business. Use systems that help guide customers through your site, and provide fast answers for any questions. Check your mentions. When someone tags or tweets you, respond. Create lighthearted posts that spark a conversation.
Make engaged customers feel included with personalized emails, and finally always help people understand your product better by producing content that helps them see the benefits of doing business with you. Don’t just sell, engage, and watch as loyal customers spend more time and money with your business.