The key to engaging with customers – both those that you’ve yet to convert into clients and those that you want to retain over the long term – is authenticity and awareness. Relating to your audience in a way that is thoughtful to their needs and interested in providing solutions is the foundation for approaching and engaging with new and existing customers. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how to approach and engage with customers, but there are a few things for almost every organization to consider.
What to know about approaching and engaging with new customers?
Creating a customer engagement model to help your business establish guidelines on how to approach and engage with customers starts with understanding the customer journey – the process that can begin long before you ever engage with them.
Customers start off not knowing anything about your brand. Focusing on engaging your audience with brand awareness generating content is key here to begin to grow awareness and impressions to attract customers. Customers may have identified a problem but have yet to see your brand as the solution.
Here customers are beginning to discover the possible solutions to their needs. They may be conducting research and your organization may be among the contenders that they’re gathering information on. Here, it can be helpful to engage with customers through event marketing.
In this stage, customers are still undecided about whether to choose your brand or your competitor. In order to engage with them more effectively, many brands introduce content like testimonials, case studies, and product reviews into their customer emails or targeted social advertising so that target markets can get more familiar with the benefits of your brand other another.
You’ve converted a customer when they’ve invested money in your brand over a competitor. When this occurs, it’s important to continue the engagement process. Sending a welcome email or user guide is a good first step once a purchase occurs. You can also assign a sales rep to contact them to help answer any questions they may have. Even just a thank you email is a great way to keep the approach simple and continue meaningful engagement.
How to build a customer engagement plan
It’s important to engage with customers at every stage of their journey – but one places that most organizations miss in their customer engagement is the post-sales customer support. Every customer engagement model should include post-sales engagement through:
As mentioned above, it’s important to welcome customers once you’ve officially converted them. This can be a quick follow-up phone call by an account manager to introduce themselves or can be a series of welcome emails that highlight product and service benefits. This helps customers feel like they are valued by a brand and not just another sales number.
Onboarding new customers will lead to better customer retention. Continued outreach and engagement is key to customer loyalty and eventual customer business referrals. You want customers to continue to see value in your brand and be top of mind for their future needs. This will vary by customer or account but can look like anything that helps continue a solution-based and customer-oriented dialogue is helpful. This can include product and industry guides, research, news, and even reward for engaged customers like free account analysis, space planning, or other value-added services.
Figuring out how your brand can approach and engage with customers is based on good market research on the front end and good analytics, data, and revisiting strategy throughout your marketing cycles. Although every company has different business goals, customer engagement is an important part of every marketing plan for any brand and creating authentic touchpoints at every stage is essential.