Over the years marketers have begun to separate engagement-focused strategies from more general communication goals, putting one form of marketing firmly in the spotlight: engagement marketing. Engagement is, and always has been, an incredibly important part of almost any marketing campaign. But in today’s fiercely competitive climate, it’s vital.
Popular amongst marketers looking to nurture growth and lead in the way in expansion strategies, engagement marketing is a powerful way of highlighting the results that better engagement provides. These strategies aim to make the most of every opportunity to connect with consumers, ensuring that brands interact with consumers in a more meaningful and valuable way across every channel.
Learn more about how engagement marketing works and find out how some of the best-regarded engagement strategies could benefit your business in our quick guide to engagement marketing.
What is Engagement Marketing?
Engagement marketing presents a notable shift from traditional marketing communications, and it’s largely being driven by changes in consumer habits.
Today’s consumers have reams of information at their fingertips, with more content than they could ever dream of reading. They’re continuously bombarded with advertising and notifications from brands, and are exposed to huge numbers of sponsored posts every day, on almost all of the platforms they use.
This has led to a growing scepticism amongst consumers, with the youngest demographics shying away from more traditional forms of advertising in favour of something altogether more personal. Engagement marketing.
Engagement marketing differs from more traditional marketing campaigns, because it seeks to really engage with consumers, building real connections that grow stronger over time. By providing consumers with new ways to interact, brands can motivate consumers to engage with them, starting conversations that will ultimately lead to growing numbers of loyal customers.
Brands practising great engagement marketing tend to be well known for their personalities, and these provide further temptation for consumers to interact with them. The best engagement marketing campaigns are packed full of useful, humorous or inspiring content, and they always make it easy for consumers to get involved by commenting, sharing and shaping future interactions.
Consumers who have been tempted to engage with a brand as a result of engagement campaigns may well be inspired to research the brand in more detail, follow its social channels and sign up for more information, giving the brand valuable opportunities to convert this interest into a sale. And when this is done at scale, improved engagement quickly turns into great brand awareness, better profitability and growth over time.
Why Should it Matter to Brands?
Engagement marketing matters. Brands now have no option but to embrace the opportunities of engagement-focused strategies, and there’s a simple reason for this. Engagement goes hand in hand with customer experience, the very thing that’s driving the growth of many of today’s leading ecommerce brands.
Consumers now expect fantastic customer experiences which deliver on any device. They expect the brands that they shop with regularly to tailor their experience to the preferences they’ve already shown, and they expect personal, targeted interactions that make them feel valued as a customer. Engagement marketing is critical to every one of these concerns, as many of the goals of improving customer experience can only be achieved when engagement is made a priority.
In short, the personal interactions that are so powerful in improving engagement have the added benefit of providing a better experience for customers, and both of these factors are crucial if brands are to provide a standout experience to every customer who chooses to shop with them.
How Does Engagement Marketing Work?
Engagement marketing works by changing the relationship that consumers have with brands. By creating a two-way relationship between a brand and its consumers, engagement campaigns seek to build stronger, better connections between brands and customers, and improve profitability as a result.
There are many ways in which brands can use engagement marketing tactics to their advantage. Popular strategies include promoting involvement on social media channels, through interactive content such as Q&A sessions, surveys and polls, or even providing customers with the chance to shape future strategies by asking them to get involved in marketing campaigns and advertisements.
Content is hugely important in engagement marketing, and it’s one of the ways that brands can start to engage consumers across all platforms. By designing and creating content which is truly valuable to customers, brands can encourage consumers to follow their social channels, sign up to new updates and interact with different content pieces. Video is particularly powerful here, but other forms of content such as blogs, product demonstrations and interviews are also useful.
The Challenges of Engagement Marketing
Great engagement marketing might look simple at first glance, but there’s usually a whole lot of work going on behind the scenes!
There are considerable challenges to improving engagement, which must be overcome before any engagement campaign can reach its true potential.
Data is, of course, integral to engagement marketing. Brands cannot seek to build strong relationships with consumers if they aren’t making full use of the data they have at their fingertips.
To provide consumers with continuous communication, every interaction must first take into account that consumer’s buying habits, recent purchases, support tickets and previous returns information. And for that to happen, data needs to be being managed efficiently, in a safe and secure manner that inspires trust in every consumer.
Engagement strategies can also fall flat if communication within a company isn’t as good as it should be. If, for example, a new strategy is designed by one department, but another department isn’t fully briefed and ready to action every process that needs to happen in time, the entire strategy is a non-starter. Teams must be working harmoniously together before they can hope to build the best relationships with their customers.
What Does Successful Engagement Marketing Look Like?
Successful engagement looks, to the outside viewer, like a meaningful interaction between a consumer and their brand of choice.
The best examples of engagement marketing are subtle, and will inspire consumers to connect with a brand because the content being produced is genuinely interesting to them. Consumers will take advantage of useful content, sharing it and connecting with the brand to continue the conversation.
Often engagement strategies aren’t entirely obvious, but what is clear is the change in mindset of consumers, as they move away from scepticism about in-your-face advertising, and switch to a more favourable view of the brand in question in response to their interest in its engaging content.
To see engagement marketing in action, look out for brands with huge followings of loyal consumers, and see how customers are engaging with the brand’s content. Keep your eyes peeled for consumers sharing branded content, and consider how these content pieces have evolved in time, and how the brand has used current trends alongside data on its own customers’ preferences to guide its content strategies.
Brands might be using point-based customer retention strategies as part of their engagement tactics or they could be focusing on building strong, interconnected online communities that share their brand values.
Great engagement strategies will also incorporate email communications, which should be personalised for best results. In-app notifications, UX improvements and A/B testing also play a pivotal role in engagement marketing.
The Power of Engagement Marketing
Engagement marketing is uniquely powerful as it tackles a whole host of improvements, all of which can be incredibly useful in enhancing the overall customer experience and preparing a company for growth.
Engagement strategies cover a whole range of different goals, but ultimately the main objective is better interactions with consumers. These improved interactions lead to a snowballing list of positive results for the brand in question, from an uptick in visibility on social media channels, to improvements in web traffic and conversions.
If consumers are engaged with a company, they will be inspired to follow its different social channels and sign up for notifications and email communications. This ensures that they don’t miss future content, sales or promotions from the brand in question. They’ll also be more likely to react favourably to branded content, and the chances of them sharing content on behalf of a brand will be greatly improved too.
When engagement marketing is done well, companies stand to benefit enormously. Learn more about how engagement marketing could benefit your business, and how your brand could build lasting and valuable relationships through multi-channel message optimization.
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