What is digital engagement? A guide to digital customer engagement
A digital engagement strategy can help you provide a better customer experience and boost your bottom line.
Published April 15, 2020
Last updated March 30, 2021
Every business owner wants to keep their customers happy and loyal.
But in today’s digitally connected world, word spreads faster than ever before, so if a customer isn’t pleased, they might let their entire social network know about it.
Your customers want to get in touch with your business the same way they would with friends and family—so you need to be present on the channels they prefer.
A digital customer engagement strategy can help you provide a better customer experience, resulting in better customer relationships and a boost to your bottom line.
What is digital engagement?
Digital customer engagement is all the ways a customer interacts with your business, and how you interact with them. Think of it like this: it’s all of the digital touchpoints your customer has with your brand, including email, social media, and even your website. These experiences work together to build (or hurt) your relationships with your customers.
Why is digital customer engagement important?
Customer loyalty is hard to earn, but easy to lose: nearly half of customers say they’d switch to a competitor after just one bad experience.
That number snowballs to 80% after more than one bad experience, according to the 2020 Customer Experience Trends Report.
Gone are the days when a business could take a one-size-fits all approach to their customer experience.
The data is clear: customer expectations of your company are sky-high.
Customers want to be treated as individuals, meaning they expect companies to know their preferences and purchase history. To do that, companies need to be able to harness their customer interactions across platforms and turn that data into actionable insights.
Companies that do this the right way can build on their success. Customers want companies to keep track of their data if it leads to a better customer experience.
So better digital customer engagement leads to more customer data and better customer experiences, which can lead to higher profits.
How to drive digital engagement
Digital customer engagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum—it takes a plan.
“You can post on social media all day long, but without a plan, there’s no goal,” says Andy Crestodina, cofounder and chief marketing officer of Orbit Media Studios. “If your business is present on a digital channel, you need to have a strategy.”
Here are three key things to consider:
1. Digital engagement strategy
The first step is to determine your business goals. As with any other plan, your goal should be based on data and it should be actionable.
“How can you know you achieved your goal without data?” asks Crestodina. “Every plan needs to have numbers.”
For example, let’s say your business has launched a new product feature, and you dig into the analytics and find that awareness among your customers is low. Your ultimate goal is to get 200 demos through digital channels.
That’s a solid goal to shoot for—now what do you need to do to get there?
Once you set a strategy, you can look at all of your digital channels to identify the best ways to reach your target.
2. Digital channels
Each digital channel needs a tailored strategy—they are levers that can be pulled for different goals. “The channel determines the promotional strengths of your content,” says Crestodina.
Here are some examples:
- Paid search
- Social media marketing
- Live chat and messaging
Webinars are live, virtual events that are executed online. It’s an interactive format with video and audio that gives you an excellent opportunity to listen to customer questions. You can use these questions to inform your next piece of content.
Paid search is a type of digital marketing where search engines like Google allow advertisers to show ads on their search engine results pages (SERP).
Search works on a pay-per-click model and is a good way to drive traffic and build brand awareness.
Social media helps build brand loyalty and stronger customer relationships. Show how you’re living your brand values, post eye-catching content, and hear what your customers have to say.
Most social media users log in at least once per day, so keeping fresh posts in their feed keeps you top of mind.
Live chat and messaging create a personal connection with customers looking for support. Live chat lets customer service agents help more customers in less time, which means happier customers more of the time.
And, customers are 3 times more likely to make a purchase when you reach out via chat, so it can be profitable, too.
Trying to figure out where to get started? You can create a matrix of your channels and topics to see where your opportunities are.
“You’ll start to see some interesting patterns in the data when you map it out,” says Crestodina. “You might see a topic is doing really well, so that means your customers want to know more about it. Create more content around that topic and push it through your channels.”
3. Customer engagement platform
Using all of your digital channels is one thing, but keeping track of all your customer data is another story.
Delivering a great customer experience means knowing all of your customer interactions with your brand, how they prefer to be contacted, what products they’ve purchased, and a whole lot more.
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can bring all of this data together for you and provide valuable insights to help you manage your business.
It lets your team see everything about a customer in one place, including every step of the customer journey.
This gives you the ability to deliver a truly personalized experience to each of your customers.
Digital engagement keeps loyal customers
Good customer experiences drive loyalty, and bad ones tank it.
As competition heats up and economic uncertainty is an ever-present wildcard, one thing is for sure: customer loyalty can help drive the success of your business.
Loyal customers will continue to do business with you while referring others to your company—and when the going gets tough, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.