Engagement Marketing and Engagement with Marketing are some of the toughest areas to master for any small business. While the definition of creating meaningful interactions and moments with your audience through engaging, valuable content is simple – actually putting this into practice is a much bigger ask. Think of it as a mix of Chemistry, Art and Science with a little magic thrown in for good measure – good engagement marketing sparks real conversations, ideas and of course, Growth!
In this blog, the second of our Demand Generation Funnel stages, we’ll talk candidly about how to drive engagement with your prospects and customers to help your business grow.
Engagement Marketing is a huge topic, covering everything from audiences and creative to KPI’s and Nurture Strategy. We’re going to start with the basics first but if you’re ready to accelerate feel free to skip through.
Everything we do at The Demand Generation Team starts with the audience – take this blog for example, if you’re reading this then the chances are that Engagement Marketing and how to improve it is one of your goals and it’s the same for your audiences. Starting with what really matters to your audience should always be the starting point for your Engagement Marketing strategy, after all they’re the people you’re trying to engage.
If you have an existing customer base, we’d recommend starting a feedback or review program with them – don’t just think of this as “how do I get more 5-Star reviews” instead use it as an opportunity to learn about your audience.
If you’re not sure where to start, then try these for size:
We could go on but the point of these is to help you understand what really matter to your audience, you may already have a good idea anecdotally but every time we’ve done this activity with our clients we (and they) always learn something insightful about their audience that helps improve engagement rates.
If you don’t have an existing client base or your sales process is much more transactional then don’t fret, this process can be replicated via on page surveys, social polls or even short form feedback after purchase. Don’t worry either if you don’t get responses from everyone -that’s completely normal – just make sure you consistently ask for and take note of feedback from your audiences to ensure that your Engagement Marketing stays hyper relevant.
As well as direct feedback we’d recommend taking note of what your audiences are saying to other brands, we don’t mean bugging the board room but rather reading reviews and comments. If you’re getting to the point of sophistication then consider social listening tools that can help you gauge sentiment around topics or brands, Meltwater, Hubspot, Hootsuite and SumAll all have good social listening toolkits if you’re going down this route.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again, “Customers do not want to be your friend!” sorry we know it’s a bummer but realising this early on will help you no end down the line. Whilst it’s true that you’re probably not going to create a friend for life with your engagement strategy there are some key moments where you can create real, meaningful moments – we call them Engagement Flashpoints.
These flashpoints are critical to a successful engagement strategy and include;
We’ll keep it to those for now but bear in mind that engagement is a long-term strategy so you will naturally see these repeating and extending as you grow. Each of these flashpoints are effectively asking your audience to give your business something – it may be time, attention, money (of course) or more valuably for them, their recommendation. Our advice in curating these flashpoints is to make your value absolutely clear and relevant to your audience. Here are a couple of examples of flashpoints done well (and badly)
This example from Clearbanc.com uses a direct, personal approach to grab attention and features a semi casual woman effectively tapping your screen. The titles and direct questions ask for responses rather than shouting a message.
Natwest have gone for a much more evocative, personal approach with this #betherolemodel campaign – featuring normal people is a good way to ensure inclusivity in your customer engagement.
This is the worst of the examples we picked and a prime example of product push over customer engagement, yes there’s a “trust” message with 5 year warranty but this may as well be a billboard rather than a conversation.
We’ll delve a bit further into this one later but it’s a good example of “freebie” style or additional value customer engagement.
We’ve focused on the initial discovery here but at each Engagement Flashpoint remember that your buyers are in control – your job is to ensure you’re giving them maximum value – a whitepaper or briefing may not be as valuable to them as you think it is so test what’s really working at each stage and refine from there.
A picture tells a thousand words right? It’s no different in an engagement strategy where getting the visuals and creatives right can be a major factor in your success. Now, unfortunately there is no definitive right or wrong with imagery or copy aside from the obvious clarity, continuity, originality and correctness (i.e. no mistakes) but there are some key guidelines to follow.
What you like and find engaging about the examples above may be completely different to what we like and find engaging – the magic is in creating campaigns that capture your preferences, or rather your audience’ preferences.
Take the Xero example above – love it or hate it you can’t miss the value proposition in this ad and if you’re in the market for Accounting software this might have been enough to earn your “click”. For the sake of research we did just that and clicked through to the landing page which is a good example of engaging copy.
In this example you can see some heavyweight trust messages prominently displayed above the page fold. Trust is an important part of engagement and one not to be overlooked. By making their Trustpilot reviews a prominent part of the scroll Xero letting their existing customers do the talking for them.
Engagement isn’t just about creatives or copy, in our digital world we as consumers expect slick, seamless experiences when we buy. We’re not talking about large scale experiential campaigns or anything even close, in fact quite the opposite – a good chunk of engagement today is driven by our online experiences.
We’ll stick with the Xero for this one – subtly across the landing page there are numerous opportunities to drive deeper engagement, each one of them connected to a specific part of a buyers’ journey.
In the second block we see much more product or feature led copy, still very simple and benefits focused but now we have the opportunity to either “learn more” or “play overview”. The key in crafting engagements is to give your buyers their own choices and simple experiences that allow them to really engage rather than just being an observer.
If you’re struggling to start building content for your engagement marketing then firstly we can help! Give us a call to chat about creating campaign content that really engages. Secondly you’re not alone – too many businesses and brands focus on product at early stages without giving a second thought for what their audiences really care about. Creating engaging content for the early funnel (attraction) relies on getting to the heart of your buyers needs rather than promoting your products.
There’s a whole spectrum of content that you can use though whoever you’re trying to engage – video, tools, demo’s, blogs, downloads, podcasts, events even quote requests – the list is endless but the key is using the right blend of content for your buyers. We’ll take The Demand Generation Team as an example, we run Free Digital Marketing Sessions as part of our content and engagement marketing strategy, it’s a key part of our value exchange with our potential clients and a great way to start a conversation without a huge commitment from buyers. Whilst this strategy might not be for you take some time to understand what you buyers will really find useful and be sure to include it in your engagement marketing strategy.
Back to the subject at hand, improving your engagement marketing. Well as we always say, you can’t improve what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you can’t track so let’s look at what you should be tracking for a start.
We can broadly break these down into above the funnel and below the funnel measures – i.e. engagement off your website(s) and engagement on your website(s)
Off your website and across both paid and organic channels you’ll want to measure how well your engagement strategy is working by looking at:
Each of these areas represents an Engagement Flashpoint and while it can seem daunting to measure each one, remember that you’re not measuring for the sake of it – looking at the data will guide you in making key improvements at each of these stages.
Getting your engagement marketing right is crucial for success in our competitive digital environment – yes there are lots of elements to consider but tackling them one by one is a great way to keep your business growth plans in motion. As part of a wider Demand Generation strategy Engagement marketing can not only help you stand out in the crowd but supercharge your results in the process. If we can help at all with your engagement marketing then drop your details below and we’ll be back to you in a jiffy.
Posted by Helen Brookes on Friday 26th February 2021