It’s no surprise to anyone that clients and customers are the most important part of any organisation, and without them, well…you don’t have a business.
Much has been already written about engagement, and the importance of it. This blog won’t get into that, but instead provide a few ways any company or organisation can actually engage their customers and target market. Firstly, think about what the term “engagement” actually means. For us at i3 Digital, it’s making sure that your customers, like a fiancé, are seen as “taken” and are clearly involved or even committed to your brand.
Obviously, the more engaged customers you can generate, the stronger your business will perform. Engagement, for me anyway, is about generating mindshare within your customer base, and remaining relevant to them. There’s so much noise out there right now, and let’s be honest, your competitors are shouting the same things you are. Engaging with your customers means that, no matter how loud the others shout, they’ve built up a connection to your company.
1.) Don’t forget the human touch in marketing
There’s thousands of online articles detailing new and exciting ways of how to get information from your clients. Online surveys, web analytics, content personalisation, website visitor tracking tools, social media monitoring services, lead soring and countless other methods are all merited and we use each of them. However, if you want to know what your customers like or think, just ask them! They really won’t mind you taking the time to get to know them better so you can service their needs to the max!
We’re i3 Digital…we adore the digital world. It’s our business and we can’t imagine doing anything else. But, you know what, we’re still people, we like talking, we love scones and coffees, and so do our customers. Of course use the online tools that are available today and give us a unique advantage and insight into our customers, but don’t forget the basics of human-to-human conversation. If you do one thing after reading this blog, pick up the phone and arrange a coffee right now…in person! If you’re stuck on who to call…call us!
2.) Use your best Marketers…and it ain’t you!
I’m i3 Digital’s Marketing Manager. I’ve been a post-grad marketer for over 11 years now, I’m a Chartered Institute of Marketing Member and constantly do my best to keep up-to-date with the marketing world. I’m okay at it, but there’s one person at marketing my company that I’ll never even come close to competing with. It’s not our MD, our CEO, any of our Sales Managers or anyone else within i3 Digital…it’s you!
The very best marketers for any company, brand, institution or organisation are those outside of it! I’ll tell you i3 Digital is great all day long (it is, by the way), but I have an agenda. It’s my job.
If you needed a new website for your business and I rang you to tell you how great this company is, and how we’d love to build it for you, you might agree to meet for a further discussion. If you did, you’re almost certainly going to meet the other 3 or 4 companies that also call you to tell you exactly the same things, so i3 Digital will have at best a 15-20% shot at your business.
However, if you were out with friends or at a business lunch and someone you trusted told you that i3 Digital had recently deployed their website and that they were delighted with our professionalism, expertise, value for money and dedication to customer service, you’re instantly connected to i3 Digital on a level that I could probably never bring you to. This person has told you nothing that I wouldn’t, but “social proof” is so much more powerful than what we as marketers do.
The great news is that your business can encourage social proof via testimonials, case studies, vlogs and lots of other channels. Once again, to get these from your customers, you have to ask for them! The digital world today allows us to share and promote the great things that others say about us, so if you’re not already doing this, you really must start.
3.) Provide Value in your Marketing
As Grant Leboff states in “Stickier Marketing”, Marketing is no longer a means to an end, but a means in itself. Instead of ‘doing marketing’ to get a sale further down the line, marketing today has to give value to your customer, whether or not a transaction will ever take place. This refers to the “Thought Leadership” aspect of content marketing. There’s almost no point in only marketing to a customer at their time of buying. That’s what we’ve traditionally done, but in today’s world of unlimited choice, it’s now completely obsolete. Instead, marketers and businesses must now become, over time, a trusted source of information and genuinely compelling content.
What this means, is that when a customer reaches the point of need or purchase, they will absolutely give you a shot at their business because they’ve built up a connection with your brand over time. They’ve grown to associate your company with advice, education, information and general positivity. Of course, you may not win their business, but you’re guaranteed a shot at it. Remember, providing information and engaging customers over time allows you to build up the necessary connection to your customer, so at the time of their choosing (not yours), you’re on their radar.
Now…go arrange that coffee!