We’re constantly being told how important it is to make sure our audience remains engaged online. Easier said than done though, right? Well, not exactly.
There are plenty of strategies you can implement to make sure you cultivate the kind of audience that keeps coming back and eulogizes about you to their family and friends.
A business’s growth potential relies on the enthusiasm of its customers. If you have an audience, but they couldn’t care less about you, here’s how you can win them over permanently.
Here is how to ensure you have an engaged audience online:
1. Communicate with them
Social media is the best communication tool available to brands today. If your audience isn’t engaged with what you’re doing, your efforts across social media could be a big reason why.
Talk to your followers on social media and respond to any queries they have. Make sure you’re authentic in your communication though. Too often, brands will come across too formal on social media, or attempt to connect with followers by using language that doesn’t fit their brand. This only makes them appear worse to a more savvy audience in a manner that doesn’t fit the platform. Don’t use brand speak when you communicate over social media — just be authentic and your audience will respect and respond to it.
Likewise, you should create communities where people feel comfortable to communicate with each other. These communities can grow on existing platforms such as Twitter and Facebook around your accounts or hashtags, or on specialist platforms created by your brand. This gives your community room to speak amongst themselves, growing your brand without any direct input from your own team.
Communication is often about the little things. Automated emails after a purchase, quick responses to a query over social media and little updates about how things are going in the business help to build a sense of connection between you and your audience.
2. Give them a reason to keep coming back
Why would anyone engage with your website or social channels? What do they offer that they couldn’t find elsewhere?
If your website is all about a one time purchase, then the average customer has no reason to come back to you. It’s vital that you offer more in order to engage an audience.
This doesn’t mean having a wide range of products, but rather being able to sell them something extra. Give them alternative content, upsell unique products and create an environment in which something new and interesting may appear at any time.
After the initial sale, you need to establish a channel of communication that instantly draws them back in once you have something you think will spark their attention. If you’re just throwing products up on your website and giving customers nothing else to entice them with, then don’t be surprised if you don’t build an engaged audience.
When it comes to this strategy, the tried and tested methods are often the best. Loyalty schemes continue to be a successful outlet for companies looking to retain customers, because of their low cost and space for creativity. A unique loyalty scheme landing in their inbox can pique a customer’s interest and quite often lead them back to your website, especially if the shopping experience was pleasurable.
Think about how you can expand upon the little moments that set your website apart from your competitors and give customers and reason to choose you over them. Often the smallest change in strategy can do this, so don’t be afraid to do something slightly more out there instead of the usual.
3. Create quality content
Content drives traffic on your website. The quality and frequency of your content can be a huge factor in determining how engaged your audience remains in your brand and website after initial contact.
Work on a content strategy that engages with the audience and encourages them to interact. This can be as direct as asking a question, or something more controversial that may start a debate.
As long as there is engagement centered around your content you will see an increase in return. Creating content that sits apart from the kind you would usually create is a great way to spark increased interest.
If you generally write blogs, think about producing video content or an infographic. Often, visual content is more shareable and helps to expand your reach and subsequently engagement. It’s vital you don’t create flat content that doesn’t lead anywhere, but instead make something that demands an emotional reaction.
Content leads into social content, as the more you make the more you have to post across your channels. While you’re making your content ask yourself “who would enjoy this?” and “how they’re likely to engage with it, if at all?”
4. Harness the power of data
If you want to get more technical, successful re-engagement is a case of being smart with the data you have available to you.
Pay attention to the customer data you have accrued over the lifespan as a business, such as how they found you, what they did on your website and how frequently they’ve returned. This information will help dictate your future strategy and expose the weak points in your existing one. Customers who are signed up to your newsletter will give you a clear idea of what your most engaged followers and customers like about what you do. While heatmaps and bounce rates can help give an indication of what keeps visitors engaged and where they drop off.
This isn’t just a case of the products or services you offer being up to par, but the whole experience of engaging with your website and brand as a whole. The data will indicate what elements of the experience users find value in. If you can fine-tune your strategy around these moments you will grab them in a more substantial way.
Like trying to engage with a person in real life, understand that building a relationship will take time and it’s important to not do anything that will ultimately push them away. Take your time to establish a strategy and build slowly, until your website and brand is something that naturally retains the interest of visitors.