Our Business Solutions Strategist, Andrew Murray, explains the importance of optimising customer engagement throughout the buying cycle
It is an obvious truth that communication always results in healthier relationships, and customer engagement – the two-way communication between brand and customer – is no exception. Whether you actively engage with your customer or not can potentially mean the difference between the success and failure of your business.
Thanks to the Internet, customer engagement has been taken to a new level, and if successfully achieved can result in highly satisfied, repeat customers. By simply communicating and listening, businesses can effectively adjust their business model to satisfy customers based on what they say they want, eliminating the need for time-consuming, expensive and potentially inaccurate market research.
The importance of engaging at every stage of the customer’s journey
In today’s economy, competition is hot and people are time-starved. If you don’t engage with customers at every stage of the buying cycle, you risk losing both presence and relevance.
In the past, an advert would create awareness of a product or service and potentially spark a desire. That desire would result in them either (a) inquiring about and assessing the product via their family and friends or (b) going into the store to find out more. If satisfied, they would purchase the product and thereafter have little communication with the brand, except perhaps to relay their brand experience to a select few.
Today, brands have far more control over each level of the journey.
These can be broken into four stages:
Awareness (Seeing an ad)
Brands are now able to advertise to exactly the right people at exactly the right time. Through advanced targeting, ads can be shown only to individuals that are genuinely interested in what the advertiser is offering.
Consideration (Searching for products and services on search engines)
Brands are now able to appear at the exact moment that potential customers are searching for a related service. We call these micro-moments – and they’re pivotal to your brand’s online success. With an effective Google AdWords and SEO strategy, you can ensure greater visibility on search results, and you only pay when the customer engages (clicks).
Engagement (Clicking through to a company website)
This is where your brand is ready to convert leads into customers, by speaking to their needs as they engage with your website.
Feedback and advocating (Expressing their brand experience to an audience)
An individual now has the power to influence the buying decisions of others through social media. If you fail to engage on the previous three stages or your brand experience is less than satisfactory, people will speak poorly of you online which can be detrimental to your business.
Thanks to the connective nature of the Internet, brands have more control over each stage of this buying cycle by engaging with customers throughout. If you aren’t present at each of these four stages, an individual will most likely choose a competitor that is.
Engagement and two-way communication results in stronger relationships, increasing brand loyalty
If you don’t communicate with someone, they won’t know anything about you. “Trust is earned” is not a new concept. To trust a brand, you need to know them, and you can’t know them without engaging. For repeat customers to be acquired, a brand needs to nurture customers and ensure that they are taken care of at every stage in their buying journey.