One of the primary objectives of online marketing campaigns is customer interaction. When consumers engage with a brand online, they develop an emotional attachment and are more likely to become loyal customers. A loyal customer helps spread the message of a brand and drives sales through grassroots marketing, especially through social media and the ability to share posts and recommend products easily. Companies that focus on customer engagement over pure marketing tend to have much better returns on investment. However, it is not always obvious how to get customers to interact with a brand, especially on non-social media websites such as an organization’s proprietary site. Here are some important tips for driving customer interaction and developing consumer loyalty.
Use creative and engaging calls to action.
The easiest way to get consumers to interact is by giving them a call to action. However, not all calls to action are alike. Marketers need to think hard about what their goal is and what their audience wants. For example, “Click here to sign up for our mailing list” will not generate nearly as many clicks as “Do you like good deals? Then have them delivered regularly to your inbox!” Calls to action should tell people what they will get in return, whether it is access to special services or products, exclusive offers, or something different entirely.
From a design perspective, organizations need to ensure that their pages are optimized for mobile use. Many people access the Internet primarily from their mobile devices, and a tiny button can be hard to press successfully, especially if other links are in close proximity.
Enable comments on blog posts.
Blogs are a great way to provide potential customers with engaging, relevant content. People naturally have reactions to blogs, and an easy way to get more interaction is to encourage people to share their thoughts and opinions. When many customers do this, the comments section can take content even further and help develop a real sense of connection to the brand.
Importantly, interaction is a two-way street. Individuals are more apt to comment themselves if they see that their thoughts and opinions are read. Brands should strive to reply regularly to comments, both positive and negative, to encourage continued interaction. Asking customers open-ended questions about their opinions and their experiences is a great way to get feedback about products and services and generate ideas for brand growth.
Provide a live chat option.
Live chat options are a great way to get customers to interact when they would otherwise move on without a second thought. Many people feel that they do not have the time to call a company and wait on hold for an answer to a quick question, and sending an e-mail means waiting an indeterminate amount of time for a reply. When a live chat option is available, these individuals can get answers to their questions quickly and painlessly. Offering live chat is relatively inexpensive and can help gather an incredible amount of information about customers. While this customer data is useful, live chats also help gauge demographics, including behavior and geographic location.
Importantly, only trained representatives should be able to interact directly with customers. These representatives must understand the brand, its values, and the voice it uses when interacting with potential customers. Also, these individuals should have tools available for getting answers quickly. If customers experience rudeness or representatives who are unable to answer their questions, this frustration will reflect negatively on the brand.
Gather information with surveys.
Surveys remain one of the best ways to collect demographics about potential customers and include better insight on why conversions do not take place. Through a survey, individuals can also share what they expect from a website, which can help marketing and executive teams shift strategies accordingly. A number of tools exist for brands to implement surveys easily on their websites. These surveys can help build brand loyalty by showing individuals that the company really cares about their opinions. Companies can also drive further interaction by following up on responses, provided that individuals provide contact information and the surveys are not anonymous.
Marketing teams may also want to consider offering a survey through a pop-up on the company website. Pop-ups remain controversial, and companies should avoid overusing them. However, one pop-up survey can force interaction, even if it is to decline the survey. Brands can hook people into the survey by offering a reward for taking it, such as a free gift with any order or a coupon for money off the next order.
Incorporate social share buttons.
User interaction can be made exceedingly simple when brands include one-click buttons for sharing content on various social media networks. This strategy also provides free viral marketing, making it especially important for companies. The buttons should be obvious but non-intrusive, and a call to action could be incorporated into content to encourage people to share.
As with other calls to action, marketers should also make the possibility of sharing more alluring with relevant text. For example, companies could say, “Let your friends know exactly what you want for your next birthday” to encourage product sharing. The text should be relevant to the brand. For example, a high fashion company might say, “Show your friends that you are on the cutting edge of new fashions!”