According to a report by Havas Group, 77% of companies could go extinct, and no one would even notice.
This is because, while brands are flooding social media and WordPress with content, the content they produce is often not relevant or valuable to their audience, and they don’t make full use of their analytics to personalise offers for different customer segments.
In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with content, you have to take action to ensure that your message is heard, but you also have to engage with your audience on an ongoing basis to be remembered by your potential and existing customers alike. For most businesses in the 21st century, the central point of that engagement should be their website, which they use to both drive conversions and retain existing customers.
So how can you capture and keep your customers’ attention to make sure your business does not ‘go gentle into that good night’?
You probably already know that having a blog will help you with the positioning of your website on search engines, such as Google (by contributing to good SEO). While this is true, and it’s always smart to follow SEO guidelines when coming up with a blog post, if you just create content oriented to SEO, you may be missing out on other equally important benefits of blogging. Producing original, engaging content on a regular basis that speaks to your target audience can help you create awareness about your product and build trust in your brand.
You can also use the blog on your website as part of your sales funnel, by developing topic clusters for the blog topics you write about which are centred around issues specific to the services you offer. Each blog post can link back to the service ‘pillar’ page to which it relates, helping encourage visitor conversions.
Just don’t treat your blog like an ad space. We know you have a good product and are eager to sell it, but being too sales-y can be counterproductive when you’re trying to engage with customers. It is important that the content that you create is relevant and provides real value to your audience, so you become an authority in your industry and keep them coming back for more. Only ask for the sale once you’ve gained brand recognition, trust and authority with consistent, engaging content.
If you provide value like this, the sales will come. Even though many of your blog visitors may not be ready to purchase your product on their first interaction, if you provide them with quality content, whenever they are ready to buy, your brand will be front of mind.
Like blogging, the proper use of social media can help you build brand trust and relevance with your target market. If done well, social media should also bring traffic to your website.
When it comes to social media, consistency in the frequency of your posts is key for engaging with your customers, so doing this right requires a considerable investment of your (or somebody else’s) time. You also have to make sure that you’re using the right social media platforms – for example, if you have a B2C product for millennials, you may want to put more effort into Facebook. If you have a B2B enterprise targeting medium and large companies, Linkedin could be a better option.
You should test different kinds of content and formats (links, infographics, videos, etc.) and track the results to see what works better with your audience.
Once you’ve been discovered by a potential customer, email messaging is a great way to regularly engage with them. This can both encourage brand loyalty and help drive new conversions – as long as you provide high-quality content, and don’t spam their inbox with promotional materials! A good rule of thumb is that no more than 25% of your email marketing should be promotional in nature.
You should always have a call to action on your website requesting visitors to sign up to your newsletter, then try to collect as much information on your subscribers as you can, so you can tailor your newsletters to target different audiences. In general, the kinds of content that work best with email marketing are how-to’s, lists and rankings, free guides and helpful tips or insights.
Try to make it exclusive, by offering content or discounts that users can only access through the newsletter, and always keep in mind that the aim of your newsletter should be to lead subscribers to your website.
The cost of video production has decreased dramatically over the last few years, making it easier for businesses to incorporate this as part of their customer engagement strategy.
Videos can be shared via social media and your blog, as well as in email marketing campaigns. These are a great way of providing value-added content for your existing customers and keeping them engaged, but they can also help you convert your audience to customers. For example, you can share videos containing product introductions, customer reviews, free training sessions, or even vlogs to help educate people on your product or service and develop your brand identity.
According to EyeWideDigital, a landing page with a video converts up to 80% more than one without, so you should seriously consider including these on your website, as well.
Getting someone to land on your website is not an easy job, so don’t waste this as an opportunity to engage with potential customers. Even when a visitor bounces off of your page, if they landed on your website, chances are that they are looking for something similar to what you offer. This is where retargeting can help you recapture their attention.
Have you ever noticed that after visiting a website, you suddenly start seeing banner ads for it on other sites? This is called retargeting, or remarketing, and it allows you to continue to engage with a lead even after they’ve left your website. By creating multiple brand impressions with retargeting ads, you help solidify brand awareness in the mind of the consumer, and a study from Criteo concluded that the use of retargeting can increase conversion rates by 43%.
All of this engagement should be managed through a central point: your website. The aim of generating awareness for your brand is to translate that awareness into sales, which you do by driving traffic to your site. Each one of the channels discussed here is a touchpoint for your customer, so it’s imperative that you manage all aspects of this sales funnel using comprehensive analytics to gauge your performance, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Engaging with your audience is not a static process: you need to be able to quickly adapt your approach to respond to changing environments and customer concerns to stay relevant.
Having your website as the centre of all of this activity is essential for tracking your business’s performance, but if your website isn’t visually appealing and easy to navigate, then all of your efforts to attract new customers could be for naught. Even if you have great content, things like confusing navigation, poor visual identity and cluttered website design can prevent visitors from engaging with your content. Make sure you use colours, fonts and graphics that communicate a strong brand identity, and use white space to break up visual elements and draw the visitor’s attention to key actions on your site. Then make sure you have a responsive web design, so that it also makes an impact on mobile devices.
Given today’s climate, relevant and original content is needed to capture your audience’s attention, and having an online presence centred around your website lets you manage your relationship with your customer across various channels, and keep them returning to your site. This kind of brand loyalty is hard to win and easy to lose, so it’s important to constantly review data and evolve your marketing strategies to retain customers in the long term.