How to engage your customers effectively online

A number of businesses focus on web design to create the desired experience for their customers however this is just the first step. The successful online businesses do much more than create a great experience, they create awareness, desire, knowledge as they understand that it is not just the experience but about producing the desired behaviour and reinforcing that behaviour.

Start with a strategy. Why do you have a website? What is its purpose? What ROI do you need to be successful? Be clear on your purpose and keep it front of mind with everything you do.Know your audience – Like all marketing practices, ensure your email communications are all targeted at the person whom you are pitching to and personalise the emails so that your customer is being acknowledged.

I have been involved in a recent project where the client was wanting to develop a digital strategy to engage customers and get more traffic to their site, ultimately to gain more subscribers.

Utilising the ADKAR model, we developed an approach to frame the digital strategy and identify key elements to consider to move customer along the spectrum from awareness to action and reinforcement.

  • Awareness: Think about the channels of communication you will use to get to the target audience. Go to the channels and forums where the conversations about your types of products are taking place and gradually build awareness. Tell people about your site via pages on social media sites and adding these icons on your website, add them to all your marketing and encourage people to share with their networks. The objective is to  build this relationship in order to move it to the next stage.
  • Desire: Build a relationship and nurture that relationship. Too often business send the emails they want to sent rather than the emails that customers want to receive. If you want to persuade customers then the email must speak to heart and desire of the customer (eg “what’ in it for me?”). Sharing content providing interesting information, videos, images , links and mechanisms to actively engage with your customers and the community and responding to their comments.
  • Knowledge: Focus on providing useful and interesting information as this is more likely to be shared and referred to others. Education and building knowledge of you product and its value proposition will be more effective if the customers are engaged and “like” what you are offering.
  • Action: An effective email marketing campaign gets them to your website and leverages that momentum to turn them into customers of your business. So how do you convert your “likes” into “lovers”? Once you have customers engaged and they like what they see, then you are more likely to get them to act and subscribe to your newsletter and/or blog and tell their friends about you. Be clear about what you are asking them to do, what you are offering and how they can contact you.
  • Reinforcement: Let customers know the benefits of their action to reinforce their behaviour. Appeal to their desire and wants to ensure this behaviour is reinforced and repeated. Keep the two-way conversation going and use social media platforms to canvas feedback and provide an open forum of ideas
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