A Guide to Customer Engagement: Best Strategies and Proven Examples

Relationships matter.

They might not matter to you as a business owner, but they matter to your customers.

Selling a product to everyday customers is one thing, and establishing a strong connection with your audience that will promote your business for you is another.

To achieve the latter, you’ll need to understand what kind of relationships you can construct between your brand and your audience, as well as how you can construct it.

How you can engage with them…

Customer engagement is not a new term, it has been around a while; but the way we engage with customers is changing everyday; it’s unstable.

In this article, I’ll first go over what exactly customer engagement refers to, then explain how you can engage with your audience, as well as provide 4 examples from the iconic brands of 21st century.

Let’s begin, shall we?

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is the process of actively interacting with customers through various channels with a messaging that interests, educates, and motivates them to build stronger relationships between the brand and the customers. Understanding what it takes to engage customers is essential because your business literally can’t succeed without them. That is why customer engagement is the top of mind for every business across industry sectors. It can be achieved through a product or service by listening to customer feedback and providing extra value after purchase.

Having many ways to achieve it and just as many ways define it, I can say that customer engagement is all about the interactions between customers and your brand.

Brands can forge stronger relationships through various channels and strengthen the “human to human” connection by consistently engaging customers. This adds value to the positive brand recognition beyond just transactional relationships.

The gist of it is that customer engagement is offering customers value beyond your products or services. It is true that high-quality products initially attract buyers, but relevant content is the real-deal that keeps them around longer and maximizes brand loyalty. This is where customer engagement marketing comes in.

What is Customer Engagement Marketing?

Customer engagement marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on boosting customers’ engagement with the brand using personalized messages and interacting with them across whichever channel they prefer. Companies can interact and engage with customers across channels such as email, community forums, web, or social media.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

— Seth Godin.

Part of being successful online means understanding how to engage with your customers.

Boosting how well you do this is critical for selling products or services online. Long story short, thriving in the online business world or in making your brand step forth among zillions of other brands, you need to engage with customers and do it exceptionally.

Customer engagement marketing differs from other marketing strategies because it aims to deliver timely, relevant, and personalized messages to the consumers.

Take note that customer engagement marketing is no longer only about sales, support, or services. It is an ongoing practice of brands’ understanding the needs and pain points of consumers and consistently keeping in touch with them to foster strong relationships, reduce churn, increase loyalty, repeat customers, and grow business.

What is a Customer Engagement Platform?

A customer engagement platform is software that optimizes every touchpoint, helps you engage with customers throughout the customer journey, tracks customer behavior, and ensures optimum customer engagement. Customer engagement platforms can test marketing sales and customer service campaigns. They enable teams to personalize campaigns by customer data analysis and tracking industry patterns.

what is customer engagement

Why is Customer Engagement Important?

Platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento made it easy for anyone to start a small business. As the e-commerce world expands more than ever before, there is an ongoing focus on clicks, acquisition costs, and conversions.

Many growing businesses have started to understand that acquisition strategies alone won’t be enough for sustainable business growth. What matters is sustaining the growth by engaging customers in between purchases and strengthening the emotional connection to the brand. This way, you can retain your customers and keep thriving your business.

Below are some of the benefits of customer engagement in detail.

1.   Improves Customer Retention & Reduces Churn

Since 65% of a company’s business comes from the existing customer, it’s essential to focus on the customers who are already spending money and time on your product or service. The best way to ensure that you retain the existing customers, you should invest in customer engagement.

2.   Strengthens Customer Relationships, Improves Loyalty

An effective customer engagement strategy can be the key component in helping business build long-lasting, sustainable relationships with customers that drives loyalty and profit.

3.   Shortens Sales Cycles

Engagement isn’t all about retaining the existing customers but also converting new prospects and shortening sales cycles. Customer engagement is powerful in stimulating your leads and making them try your business.

Educating or informing customers about the best practices and addressing their needs are some of the ways you can engage with them. During this process, you may also showcase that you offer more than your competitors. Besides, you can retarget prospects with an effective and consistent engagement and positively influence their buying decision.

In the end, it’ll help skyrocket your sales velocity.

4 Customer Engagement Examples

customer engagement examples

Customer engagement marketing varies based on many factors, including the brand and the target audience.

While it can be curated lists and social media movements, it might also be loyalty programs for another. As the brand and the audience differ, so does the method to build the connection in between.

I will answer the question “how can customer engagement be improved” later in this post but before, here are a few of the best customer engagement examples to inspire you.

1.   Starbucks

Starbucks builds meaningful relationships, and its marketing efforts focus less on traditional marketing and more on making the brand engaging for customers.

For example, the Starbucks mobile app brings various benefits to customers. They can turn their iPhone into a Starbucks card and then be able to enjoy rewards like free coffee refills and two hours of free Wi-Fi per day.

In fact, through the app and strategic social media campaigns to every interaction with customers, the company plans for all scenarios in the customer journey.

On top of these, Starbucks’s massive global reach cannot be ignored.

The company has the power to make an impact on people beyond just a morning coffee. For instance, Starbucks has employee programs such as veteran, refugee, and youth hiring to welcome diversity into Starbucks stores. Such social responsibility efforts are quite effective in building the company’s loyal customer base and brand perception.

2.   Coca Cola

customer engagement examples coca cola

Remember Seth Godin’s quote I’ve shared under “What is Customer Engagement Marketing?”

Now, Coca-Cola is an excellent example of it.

Coca-Cola is one of the best storytelling brands, and the company’s use of social media channels is also considered to be among the best.

Coca-Cola has 3.3M followers on Twitter, and their followers answer their every tweet. The secret to this engagement is creating engaging content that customers can share with others in their network.

The company engages in the customers’ dialogues. This tactic is used as a customer service tool at the same time. While the social media team comments, mentions, and compliments, they also address the complaints.

If you think about it, the company’s brand is established on bringing people together, which is the driving motif in every customer engagement marketing strategy. Their first slogan was “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” These strategies are to make the branded forever-linked to the customers and maintain a strong emotional connection.

So, what can you take as an example from Coca-Cola?

  • Maintain mutual conversations with your customers.
  • Use social media as a means of communicating with customers.
  • Attend to what your audience wants and their complaints.
  • Make use of interactive content such as campaigns, promotions, contests, and quizzes.

3.   Nike

Nike is one of the inspiring customer engagement examples we can point to. For Nike, customer engagement is more focused on retaining existing customers than acquiring new ones. This is true for many companies as customer acquisition is costlier than customer retention.

That’s why a carefully-designed loyalty program can be effective in terms of engaging customers. In fact, 23% of businesses leverage various rewarding campaigns to re-engage their customers. Nike goes beyond only trying to sell products and adopts strong customer engagement marketing strategies. The company provides value to customers, and this way, it maintains loyalty.

For example, Nike Plus membership is more like a progress motivator and covers plenty of benefits for its users:

  • Rewards for successful workouts
  • Personalized promotions to users such as product discounts
  • Exclusive playlists on Apple Music

Nike focuses on extending the customer lifecycle through value-creating mobile apps that become a part of everyday life. For instance, Jordan Breakfast Club provides daily reminders to users each morning for 30 days with personalized workout routines designed by former pro-athlete, world-class trainer Alex Molden.

With Nike’s workout programs, people can workout and receive badges for their milestones. This gives users a feeling of progression, commitment, and getting closer to achieving their goals—all the more to the brand loyalty since the customers will link to the brand that made a difference.

4.   Netflix

Here is one of the great examples of customer engagement.

Netflix has become the world’s biggest subscription streaming video service of its kind, with over 200 million subscribers. Their success lies in the way they have engaged customers at a level never seen before.

How do they do it?

Here are some of Netflix’s customer engagement marketing strategies:

  • Use customer data to learn preferences. (I.e., the date you watch, where you watch, what time you watch, searches, and the device type.)
  • Give your audience what they want.
  • Test new ideas
  • Personalize every experience

Netflix has used data to segment its library into 76,897 genres.

The key takeaway you can learn from Netflix is offering personalized, engaging experiences to your customer. Also, don’t forget to constantly improve your service and test everything instead of making unreliable assumptions.

Customer Engagement Best Practices and Strategies

customer engagement strategies

And at last, here are the best customer engagement strategies and practices you can adopt for your marketing efforts or get inspiration as to how you can engage your customers.

1.   Engage Customers with User Onboarding

This one is exclusively for software companies. User Onboarding is a crucial customer engagement practice because it starts with the first interaction of users with your brand and continues through the journey of users.

Whether you have a mobile app or a SaaS, onboarding new customers in the right way helps them get the most value out of your service or product.

Users can learn how to use your mobile app or software easily, get to know your brand and connect with it through onboarding.

Plus, if you make your onboarding process fun, customers can engage more and be more likely to turn into repeat customers. Some of the most common use of onboarding include:

2.   Have a Powerful Brand Voice

The second customer engagement practice that is important is to have a brand voice that sets you aside.

Customers like to engage with brands that have personality. It makes a company more memorable and relatable.

Try to humanize your brand communication and show customers that you understand their needs and that they can relate. This is easier for fun consumer brands like Nike and RedBull than more conservative companies like B2B. However, even conservative companies can humanize their brands to engage with customers.

Create opportunities to promote your brand through the use of your unique brand voice. Rethink your communication across channels and work toward strategically building a consistent human voice. For example, in terms of the blog, define and own a certain storytelling style that connects you with your audience.

3.   Reward Users and Personalize

Awarding customer points, for example, each time they place an order, can be a perfect way to show that you appreciate their investments in your brand.

This will make them more likely to return and keep placing new orders.

As a customer engagement practice, personalization helps companies build a closer relationship with users. All customer engagement best practices should be personalized. For example, celebrating the birthdays of users in a personalized way is among these best practices. When you celebrate the birthdays of your users with personalized content, they will feel closer to your company.

This is among the best customer engagement practices because it is personalized and rewarding, so two of the best ways to engage with customers.

4.   Encourage Customers to Engage with Your Brand on Social Media

It’s important to adopt a personal tone, speak consistently, and create content that encourages people to share on social media. When used strategically, social media is a highly powerful tool for customer engagement marketing.

Make sure the content you post aligns with your brand values. If your brand voice is light-hearted, you can also use humor to your advantage. For example, Wendy’s has gained a lot of attention and interest through their hilarious tweet roasts of competitor burger chains.

customer engagement examples wendy's

Conclusion

Being a brand that engages with their customers on every platform possible is never going to produce adverse results, in fact, you’ll reach out to people through channels you didn’t think possible.

Keep engaging, finding new ways to engage, and never stop testing!


Frequently Asked Questions


How can I measure Customer Engagement?

Likes, shares, comments on your company accounts; as well as your daily/monthly active user rates can give you a brief insight into your customer engagement.


What are some Customer Engagement Tools to try?

Customer success platforms like ChurnZero, survey tools such as Feedier, and user adoption tools such as UserGuiding can help you keep in touch with your customers.


What exactly is a Customer Engagement Strategy?

A customer engagement strategy is an establish plan to improve and increase customers’ interactions with your brand and product, inside your platform or through social media.

customer engagement

Alican Bektas

Alican is the Product Manager of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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