Last updated: Customer engagement strategy 101: Definition and tips

Customer engagement strategy 101: Definition and tips


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As a brand, attracting new customers is only half the battle. How you connect with those customers once you have their attention is just as crucial. And that’s where having an effective customer engagement strategy comes in.

To understand the importance of customer engagement, we need to understand what exactly it is.

What is customer engagement?

Not all customer relationships are created equal. Consider a classroom of students, for example. Every student in the room interacts with the material and the instructor. They may even all complete their assignments and make solid grades. But does that mean they’re all engaged? Not necessarily.

Engaged students ask questions and participate in discussions. They’re actively participating in their education and are genuinely interested in the content and the purpose of the classwork.

Similarly, customers may show up regularly and even give you their business, but that doesn’t mean they’re engaged.

Customer engagement is about building deeper connections with customers who are genuinely invested in your brand, products and services.

Making these connections increases their lifetime value (LTV) with your company, and ideally attracts new customers.

Customer engagement vs. customer experience

CX and customer engagement are similar, but not the same. Yes, customer engagement is a part of CX, and creating a great customer experience can absolutely drive engagement. But there are key differences to note as you create your customer engagement strategy.

CX is focused on designing interactions and optimizing touchpoints to deliver a great experience customers will love. (Like designing the coursework and syllabus for a class.)

Customer engagement, on the other hand, is about creating opportunities to connect with customers on that deeper level. It’s creating a dialog where customers’ input is just as powerful as the brand’s. (Like class discussions and questions – the teacher can’t always know or control how they go; all they can do is create the opportunity for students to engage.)

How do you increase customer engagement? Strategically.

Improving customer engagement can have massive business benefits. It drives loyalty, increases sales, and can improve customer lifetime value. So it’s important to create a thoughtful customer engagement strategy to make sure you hit your mark.

Companies with strong, omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers, whereas companies with weak strategies only retain 33%.

Your strategy should clearly outline the following information:
  • What are your specific customer engagement goals? (g. increasing customer loyalty, improving customer satisfaction scores, or bolstering social media engagement)
  • Who is your target audience? (Including key customer insights and personas)
  • Your customer journey map
  • What channels and touchpoints will you focus on?
  • How will success will be measured?

It should also provide opportunities to collect feedback and iterate based on performance.

3 tips for an effective customer engagement strategy

Looking to create or improve your customer engagement strategy? Here are three tips to designing engagements that resonate:

  1. Foster an emotional connection
  2. Be where they are
  3. Personalize, personalize, personalize

1. Foster an emotional connection

People are more loyal to brands that connect with them on an emotional level. So, find a way to build that real, authentic connection they want. For example, you can:

  • Demonstrate your shared values or promote your brand mission
  • Develop a clear, personable brand voice that humanizes your brand
  • Personalize their experiences to their preferences and priorities

Beware of pandering: Consumers today have fine-tuned BS-detectors, and can sense inauthenticity from a mile away.

2. Be where they are with an omnichannel approach

Customers aren’t going to chase you down to engage with you (unless they’re trying to resolve an issue, that is). So if you want to drive engagement, you need to be where they are. Research shows that the No. 1 driver of customers feeling an emotional connection with a brand is their ability to contact the company through any channel.

By taking an omnichannel approach, and focusing on customers’ preferred touchpoints and channels, you increase the likelihood that they’ll want to engage on a more ongoing basis. Just by making it more convenient for them, you ramp up your chances.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to be everywhere. Use customer insights to determine the most impactful channels that your customers prefer. Then focus on making those experiences excellent.

3. Personalize, personalize, personalize

Providing consistent, personalized, cross-channel engagements is one of the most effective ways to build valuable customer relationships. But while 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization, very few of them are delivering those consistent, 1:1 experiences.

Unify your customer data to deliver contextual engagements based on their preferences. And consider incorporating AI solutions into your customer engagement strategy to personalize at scale, every step of the way.

Invest in the right tools to bring your customer engagement strategy to life

Of course, a strategy is only as effective as the tools used to implement it. So, identify which capabilities are most important, and then use that to determine the right tool for you.

If you’ve got a lot of ambitious goals, you might consider a customer engagement platform. These comprehensive solutions support automation and personalization at scale and make it easier for marketers to engage customers more effectively.

Personalization: It’s not magic.
It’s method.
Find out who does it best HERE

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