14 Surefire Ideas to Improve Your Customer Engagement Strategy

14 Surefire Ideas to Improve Your Customer Engagement Strategy
Artem Tiulnikov
Artem Tiulnikov Mar 17, 2020 — 13 min read
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Everybody talks about how essential customer engagement is. But when it comes to real-life strategies to improve this such-an-important metric, it’s a challenge to find them. And if you’re a new business, it’s probably even more confusing.

To solve this pain point, we’ve collected 14 ideas to strengthen your customer engagement strategy. Most of these ideas come with specific tool recommendations to help you implement them.

We’ve also broken down these ideas into 6 categories – feel free to jump to the one you find most appealing:

  1. Introduce rewards to make customers feel more appreciated

  2. Make live chat a part of your customer engagement strategy

  3. Personalize customer experience on your website

  4. Increase customer engagement through social media

  5. Use testimonials to increase conversions

  6. Optimize your email marketing campaigns

That’s plenty of ideas you may want to try right away. So, without further ado, let’s just dive right in.

What is customer engagement?

Customer engagement can be defined in a variety of ways. In essence, it covers all successful connections between a customer and the brand held through different channels. These connections aim to foster loyalty and manifest themselves in:

  • Reactions

  • Interactions

  • Overall customer experience

All of them are conducive to increasing sales, but this is not always an immediate goal. It is more often about establishing a long-lasting mutually beneficial relationship between your consumers and your company.

Why is customer engagement so important?

Engaged customers offer a good deal of value for business.

Gallup research shows that doing business with fully engaged customers will get you roughly 23% more revenue than if you were dealing with average consumers.

Engaged customers are big spenders who dedicate a lot of time to your brand and can easily be retained. They also spread the word about your company and attract potential customers. For this reason, it is so essential to strengthen customer engagement. Below we are going to give you some insights on how to do that.

Customer engagement strategies and how to measure their effectiveness

With so many competitors out there, keeping your customers focused on you and your brand is becoming increasingly challenging. Let’s start with a few proven ways to make your customers more engaged and get them invested in your brand.

1. Introduce rewards to make customers feel more appreciated

Reward programs make it easy to offer additional value that encourages customers to engage with your brand. Some of the most common tactics are:

  • Purchase reward system

  • Referral reward system

  • Survey reward system

Run a purchase reward system

Customers who have redeemable points at their disposal are more likely to buy from you again.

Start presenting redeemable points every time one makes a purchase via your website. The need to redeem accumulated points will push your customers to place another order – which leads to higher chances that they will come back to you in the future.

The purchase reward system works because it encourages repeat visits, promotes a higher purchase rate, and provides added value to customers with each purchase.

Adding a reward system to your customer engagement strategy is easy with automated platforms like Fivestars or Loyalty S. Once you launch it, drive your customers’ attention to the offer using sticky bars or eye-catching popups like this one, created in Getsitecontrol:

Reward program announcement via website popupSee live preview →

How to tell if the purchase reward offer works for you?

Apart from tracking sales, you can tell whether your reward system piques customers’ interest by analyzing the announcement popup click-through-rate. In other words, the more people click on the “Find out more” button, the more customers are willing to get engaged. Getsitecontrol report system allows you to get these statistics right in the dashboard.

Implement a referral reward system

Buyapowa estimates that 28% of people refer more products if they get rewarded for it.

By encouraging your top customers to share your brand with their friends, you create a win-win situation. First, you expand brand awareness using the word of mouth. Second, you grow your potential customer base – meanwhile, your existing customers get points they are now motivated to spend.

28% of people refer more products if they get rewarded for it.

With the power of referral marketing, you:

  • Build trust and loyalty among customers

  • Reach audiences that you may not be able to access otherwise

  • Save on advertising

Now, the best referral programs are the easiest ones. With most of them, you send a discount coupon to a friend and get a bonus when your friend makes a purchase. Here is how HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery company does it:

HelloFresh offers a $40 referral coupon to their repeat customers

Timing matters, too. The best moment to invite your customers to referral programs is right after they complete checkout – while the purchase-related excitement is still there. You may want to display a popup straight after purchase and then top it off with an email just like HelloFresh.

How to measure the effectiveness of your referral promo?

If you decide to use dedicated software to implement a referral program, you’ll get automated reports showing how many shares your offer has received, and how many of them turned into sales.

Here is an example of a report generated in Referral Candy, customer referral program software:

Referral Candy generates reports on your referrals that show shares and sales

Launch a survey reward campaign

Here is another idea for your customer engagement strategy.

Do you ever run online surveys on your website? Then you know how low the typical engagement rate is. That’s because no one likes completing surveys without getting anything in return. But given that the information you gather from responses may help you boost sales, why not offer value in return?

If you start giving away discounts, points, or some extra perks for providing feedback, customers will be more eager to participate. To strengthen the incentive, you can even add an element of a lottery game like in the example below.

Getsitecontrol survey widget with an element of lottery game to itSee live preview →

This tactic helps you boost customer engagement and also allows you to:

  • Attract new potential customers and get their emails

  • Leverage sales, since people will look for ways to redeem gift certificates

  • Get insights into customer product preferences

How to measure the effectiveness of such a survey?

The online survey in the example above was created in the Getsitecontrol survey form builder. If you want to know how engaged your customers are, you’ll be able to see it in a dedicated Statistics tab. The app shows you how many of your website visitors who saw the survey went ahead and completed it, and how many just closed it right away.

2. Make live chat a part of your customer engagement strategy

Kayako reports that around 41% of consumers favor live chats over alternatives, the latter being social media, emails, and phone calls.

One can easily explain the popularity of live chats. Real-time communication improves your website experience by creating a sense of urgency and building customers’ confidence during shopping.

Successful brand interactions lead to higher customer satisfaction rates, which, consequently, leads to higher engagement.

41% of consumers favor live chats over alternatives.

Here is a great example of a live chat by Unity, a store with cutting-edge tools for graphic designers:

Live chat as a part of customer engagement strategy

Here are the practices you may want to borrow from Unity:

  • Eye-catching chat icon. Your customers and prospects should see how to start the chat right away.

  • The pricing page location. The pricing page is usually the highest purchase-intent page on the website, so a prominent live chat button is a must-have there.

  • Real names and faces. By showing that there are people, not robots, responding to queries, you increase the level of trust in your brand.

Freshworks have established that 73% of people prefer responding to chat heads with a believable name and image of a real person.

  • Estimated reply time. Informing your customers about the possible wait is a great way to show that you respect them and their time.

  • Link to an F.A.Q. section. Live chat is a perfect place to embed your Help page widget because it may cut the wait time while still providing customers with a response.

How to measure the effectiveness of your live chat?

No need to invent the wheel here. After a live chat has been added to your website you should see an increase in interactions – that’s how you know customers are willing to engage.

Next, you may want to connect the live chat to your helpdesk software and measure its performance by tracking closed tickets and the number of generated leads.

3. Personalize customer experience on your website

Website personalization is probably the most surefire strategy to increase customer engagement. A better experience leads to a longer visit time and higher engagement with your website – which often drives more sales. Just by personalizing calls to action, you may be able to convert 202% better, says HubSpot.

Although the actual personalization tactics will depend on what type of business you’re in, some will fit most niches.

Recommend relevant products to your customers

More than half of consumers expect brands to anticipate their needs and send out relevant purchase-related suggestions.

This is one of the most basic tactics, and if you own an ecommerce store, you’ve probably already thought of it. Good news: you don’t need any coding skills to implement it. There are dozens of apps to help you automate product recommendations, whether your website is built on Shopify, BigCommerce, or any other platform.

More than half of consumers expect brands to anticipate their needs and send out relevant purchase-related suggestions.

Check out Also Bought, one of the best Shopify apps from our list of recommended tools for ecommerce.

Also Bought shows products similar to the ones you’ve purchased

Another way to win the product recommendation game is via email. There are 2 ways to implement this tactic. You can generate an automated email sequence using the email marketing software of your choice. Or, if your selection of products is smaller, you can survey website visitors and segment your email lists based on their preferences.

Target visitors based on their locations

You can use your customers’ location to personalize their experience on your website. When you target the international market, language and currency are the most obvious parameters. But even if you operate countrywide, you can go granular and announce location-based deals.

For example, with Getsitecontrol, you can incentivize visitors from specific states or cities with targeted popups like this one:

A Getsitecontrol targeted popup that incentivizes to make a purchaseSee live preview →

Or, if a customer’s location affects the end pricing in your case, you can automatically adjust it just like Grindhouse Skateshop, a German skates-related store does:

Grindhouse Skateshop price tags for ArgentinaGrindhouse Skateshop price tags for GermanyArgentina

The price tag for Argentina is in the screenshot above, and the price tag for Germany is in the one below.

Display personalized messages to returning customers

Another easy way to personalize your customer communication is to adjust messaging based on whether they are new or returning visitors to your website.

For example, to show your appreciation to the returning visitors, you can display a nice welcome-back message. And to make sure you convert them into subscribers, you can sweeten it with a discount offer.

Personalized popups displayed to returning customersSee live preview →

How to find out which personalization tactic works for you?

There is no simple answer to this question, because way too many factors may contribute to the success of any given call to action. An approach worth trying, however, is a popup A/B test. For example, you can test a generic discount popup against a location-based one.

4. Increase customer engagement through social media

Social media are but an extension of your brand that enables you to connect with your audience on a long-term basis. And it should be a crucial part of your customer engagement strategy. Here are some tips for you to make these social connections pay off in the future.

Respond to customers’ queries on social media

As reported by Gartner, companies that leave their customers’ inquiries unaddressed on social media see their churn rate increase by 15%.

Most customers expect nearly immediate responses from brands when they contact them for support on social media. And this is directly related to sales because 70% of customers who received help through social media will come back to you as customers in the future, according to Ambassador.

By keeping your response rate high and response time low on Facebook, for example, you receive a badge that encourages more people to start communicating with you.

Companies that leave their customers’ inquiries unaddressed on social media see their churn rate increase by 15%.

Want to go further? Use the app called Mention to track your brand name mentions on social media and react timely.

Share feedback-provoking content

If you really want to boost customer engagement, you’ll have to go beyond publishing company news and promotions. Share lifehacks to make the most of your products or services. Ask questions, aim for the topics that may spark a discussion. Most importantly, make sure that the content you share brings value to your followers, not just to your brand.

Here is a great example from the Bike-Discount Facebook page:

A Bike-Discount employee reviews one of the store’s products

Although this is a review of a product sold in the Bike-Discount store, it brings a great deal of value to the readers by being based on thorough research and a real-life test-drive. And Facebook is a great choice of platform to share visual content like this.

Run social media contests to grow exposure

If we had to pick one great thing about social media, that’d be potential exposure. Due to the algorithms of social media platforms, a post that receives a lot of engagement gets highly visible – therefore gaining even more engagement. And what are the most attention-driving types of posts? That’s right, contests and giveaways.

Meraki Notebook organizes a Meraki Kit giveaway contest on Instagram

Here is just a couple of ideas on what you can run on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

  • Photo caption contest

  • Hashtag challenge

  • Comment competition

  • Sweepstake promotion

There are many affordable tools that make arranging social media contests a no-brainer. Check out Rafflecopter, Gleam, and Shortstack, for example.

How to measure the effectiveness of your social media interactions?

When you have a business account on social media, you can see the level of engagement each post receives. For instance, on Facebook, along with likes and views, performance reports include engagement. Plus, you can see whether your metrics are better or worse in comparison with any given period.

If you’re planning to actively use social media for your customer engagement strategy, Buffer is a great app worth your attention. Not only does it allow you to conveniently schedule social media posts, but it also provides a detailed overview of every channel performance in one place.

Buffer provides analytics on the performance of social media channels

5. Use testimonials to increase conversions

Testimonials appeal to potential customers because they offer credibility. That’s why asking for testimonials should be an essential part of your customer engagement strategy.

BrightLocal estimates that 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.

And this is good for business. What people say about your brand matters more than what you say about it. People are far more inclined to engage with content that revolves around consumers just like them.

If you are looking for a tool to embed reviews on your website, there are dozens of apps to help you with that. For instance, Flockler allows you to automatically publish your brand social media feed or display posts with your brand hashtags.

Testimonials as a proven way to strengthen customer engagement strategy

Another tool, called TrustPilot, helps you encourage customers to leave a review on the Trustpilot website and then enables you to showcase those reviews.

Parent Giving showcases live customers’ testimonials on their website

How can you tell if the practice of sharing customers’ experience is effective?

According to Flockler case study, displaying social posts and testimonials can boost conversions by 20-30%. So, if this is the only change made to a website, you should be able to see an uplift without any special analytics tools.

You can also use heatmap tools to see how much attention testimonials drive on your website. CrazyEgg lets you do just that. It also enables you to run A/B tests to compare conversion rates on a webpage with and without testimonials.

6. Optimize your email marketing campaigns

Almost 70% of people aged between 18 and 34 prefer companies to establish communication with them through email, according to MarketingSherpa research.

But does it mean every email gets opened and read? Certainly not. Many email marketing campaigns show low ROI because marketers fail to connect with the audience through this channel.

Almost 70% of people aged between 18 and 34 prefer companies to establish communication with them through email.

If you’ve already built an email list, but your subscribers engage with your emails less than anticipated, here are 3 basic recommendations:

Provide more value

Try seeing your email subscribers as your brand VIP club where members get exclusive offers. First, it will be a better incentive to subscribe. Second, it will make your customers anticipate your emails knowing that they may include sweet deals.

A lot of ecommerce brands follow this customer engagement strategy. Here is how Sephora does it, for example:

Sephora sends a Miss You email that offers a $15 reward card

Use automated email flows to be more helpful

Online consumers are forgetful and get easily distracted. Sometimes you need to gently guide them through the funnel by sending instructions at each step.

But you don’t need to do anything manually. Automated email flows are perfect for this task.

Here is a bare minimum you should consider using:

  • Abandoned cart reminders

  • Order confirmations

  • Shipping notifications and tracking links

By the way, according to SaleCycle, around half of all abandoned cart emails are opened, and over a third of clicks lead to purchases back on site.

Take a look at the cart abandonment email by DoorDash, a food delivery service:

Abandoned cart email example by Doordash


Use personal occasions to increase open rate

Experian reports that birthday mailings have the highest open rates (around 64%) compared to other types of mailings.

But you don’t need to limit yourself to birthdays. There are tons of occasions you can come up with including customer milestones, special events, or even half-birthdays. Everyone likes to be acknowledged, and most will be excited about receiving celebration emails.

Birthday mailings have the highest open rates (around 64%) compared to other types of mailings.

Here is a good example by Birchbox, an online beauty shop:

Birchbox offers a $10 Birthday coupon to increase customer engagement via email

It includes customer recognition, adds value, and even uses scarcity. Well done, Birchbox!

Which metrics should you look at?

When you start tweaking emails, there is a lot to experiment with: copy, creative, timing, personalization. But there are just two key actions you want your customers to take. You want them to open your email and click through your call to action. These are the two most important metrics showing whether your subscribers are willing to engage.

The email marketing software you use will most likely provide you with the numbers on both metrics and even help you compare them to your industry benchmarks. Compare numbers after each campaign to see the trend. If your open rate and click-through rate increase – you’re doing everything right. If not – well, there’s room for improvement.

To improve open rate:

  • Polish your subject line, consider using questions or emojis

  • Try sending emails at a different time of the day or even on a different day of the week

  • Make sure there is either your name or your brand name in the Sender field

To improve your CTA click-through rate:

  • Write a clear, concise call to action

  • Make sure there is only one primary call to action in your email

  • Use personal approach and scarcity tactics to nudge people

Which customer engagement strategy will work for you?

Customer engagement improvement is an ongoing process that takes time and dedication. Some of the ideas we’ve reviewed – such as adding a live chat to your website – will take minutes to implement, and you’ll be able to see results within days. Others may take longer and be just as efficient.

As long as you’re trying new tactics, you’ll get a better understanding of what makes your customers tick. And then you’ll be able to build a stronger customer engagement strategy around that.

Tips for your marketing strategy