Everyone has a circle of influence. You belong to networks that are personal, like extended family, personal friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors and coworkers. As a professional you probably belong to chambers or industry-driven groups. These networks form your circle of influence.You influence them and they influence you. Word-of-mouth referrals are golden for most businesses. Those referrals are coming from those circles of influence.
Before the days of Social Media you could not listen in on your customers’ conversation about your business. You couldn’t encourage them to spread the word about your business. With today’s social media tools at your disposal, you can encourage your clients to tell your story through engagement marketing. Those golden word-of-mouth moments are suddenly happening right in front of your eyes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and review sites like Yelp. Through engagement marketing, word-of-mouth referrals become socially amplified.
Engagement Marketing drives more leads, more referrals, and more sales. Your customers’ testimonials carry more credibility than any marketing message you could ever deliver yourself.
The Engagement Marketing cycle is comprised of three steps: Experience, Entice and Engage.
Step 1. Provide a WOW experience.
Create a personal connection with your customers by providing extraordinary day-to-day experiences. Provide exceptional service that they don’t get anywhere else. Set the bar high. I’ve noticed recently that my neighborhood pharmacy has changed their standard on the personal experience. Every employee now greets you with a “Welcome”. It doesn’t sound like much but it makes a huge impact. Are you providing exceptional service?
Step 2. Entice Them to Stay in Touch
You can’t keep the great experience alive if you don’t have a way to stay in touch. You need to continue to make contact with your customers. You must persuade them to opt-in to staying connected. Connect with them through email marketing and social networks. The key is to connect with them during or immediately after they’ve done business with you.
Step 3. Engage with Your Customers
Now that you’ve delivered a great customer experience and have enticed customers to stay in touch, it’s time to bring these relationships to life by engaging with your customers. Engagement means sharing content that inspires them. Creating opportunities for engagement brings customers back to your business. Engagement is not a one-way street. If your audience isn’t listening then you’re not fully engaging with them. The goal is to drive participation in the conversation. When your audience participates it creates a buzz around you and your business. When your customers “Like”, comment or share your stories, their participation becomes visible to their networks and your new prospects. This is a powerful thing.
But I don’t have time ….
Socially visible engagement puts your business in front of a new audience. You CAN find the time. Streamline the process so it isn’t a full-time job. Plan your engagement at the beginning of the week and use online tools like Hootsuite, Networked Blogs, and Constant Contact to schedule your engagement. It is smart business to stay in touch with your existing customers. It’s smarter yet to find new customers while engaging with them.
Clifton Design Group can help you with your engagement marketing and the set-up of your social networks, contact us to find out how.