Internet Explorer doesn’t work well with our website. We recommend using a different browser like Google Chrome.

We live in a world where our current reality is short attention spans, oversaturated markets, and a new generation of skimmers. Enticing potential customers to your business may take a bit more work than it used to… which means that as a business, developing a strategic customer engagement strategy should be an essential part of your business model. 

This customer engagement guide is here to help you level up your user engagement strategy by giving you insider customer engagement tips, allowing you to maximize customer retention and brand loyalty. 

We’ll help you harness the tools that are already at your fingertips, and even provide a ready-to-use Customer Engagement Planning Template so that you can jump right into the customer engagement process. 

Continue reading or skip ahead: 

Ready for the complete customer engagement guide? Let’s get started! 

Related: How to Calculate and Optimize your Customer Engagement Scores

Free Interactive Guide: Crafting Your Ultimate Customer Engagement Strategy: Download Now

What is customer engagement? 

Customer engagement is the secret ingredient to having a successful and smooth-running business. Essentially, it’s a measure of how invested people are in your brand. Think of your customer engagement strategy as the bread and butter of your business model.

At its core, customer engagement measures the online and offline interactions between businesses’ communication with their customers, and how effectively they are building lasting relationships.  

Customer engagement goes beyond transactions. It’s the emotional connection between a brand and its customers and is vital for strengthening consumer relationships

Evolution of customer engagement

Before Amazon, TikTok, and the Metaverse, there was a time when people stuck to the local stores in their vicinity, shopping in person and only traveling for specialty items. There would be a single store for each relative need – and no competition. 

Back in the day, customer engagement only spanned from treating buyers well and being on a first-name basis with the regulars. Business loyalty was dependent on location, and there was no such thing as online data collection. 

Fast forward to the present day, and there is an overwhelming amount of options and choices of how to purchase products, thanks to technological advancements. It can be easy to get lost in the crowd, which is why brands have veered towards establishing deeper connections and direct relationships with consumers. 

Today, it’s essential to develop a unique customer engagement strategy through cross-channel engagement to draw in customers and have them stay awhile (or forever). 

5 key principles of effective engagement

Understanding your audience is one of the most essential components of effective customer engagement. It’s useful to consider your consumers’ point of view and tailor your strategies towards what they are looking for. 

It’s worthwhile for your brand to note these key principles of effective engagement: 

  1. Be authentic – Allow customers to connect with your brand by being respectful and genuine with your communication and behavior. 
  2. Target emotional experiences – Consumers are shown to purchase based on emotions over rational. Research on understanding customers’ emotional triggers and implement this knowledge into your marketing methods.
  3. Promote openness and transparency – Build trust with your customers by being open with any updates and transparent with any changes in your business. 
  4. Ensure inclusive and adequate representation – Market towards diverse populations to show your customers of different backgrounds that your brand aligns with their values. 
  5. Personalize customer experience – Tailor your engagement strategy to be relevant and applicable to your customers. Personalizing their experience will promote brand loyalty. 

Related: What Is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Why Does It Matter?

Strategies for enhancing customer engagement

These user engagement strategies will boost your customer brand satisfaction and convert consumers into lifelong customers. 

  1. Digital strategies for user engagement

Some of the best practices you can implement into your digital strategy to boost user engagement are actually quite simple. Take a look at these methods: 

  1. Use social media platforms (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) 
  2. Implement chatbots to engage with customers on your website
  3. Create an option for self-service 
  4. Utilize personalized messaging
  5. Collect and analyze customer feedback 
  6. Adopt an omnichannel strategy (i.e., a seamless and unified brand experience across all channels) 
  1. Client engagement in B2B settings

For B2B companies, most purchasing decisions are based on logic. So, to appeal to consumer emotions tailor your methods to target both logic and emotion. 

Some ways to do this include:

  • Collect feedback to predict customer behaviour
  • Showcase testimonials as a method of brand promotion
  • Build a community through humanizing your brand 
  • Include call-to-actions (CTA’s) on website landing pages
  • Personalize your customer support
  1. Consumer engagement in retail

Retail customer engagement is how retail brands interact with current and future customers, both in person and online.

Some ways to promote customer engagement in retail include meeting your customers where they already are. When it comes to social media, it’s important to think smarter, not harder – which requires you to go where your target audience lives. Find out which platform your ideal customer spends their day scrolling through. 

Another successful way is through user-generated content (UGC) – content promoting a brand that is created by an unpaid contributor rather than the brand itself.

Retailers have also been trying out various ways to blend digital solutions into in-store shopping experiences. A great example of this is ‘buy online, pickup in-store.’

Tools and technologies for measuring and analyzing engagement

To have an idea of the different kinds of strategies that would be effective in promoting customer engagement, it’s important to understand various tools and metrics for customer engagement. 

These will measure the relationship between marketing strategies and customer reactions, ensuring that the frequency and quality of these interactions meet your business expectations. 

Now let’s take a look at some tools and key metrics for analyzing customer engagement: 

  1. Engagement analytics tools – CRM systems 

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a software or platform that essentially provides a central place for managing customer data and tracking customer interactions. Not only does it facilitate team communication, it also supports sales management, delivers actionable insights, and integrates with social media, email, websites, and mobile applications.

Choosing the right CRM system will help your business meet demands, trim unnecessary expenses, and boost efficiency.

Here are some examples of CRM systems:

  1. Thinkific Plus – Leverage the power of customer education to fuel your company’s growth
  2. Salesforce –  Automate tasks and streamline workflows with AI capabilities 
  3. Typeform – Interactive online form and survey tool 
  4. Zendesk Sell – Easy to use CRM system with mobile app 
  5. HubSpot – Includes marketing automation, live chat, email marketing, and customer feedback management
  6. Smart Tribune – Offers knowledge base management, self-service portals and chatbots 
  7. Mailchimp – Create, manage, and send email campaigns to subscribers
  8. Hootsuite – Social media platform to streamline activities 
  9. Zoho – Uses AI to answer questions, fetch sales reports, and take note dictation for businesses of all sizes
  10. Insightly – Fully integrate customer-relations needs into a program you’re already comfortable using
  11. Apptivo –  Centralize all your customer care needs from any device while using any browser
  1. Key metrics for customer engagement

These key metrics will help you get closer to your business goals by tracking your progress and letting you know which engagement activities are working for your business. 

Customer engagement metrics: 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) – Measures customer loyalty and how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to others. 
  • Conversion rate – Customers taking an action (sign-ups, ad clicks, downloads, etc.) that you want them to take. 
  • Page frequency – Measures the traffic present on your website.
  • Churn – Measures the highs and the lows of a company.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – The cumulative index of the satisfaction of the customer.
  • Activity time –  The amount of time customers spend on your page after logging into your website. 
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – Indicates the probability of customers repurchasing products.
  • Abandonment rate – Customers who leave their shopping cart without making a purchase. 
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) – Measures through a survey how much effort a customer has to put in to interact with your company. 
  • Customer lifetime value – The total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer.
  1. Data from social media platforms

Social media data collection can help you customize your social media marketing strategy for each social network, and provide insights into who your customers are. Popular social media platforms to target include TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, etc.

Here are some ways that you can collect data through social media: 

  • Track engagement through likes, clicks, comments, shares, etc.
  • Impressions and video views
  • Follower count and growth over time
  • Profile visits
  • Demographic data: age, gender, location, language, behaviors, etc.
  1. Using Data to Improve Engagement Strategies

While metrics and data are important for any business to understand, in order to gauge customer engagement you’ll need to look at the entire picture – pairing metrics with qualitative data. Again, it’s about meeting your customers where they already are so that they don’t have to put in too much effort, ultimately deterring them. 

A great way to collect qualitative data is from surveys, posting discussion groups, interviewing customers, and participating in customer chats, forums, and comments. Once you collect qualitative data, pairing it with metrics will provide you with valuable insights into your customer engagement. This will let you know what areas you need to focus on and what needs to be tweaked in your customer engagement strategy. 

Related: Customer Engagement Marketing: Strategies to Drive Customer Loyalty and Business Growth

Customer engagement planning 

Now that we’ve explored all the different tools for analyzing customer metrics and data, let’s go over the different ways that you can employ an effective customer engagement strategy in your business. 

Free Interactive Guide: Crafting Your Ultimate Customer Engagement Strategy: Download Now

  1. Steps in developing an engagement plan

Look at these consumer engagement tips: 

  • Identify goals and actions – For different stages of the customer journey, determine what their expectations are and work from there. 
  • Create a customer-centric vision – Tailor your business communications to reflect customer needs, such as sending out reminders. 
  • Meet customers where they are – Target marketing efforts towards places where your customers are already hanging out (i.e. social media). For example, commenting on popular TikTok content your customers enjoy promotes brand awareness. 
  • Create digestible content – Work with bite-sized content chucks that won’t overwhelm customers.
  • Reward loyal customers – Leverage a great new promotion, update, or reward, to customers who are unsuspecting. 
  • Stay on top of communication – Let customers know of any new updates and features as soon as you can. 
  • Focus on customer support – Offer multiple channels for customer support, making it easy for customers to find assistance. 
  1. Case studies: Successful engagement plans

Here are some examples of successful customer engagement strategies: 

  1. Patagonia

Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability has created a loyal customer base that values its products and mission. Specifically, their community-building strategy fosters high customer engagement through environmental activism and outdoor adventures, creating a shared sense of purpose.

  1. Spotify

Spotify Wrapped is a great example of UGC being put to work – it gives users a sense of community by letting them share and compare their Wrapped highlights with anyone through being able to share directly to Instagram and other social media platforms. 

  1. Sephora

Sephora creates a personalized customer experience through tailored product recommendations and their Beauty Insider Program rewards customers with exclusive product previews, birthday gifts, and invitations to beauty classes.

  1. Duolingo

Duolingo gamifies language learning with points, streaks, and leaderboards, making learning enjoyable. Their progress tracking keeps users engaged by visualizing their language-learning journey through playful competition and community building.

Related: Best Customer Success Manager Certifications and Resources

Challenges and Solutions in Customer Engagement

Here are some engagement challenges brands frequently face and how to overcome them:

Common obstacles 

  1. Strained resources 

Planning out a full-fledged customer engagement strategy can take a toll on your company’s time, resources, and energy. Especially for smaller businesses, it can be overwhelming trying to implement a huge shift in your strategy with not enough bandwidth to carry it forward. 

Fortunately, automation has made it possible for businesses of all shapes and sizes to carry out strategies and vital tasks without the need for additional human labor. This is particularly true when it comes to customer service solutions for smaller companies. Chatbots have been especially helpful in this area of automated customer resources. 

To help alleviate the stress of carrying out a customer engagement strategy, choose a CRM system that takes most of the manual marketing load off of you. This will allow your business to allocate resources to other important customer engagement strategies, such as social media. 

  1. Disconnected omnichannel marketing strategy 

To drive engagement, brands must be ready to engage with their customers across all channels – including their website, mobile devices, social media, and in-store.

The key ingredient here is consistency. Brands lacking cohesive and consistent messaging throughout their omnichannel strategy is how they lose customer engagement. 

Work toward unifying all aspects of your brand’s values and communication to provide customers with a seamless user experience. 

  1. Lack of personalization

Poor personalization is a significant factor that affects customer engagement. With so many different businesses out there offering highly personable shopping experiences to customers, why would customers waste their time with a company that does not provide any meaning for them? 

To ensure you’re delivering an experience that makes each customer feel recognized and valued, your communications need to be driven by actionable insights based on accurate data.

To collect first-person data so that you can tailor your marketing efforts, offer incentives such as loyalty programs or discount codes in exchange for participation in questionnaires or surveys. Afterward, to help boost user experience and personalization, use the data you collected to target brand messaging to your customers’ interests and provide relevant suggestions. 

  1. Poor strategy 

Whether it’s a lack of expertise or resources, sometimes it can be difficult for brands to implement a successful customer engagement strategy. 

Thankfully, this may be the easiest obstacle to fix. Most often, it costs less time and money to outsource experts who specialize in niche marketing areas like customer engagement strategy. This way, you won’t have to assemble, train, and oversee employees with limited knowledge and skills regarding customer engagement, saving you valuable time to allocate elsewhere in your business. 

  1. Diminished Brand Loyalty

Unfortunately, having an amazing product and outstanding customer service is usually not enough to generate customer retention and brand loyalty.

With the consumer market being flooded with ever-growing numbers of millennials and Gen Z’s, your businesses’ customer engagement strategy needs to be able to quickly adapt and hop on trends. Tailoring your strategy to the wants and needs of prospective customers will help build up your brand loyalty.

Some ways to overcome this challenge include combining a strong social media strategy and presence with rewards and websites that are user-friendly.

📘 Looking to dive deeper into your customer engagement strategies?

Download our free guide, packed with insider tips and strategies to elevate your customer’s success to new heights. Just fill out the form below to get your hands on your copy now. 

Free Interactive Guide: Crafting Your Ultimate Customer Engagement Strategy: Download Now

But wait, there’s more…

Looking for personalized guidance on implementing Thinkific Plus for your unique needs?

Schedule a solutions call with our team today. Let’s discuss how Thinkific Plus can empower your business to achieve your objectives with confidence.

Free Consultation: Systems for Training at Scale: Download Now

The Ultimate Guide for Thinkific Plus: Educate At Scale : Download Now