Like it or not, your customers have the power in your relationship with them. Not only do they make the final decision when it comes to purchase, but they are also connected 24/7 to a network of information, opinions – and options. With the tap of a finger they have the opportunity to compare pricing, check reviews, and ask a friend. The path to purchase has literally become a game show that customers will always win at.
Knowing this, there is no excuse for running your marketing strategy on blind hope that it will work to engage your customers. You need to build a strategy that is focused on parents’ needs, wants, and behaviours.
Whether you have a small or a large audience, here are a few strategies that you can incorporate into your own customer engagement efforts.
- Use Social media to listen: Everyone knows that one person who ONLY talks about themselves. Those times where you sit through an entire “conversation” and your only involvement is to agree with how great they are or express your wonder at what they had to eat yesterday when they went to that fancy restaurant. Don’t be that friend. Engage your customers in dialogue and really listen to what they have to say in return. If you haven’t yet built up an engaged community online yet, find forums where they are engaged online (ie. Reddit, Tumblr, etc). Ask questions, dish out compliments, whatever you can do to elicit a positive response.
- Real time updates: If you are running a live workshop or an event, don’t be afraid to give updates via social media in real time. With so many live streaming options available, you have the platform already set up. Try to get creative, but make sure you stay on brand. If you’re launching a new product, why not do a live unboxing video? If you are at a consumer trade show, you could do a live walk through of your booth – from entrance, to the booth, to your giveaway. Look for value add for your customers.
- Put the spotlight on customers: User-generated content is a great way to listen to what your customers have to say while beefing up your own unique content library. Running a contest where customers have to submit photos or stories can be a great way to get product reviews and encourage general brand engagement. And your contest doesn’t have to live on social media, you can set it up as a landing page on your website, have email submissions, or use a third party. You already know that parents love sharing milestones online, whether throughout pregnancy or as baby grows up, so tap into that already existing behaviour.
- Loyalty programs: it’s always nice to reward loyalty among your customers. Loyalty programs come in all shapes and sizes. Nothing can guarantee a loyal customer won’t go to one of your competitors, but loyalty programs make a strong case for staying loyal. If you treat your customers well, there is a greater chance they will continue to stay loyal to your brand. Here are a few options:
- Offer a discount for returning customers
- Offer a volume discount for returning customers (ie. Buy 10 get 1 free)
- Create a rewards/points program
- Offer a referral discount
- Have a regular event for your loyal customers
- Engage influencers: You can only engage with so many people through your immediate audience. By having an influencer tell your story, you can then engage with a larger audience as they act as a loudspeaker for your brand. A great way to include an influencer in your strategy is to have them review your product because 92% of Canadian moms say that they take online product reviews into consideration when purchasing products.
- E-newsletter: An E-newsletter is a direct line to your audience. They have already shown interest in your brand by signing up for your list. The key is to share valuable content and offers that will keep their interest. And sending a newsletter once per quarter isn’t enough. At the very minimum you should send something monthly so you stay top of mind.
- Customer surveys: Once a customer has tried your product, have them complete a survey to get valuable feedback. Turn the data into actionable strategies to better the customer experience.
- Offer a free trial: Sometimes getting that first nibble can be tough. By offering a free trial you have a captive audience that is trying out your product. This means that they are in the market for what you’re selling and they liked yours enough to try it out. It also gives you the opportunity for multiple touchpoints throughout their trial period to convert them fully to a paying customer. This works well with ongoing services and products that will be purchased over and over like food, diapers, etc.
- Content strategy: Your content should address customer needs and concerns. It should answer their burning questions. In short, it needs to provide value. By creating valuable and interesting content, you have a platform for customer engagement.
- Quicker turnaround times: Something as simple as not making a customer wait is a great way to engage them. If they send in an inquiry via your customer care channels, try to cut down on the response times and get to a quick solution. The more they wait, the easier it is to walk away. Parents are busy, and there are a lot of options available to them, so you don’t want to give them a reason to turn to a competitor.
If you are looking for a great customer engagement strategy to connect with parents, but you just don’t know where you start, be sure to give us a call!