Whether you’re looking to nurture your relationship with the “unreachable” gatekeeper at a top organization or turn your current customers into long term loyal customers, your target audience is made up of individuals with their own agenda online. Your goal is to capture their attention and engage your audience.
They are not waiting around for your brand to tap them on the shoulder so they can ask where to sign up, what’s the next step, or find the next product they love themselves.
They are moving about on their own path online, looking for the next best solution to their problem or answer their question.
It’s your job to be there with the answer and solution when and where they are and to be consistent in engaging them. Knowing how, where, what time, and in what way to engage with your audience is the key to building relationships and awareness that pay off for your brand.
Here are the top five best ways to engage your audience in 2019:
Answer their top questions with interesting content:
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, your customers are online searching for a solution to their problems or an answer to their top questions. Your goal in engaging your audience should be to position your brand to answer their question or provide a solution to a problem. It takes 6-8 touches with your brand to create a viable sales lead. Engaging your audience is key to keeping them on board your sales process and speeding up their actions. For example, if your target audience is marketing agencies, you want to be creating content that answers their top questions.
Hubspot, Coschedule, and Mailchimp have done a fantastic job of creating content that targets, engages, and supports marketing agencies in order to build brand authority and a relationship with these (potential) customers. They focus on creating and distributing content that is written specifically to help their target customers. Their topics are niche, focused, and highly searched by their target audiences. They write from a purely helpful and valuable perfective, truly engaging their audiences and making subscribing to their brand truly worth it.
Use tools like SpyFu, SEMrush, and Google Trends to do research on the topics and keywords your target audience are looking up and what your competitors are doing. Use this data to organize a consistent content calendar to build up engaging content.
A trick to try out: Literally answer your target audience’s top questions on Quora. Quora is a great place to source topics to write about in various industries and see exactly what people are most curious about in terms of your area of expertise. You can use Quora answers and questions to discover hot topic your audience is interested in and create content around those insights. Quora answers also rank high on Google and get high amounts of organic engagement.
Host webinars for your leads and potential clients:
Position your brand as the experts in your niche and provide an even higher level of value for your leads, potential customers, and current customers. Webinars have become extremely popular as more people are online to learn and educate themselves through video-based courses. Webinars are a great way to engage your audience, gain their trust, and build your brand’s authority in your space. The best webinar topics are topics generally related with your product but not entirely based in your product so you are providing value to leads and customers without it feeling too forced. A good practice is to provide a short product demo at the end to familiarize them with your product and demonstrate clearly how your product can help solve their problem.
A great tool for hosting webinars that is quite popular and many people are familiar with is Zoom. Zoom is not incredibly expensive and is super easy to get set up with all the functionality you want like screen sharing and chat during your webinar. Another option growing in popularity is Livestorm which provides great analytics and email coordination.
The biggest hurdle is getting people actually signed up for your webinars. You want them to be branded but not obnoxiously “sales-y”. You want to reach them with an offer to learn something really valuable to them where they are searching online. Use Facebook and LinkedIn ads with targeting to reach your target. Use an email signup with an automated sequence of emails leading up to keep those interested engaged.
Continue offering value via email:
Once someone is on your site, the chance of them coming back in the future is very slim. You want to make it a priority to get their email so you can continue to engage them in the future. Email is still the number one way to re-engage your target audience. 77% of people prefer to get promotional messages via email. Email is still where you want to consistently provide valuable content and offers to keep your audience engaged. Email automations and segmentation is a huge development in this. Instead of sending mass emails to everyone once every so often, you can be targeted, automated, and personalized to better engage your audience. You can send specific offers and content to different segments based on demographics, interests, and previous engagement. Mailchimp can help you set up lists, segmenting, and beautiful campaigns to target and engage your audience. Other email management options include
ActiveCampaign which is really big on segmenting and automation. There are plenty of triggers and segmentation options you can use to really nurture those interested. Another option even more focused is Hubspot which is more CRM-based where you can manage email flows and track your leads’ sign ups and actions with even more detail.
Keep them in the loop with your updates and push notifications:
When your target audience lands on your site, they should be engaged right away with updates and interesting content. On average, you have about seven seconds to engage them or miss out on an opportunity to every again. You want to make sure that your most interesting content, offers, news, etc. is visible for both new and returning users. Using a notification center like Beamer that blends in with your site interface is the best way to share updates and engage your current customers. Beamer is a notification center and changelog that lets you send announcements to users and site visitors for important updates, new features, latest products, special offers and more. You can share updates directly on your site so announcements are received in context and users can immediately interact with your site or app. You can also add photos, videos, and GIFs to your updates to make them more engaging.
To reach your audience off your site and off your app, you can use push notifications to bring your audience back when you share an interesting update. Just show users a simple opt-in the first time they login or visit your site. Once users opt-in they will be sent a web push notification any time you publish an update even if they aren’t currently on your site. This is a great way to bring your users back and reduce churn.
Ask for your audience’s feedback and start a conversation:
If you want to know more about your audience and what they want, ask them! People are much more comfortable sharing their opinions and thoughts online thanks to social media. It’s a great way to engage your audience. Ask them what they would like to know about, their biggest challenges, what they wish they had. It’s the best way to determine what you should create, what kind of questions and concerns you should be addressing, and what kind of content you should put out to better engage your audience. A few effective ways you can do this is via social media (many people provide feedback via Twitter with brands), through your email (send surveys), and on your site. You can embed tools like Typeform to create engaging quizzes and surveys via email and on your site.
Have a presence on social media:
As a result of social media, people online now are used to engaging in a social and communal way. Communication and general activity online is now much less secular. We are online to connect with the world and share knowledge. Engage with them literally where they are already constantly engaging: social media. Make sure your brand is active and sharing engaging content where your target audience is on social media. Use your content schedule to regularly create super visual, useful, and engaging content for your social media platforms. If you don’t have a designer on hand, ArtStudio can help you put together nice graphics in no time. Post consistently and efficiently with Postcron across all your social media platforms. Scheduling posts ahead of time helps you and your team save time, be consistent, and have a more professional, polished presence on social media. Postcron posts automatically across your social platforms, allowing you to plan far in advance by uploading up to 1000 posts, pins, and tweets from Excel or Google Docs files. In Postcron, you can also brand your content with your logo, saving you editing time and adding a layer of professionalism. It makes managing social media incredibly easy and organized.
To get in front of your target audience and expand your influence, work with social media influencers in your niche. Influencers have organic followings that are normally highly engaged. You can engage, increase brand awareness, and gain credibility with your target audience with support from influencers. Some examples of working with influencers are guest posting, interviews and podcasts, and sponsored content.
Catching and keeping your audience’s attention on your site and then finding a way to engage them off your site is key to growing your brand’s influence, converting, and creating a loyal customer base.