Engagement Marketing: A Complete Guide

Engagement marketing is the use of strategic, best marketing strategy, resourceful content to engage people, and create meaningful interactions over time.

Engagement marketing can help you build a stronger relationship with your customers — boosting your sales, reputation and referrals. But what is the definition of engagement marketing and how can it work for your business? Let’s start at the beginning.

In this engagement marketing guide, you’ll discover:

 

What is engagement marketing?

Engagement marketing is the strategy and content required to create meaningful customer interactions and build brand loyalty. It’s a cross-channel, inbound marketing approach that includes: 

When you implement engagement marketing, you create worthwhile interactions with people. Imagine a great piece of content, designed to make a tricky decision easier for a consumer, or a well-timed email checking in with someone after they’ve recently made a purchase. These can help build a personal rapport between brand and customer. 

To do it, marketers use data to build a better impression of who their customers are and their behavior. This not only creates more personalized interactions but brings the added benefit of moving customers along the sales funnel quicker through targeted, strategic user experiences.

 

Why do you need engagement in marketing?

Today’s advertising can be overwhelming for consumers. Forbes estimates that most Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertising messages a day, out of which a person will remember just a few.

This obviously presents a problem for marketers. Clearly, people don’t like to be sold to, so how are we supposed to reach buyers?

For starters, we must keep in mind that just because people don’t like marketing it doesn’t mean they aren’t making purchases. That means we must reach potential buyers in a different way. That’s where engagement marketing comes in.

Buyers today are armed with a wealth of information at their fingertips. They don’t need ads to discover products, they can find them by themselves.

In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90% of buyers are familiar with a brand before they ever interact with it, so marketers must get ahead of the curve. In our view, your most valuable asset isn’t your product, it’s your customers. 

 

Why engagement marketing strategies work for business.

The most successful companies succeed because they excel during each stage of the customer lifecycle. This means: 

✓ Acquiring new buyers

✓ Growing their lifetime value

✓ Converting buyers into advocates

Today, it's on marketers to become stewards of the customer journey and to build bonds with customers wherever they are. Whether that means engaging on social media, presenting a unified experience across devices, or personalizing content and communications. 

A successful engagement marketing program can be extremely effective in spreading brand awareness for a much lower cost than traditional advertising. For example, a well curated and targeted content marketing strategy can put your business in the powerful position of being a thought leader, building trust and brand preference as you help buyers educate themselves on future purchases.

 

“We’re entering a new phase of marketing right now. The new discipline is emerging from the early experiments and pilot investments. And it’s way more strategic and central than anybody thought.”

– Doug Kessler, Creative Director & and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners

 

Common problems that engagement marketing can solve.

Engagement marketing takes into consideration all stages and types of the buyer journey, and a successful program can build lasting bonds with your customers.

 

Problem

Solution

I need to build better brand awareness.

Brands in novelty and B2B industries feel they have to start with disruptive marketing strategies, to get the buyer’s attention and generate an interest or hunger for their product.

Engagement marketing can generate attention and earn trust by answering the questions that they do have. Many real-estate professionals, for example, engage prospects by sharing resources and content, based on their geographic area.

Focusing on self-education can provide visibility to your business.

My current marketing tactics aren’t generating any interest.

No matter what your product is, if you can align it, along with your services, toward pain points and topics that your target customers care about, you will see an uptick in interest.

Demonstrate your passion for your product, service, and/or target audience through whatever channels fit best, and you will discover creative ways to be interesting.

I need to create better preference for my brand.

Once you’ve garnered awareness, you need to establish preference. Successful content marketing creates preference through thought leadership, by making you a trusted source of information and education.

You can also create preference through relationships, which are strengthened whenever your content entertains or helps your buyers.

I need to reach more buyers and customers, but at lower costs.

Engaging content marketing is part of a natural conversation with current and potential customers. That’s because it is relevant to their interests and behaviors and builds a continuous story over time.

Unlike traditional marketing, content pays dividends for a very long time and provides lasting value for customers. That said, content marketing is a long game, so the more effort you put into it, the better results you’ll see over time.

  

Visit our engagement marketing blog page to read more from our experts about how engagement marketing can help you.

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Components of engagement marketing.

Implementation of an effective engagement marketing program means you need to throw most of what you know about traditional marketing out the window. This will allow you to connect with customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. 

It helps you engage people:

  • As individuals. Whether you’re talking to a CIO about software or a new mom about breakfast bars, you’ll want to be well versed on your buyer’s preferences, history, relationship with your company, stage in the buying journey etc. While persona-based marketing defines and speaks to your typical buyers, one-to-one marketing speaks to individuals on their own terms.
  • Based on what they do. Rather than assuming that since a buyer fits a certain profile they will be interested in a certain product, we can now target individuals based on how they behave. You can then use behavior on one channel, an interaction on your company’s Facebook page for example, to inform marketing on another channel. This could be the message that appears when that person visits your website, for instance.
  • Continuously over time. We now have the opportunity to listen and respond to every customer at every stage of the buying journey, keeping them engaged, and helping to drive purchase decisions. Using intelligent nurture tracks, marketing messages should flow in a logical fashion, creating engaging, personalized conversations. It’s not about individual messages, or even individual campaigns. Every interaction asks for another interaction and is part of a longer chain of events. 
  • Toward an outcome. Once you’ve acquired a customer, your new goal is to create a long-term, reciprocal relationship of value for both you and your customer. Whenever you communicate with your buyers, keep the customer journey in mind. Engagement marketing isn’t about relationship building for its own sake, it’s about relationship building toward a goal. 
  • Wherever they are. Today’s customer is everywhere, so it’s vital that you create a consistent experience for them. To do this, you must acknowledge the nuances of individual channels, yet still present a unified message. However, to make the shift from siloed communications, you need a program specifically designed to drive engagement on your website, on tablets and smartphones, via email, through social networks, at in-person events, and beyond.

Learn more about what engagement marketing can offer in our eBook, The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing.

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ROI of a successful engagement marketing program.

When you engage with customers, build trust, and create brand preference, your revenue will show the results.

Engagement marketing leads to:

  • Trust. 85% percent of consumers trust solutions that take the time to walk them through various paths toward decisions, rather than just providing an answer outright. 
  • Clicks. Triggered email messages have 71% higher open rates and 102% higher click rates than non-triggered emails (Every Cloud). 
  • Measurable success. 87% percent of marketers report a measurable lift from their personalization efforts (Evergage).

Learn more about how to get engagement marketing right in our on-demand webinar.

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How to plan, implement, and optimize your engagement marketing program.

Engagement marketing is a multichannel approach that requires planning, implementation, optimization, and upkeep. Rolling out a program can be a lot of work, but you’ll get out of it what you put in.

Step 1: Map and develop your buyer personas and journeys.

Before you start producing new campaigns or content, determine what kind of information your current and future buyers need. Your buyer personas will help you define:

  • Your audience
  • Their challenges
  • Questions they have
  • Their needs
  • The content they like to consume

While their buying stages tell you what each piece of content you create for them should accomplish.

Step 2: Develop your brand voice.

It’s important to present a consistent experience across channels, which means you need to define your brand’s voice. Whether you’re creating content for your blog, your website, or on social, the style you write in will become the voice of your brand.

Remember, while you may choose to adopt a more playful voice on Twitter and a more professional voice in a whitepaper, consistency is key.

Step 3: Brainstorm and flesh out your context mix.

Planning and creating new marketing engagement strategies and tactics isn’t just about mapping and metrics, it’s also about creating inspired content. Think about the type of content that serves your objectives best.

Content marketing comes in many forms, and the form you choose depends on many factors. This includes your:

  • Audience’s preferences
  • Industry’s standards
  • Bandwidth and budget

Step 4: Set an editorial calendar and launch.

An editorial calendar is not only where you keep track of, coordinate, and share your upcoming content. It’s also a strategic tool that helps your team execute integrated programs that include your content.

Keeping an editorial calendar ensures that you’re releasing your content at the best possible moment. Plus, it helps keep your whole team aligned around the release dates. 

Step 5: Optimize and scale.

Your promotion strategy will depend on your audience and your needs, but the best approach to promotion is a wide-reaching one. Don’t start to scale and add new channels until you have a good measurement strategy in place.

To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Define your content goals
  • Decide how you will measure results
  • Align your key stakeholders

We recommend covering your bases by measuring early-stage metrics, and then tying them back to pipeline and revenue.

 

How to improve your engagement marketing strategy.

Now that you’ve got your customer engagement strategy all planned out, it’s time to add a few final touches to make it a success. Here are a few extra tips:

  • Make your data manageable. Retrieving data from different apps, vendors, siloes and databases is time-consuming and inefficient. Before you start your engagement marketing strategies, consolidate your data touchpoints into fewer platforms, to make them easier to manage. This will make it easier to learn about your customers and audience segments.
  • Find the right platform. You may need to consolidate your data, so find a customer engagement platform to help. These can help you put all your data in fewer places and create better engagement across your channels.
  • Personalize the experience. Now for a deep dive into your new, easy-access data. Use customer information to create personalized content and experiences to drive engagement and conversion. Making your customers feel valued can pay dividends down the line. 
  • Research your content strategy. Content strategy is an essential part of your inbound marketing. To nail your content, remember to do solid consumer, competitor and SEO research before you start creation. This is a great way to create high-quality leads and build brand awareness.  
  • Go big on social. Social media is the perfect place to start building out your brand voice. Post meaningful content with a sharp turn of phrase, a sense of humor and the right targeting, and you might see an increase in clicks, engagement and site traffic as a result.
  • Experiment with AI. Artificial intelligence can prove essential to your strategy. Use this to monitor consumer behavior in real time to provide exceptional content and experiences.

 

Frequently asked questions about engagement marketing.

What is the definition of engagement marketing?

Engagement marketing is the use of tailored, engaging customer interactions. For example, with solid data on consumer behavior, brands can create meaningful content and experiences that resonate with their audience. This can help drive conversions and sales, as well as build brand awareness and lasting consumer relationships.

Why is engagement in marketing important?

If you keep customers engaged from the first interaction, you can help guide them towards a conversion and spark brand loyalty. Creating content and other touchpoints can also help you build a better impression of consumer behavior, which can feed back into your engagement strategy. 

What is an engaged customer?

An engaged customer is someone who has an emotional connection with your brand. As a result, they may buy more, promote your brand to others and demonstrate loyalty. This is highly useful for businesses and many spend a great deal of time and effort in keeping their customers on-side. 

Learn more about how to get engagement marketing working for you in our Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing.

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