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GUEST COMMENT Five ways to use engagement marketing to increase conversions

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Instead of transactional relationships, brands now want to engage customers with content and conversations. It’s easy to see why this is happening: the average consumer is bombarded with an average of 5,000+ messages every day. In this battle for consumers’ attention, traditional marketing methods just can’t win. Engagement marketing promises a solution by getting consumers to participate in brand experiences. Unsurprisingly, it can also help you boost conversion rates. In this post, I’ll share five ways you can use engagement marketing to increase your conversion.

What is engagement marketing?

As per wikipedia, engagement marketing is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand. Think of a Starbucks barista writing your name on a cup, or your favourite brand emailing you a personalised discount coupon based on your purchase history.

Instead of simply blasting your message at people, engagement marketing prioritises the creation of content and experiences that lead to customer delight. In a way, this gives power back to consumers. Instead of being bombarded with mass advertising, they now get to choose when, where and how many times they want brands to interact with them.

It starts with a particular user being interested in your business. She is willing to listen to you and wants to know more about you. At this stage you get the opportunity to help fulfil their interest and make the sale at the same time.

At its heart, engagement marketing is a three-step process.

Getting permission

The process starts when a customer gives you permission to contact her (such as through an email opt-in form).

Building trust

Instead of pushing marketing messages right away, you build trust by engaging the customer with useful, high quality content.

Closing the deal

Once customers have shown considerable interest in your offerings through their actions, you get a chance to close the deal. As a concept, this is perfectly suited for the internet age, which is why there has been a steady increase in engagement marketing interest as Google Trends shows:

Let’s look at some ways you can use engagement marketing to increase your conversion rates:

Run social contests

Social contests are a great way to get your customers involved with your brand.

When a user signs up for a contest, they take out time to engage with your brand at a personal level. Whether it’s writing a caption for a picture, making a Pinterest board, or finishing a quiz, a social contest means that people are directly interacting with your brand.

For example, this contest from ModCloth

…inspired users to create 302 Pinterest boards with thousands of pins across them. This gave ModCloth massive reach, all for a $100 gift coupon.

Create quizzes

Did you take BuzzFeed’s “What city you should actually live in?” quiz?

This simple quiz gave them a whopping 22m views. Quizzes make you look at a brand from a different lens. Suddenly, your brand turns business to consumer.

For example, Hubspot asks questions on content marketing in its quiz:

At the end of the quiz, HubSpot prompts you to sign-up for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing certification course depending on your score:

Offer personalised coupons

Ever got that “only for you” coupon from a brand? If you have, a part of you would feel special. After all, it shows that the brand was thinking about you and even took the time to send you an email (with a coupon, no less) about it. Personalised coupons are a powerful way to move the conversion needle. They are particularly effective when you need to push customers past a conversion hump (such as an abandoned cart). For example, Birchbox, a monthly subscription box service, sends out abandon cart emails along with a 20% off discount 24 hours after cart abandonment to ask users to come back and complete their subscription.

Here’s another email Priceline sends its customers right after they finish a trip. Notice that the email headline includes the customer’s last destination along with a personalised coupon.

Here are some offers you can send: a percentage-based discount, a specific value discount, free shipping, or a free gift.

Use location-based offers

It takes engagement to a whole new level when you use customer location to send them offers.

Typically, location based alerts are delivered to smartphone through SMS or app notifications. This alert could be the deal of the day or discount coupon code. For example, The Open Golf Championship used user location and routing information to create detailed itineraries for each recipient. This campaign led to a 250% increase in online traffic and 500 additional leads.

Another way to use location data is to update your website in real-time based on the user’s location.

For example, L’Oreal offers beauty tips on its site based on the weather at the user’s current location. If the weather is cloudy, you get a tip to choose the right sunscreen SPF at the top of the site:

This is a powerful tactic for improving conversions since it leads to offers that are contextually relevant. A customer living in the Caribbean, for instance, doesn’t want to see your ski jackets and snowshoes; she wants to see your summer wear. Further, this turns your brand into an experience. Your shopping experience isn’t just static; it changes based on where your customers are and what they seek.

Use engagement-driven lead scoring

One of the most powerful ways to use engagement marketing is to score your leads based on customer engagement.

For example, you might identify certain actions that indicate higher interest in your products or services.

These actions could be something like, clicking on a link in an email, downloading more than two lead magnets or submitting a form on a specific page. Based on these actions, you can segment your prospect list into different categories depending on their likelihood of conversion.

Within this framework, more engagement equals higher chance of conversion. While this is more applicable to B2B businesses, you can use this tactic to segment your email list in B2C markets as well. You could, for instance, have a separate segment for “highly engaged” customers who’ve followed you on up to three social channels, or consumed up to three pieces of content. Surveys show that such segmentation can lead to higher open rates, lower unsubscribe rates and greater email relevance.

There are lots of ways to use your audience segments to send more targeted offers. For example, Kohls sent its North Carolina based customers a targeted email with offers for the North Carolina tax holiday:

Aweber tracked subscribers who’d clicked, but not signed up for a webinar. It then sent these subscribers a personalised email reminding them to come back.

Do remember that if you don’t have customer data, you can use email to collect it as well.

For example, Office sent out this email to segment its email list by gender:

Over to You

Engagement marketing is one of the biggest marketing trends, and rightfully so. By giving power back to customers, it helps brands create more meaningful content and conversations. Use the five tactics outlined above to kickstart your engagement marketing campaign. You’ll not only see better conversions but also happier, more engaged customers.

Khalid Saleh is the co-founder and CEO of conversion optimization company Invesp and growth hacking platform Figpii

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