Simple Tips to Create Increased Customer Engagement

05/14/2014 09:13 pm ET | Updated Jul 14, 2014

Customer engagement is a term that is tossed around frequently in marketing circles. I am finding out that even though many of us are using it in daily conversation, there is an element of confusion. This phrase has become more buzz-term friendly than user friendly. Let's clear up the confusion, shall we?

The goal of this article is to not provide a comprehensive guideline to create customer engagement. However, it will provide some simple basics that will jumpstart your thought process and point you in the right direction to increase your customer engagement.

Provide A Clear Customer Path: Think about where your brand is coming in contact with the customer. Consider how this is happening as well as all the touch points along the customer path. Keep in mind, there many be channel hops and places where the brand is not displaying your message consistently along the path. Many times this causes the customer to click away from your brand.

Clear Message Delivery And User-Friendly UX: The brand message delivery is derived from your campaign goals and key messages. Also, the user experience must be easy for the customer to assimilate the information and navigate through the customer path; even crossing digital channels (Email - Videos - Web Ads - Social - Landing pages).

What Do I Want The Customer To Do Next? Ask yourself this question on each and every channel (Email - Videos - Web Ads - Social - Landing pages). It's critical to think about this because it helps determine your call to action (CTA). It also forces you to think through critical touch points and channel hops.

Message Consistency: Consistency in messaging and design is marketing 101. Just because message consistency is fundamental, doesn't mean it's always happening. Make sure all your channels have similar imagery and editorial. Example: Social media posts and graphics should look similar to the landing page it is linked to. Keep in mind that all customer touch points in a particular campaign must be in the same brand family and have the same campaign look and feel as well as editorial tone.

Imagery Is Very Important: We've all seen emails and website landing pages that have all words and no pictures and videos -ick! Don't create a verbose customer experience - show more photos, videos and infographics. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. That also means, a video is worth so much more.

Optimize Content For Personas And Search Engines: This means you need to understand key messages, CTAs and your segmentation strategy for varying personas. Regarding CTAs; these must be easily seen and the end user must not have to think too hard about what to do next. Also, search engines are the genesis for how customers are finding your brand and continuing to find you. Understand customer devices, keyword usage, tags and hashtags. Don't forget about the use of video tagging and links as well. Integrating video and SEO usage is very important.

Be Shared: Remember to create content that is worthy of being shared and also posting it in such a way that it is on a platform that allows you to share. What I mean by this is that some content is just not good. Make sure your content is relevant to your customer at each and every touch point. They will be far more likely to click the 'share' button. Also, you must decide if your goal is to educate your customer as opposed to teasing them. If your goal is to entice and move through the customer path to purchase, the message and CTA will need to be designed to accomplish that. Believe it or not, this does matter.

Font Design: This is one of my personal favorites. I love to use fonts as design elements. I feel it can be done very effectively as long as you know the key messages and type of person you are going after. The font you use must be in-line with the key message you are trying to get across. Font design is best used by selecting a font type that is easy to read and has particular characteristics that personify the message with: type, weight, stroke, kern, space, shadow, color and size. All of these come into play. It must all be in concert with your grand plan and theme on all channels.

Imagery: Like fonts, a photo is a critical design element not to be ignored. You don't have to be an award-winning designer to select the right photo. Just select a photo that helps communicate your key message. In lieu of a photo you may need to select a more generic background, which may also have a color or tone. This must integrate into the big picture of your campaign and brand. Make sure not to overdesign. This can kill the user experience more than you think.

All nine of our tips will most certainly help you create a user experience that also increases customer engagement, which can be grossly misunderstood. Once you begin to put these tips together in your strategy and begin executing them, it will help to create an immersive end-user experience that will be highly effective to increase customer engagement. This also positively impacts lead nurturing. When the time comes for the customer to make a buying decision, it will be more difficult for them to say no. Congratulations! Your marketing strategy has paid off with a new customer.