If you’re like many companies, you’re probably engaging your audience and customers through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you have keyword searches set up to track mentions of your company and keywords, are responding when people mention you or ask you a question and are generally trying to add value to conversations out there to build trust. Maybe you’re also putting exclusive content and deals out on these sites to reward people for following you.
Don’t forget about engaging people in other ways, too.
You have at least a few other tools at your disposal to engage people in other ways. Consider taking advantage of these methods of getting people’s attention and engaging them.
If you’re not using email effectively, you probably shouldn’t even be worrying about setting up a good Facebook page or using Twitter the right way. Email is still often the best way to engage people. If your customers have already opted-in to receive emails from you, you can engage them in email through a variety of ways. This can be anything from a simple email from a real human thanking the customer for purchasing and asking for ideas on how the company can be doing a better job to complex action-based email campaigns.
Assuming you’re using a good email service provider, you should be able to automatically send campaigns to people based on a variety of actions (opens, clicks, purchases, order size, frequency of purchase, date of last purchase, etc).
You also should be able to send emails to people and engage them based on what pages of you’re website they’ve visited. You may be starting to think about rewarding people for “checking in” to your business via a geo-location service like Foursquare. Don’t forget that you can reward people for checking in or visiting your website, too.
Lastly, you should have a strategy in place for re-engaging inactive people in your database. Depending on your goals and situation, you may even want to have a separate reactivation strategy for your different audience segments (people who’ve never bought from you, people who’ve bought once, people who have opened but not bought, etc).
Direct Mail and Letters
Direct mail might not have the buzz around it that some newer online platforms have, but it isn’t dead. You can still send out some cool, attention-grabbing pieces through the mail. Or it can be as simple as writing your customers a hand-written letter every now and then. This goes a long way to show someone you’re thinking about them and that you appreciate them.
Many people might prefer to engage with you via email or through social networks. But others would rather talk to you on the phone. Phone calls are a great way to build on a relationship that’s been created through social media or email and make things more personal. You’re not limited to 140 characters, and it’s a lot easier to tell someone’s tone of voice and mood through a phone call. What if you called each of your customers and just thanked them for being a customer? Or just told them you were thinking about them and wanted to touch base? Talking to someone on the phone is a great way to show you care.
Surveys and Polls (Online and Offline)
It’s important to learn what’s important to your audience, right? Instead of trying to guess, you can just ask them. You can use complicated survey tools and software or use simple 10-question surveys and free tools like Surveymonkey and Polldaddy to understand what people want, what they think of you, and what is important to them.
Events are another great way to engage people. While social media, email and phone calls are great, there is still no substitute for talking to someone face-to-face. Depending on your goals, you may want to make the face-to-face meeting with someone your goal and use social media, email and phone calls to get there.
You can engage people at industry-specific events, take them out to fun (non-work events), or even host your own event for your best customers and clients. The nice thing about the latter is that you not only give your audience a chance to meet and learn from you; you’re giving them a chance to meet and learn from each other. And events are fun!
Apps and Games
The market for useful, entertaining and informational apps and games is poised to explode. As more people buy robust mobile devices such as iPhones, Droids, Blackberrys and iPads, there will be even more ways to reach people and engage them in new formats. If you can create and app or game that engages your audience and holds their attention, this will help drive awareness, leads, sales and repeat customers.
Those are a few ideas for other ways (besides social media) to engage people. The best thing to do would be to test a variety of ways and see what works and which ones work best together. You may find that all of these work well or maybe only one of them does.
Now that you’ve read my ideas, what ideas would you share with people on how they can engage their audience?