As a consumer, we are exposed to thousands of brands every single day. Whether we’re scrolling through social media or browsing online, we’re constantly consuming content. In fact, the average consumer is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 digital ads per day—in the end, how many of these do you actually remember?
One thing that sets brands which customers want to interact with apart from thousands that go unnoticed is customer engagement: how often and in-depth customers choose to interact with you. There are hundreds of ways to increase customer engagement ranging from interactive email campaigns to motivating reward programs woven into your overall customer experience strategy.
As an example, we want to show you some of our favorite brands that are engaging with their customers in fun ways.
Use a points program to make earning points just as fun as redeeming them
The goal of any rewards program is to retain customers and build sustainable customer loyalty. This boils down to ensuring that your customers are engaging with your brand and that they want to interact with you. One of the best ways to measure your rewards program engagement is through your points redemption rate.
Redemption rate = # of points spent on rewards / Total # of points issued
When your customers earn points, you want to make sure they’re coming back to actually use them. However, even your most loyal customers get busy, so redeeming their points might slip their minds from time to time. Ensuring that you have an optimal redeeming process is one way to maintain a high redemption rate.
Create a fun redemption process or remind your customers to redeem their points with on-site nudges or points balance reminder emails.
Designer Bums’ Camp DB
When it comes to a fun rewards experience, Designer Bums is a perfect example. With an interesting VIP rewards program, they offer customers in the highest tiers the chance to earn more points per dollar spent than the lower tiers.
What’s even more notable is their VIP tier branding, which gives customers the opportunity to earn badges—just like how a cub scout or girl guide would at camp! This added element of gamification is the perfect customer engagement tool. The VIP tiers in themselves motivate customers to reach the next level plus the fun element of earning badges creates a more memorable experience than simply “reaching the top tier.”
Designer Bums has upped their game to the next level with a creative board game design that customers can work through to achieve the top “Star Gazer” status. This provides an optimal customer experience by making it fun to earn rewards: the concept of earning a badge engages customers to share this achievement with their peers.
Additionally, the branding embedded in Camp DB is filled with outdoorsy, natural images, effectively communicating Designer Bums’ value of being eco-conscious. The badges and board game design even match aesthetically with their product designs, delivering customers one consistent experience.
Designer Bums may have designed their rewards program like a game, but their approach to customer engagement is nothing to joke about!
- Creating a consistent customer experience extends to your rewards program.
- Naming your points currency and VIP tiers strategically can go a long way.
- Gamifying your rewards experience makes customers feel like they’re playing a game as opposed to simply making purchases.
Harness the power of a strong online brand community
As a small business competing in a competitive industry, you need to give customers a reason to shop with you. One of the best ways to do this is with a customer experience that is both enjoyable and memorable. When you create this type of experience, oftentimes it will promote itself with existing customers being the best marketing medium.
When customers believe in everything you do beyond just the products you sell, they’ve become a true brand advocate. Just like any other type of fan, these advocates are eager to connect with people who share their passion. Online communities like Facebook groups are a great way to allow customers to engage with each other and your brand.
These dedicated fans will motivate one another and encourage them to share their passion for your brand with even more people.
Evy’s Tree Facebook community
Women’s fashion brand, Evy’s Tree has created a very engaged brand community through the use of their rewards program. After creating a strong Facebook following, they decided to launch a specific Evy’s Tree Insider group where users can enjoy their shared sense of community.
The average points redemption rate is 13%.
Evy’s Tree leveraged the excitement created from these Facebook communities, along with their strong referral program to capture a rewards redemption rate of 65%. With over a 50% increase above industry standards, Evy’s Tree has created a truly engaged loyal customer base.
Customer-driven marketing like online brand communities and referral programs are a great measurement of program engagement.
- Online brand communities and reward programs are the perfect pair.
- Ensure you are meeting your customers where they already are.
- Redemption rates are a great measurement of program engagement.
A warm welcome goes a long way
Whether it’s your first loyalty program member or your millionth member, it is essential to give every customer a warm welcome. Each program member provides significant value to you, so it’s important to ensure that they feel this value. One of the best ways to do this is through an engaging welcome email.
A welcome email is the first personalized interaction a customer has with your rewards program. There are several ways to make a great first impression from branding your email to including an engaging call to action related to your program.
Arteza’s personalized welcome email
Art supplier, Arteza welcomes their customers in an engaging way. With an email that is beautifully designed with bright colors, customers are given the first impression that is consistent with Arteza’s brand image.
Showcasing a similar design to their explainer page, the email clearly communicates the brand’s creativity-centered values. They’ve even embedded GIFs throughout the email to provide a more interactive and engaging customer experience.
Arteza has gone one extra step in creating a valuable first connection by including relevant information about their rewards program. The customer’s points balance is clearly displayed along with the number of points needed to earn the next reward. This creates a clear call to action and goal for a customer to work towards by including the number of points needed to reach the next reward followed by a beautifully-branded CTA button reading “Earn more points.”
This is a great example of having your brand clearly communicated throughout every channel you market in.
- When a customer joins your community, let them know you’re happy to have them with a welcome email.
- Include information about your rewards program in your welcome email.
- Remind customers about their welcome or sign-up points in your welcome email to provide instant gratification and create switching barriers.
Make it hard to say goodbye
On the opposite end of the spectrum, make it impossible (or just about) for your customers to say goodbye forever. If it seems like a customer is disengaged, don’t give up on them just yet. Win-back email campaigns are a great way to re-create engagement with customers.
12% of subscribers open re-engagement emails, and 45% of those continue on to open a subsequent message.
Sometimes a simple reminder of what they’d be missing is enough to make your customers stay with you.
Paul Mitchell’s playful win-back email
Appealing to your customers’ emotions is one of the most effective marketing strategies. One way to do so is through playful and fun language to create a sense of FOMO for your customers.
“The fear of losing something is more motivating than the benefits of gaining something.”
Loss Aversion Theory
Messages like “We Miss You” or “Are You Really Leaving?” create a sense of permanence in your customers’ minds and motivate them to avoid that loss, all while making a serious situation seem light-hearted.
In their playful win-back email, Paul Mitchell appeals to their customers’ emotions. With a catchy headline, an eye-catching graphic made from their own products, and a reminder of why their newsletters provide value, they are able to draw their dormant customers’ attention to the call to action, inviting them to re-engage.
Win-back emails can be even more effective when used in combination with your rewards program. By using strategies like point reminders, free product offerings, or personalized bonus points campaigns, you can motivate re-engagement by appealing to customers’ fear of losing their hard-earned points.
Win-back emails are the perfect re-engagement tool, which can be just as important as engagement in the first place.
- Don’t give up on your customers right away; after all, repeat customers are more profitable than one-time shoppers.
- If a customer seems to have forgotten about you, a simple reminder will help guide them to be an engaged brand advocate again.
- Win-back emails are the perfect opportunity to remind your members of their points balance and can increase your points redemption rate.
Collaborate with your most engaged customers online
Today social media is a must for every brand. In order to create the most engagement possible, don’t treat your social media strategy as an afterthought by tweeting a product picture every once in a while. Use it as part of your marketing and brand strategy to create organic customer engagement.
“53% of Americans who follow brands on social are more loyal to those brands.”
Social media is a channel that customers value when interacting with brands and luckily it’s a great channel for every small business. Engaging with your customers online is a great way to work together to build an engaged online brand community.
Wendy’s #NuggsforCarter campaign
One of the best examples of a brand that takes their social media strategy seriously (well, kind of) is Wendy’s. With their iconic, sarcastic Twitter personality, the fast-food company has been able to build a following of 3.4 million people. Customers are constantly engaging with the brand on Twitter in hopes of receiving some type of witty reply.
One of their best customer engagement campaigns was their interaction with 16-year-old high school student, Carter Wilkerson, who tweeted the restaurant asking for a year of free chicken nuggets. While Wendy’s sarcastically replied with “18 million,” users quickly got behind this movement.
The #NuggsforCarter campaign captured the attention of millions of users, creating a ton of brand awareness for Wendys. Even Ellen Degeneres took notice and invited Carter to be on her show. While Carter didn’t reach the 18 million mark, he was able to set the world record for the most retweets ever with 3.42 million and secured a year's supply of Wendy’s nuggets anyways.
Now, we’re not saying you need to offer every customer a year’s supply of free products or get customers to talk about you on national television to create engagement, but interacting with your customers online and creating branded hashtags is a great way to create organic customer engagement.
- Remind your customers that there are real people behind your brand.
- Engage with your customers in a natural and human way on social media to create a genuine and memorable connection.
- Respond to your customers to make them feel valued—they’re more likely to re-engage with you if they feel like you care.
Start engaging your own customers today
All of these examples were extremely effective in engaging their customers but didn’t require a ton of effort from the brands. They were simple campaigns involving some social media posts or a few emails, but they all left a big impact on their customers.
These are all strategies that you can adopt today for your own small business to start increasing your customer engagement rates and build sustainable loyalty.