You’ve heard this term in nearly every post on every marketing blog.
Yet, it’s poorly understood and even more poorly implemented.
The truth is that engagement marketing is one of your most powerful marketing weapons. When used right, it can send your conversion rates through the roof.
In this post, I’m going to help you understand engagement marketing and how to use it to increase conversion rates.
What is Engagement Marketing?
Engagement marketing is about engaging customers in meaningful conversations and relationships.
In a way, you can say that it’s just like inbound marketing, except that the concept is broader and describes high-level strategies instead of specific tactics.
When you run an engagement marketing campaign, you don’t talk at people; you hold conversations with them.
Your marketing communication isn’t siloed; it’s multi-channel, spontaneous and highly integrated.
When you send out a marketing message, it doesn’t rely on just demographic data but also uses behavioural data.
Every marketing action you take is specific, measurable and “at the speed of digital”.
An engagement marketing campaign is personal, intimate and one-on-one. It doesn’t just blast a message at millions through a mass communication channel – like TV – but engage them individually.
A print ad in the NYT would be traditional marketing:
A business would have no idea whether its ad was read or not, and if it was, how long people spent reading it.
A personalized email, on the other hand, would be an example of engagement marketing.
A business would know exactly how many of its subscribers opened this email, which links they clicked, and how long they spent reading it.
Moreover, because of personalization, this email would appear as if it’s a part of a conversation, not a broadcast.
A Twitter exchange would be the same; marketing through personal engagement.
The question now is: how can engagement marketing help you increase conversion rates?
Let’s look at 3 ways below.
Increasing Conversion Rates with Engagement Marketing
1. Focus on real-time engagement
One of the core tenets of engagement marketing is that it is “marketing at the speed of digital”.
An engagement marketing campaign doesn’t plan out its steps weeks in advance; it is spontaneous and responds to events in real-time.
For example, when there was a power outage at Superbowl XLVII, Oreo posted this image:
The entire outage lasted for just 22 minutes, but in this time, Oreo managed to put together a topical image and send it out to its over 818k followers.
According to one study, real-time marketing increases conversion rates by 26%.
Another study by eMarketer found that better conversion rates are the second biggest reasons why agencies and brands use real-time marketing.
Publicly engaging your customers on social platforms helps in two ways:
- Social proof. All conversations on public platforms like Twitter are viewable to the public. Any time a customer asks a question or posts a complaint, it is visible to all her followers. Responding to these queries quickly shows you as a brand that cares.
- Topicality. Real-time engagement allows you to leverage current events to get more traffic. By latching onto a trending hashtag, for instance, you can make sure your tweet is visible to thousands of extra customers.
Here are two ways you can use real-time engagement marketing in your business:
A. Take advantage of trending hashtags
Brands frequently monitor trending topics and hashtags on Facebook/Twitter and post their related updates.
This gives them additional exposure to new customers.
For example, when #NationalChickenWingDay was trending on Twitter, Ledo Pizza jumped in with a picture plus a $25 giveaway, earning it 162 retweets within minutes:
B. Use social media to support customers
You don’t have to latch onto public events to make use of real-time marketing. Even responding to customer queries quickly can help greatly.
2. Integrate all your marketing channels
Another key tenet of engagement marketing is that it is integrated.
This means that all your marketing channels are connected to each other. Your social media marketing team doesn’t work in isolation with your Email Marketing, and your in-house video creation team takes in ideas from your emails.
There’s plenty of evidence that an integrated marketing approach simply works:
- According to some surveys, 72% of consumers prefer an integrated marketing approach.
- According to Forrester, 60% of marketers who use a multi-channel approach report a 10% increase in revenue attributed to those marketing programs.
For example, Southwest Airlines’ “Transfarency” campaign was integrated across TV and the web.
Southwest launched a 30-second commercial on TV about transparent fees:
To support it, it launched a minisite at Transfarency.com:
And it included a hashtag – #feesdontfly – across social channels to support the ad campaign:
An integrated marketing campaign doesn’t have to be as expansive as the above example.
Borrowing ideas from any single channel and reusing it on others is good enough and perfectly viable for most businesses.
For example, a business might use open rates of its emails to figure out what its readers like to read. It might then use these ideas to create longer blog posts.
Similarly, graphics and images that resonate with its audience on social media can find their way into a longer video.
This way, not only will you have uniform messaging across platforms, but will also ensure that only tested ideas find their way on your biggest marketing channels.
3. Use content for customer evangelism and better conversions
Your content – on social media, your blog, in trade publications, etc. – doesn’t just get you more eyeballs; it also gets you more conversions.
The data backs this up.
- Marketers who prioritize content creation via blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI.
- 76% of B2B marketers say that they will produce more content in 2016 as compared to 2015.
- For 60% of B2B marketers, their biggest challenge is producing more content.
At a time when 47% of B2B buyers read 3-5 pieces of content before even engaging with a salesperson, investing in engaging content can greatly boost your conversion rates.
It also helps that for most B2B buyers, content you create is just as trustworthy as that created by third-parties. In fact, according to a DemandGen survey, 95% of B2B buyers see vendor-produced content as “trustworthy”.
High-quality content that engages customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey is a powerful conversion tool, regardless of industry or sector (B2B or B2C).
In fact, for 68% of businesses, engaging new customers is the biggest reasons for creating content. For 38%, it’s acquiring new leads.
For example, HubSpot produces a substantial amount of content that is not directly related to its product – such as this Excel guide.
This content helps engage HubSpot’s target market of sales and marketing folks (two heavy Excel users in most organizations).
Consistently producing such content engages your target audience. And since highly engaged audiences are also more likely to be more receptive to your offers, you’ll also boost conversion rates.
Engagement marketing is one of the most powerful marketing strategies available today for boosting conversion rates and getting more customers.
By creating quality content and integrating it across all your marketing channels, you can create intimate connections with users and turn them into customers.