You’re doing what we suggested earlier this year and thinking of customers as members, right? After all, they’re yours for the taking every time they want to purchase something you’re offering. Or at least they are if you’re willing to keep them in your brand’s warm embrace.
Treat them like members. Create an ongoing relationship and give them value that enriches their lives in a relevant way, and holds their hands all the way through their next purchase. And the purchases after that, ad infinitum.
If you’re not doing that, you should consider it. Every business is a membership model, after all.
Each purchase is like paying dues, and it’s up to your brand to prove it’s value in between paying those dues.
With that in mind, here are 30 bunch of tips, tricks, strategies, and tactics that you may or may not want to implement to increase engagement with your customers members:
- Ask new members for a favor as soon as they join or purchase your product (also known as the Ben Franklin Effect)
- Build a loyalty program that recognizes and rewards frequent customers and pushes those on the fence to engage with the brand
- Or even consider a premium loyalty program, in which customers can pay up front for special rewards and benefits
- Find and respond to every negative comment (and the positive ones too!) made online
- Don’t just rely on an email address; build connections across at least one other channel to maximize engagement
- But send more emails. The more valuable, the more you can send
- No matter how many emails you send, encourage replies
- Partner with influencers in your space, such as popular blogs and industry analysts
- Treat social media the same way you treat phone calls and other customer service channels
- Dump your bizdev budget and pour it into retention (you all did this, right?)
- Give a customer appreciation gift (and don’t break the bank)
- Program your app to convince users to enable push notifications as early as possible
- Create contact channels on alt social media sites like Reddit
- Create an online gathering place for your customers to connect with each other
- Structure your onboarding process to remove friction and get new members involved with your member benefits (or a similar value-added experience) as quickly as possible
- Offer a customer incentive that encourages post-transaction interaction
- Start a “beta tester” program in which customers get to experience new products and upgrades first
- Identify your essential action, and steer customers to it as soon as they walk in the door
- Surprise-and-delight a random customer every day
- Focus on increasing employee engagement
- Purchase ads that promote your brand and content to customers on social sites
- Coupons can build engagement without risking profitability - send out an offer
- Make them experts on your products or services, and share how other customers are using your products in unique ways
- Run regular surveys - not just annual or year-end surveys
- Aggressively solicit customer feedback
- Tell members all about the positive changes you made as a result of that feedback
- Show a specific return-on-investment (a big reason why many organizations turn to discount programs for member benefits)
- People always love contests and giveaways - run them regularly
- Create a personal interaction with every customer, any way you can
- Follow Starbucks’ lead and build your brand to recognize and reward your best customers
In reality, this list could go much longer. Customer engagement is nebulous and impacted by so many factors. What brings your customers or members closer to you may be completely different from other businesses.
But member engagement really boils down to frequently adding and communicating value. Trying to sell more stuff or asking for more money doesn’t count.