• Helen Pritchett

How to Develop Customer Engagement and Emotional Loyalty to Drive Sales

Updated: May 6, 2021

The customer is at the heart of every business and nurturing these relationships is key. But what builds excellent customer engagement and how can it be used for the benefit of marketers and consumers?

It seems obvious. If you build a rapport with your customers, and (crucially) you have something they want, then they will buy from you again and again. Brand loyalty is contagious, build it with your customers and watch them become brand ambassadors and spread the word of your brand throughout their peer group.

The question is, what builds this rapport and how can it be managed? What impact does data and marketing activity have? Better engagement means better business and understanding how these elements help to build rapport and improve engagement is the key to brand stretch, brand loyalty and increased sales.

What Is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is the emotional connection between a customer and a brand. Highly engaged customers are more loyal, they buy more and advocate more. Providing a high-quality customer experience is an important component in your customer engagement strategy as it leads directly to increased sales.

Customer relations are investments by Brian Solis licensed under CC

Clever Content Marketing Creates Customer Engagement

Content is key to consumer engagement and needs to be shared and distributed on a variety of channels and platforms using a multi-channel approach, analysing interactions to measure success.

Content marketing helps your brand stand out in a noisy marketplace, attracts your customers’ attention, and fuels engagement. A strong content marketing strategy creates a consistent experience for your audience across every stage of their journey.

The key to successful content marketing lies in building and nurturing customer relationships. Creating and delivering content that is focused on helping your customers, not selling to them, is vital and will creates loyal customers who will go on to be brand advocates.

Well-executed content marketing will benefit your business from both a customer engagement/satisfaction and revenue perspective and will deliver ROI which builds your business. Effective content marketing steps include:

  • Creating a solid content marketing strategy

  • Mapping buyer personas to define your audience and their buying stages to ascertain what each piece of content should achieve

  • Developing your brand voice to ensure the brand experience is consistent across every channel and every piece of content.

  • Creating balanced content which is well-rounded and effective

Content is Crucial, Data is the Detail

Let’s look at the foundation of all marketing activity ­– data – and how this impacts emotional loyalty and customer engagement

The data you have on your customers is the core of each campaign you run. Each and every marketing activity should use the intelligence in your data to touch your customers in a way that inspires and delights. With a value-based data exchange you can act on insights that your data supplies e.g. personalising offers and promotions based on what makes your customers tick.

Recent DMA research showed “59% of consumers are happy to share data for an improved relationship”, such as forming more rewarding engagement or access to improved products and services.

How do you gather this data? Companies gather data from a variety of sources such as online shopping activity, loyalty schemes and blog/newsletter sign ups. Loyalty schemes appeal to customers on an emotional level and are likely to improve their willingness to share data as they experience direct, often personalised, benefits.

Brands can develop emotional loyalty by provoking a positive instant reaction in consumers’ brains which is then transformed into emotions. How intensely a customer experiences that emotion will determine how likely they are to buy again. Data held on each customer can be used to provoke such reactions and build strong emotional loyalty. Data is key to providing the type of experiences that will develop ongoing, repeat purchase relationships. Having a database that can provide a 360-degree view of each customer is crucial. If your organisation holds data across different departments, it’s time to change this and combine all data to provide a holistic view.

A Harvard Business Review study claims emotionally engaged customers are anything from 25% to 100% more valuable to brands than those who are merely satisfied. Customer engagement leads to emotional loyalty, which in turn, leads to lead generation and conversion. The direct correlation between engagement, loyalty and sales is clear. The key to getting from engagement to sales conversion is multi-touch, personalised, targeted engagement which takes the customer on a journey that builds emotional loyalty.

From Customer Engagement to Sales Conversion

Achieving sales conversions involves critical decision-making, the right marketing strategies, and hard work. Add customer engagement to this list and you have a strong chance of success. Reaching out to the right market and keeping them engaged is vital. Successful customer engagement can lead to an increase in sales in your business, and here’s why:

  1. Keep customers informed – ensure they are aware of your range of products and services and how these can solve their challenges and requirements

  2. Increase brand awareness – engagement leads to awareness, brand recognition and brand familiarity. Brand recognition gradually becomes influential in product purchase and contract renewal

  3. Undertake research, surveys, and assessments – engagement with customers provides insight as to what their needs are. This information is vital in helping companies come up with products or services that create real customer value and meet actual customer needs.

  4. Increase in order value – engaged customers tend to spend more, probably as a result of emotional loyalty, tap into this and sales should follow

  5. Engagement breeds advocacy – engagement converts customers into brand advocates who are happy with your products or services and are more likely to refer your brand to other individuals.

How Has COVID-19 Affected Customer Engagement Strategies?

It’s already clear that digital engagement is rapidly becoming the most prominent way of reaching out to customers and developing relationships. Twilio recently published a blog about the future of customer engagement in the COVID-19 era and how marketers should rethink their customer engagement strategy to succeed in a COVID-19 world. Read the blog to find out more about how marketing is changing, with live events becoming virtual and more content becoming digital. It’s not all negative, there are opportunities to re-establish businesses, products, and services and to reconnect with customers.

Customer Engagement Counts

Deep and meaningful customer engagement creates an environment where the sales process can flourish, and conversions are more achievable. Marketing activity can create and deliver customer engagement through a variety of activities such as social media, websites, eMarketing, telemarketing, events, and direct mail. Customer engagement isn’t a short-term set of actions, it’s strategic and long-term activity that improves customer delight and sales performance. Having access to accurate, reliable data will support strategic decision-making and such data enables you to optimise your activities to improve your brand loyalty and, therefore, your conversion rate.