If you’re reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you about the importance of engagement when it comes to online advertising (actually, engagement is important in virtually all advertising, but that’s a different blog post).
The goal of engagement, of course, isn’t just to have users caring about your brand – it is, ultimately, to get them to take action. For a retail brand, this might be ‘liking’ your page on Facebook; for an online retailer, this might be making a purchase. Either way, getting the consumer to take action shouldn’t be the end of your engagement efforts. In fact, it should be the beginning of a whole new round of engagement.
Ask any salesperson and they’ll tell you: Once you’ve motivated a consumer to take an initial action, it’s easier to get them to continue to take action – to recommend your product to a friend, make a purchase, or pay attention to your message.
So what are you doing to foster this engagement?
It’s all about making them feel part of the ‘inner circle’.
The challenge is that once consumers have engaged with your brand, they have certain expectations: They know the value of their engagement, and they expect to be treated differently from the uninitiated. Strangely, this may have little or nothing to do with the amount of money they may have spent. Someone who ‘likes’ your Facebook page may feel you have the same obligation to them as someone who spent $500 on your handbag – it all has to do with how public they’ve made their brand loyalty.
Reward this loyalty, and you retain it; ignore it, and you risk losing it to the competition.
So how do you reward engagement?
Well, if 32 million ‘likes’ are any indication, we could probably all take a lesson from Coca-Cola. Between their Facebook page, which regularly offers special deals to members, doesn’t do a whole lot of self-promotion, and allows users to discuss their love of Coke amongst themselves without deleting the negative comments; and their iCoke rewards, where users can collect points which can be redeemed for various rewards, they seem to be doing a good job of engaging users in a variety of ways.
I also like what Audible does: Not only do they offer me special ‘member deals’ when I visit the site, they also email me occasionally (not too much!) to let me know when new books arrive, and – possibly most important – they recommend books to me based on my past buying behaviour. (And their algorithms must be pretty good, because 9 times out of 10 their recommendations are totally accurate.)
Mobile devices, of course, offer brands a fantastic opportunity to reward engagement with a high-perceived-value reward: When popular College Humor characters Jake and Amir went on a roadtrip last year, they tweeted things like “We’ll be at the Arby’s at the corner of Main and King in 10 minutes”, only to arrive to find sometimes hundreds of fans waiting for them. (And make no mistake – YouTube stars are definitely monetized brands.)
Sure, you can still send out monthly newsletters to your past client database – and in the B2B space, if you have good content, these newsletters may still have value – but if you’re asking people to ‘like’ your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter or buy your product and then not offering them interesting rewards, you’re missing a huge opportunity.