Engagement: This is What Marketing Is Now

There's another layer to your marketing plans that's critical to your success. If you're not giving your customers the chance to share their experiences, rate your products, and ask friends for their feedback, you're missing out.

Customers need to engage with you before they buy.
Together. Flickr user Dev Null.
You see, most people don't just look at your advertising, your web site, or your catalogs anymore when they're ready to buy. They do online research, they check product reviews, and they ask their friends what they think. 

So if you're not helping them do that, you're preventing customers from completing today's sales cycle. Why would you do that? 

So, while you're getting ready for your holiday sales push, add a couple of things to your to-do list:

1) Product reviews: Product reviews enable your customers to share their thoughts with you, and give advice to one another - a key part of today's purchasing experience. Even poor reviews help you - they give you a chance to make it right for your customers and to improve your products and service.

2) Community: Is there a place online where your customers can congregate? Whether you run forums, a Facebook page, or a Pinterest presence, you need a place where people can share.

3) Sharing: One of my favorite local restaurants just ran a contest where users were asked to take a picture in the restaurant (of their friends, the food, the decor, etc.) using Instagram and then post it on their Facebook page. Hundreds of people participated and they got some great submissions, and wonderful images of their delicious dishes. Customers had a reason to return to their Facebook page again and again to see new photos and vote on their favorites.

4) Let Them In: People need a little more than ads or marketing copy to get them ready to make a purchase. Can you show your customers how your product fits in with their lives? Give them real stories from real people? Tell them a little bit about you and your staff? Explain what inspires you to do what you do? I highly recommend you make some videos to show customers a little bit more about who you are and what happens behind the scenes. Let customers in, and ask them to stay a while.

How are you engaging your customers? Please share.

Need a little help making some friends? Let me know. I can help.

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