Customer engagement encompasses every way that you connect with your customers, whether during the transaction, or on an ongoing basis across channels. As with any marketing, communications or retention tactic, align your strategy to your audience, goals, and tactics, to make sure your messaging hits consistently.
Sprout Social interviewed 1000 consumers and found that 64% want brands to connect with them. So don't be afraid to hit that "send" button - just make sure you've got your channels and approach down. In this guide, we'll cover methods, then specific examples that work for brands big and small.
Examples of customer engagement methods
- Email. According to the 2023 Square Future of Commerce report, 86% of consumers want to get messages from businesses they buy from, and 60% of those prefer email. Consider a strong welcome email that covers the basics, how to get support, where to learn more and all the resources available. From there, a complete email program might include holiday, birthday, or educational messages throughout the year. New feature announcements and a "year in review" are great adds as well. Segment your audience for the personalization that customers have come to expect.
- Social. Sprout's report found that social is the number one way that they connect with brands. So if you're not on at least one social media channel, you may be missing out. Don't overdo it – one channel is enough. Create content that's practical, that shows how to use your products or services, and showcases the real people behind your brand. And if people reach out with customer support questions, remember that they usually expect a response within 24 hours – another reason to keep it simple with one main channel where most of your audience hangs out.
- Loyalty and rewards programs. Perk platforms like Paylode's enable companies to offer a perk for just about anything. From renewing a lease, to upgrades, to birthday gifts, you can reward just about any customer behavior and increase loyalty at the same time.
- Radio. Believe it or not, audio still reigns supreme. Especially as "return to office" ramps up, you can still reach the majority of Americans during commute hours in their car, or via any number of radio streaming platforms. Support local public radio with an ad sponsorship to catch commuters, which blasts your sponsorship and tagline out to public radio listeners in any market you want.
- Podcasts. Podcasts are a ton of work to create, but you can also advertise on them, or pitch your company experts' as a guest on other podcasts. Similar to radio, you could buy a sponsorship that gets respected and relevant hosts talking about your brand.
- Direct mail. As so many people are going paperless over the years, our mailboxes have shrunk. Do people miss getting mail? Direct mail open rates are amongst the highest of any kind of communication, if you package it right. There are even companies who can "hand write" addresses and letters to increase your response rates.
- Ads. Yes they cost money, but you're guaranteed to get eyeballs on your brand. If you have the experts and the budget, you can design ads that act as education, putting yourself back in front of customers in the awareness, consideration or buying phase. Peep our salesforce examples later that use ads to promote educational ebooks and downloads.
- Feedback. Customers expect to be heard. Survey your customers to gauge satisfaction, ease of product use, or the quality of customer support. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are popular for measuring loyalty and recommendations.
- Customer support. Every interaction with your brand either contributes positively, negatively, or neutrally. Remember that your response time, ease of access, quality of answers, and ability to solve the customer's problem is a critical component of retention (anyone tried to cancel Comcast lately?). Have a plan to route requests, create policies, and be courteous.
- Notifications and in-app messages. People just can't help but click on those little red dots that indicate a new notification. We've been trained by social media to want the dopamine hit of checking our messages. Your in-app messages, onboarding checklists, and notification bells are opportunities to send messages with more urgency in places where people can see them.
- Live chat. Just like customer support, if you have the software for it, enable it. You can create a set of canned messages that walks the reader through the most common FAQs, or leave a message for a rep to get back to.
There's probably hundreds more ways you could engage with your customers. As long as you have a plan for each phase of the funnel, you won't let anyone slip through the cracks.
Customers need different messages at different parts of the funnel
The five parts of the customer engagement funnel can help you segment and prioritize what kind of engagement tactics to take, and how to position it to be appropriate for the phase of the journey they're in. For example, someone who already has purchased your product likely doesn't need an explanation on what pain points it solves, but they might want a tutorial on how to use it. But for those who are still in consideration phase, you'll want to explain how your products help solve their problem, and why they should choose you.
The five phases of the customer journey are:
- Awareness / Discovery
- Comparison / Purchase
The strongest customer engagement examples use personalization, perks, and timing, to create value with customers.
Check out 10+ customer engagement examples
This pickleball tournament discounts page
"Pickleball lovers" is surely a niche audience. And this major hospitality brand is giving tournament ticket-holders a bunch of deals and discounts on related sporting equipment, vacations and more.
Calm's premium promotional emails
Calm followed up with us to offer a deal on our first year of premium. And with this breathing exercise gif inside, we'd never though a promo email could be so relaxing.
Motel6's My6 perks
The My6 Marketplace is a perk center that is only accessible to My6 members. Not only do members get the best Motel6 rates, guaranteed, they also showcase shopping, travel, and lifestyle coupons that will make their stay much more affordable when guests go out to have fun.
Notion's template gallery
Over 1,000 templates, seeded by Notion and scaled with user-generated content. You can't say "Notion's too hard to use" after getting access to these.
KFC's Spotify playlist
Bucket Bangers is a playlist of fire songs that mention KFC (in Paris).
Streetlane Homes resident perks
Streetlane is one of the top ten residential single family home rental operators in the country. They give all tenants access to exclusive and high value deals that help them save on everyday needs. Real estate managers can also use resident perks to offer move-in bundles that give big discounts on linens, movers, utilities, streaming, internet, and household goods – making it a little more affordable to move in.
Megan Thee Stallion's collab with Nike
In 2021, John Donahue, president and CEO of Nike, spoke about how their customer connection is "the liquid gold" driving revenue and profit increases at the time.
Nike's entire marketing strategy revolves around tapping into professional athlete's personal brands to relate to customers and inspire them to be their own pro athlete. So we seriously loved when Nike teamed up with Megan Thee Stallion, who has dubbed her fans the Hotties, to create a weekly workout series with the rapper for the Nike Training Club app. Each week she works out with a trainer, gives the Hotties some positive affirmations to pump you up, and wears the cutest Nike outfits in the process.
Slider Sunday recipes from King's Hawaiian
It features the Manning brothers, because of course it does, but if you can't afford to hire them, just take notes on the rest: Our favorite sweet little bun included a QR code inside the package that leads to a Slider Sunday recipe page, and I don't know about you, but these Nashville hot chicken sliders look amazing. There's a new featured recipe every week and a sweepstakes.
The QR code is back, baby
Wells Fargo just told me to take a picture of my screen to download their app. It's official, QR codes are back in.
Hubspot's video training and course library
Hubspot Academy is an incredibly deep and detailed course library covering everything from how to use Hubspot, to high level topics like change management.
Gong's customer emails
We love a good value-add. Gong sends helpful templates out to prospects to help them save time, so sales pitch included.
We love year in reviews, except when we realize we've had Midnights on repeat for a liiiiittle too long. This is not from anyone on our team, we swear:
"Our first birthday" by Spotify
This is from 2012... And honestly, it's still pretty awesome.
Get help with your engagement programs
When you're ready to implement customer engagement tactics that reward your customers for being awesome, let us know.