Engaging a targeted audience is crucial for the success of any brand. Without audience participation, your brand is a fleeting thought in the minds of consumers. But what exactly is audience engagement, and how do you achieve it?
What Is Audience Engagement?
In digital marketing, audience engagement refers to the level of interaction a target audience has with a brand and its digital content, including websites, social media and online ads, measured by the number of website visitors, duration of the visits, pages viewed, and social media shares, among other metrics.
Audience engagement also refers to the cognitive and emotional experiences that digital visitors and followers have with online content and brands. As a result of that engagement, audiences respond to a call to action (CTA) and do something such as purchasing a product, contacting a company or sharing a social media post.
A Digital Conversation
Think of audience engagement as a conversation. The more interesting the conversation and the longer you can hold it, the better.
Before the internet, most marketing and advertising was a one-way sales pitch. Brands reached out to consumers via radio, TV and print ads and billboards. Today’s consumers are extremely different from their predecessors. They don’t want to be pressured into buying something. They expect to be engaged and nurtured by the brands that can offer them the exact products and services they want and need.
Effective audience engagement starts with a conversation that serves your audience not yourself. When you do this, sales will follow.
Vying for Attention
Engaging audiences has never been so difficult. Consumers live very busy lives in markets saturated by brand messages. And thanks to digital technology, they have developed extremely short attention spans. So how can a brand compete for attention in such a crowded and noisy marketplace?
The key lies in audience engagement, in creating and nurturing an emotional bond with your audience. To do that, you need to think of them individually and put yourself in their shoes. What would it take for your brand to get and keep your/their attention? What could make it stand out from the crowd?
Personalized One-to-One Experiences
To differentiate your brand, you must deliver personalized, relevant content and one-to-one experiences. Your brand message should focus on the pain points of your customers and prospects and offer effective solutions to their problems.
Audiences today are accustomed to and crave useful information, and they’re easily discouraged and disappointed when they encounter obstacles to obtain this information. By providing the content they want and need where, when and how they need it, your brand can establish personal bonds with its target audience across any number of platforms.
10 Audience-Engaging Digital Marketing Strategies
To market your products and services in a way that drives audience engagement, moves them further in the buyer journey, and prompts a desired action, follow these 10 marketing strategies.
1. Know Your Target Audience (Buyer Personas)
Before you can effectively reach and engage your target audience, you have to know who makes up that audience. Your buyer personas are characters that represent segments of your target audience, in other words, your ideal customers.
To define your buyer personas you need to think like your customers. Start by answering these questions:
- Who are the people or companies that need or want your products/services?
- What are their pain points, motivations and goals?
- How do they make their purchasing decisions?
- On what digital platforms do they spend their time?
- What type of content do they like to consume?
2. Spend Some Time Social Listening
To boost your audience engagement you should listen to your ideal customers. Identify the social networks where your ideal customers hang out and spend some time there yourself. Listen for mentions and comments on social media about your brand or industry. Join the conversation–talk to your customers.
Social listening provides valuable insights about your target audience and enables you to engage them more effectively and get better at meeting their wants and needs.
3. Develop a Strong Brand Voice
When creating content for your website, blog, social media and other digital channels, the tone and style you use to communicate with your audience becomes your brand’s voice. While you may adapt your tone according to the channel you’re using–for example, more casual on Twitter, more professional on LinkedIN–your voice should be authentic and consistent across all channels.
4. Create Engaging Content
Your content is not for you; it’s for your target audience. Many brands forget this simple fact when creating content to share online. They focus on what they want to say rather than what their audience wants to hear.
Remember your buyer personas? Write for them. With every piece of content, attempt to engage them in an online one-to-one conversation. Be real when you “talk” to them. Provide content that is informative, educational, useful, helpful and entertaining. Using content just to push your products and services turns them off and disengages them. Talk to them, not at them.
5. Be Social in Social Media
Social media is so accessible and user friendly that it’s easy to take it for granted. Many brands make the mistake of posting irregularly and not crafting their content to engage their target audience. While social media can be incredibly informative, it’s also supposed to be, well, social. Keep the conversation going. Allow yourself to be creative with it. Use polls and quizzes to engage your audience and gather information about their interests, wants and needs.
6. Collaborate With Influencers
The reach and power of influencer marketing cannot be denied. Most marketers, 80% to 95%, depending on the study, agree that influencer marketing is an effective campaign strategy. Influencers can be categorized into four groups: nano (1K to 10K followers), micro (10K to 100K followers), macro (100K to 1M followers) and mega (1M+ followers).
Connecting with the right influencers is an effective way to increase your audience size and engagement. Audiences like interacting with influencers over posts and live videos on social media. When their favorite influencers like or recommend a brand or product, chances are high that they will at least try that brand or product.
7. Keep Your Promises
You’re putting your brand out there, interacting with your target audience, being social. Great, but be careful that you don’t overdo it. Don’t bite more than you can chew.
Consumers buy from brands that they trust. When you fail to deliver on your promises, you lose their trust and, thus, their business. Make sure that in your interactions with your target audience you establish realistic expectations. Don’t promise daily content if you can’t create and deliver valuable content on a daily basis. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity just for the sake of having something to publish. And don’t reach out to your audience only when you need to increase sales.
8. Get Personal
In marketing, personalization is vital to make audiences feel special and valued. Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing can be personalized. This personal approach conveys that you want to get to know your customers and help them solve their particular problems, whether they need a new roof or new shoes.
Getting personal is not just about addressing your prospects and customers by their first name in an email. It means shaping your content according to their interests, wants and needs. The most successful brands are those that can provide relevant, personalized content to their audience throughout their buyer’s journey.
9. Tell Engaging Stories With Video
Video is the king of content. One-third of all online activity is spent watching videos (WordStream). According to Social Media Week, users spend 88% more time browsing on websites that have videos; 78% of people watch online videos every week; and 55% view online videos every day. The average person will spend 100 minutes per day watching online videos in 2022 (Zenith Media).
Video marketing is incredibly effective. In fact, 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video (Optinmonster).
Because it’s closer to life than words or photos, video makes it easier to engage audiences, create connections and build relationships with them. For best results, try different types of videos, such as product features and benefits, behind-the-scenes, Q&As and educational videos.
10. Surprise Your Audience With Gifts
Everyone loves gifts, that is, thoughtful gifts. Gifts or discounts are an excellent way to get your customers and prospects’ attention and let them know that you appreciate them. Gifts put your brand top of mind, boost engagement, and promote brand loyalty.
Consider, for example, giving them a discount code to use on their first purchase, a free gift they receive when their order arrives, or a flash sale to thank them for supporting your brand. Giveaways that require users to participate online are fun and can significantly increase engagement, not to mention the number of followers
An engaged audience generates new customers, repeat business and greater customer loyalty. By delivering valuable authentic content and memorable online experiences to prospects and customers, a brand can establish itself to be trustworthy in highly competitive and overcrowded markets.
Consider Hiring a Digital Marketing Expert
Digital marketers have advanced strategies, tactics and technology for boosting and tracking audience engagement. To learn how Gravital can help you engage your audience, enhance your online presence and invigorate your brand, call us at 787-424-4443 or Talk to Us via our online contact form.