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Engagement is an essential factor in gaining trust, influence and exposure. No one wants to talk to robots or react to business content when there is only automated messages to listen to and follow up with.

Customer engagement sustains interest, as well as developing the brand and it’s personality. Engagement provides a means for long-term customer conversion, extending the nurturing process to channels where community management is facilitated.

New customers are likely to become repeat customers in future when they are reengaged, or kept engaged, after the initial sales process is complete. Effective engagement can be considered as a foundation for building brand loyalty.

There are many other advantages to customer engagement – advantages that affect the bottom line of your business. Here are 5 ways that you can use engagement to boost online sales…

1. Creating Online Communities

Social media has provided great platforms to establish and develop online communities. Creating website forums dedicated to existing users or potential customers is another possible route to creating a new online community.

These online communities can allow customers to share their thoughts and feedback on your products or services, share their tips or recommendations and submit bugs.

Providing a human element encourages communities to get involved and start engaging. It’s almost an incentive that people can get personal responses from business representatives. And when prospects and existing customers are able to have problems solved and concerns alleviated in this manner, your resulting engagement will inevitable boost online sales.

2. Using Webinars

Customer engagement can boost online sales when it’s facilitated in a medium that aims to provide product or service information, while letting users ask questions and provide their thoughts. Webinars, does just that.

Webinars could be used for addressing common questions, giving product demonstrations, getting input and action from users, or to introduce new product or service features. 50% of webinar participants engage with other attendees, so there is an added incentive for your customers or prospects to engage with each other and start creating buzz around your business.

3. Make Customers Apart Of The Product Development

Crowdsourcing is becoming more and more popular. Even before you have a final product to launch, it creates the opportunity to engage with your future customers by giving them a say during the product development stages.

This might not only excite potential customers, but also create some PR opportunities. The exposure to authors and content creators who are always on the lookout for fresh content ideas can be achieved by going down the crowdsourcing route.

5 Ways to Use Engagement to Boost Online Sales - The Crowdsourcing Process

4. Celebrate

Reaching significant achievements or business milestones provides great opportunities to create engagement with your audiences. For instance, after selling your 100th product or securing your 50th contract, you could run a promotion, free giveaway or have a surprise reward.

This doesn’t have to be expensive and extravagant. Using incentivised engagement to boost online sales allows you to give back to your online communities, or simply to show how much you appreciate the support of your returning customers.

The upside is additional exposure for your business through creating engagement focused on the attractive aspects of your business and your customer base. When others discuss the positive customer experiences they had in social spaces and provide referrals or recommendations, you will have achieved user generated sales, earned through your effective engagement.

5. Wow

Always make your customers feel special. One way to do this is to wow them, unexpectedly.

When people make purchases, they are paying for the perceived benefits of your product or service. Rarely are there additional benefits that they do not know about, or that businesses go to the lengths to deliver without telling them about it first.

Why? Because if they are indeed valuable then they add value, and could entice more people to buy in the first place. Right?

There are ways to wow existing customers after purchase with the intention of creating engagement to boost online sales. You could offer free training calls, seminars or webinars. Not only would you be over-delivering on the purchase agreement, but you would be creating another channel of engagement that can spur good recommendations and referrals.

Another way to wow customers is to offer free downloads, exclusive content or a complementary 1-2-1 coaching session to those who are wiling to join your forum, share your promotion in their social media channels, or provide testimonials. You don’t necessarily have to ask for something in return from existing customers – you could give it away in the hope that the value created would result in increased brand loyalty and return purchases.

Whatever the method, wowing customers is a relatively simple way to improve your customer service and create additional engagement.

Use Engagement To Boost Online Sales

Making your marketing more engaging is one approach to boost online sales. It relies on the best practices of customer service and community management – being responsive, helpful and resourceful.

As your community grows and your customer base expands, it can become increasing difficult to manage all your business relationships. This is when software, such as a CRM (customer relationship management) and email marketing software like Mailchimp, becomes a necessity.

If you can’t maintain a marketing strategy that effectively engages with your customers, then you will soon start to see a decline in your levels of customer service and brand reputation. As you mature, ensure your toolkit does as well.

Boosting your online sales by making your marketing more engaging might mean a culture shift towards a more social business. It’s social businesses who are best placed for future success – make sure you’re not left behind during “the social age” of business.

Do you engage with your customers online?

Have you experienced a boost to your online sales as a result of engaging with your customers?