7 ways to increase small business customer engagement

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

You’ve probably heard the term ‘customer engagement’ while marketing your small business. Customer engagement encompasses all of the ways you interact with customers, whether that’s on social media or in person.

This marketing technique feeds off the need for personalization and real-time interaction for businesses of any size. However, knowing how to improve engagement is another thing altogether. Traditional customer service channels are the logical first step, but there are countless other ways to bolster engagement and win loyalty.

  1. Send a welcome email.
  2. Thank your customers.
  3. Create valuable content.
  4. Check the clock.
  5. Offer a loyalty program.
  6. Be responsive.
  7. Ask for feedback.

1. Send a welcome email.

What’s the first thing you do when a guest shows up at your door? Welcome them into your home, of course! The same should go for your email strategy. As soon as someone signs up for your newsletter or makes a purchase, send a welcome email. This is a great way to show your customers the value of your business and the personal attention and dedication you’ll provide to them.

Welcome emails set the stage for your customer relationship. By being a good host, you are establishing the foundation for a lasting relationship. Make it known that you want to hear from your customers. An easy way to do so is to use a personalized email account in the sender field; not a “do not reply” address. Putting a name behind your customer service humanizes your brand, which boosts engagement. Take this personalization a step further by including the customer’s name in the subject line or body of the email, too.

VistaPrint Tip

People check their email on their phones as well as their desktop computers, so make sure the messages you’re sending are optimized for mobile. Try using a responsive design that automatically adapts to different screens, so it will look great across all devices.

2. Thank your customers.

In the same vein as welcoming your guests into your home, make sure you thank your customers. This type of outreach helps to humanize your business and convey its mission and values. A small –but personalized –nod of thanks goes a long way in establishing customer loyalty, while enticing and encouraging customers to engage with your content. You can go the digital route and send a thank you email, or do something more traditional with a handwritten note or a signed postcard in every package. Acknowledging that your customers are choosing to do business with you means a lot and creates positive associations with your brand. Plus, your customers will value a tailored and unexpected message that doesn’t require them to do anything but feel appreciated by your business.

3. Create valuable content.

Whether you’re writing an email, creating a social post or drafting a blog entry, creating useful content for your customers is one of the best ways to boost engagement -and demonstrate your expertise. Before you do anything, assess what will resonate with your audience and then craft a content plan. If you own a clothing shop, you can write a blog post about the season’s hottest trends. Run a cafe? Create an infographic showing some of your most popular menu ‘hacks.’ Or maybe you’re a handyman -maybe you can create a video with some of your best tips for tackling simple household tasks. Video, by the way, is one of the most engaging forms ofcontent you can create. Whether you create videos for your website or want to experiment with TikTok, give video a try when creating useful content.

VistaPrint Tip

If you need help creating eye-catching social content, find a template at VistaCreate. Customize your design for TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram and more.

4. Check the clock.

A lot of your engagement strategies will be more effective if you pay attention to posting and send times. For social, use your platform-specific analytics and insight tools to monitor when your audience is most active and tailor your posting schedule to those times. If new content is published when your followers are on the platform, they’re more likely to engage, comment, like, or share than when they see it hours or days after its original publish date. Integrate these specific times into your social media editorial calendar to develop posting consistency. Real-time updates are more exciting for followers, as they want to be the first ‘like’ or comment or be the first to share an update within their network.

For email, try to send your communications during the week -more specifically on a Monday or a Thursday. People are more likely to open your email, and engage with your business, on these days than on a weekend. Timing is everything…and paying attention to activity times will enhance your customer engagement.

5. Offer a loyalty program.

Rewarding customers for their loyalty is a great marketing move…and it can also help boost customer engagement. Beyond saying ‘thanks’ to customers for their continued business, a rewards program will encourage people to return to your business over a competitor. Whether you offer a punch card that rewards their 10th purchase or special perks throughout the year, a loyalty program can also help customers feel connected to your business.

6. Be responsive.

One of the best ways to increase customer engagement is to have conversations with your customers. Start a conversation by adding a Q&A button to your Instagram story, or simply by responding to social comments and direct messages, a customer email or a Yelp review. Remember, customer engagement is all about communication and showing your clients that you care about them, their time and their interests. Plus, engaging with customers individually is a great way to remind them that there’s a real person behind your business.

7. Ask for feedback

In the same vein of being responsive, take that communication a step further by asking for feedback. You can do this in a more casual way, maybe by posting a poll on social media. Or, you can get more in-depth with a customer survey -send one periodically to your email list, or add a QR code that links to a short survey on the bottom of customer receipts. When you ask customers for their thoughts and opinions, you’re making them feel valued -and encouraging them to engage with your business.