If you own or run a small-medium-sized business here in lovely Oxfordshire, (as we do), then we’re keen to know what the term ‘audience engagement’ means for you and your business . . .
Audience Engagement: Definition
‘Audience Engagement’> might sound like the latest marketing buzzword but in the context of an inbound content marketing strategy, its premise makes perfect sense.
Rewind a decade or so and marketing agencies were firmly focused on outbound marketing strategies: direct mail, cold calling, magazine and newspaper ads. The idea being to get your latest promotion in front of as many ‘eyeballs’ as possible and exploit the ‘numbers game’ to your advantage.
Yes it was targeted marketing to the extent that companies would buy in lists of likely prospects and promote their products or services to these audiences en masse. And of course, this still happens now – only these days ‘outbound’ is part of a wider marketing strategy.
You see, the digital revolution has changed the face of marketing entirely. Old-school, ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing no longer cuts it with today’s sophisticated online consumers. Buyers have much more choice than ever before as to who to give their custom to.
As a smart business owner, your marketing needs to become customer-centric, rather than marketer-centric. Your marketing needs to have ‘audience engagement’ built into its DNA. In 2016, engaging your audience is the key to being super successful online – and offline too.
Audience Engagement Strategies
The good news for business owners is that doing business online today is much more of a level playing field as regards your competition. Employing intelligent audience engagement strategies could not only see you outrank your ‘larger’ competitors in Google’s search results, but the number of leads and sales conversions you subsequently attract will speak volumes.
Depending on your audience’s demographic, there are a number of proven audience engagement strategies you could utilise in your business. Check out our blog post: “16 Audience Engagement Strategies for 2016” for some great strategies you can implement right away.
Audience Engagement Tools
Again, the tools you employ to engage with your audience will largely be dictated by your target audience itself.
Ask yourself these key questions:
- Where does my audience hangout online?
- How does my audience prefer to interact?
- What media do they use most often?
- Which other non-competing sites/ influencers have the same audience I want to attract?
Once you have your buyer personas in place you can work out a cohesive strategy for connecting with the people that matter most to you.
One of the best tools we know of to help you build your buyer personas can be found at https://yougov.co.uk/find-solutions/profiles/ – here’s an overview of how ‘Profiles’ can boost your buyer persona ‘intelligence’ in 10 minutes or less.
Audience Engagement Ideas
Depending on the research you uncovered from the buyer persona exercise, here are some audience engagement ideas you might want to incorporate in your overall strategy:
Remember, it’s simply a question of matching the most suitable communication channels with your buying persona(s).
For example, if you are engaging with the 50-65 age group, you are unlikely to select Snapchat as your preferred means of communication as 71% of its users are under 34 years old. Okay, so that’s a fairly extreme example, but you’d be amazed at just how many business owners ‘throw marketing content into the mix’ and see what sticks!
3 Awesome Audience Engagement Techniques You Should Consider
- One of the most potent audience engagement techniques you can employ is encouraging user-generated content on your site or social media asset. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and the like. What do all these online communities have in common? That’s right, user-generated content. Oodles of it! UGC is a marketer’s dream; not only will it save you the time and stress of consistently producing engaging new content, but because UGC is eminently shareable; it allows your ‘community’ to spread the word about how good you are, in an authentic, peer-to-peer, non-salesy way
- Following on from user-generated content, we predict that interactive marketing is going to be huge in 2016. Sometimes called retargeting or behavioural remarketing, if you’ve ever visited a site and found yourself ‘stalked’ around cyberspace by their ad as you browse other sites, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. But interactive marketing is not just for the likes of Amazon and co – if you want to step up the conversation with people who have visited your site but not taken action, then interactive marketing is a solution that might suit your business perfectly.
- Whether it’s streaming live videos via Periscope or Meerkat or interacting live on Blab, video and visual content will be must-have audience engagement devices in 2016. You can experiment with visual content such as infographics, memes and GIFs to discover what your audience responds to. Incidentally, when it comes to posting on social media, attention-grabbing visuals can make a huge difference to the shareability of your posts.
Finally, both videos and other forms of visual content are more likely to evoke an emotional response in your visitors than plain dry text – and we know for certain that emotion plays a significant role in the audience engagement process.
Book Your FREE Consultation with Orange and Blue Today
So what does audience engagement mean to you right now? Do you, like 64% of businesses surveyed, plan to put audience engagement at the heart of your social media marketing strategy in 2016? In which case, does your website or blog further your aims? Or is it holding you back?