Everyone’s always talking about ‘customer engagement’ and we can see why: fully engaged customers — the ones who comment on your blog posts, join your Facebook group, reteweet your tweets, eat all your content, give you testimonial quotes, participate in case studies and attend your events – add tremendous value to your business and your brand.
But there’s not much talk about one of the most important aspects of customer engagement: openly rewarding engagement so you get more of it. A recent blog post by Chris Lake on Econsultancy, our favourite source of digital marketing best practice, listed “25 ways to encourage and reward customer engagement.”
The idea is simple. If you want customers to become advocates, reward them for doing so and keep your best advocates really happy. Some of the ways of doing this deliver tangible value and cost you money (well spent):
- Free upgrades
- Extended features
- Preferential terms
- Product or service add-ons
- Invitations to special events
Others cost you nothing but may be highly valued by customers:
- Mention them – in your blog posts, newsletters, tweets…
- Follow them
- Give them some status – some prestige in your community
When you see the list you realise how obvious this is — and also how rarely it’s practiced. Not all the 25 are relevant to B2B but most have at least an analogue in our world. I’d also add a few:
- Make them beta testers – of any new product or service
- Give them first peek – at just about anything you’re doing
- Talk to them more – personal emails, phone calls, lunches…
- Submit them for awards
- Recommend them to others
In other words, show them how valuable they are and reward their engagement with yours.
Worth asking: when was the last time you stroked your most engaged customers?
Photo: PutYourFlareOn – flickr creative commons