Agents of Change – Engagement Marketing (Corissa St. Laurent)

Engagement Marketing: Leveraging Face-to-Face and Digital Experiences to Grow Your Business

#1 Challenges in Business:
New customers
Repeat business from past customers

Solutions:
Engagement
Social Visibility

Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising.
Social media amplifies our voice via word of mouth.

We trust comments and reviews (even from strangers) not marketing.
We have to forget about what marketing is to do marketing today.
We have to forget about putting spin on phrases. Now it’s about conversation, building relationships and engaging with your customers.

Your customers’ friends are your next best prospects.
We run in social circles with people that are similar to us in many facets from interests to income. These leads are relevant your business.
The networking effect is not new, leveraging this network online (and regularly) is what’s new.
You have to make time to do marketing and it has to be part of your regular activities.

Engagement marketing cycle
There are only three steps, but you have to do all three or the cycle will break.
– Provide a Wow Experience
This is in your hands. You get to choose what it is that you will do towow your customers in small or large ways. It only has to be memorable.
Hope is not a strategy. It’s not new to ask people to sign up for an email list or Like us on Facebook. But people are more picky than they used to be. You need to entice them to join or Like. Don’t trick them with a giveaway like an iPad.
Content is what drives people to stay in touch with you. They want to feel part of a community or feel like they can learn something from you.
– Entice to stay in touch
They won’t join unless you ask.
They won’t ask if you have an email list or a Facebook page. Train your staff to ask!
Create a raport and earn your customer’s relationship.
– Engage People
Have discussions, send promotions
Run/create fun, interesting, informative events (open house, wine tasting, class, etc.)
Listen to your customers (via polls/surveys, Facebook posts). People want to share their opinions with you.
It’s human nature to not want to rock the boat, unless you have an extremely awful experience. So ask your customers about their specific experiences to get more helpful feedback.
Try a simple 3 question survey: how was your experience, what could we have done better, what would you like to see us do in the future.
So often in marketing we want to talk about how amazing we are, but we need to listen to our customers.

Sharing and oversharing is a wonderful thing. Share your expertise, advice, testimonials. This will entice people to engage, come back, trust you and like you. Trust leads to the overall credibility of your brand.

Engagement = Participation
You want people to participate in conversations, you don’t want to just talk at them all the time.
Offer a time to be actively answering questions on Facebook/Twitter
Be real with your customers

Engagement = Listening
Don’t guess! Your audience will tell you what they think if you allow them to. Polls, surveys, questions on Facebook and Twititer

Social Visibility
All of this done on the social web leads to social visibility. Social Media amplifies our voice.
Getting people to talk and spread word online, not just over the fence in the back yard.
Not only do we need to be talking online, but we need to get our customers online talking about us, too.
If you focus on building a relationship with 10 people, they’re going to help you build that relationship outward.

Engagement happens in small doses and happens over time.
Be authentic. Know people and know your audience on each platform you frequent.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Choose one or two channels to stay connected, syndicate content between channels.
Remember and go back to what it means to be a human being: you want to connect and make friends with people so they’ll want to buy from you.
It’s not marking; its relationship building.

If you leave out anything in the cycle, it’s not going to work efficiently and effectively.

Three things to do today
– WOW: think of one thing that you can do to rise above the ordinary in your business
– Connect: think of one way to entice people to stay in touch
– Engage: think of one idea for a social post or email that might drive engagement

If you can employ the right social tools for your business, once you pick the right channels and understand how they work, you can utilize these principals across anychannel.

Once the tools change you’ll still have the skills, strategy and tactics that you developed for social engagement.

Resources:
socialquickstarter.com
constantcontact-socialplaybook.com
constantcontact.com/social-campaigns

Corissa St. Laurent knows relationship marketing. She has owned and operated two different small businesses: one in Los Angeles, CA providing spa and wellness services in home and corporate environments and the other in Manchester, NH providing marketing and brand consulting to other businesses and nonprofits.
Through both, she has created powerful new media marketing campaigns, event promotions, and PR for herself and her clients. In June 2009, she joined Constant Contact as the Director of Regional Development for New England and dedicates her time to teaching people how to build lasting relationships through email, social media, and event marketing.

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