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Your Merchants Should be Leading with Content, Not Just Products

Consumers are more involved than ever in their own sales journey and are less trusting of traditional marketing tactics than ever before. On top of that, they are assailed with more than 3,000 messages each day and from every angle.

In a previous post, we explained why an engaged customer base is vital to your merchants’ businesses and why understanding consumer interactions can make or break their bottom line. Unlike other forms of advertising, engagement marketing and lead nurturing never stop. Engaged customers are your merchants’ most important marketing tool. They are long-time customers; and by putting in the effort to captivate them now, your merchants will develop an army of advocates. Word of mouth is powerful, and having loyal customers sharing their positive experiences with others is priceless (and free).

Here, we discuss what strategies and techniques your merchants can use to effectively cut through the noise and engage their customers in meaningful and authentic ways.

Content Is Still King

Today’s consumer wants genuine relationships with the companies they choose to do business with. “Engagement marketing means leading with content, not products,” according to Mohan Sawhney, clinical professor of marketing and McCormick Foundation Chair of Technology at the Kellogg School. That means your merchants must offer real value that extends beyond the in-store customer experience.

Between 70 and 80 percent of consumers ignore paid advertising in favor of organic search results, and companies with blogs, on average, produce 67% more leads per month than companies without.

Similar results were found when consumers were asked about their interaction with brands on social media, with more than half of respondents stating that they interacted with brands on social media at least once per day.

What these numbers boil down to is that your merchants must utilize useful and relatable content, both on their company websites and social media, as a means of engaging and interacting with their customer base.

Go Offline

Contact does not equal connection, and while it is now possible to reach anyone virtually anywhere and at any time, it is often more difficult than ever before to foster meaningful relationships.

Your merchants’ number one goal should be face-to-face interaction. While more consumers are reaching out to brands via web-based platforms, their need for in-person contact still exists.

Social media and web-based engagement should be seen as supplemental to in-house, in-person connection. Your merchants should use these tools to bring existing and potential customers offline and into their salon or spa. This can be done by hosting an Open House or similar event or offering online-exclusive incentives either through social media or an automated marketing tool.

Keep in Touch

First contact rarely results in a closed sale. In fact, on average, consumers need to interact with a merchant’s product or service a minimum of five to seven times before they decide to do business with them, sometimes more. This is why continued, omnichannel communication is key.

A successful engagement marketing strategy includes in-person contact, social media and content marketing, paid advertising, and text and email communications. All of these lines of communication require monitoring and time spent on the part of your merchants. This is where automated marketing tools can assist. Businesses that utilize a marketing automation tool to engage existing and prospective clients experience an increase in qualified lead generation of 4.5 times.

Takeaway

Omnichannel engagement marketing generates, on average, more qualified leads for your merchants than traditional or single-channel marketing efforts, and more qualified leads result in increased revenue and deeper business-client relationships.

There are dozens of ways for your merchants to interact with their existing and prospective clients, both in person and online. The key to successfully engaging consumers is to make those interactions impactful, varied, and consistent.

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