Ecommerce

5 Smart Ways to Engage your Customers

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Written by Richard Protheroe
10th June 2016 • 15 min read

We’ve all been there.

Aimlessly scrolling through your news feed or randomly browsing websites without coming to a decision.

Apparently a landing page, piece of content or e-commerce site has just 8 seconds to grab our attention. 8 lousy seconds, that’s how impatient we have become as a generation.

So how can you engage with your customers and keep them hanging around?

Whether it’s through your social media channels or your website itself, here’s a few tips that can help people buy in to your brand.

1. Facebook Live Streaming

Live streaming has become a very big deal. Businesses, bands, celebrities and even previously unknown have been using it tremendously.

You only need to look at the Mum in the Chewbacca mask as a prime example (if you’re unaware, where have you been). This Facebook stream led to her to getting a slot on The Late Late Show with James Corden, oh and she made around $500,000.

So why should your business be taking advantage of it?

Firstly all the fans of your page will receive a notification to inform them that you’ve gone live, which allows great organic reach.

Facebook’s organic reach is faltering, so live streaming is a great way of getting people to engage with you again

Also you can stream live within groups. Lets say you sold golf clubs, you could contact the admin of a group and ask permission to stream to their group.

You could do a Q&A session giving advice on clubs for certain handicaps, the best putters around and general tips.

Contact Facebook groups where your customers would be and ask the admin if you can do a Q&A session

Lets say you are heading to a tradeshow or event that your customers will be interested in. Stream from the event and show what goods you have on offer and how people can find you.

Live streaming is great for ensuring people re-engage with you. When you are streaming users can simply click ‘follow’ and will be notified straight away of any future streams.

As well as a Q&A perhaps you could do a review of your product, or a demonstration of how it’s used.

From an analytic point of view you can see how many people are viewing the event and what their names are. Comments and interactions are common on streams, so engage and refer to your users by name.

So how do you do live streaming? Simply head to your business page and click the ‘Publish’ button.

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From here you will see a few options, just simply click on ‘live video’. You will then have to give a brief description of what the video will entail.

It’s worth noting that only ‘verified’ pages can access live video. However, this is no bother. It is literally a 10 second process of verifying your business phone number. You can found out how to do that here.

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Best practice is to let your customers know you’ll be doing this in advance to encourage participation. So schedule a few social media posts and send an email out.

These feeds will also save to your feed then so you can direct anyone who missed out to it.

2. Text on Video

Facebook again!

Digiday recently reported how Facebook is hosting around 8 billion views a day.

This statistic may not come as much as a surprise to you. But what if we told you that 85% of those views occurred with the sound off.

It’s a staggering statistic and completely true. Clever marketers of their businesses are finding ways to use this to their benefit.

Embedding YouTube videos isn’t a viable option any more for companies. Shares began to drop away, due to the success of Facebook videos, which play automatically in your feed.

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In fact, of all the video interactions in 2015 80% were uploaded directly to Facebook.

This is a great way to showcase your product. MyProtein do this well displaying their product in use to make vanilla, coconut and peanut butter balls.

Perhaps you could gather some customer testimonials and display them? Other people’s opinions are important.

These video’s don’t necessarily have to look that professional. You can video it yourself via an iPhone or camera and if your are uncomfortable editing and producing the final product try finding someone on Upwork to edit it for you.

Alternatively you could enquire with your local college or University to see if you can take advantage of any student projects.

3. People buy from People

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s astonishing how many people don’t broadcast themselves on their website.

There are somewhere between 12-24 million ecommerce sites globally, so it’s absolutely essential you are able to set yourself apart from the competition.

Why did you get started? What are your passions? What had you done before? Did you hate it, so that’s why you followed your passion?

They say you should practice what you preach and this is a tactic we employed recently. Our target audience is online sellers and Matt our founder used to sell online.

We could have easily said we sell ‘inventory management software’ but that wouldn’t engage anyone.

Now, our about us page is just a short paragraph from Matt explaining what he did before, why he packed it up and why he wants to help out retailers.

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Short, simple and effective. Or so we like to think anyway *blows own trumpet*.

There are some fantastic e-commerce examples out there for inspiration. Check out Tessemae, Leesa, Wrightwood Furniture and my personal favourite Au Lit Fine Linens.

Accompanying their story and purchase is a ten minute video of Founder Peggy’s entrepreneurial journey.

This can help you develop a strong emotional connection between you and your customer. This in time will increase loyalty and will give you some leeway when charging premium prices.

This information shouldn’t just be reserved for your ‘About Us’ page. Introduce yourself when a customer registers an account, by sending them an email explaining your passion.

Introduce yourself personally, explaining your passion when somebody registers an account

Alternatively you can DM when they follow you on Twitter.

Introduce the rest of the team as well, include some fun facts about each member as well. We did this during my time at Packability. When people called in then, they felt like they knew me, it was great!

Introduce the rest of the team

Introduce the rest of the team

4. Create a community

Creating a community feel with your customers can come as a result of executing the 3 steps above.

So how can you go a step further to help you interact with your customers?

Creating a Facebook Group, or a forum where you can directly engage with your customers is a good avenue to explore. This way you can answer any questions they have, discuss topics relevant to your industry, plus keep them updated on future product releases.

Having FAQs under your products and allowing your customers to answer questions from other customers is a great way of producing a community feel.

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If somebody asks a question on a product page, send an email to everyone who has purchased that product and ask them if they can help. Offering an incentive, such as a discount if they do.

Ask your customers to answer other customers questions. Offering an incentive if they do

Amazon obviously do this very well, but this doesn’t mean you can’t. There are some great tools such as EasyAccordion, HelpCenter and Ez FAQ that as well as Shopify, can be integrated with most platforms.

Have you found yourself having an internal argument about what product to release next? Use a Twitter poll, or upload an image to Instagram and let your customers decide.

Allowing people to be a part of the discussions makes them great and a part of something.

5. User Generated Content (UGC)

A great way of improving your brand and engaging with your customers is to use UGC to your advantage.

People like having their 15 minutes of fame, so what better way than to share images of your customers using your products.

This can in-turn encourage your other customers to send you images of them with your product.

A great example of this is Black Milk Clothing, who attach a certain hashtag to each product. They then encourage their users to use that when posting it online.

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You could attach a flyer or a business card with the hashtag within your packaging.

Black Milk not only display the pictures on their social media channels, but they import them to the product pages themselves via integrations like Code Canyon and InstaShow.

Additionally you can attach these images to blog posts, newsletters, or any other marketing materials. The added bonus being that anyone featured is likely to share it with their friends.

When you have enough UGC then you can pull them together to advertise relevant products, seasons or holidays.

In fact UGC ads work much better than regular on-brands ads when tested on Facebook:

  • 300% increase in click-through rate (CTR)
  • 50% decrease in cost per click (CPC)
  • 50% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA)

The reason being is that it looks real to the person scrolling through their feed. It’s much easier to blend in with Facebook’s other content and will catch someones eye.

Know of any other tips to engaging customers? Found any of these helpful? Leave a comment in the box below.

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Richard is a Content Specialist at Veeqo. He loves writing about ways for ecommerce retailers to increase their sales with marketing tips, advice on website optimisation and social media best practices.

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