Today the word “engagement” does not so much mean moving to the next level with your significant other as it does, the measure of effectiveness of online marketing efforts and even of the intended perception of your company by your given industry.
To examine this approach to assessing the success of your professional online voice, let’s first define the term.
Dictionary.com lists the following among its definitions of the verb, to “engage.”
• To occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons): He engaged her in conversation.
• To attract and hold fast: The novel engaged her attention and interest.
• To attract or please: His good nature engages everyone.
In business relationships, engagement is primarily important because so much of today’s interaction takes place online. As eBlasts, downloads, and social media are now sitting in the front seat with (and many times taking the place of) conventional approaches to connect with your market, many businesses are not entirely sure how to perform in this new landscape.
Do unto others…
The Golden Rule applies here too. How you are perceived online is how you are thought to be in person. On occasions where other drivers cut me off, I imagine meeting them on foot and I can almost guarantee that when we’re face to face, these same people would most likely be opening the door for me. So be respectful. Be polite. And listen.
When a prospective customer is “talking” pay attention. Listen and learn. He or she is telling you about himself/herself. He/she is giving you valuable information that you can continue to draw on. What is important to him? What makes him act? What turns him off?
Unlike conventional methods of “reaching out,” engagement involves a certain amount of emotional connection and when someone is emotionally connected they are more receptive to further engagement and even more likely to purchase.
Engagement ain't what it used to be.
Brad Smith, Digital Marketing Consultant, says it’s good to get emotional. “If your customers don’t emotionally connect with you on some level, then they’ll never fully trust you.” After all, people are people and your prospective customer wants to know that he or she is dealing with a guy like me, a regular guy.
Think about your most successful and ongoing business relationships. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, why do you feel comfortable doing business with that company or person? Chances are your answer will go deeper than, “they have the lowest price.” Chances are your most successful business relationships are your most successful relationships because you have a connection to that particular person and/or company that goes farther than price or even product.
The real deal
What allows us to trust? When I think about the people I trust, the first quality that comes to mind is honesty. Be “real.” And if you have to think about how to be real, you’re not being real.
The most successful salesperson I’ve ever known behaved the same way with everyone. If she was on the phone I could never tell if she was speaking to a client or to her best friend, because she was real with everyone. Honest. Genuine. And as a result, she engaged people. They were receptive to her and to what she had to say.
Come bearing benefits
Time is valuable and nobody wants theirs wasted, no matter how genuine you are. If your audience learns that when you “speak,” there’s a benefit for him or her, he/she will be eager to engage with you. And what is a benefit? Something useful. Information. An opportunity. Anything that you may have learned would be of value to that person because you have been paying attention and listening. You are so smart!
You’re not just a business person. You’re a bowler, or a fisherman, or a line dancer. So is your customer. He or she had a good steak last night. Or their house is for sale. Or they have twins in college. Bottom line – they can relate to – and are engaged by – more than just the business between you.
© 2009 Mike Arauz / www.mikearauz.com
Cultivation of online relationships follows a predictable path.
It is important to build on the relationships that you foster. It is much easier to engage someone who has already engaged with you. Providing that your product and customer service are satisfactory, it is much easier to sell to someone who has already purchased from you. And the more someone has a positive experience with you and your company, the more likely that person is to pay it forward and communicate to others about that positive experience.
As you get to know people, it becomes more pleasure than “work” to connect with them, because that prospect has turned into a real person…a real person who was there all along.