Modern Retail

7 Ways to Keep Your Customers Engaged in a Difficult Economy

Keep customers engaged

The world is going through a difficult time right now. To say the least.

The pandemic has led to many losing their jobs, stores being closed, and spending being reduced.

All of which has had a drastic impact on the economy.

According to an article recently published on FT.com the UK suffered its biggest drop in economic output in 300 years. Producing nearly 10% less goods and services last year than in 2019.

For businesses, it’s more essential than ever to keep their customers engaged and continuing to spend. 

However, we appreciate that is no easy feat. So we have put together 7 ways to keep your customers engaged in a difficult economy.

1. Put your customers first

Research by Gartner showed that 64% of consumers believe that customer service and experience is more important than price.  

Clearly, putting your customer first is an approach that should be taken as standard. However it has never been so important, as it is today.

In fact, out of all of the points we make in this post, putting your customer first is the most essential. 

This means marketing around your customers and focusing on what is most important to them. Focusing on your customers’ needs, desires, challenges, and pain points. Before your business’s.

Oatly keep customers engaged through messaging

Oatly.com website during the pandemic

2. Look at your past successes

In a difficult economy, it’s not just customers who are watching the pennies. Businesses are too.

Which is why all activity has to be considered. And also has to generate as much ROI as possible.

To get started, consider your past successes. This could be in the form of campaigns, emails, social posts, competitions, paid ads, and events. 

Identify the commonalities in this activity. For instance, is there a theme, topic, or industry that is proving most successful?

You can then use this insight to inform all of your future campaigns, ensuring you are choosing the activity that has the best chance of success. 

3. Be authentic

With people going through difficult times right now, emotions can run high.

Which is why it’s so important for businesses to be aware of their tone of voice in all marketing communications.

It’s easy for brands to get it wrong. Talking about the wrong products. Making the wrong jokes. Or simply not using the right language.

So review all of your marketing campaigns and communications. Particularly the automated ones that run in the background. And ensure that your tone of voice is authentic, honest, and transparent. And won’t cause offence. 

Thortful grow engagement through communication

4. Focus on your online offering

Over the past year, according to Shopify, eCommerce sales have hit an all-time high of 16.4% of total global retail sales after Covid-19 accelerated years of growth in just weeks.

Growth of ecommerce globally
https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-ecommerce-2020

This isn’t surprising, as many high street stores have had to close – some temporarily, some for good – and many shoppers are staying indoors to stay safe.

So if you haven’t already, now is the time to really focus on promoting and improving your online offering.

Whether that be your website, email communications, social media community, or online advertising.

Check that every aspect is as good as it can possibly be. And that the customer has a smooth journey to purchase. 

Farrow & Ball keep customers engaged through their offering online

5. Personalise, personalise, personalise

When it comes to engagement, personalisation is one of the most effective tactics you can use. 

In fact, 80% consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalised experiences.

And when consumers are in a difficult economy, they feel stressed, isolated, and even alone. So a little personalisation can go a long way.

There are so many opportunities for personalisation to support your customer base right now. 

You can start simply with a first name or business name. Offer personalisation and delivery updates based on location. Celebrate anniversaries. Or suggest relevant products with behavioural and purchasing data. 

Asos use personalisation

6. Leave it to automation

When businesses are looking to save time and money, automation is key. 

Automation enables marketers to do more with less. Sending out streams of personalised, targeted communications without having to create and send messages manually.

All marketers need to do is invest some time in getting the automations set up, and then they can run in the background with little manual intervention. Continuously engaging with customers, with little additional work needed from the marketer.

This means that brands can send the right message, at the right time, to the right person. Increasing engagement levels without increasing resource. 

Made keep customers engaged through automation

7. Grow your community

Community is key in times of crisis. 

So instead of just focusing on securing new sales, businesses need to build community with their current customer base to form long term relationships.

Brands need to start conversations. Help their customers feel heard. And connect like-minded individuals together.

There are lots of options for building community. They can be done via email, website, or social media channels.

This could include hosting competitions and live events, sharing reviews and influencer profiles, or simply asking for feedback.

How John Lewis keep customers engaged

To read more about how to keep your customers engaged through digital marketing, click here.

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Komal Helyer

With over 14 years of email and digital experience, Komal brings to Pure360 a deep understanding of marketing strategy, marketers' needs and how that translates into use of marketing technology. She leads the Pure360 marketing team focussing on market positioning, market growth strategies and customer lifecycle marketing for brands in the retail and ecommerce space.

Komal has worked with some of the world’s leading brands including Screwfix, Carphone Warehouse, Black & Decker, helping them get the best results from their email and digital marketing.