According to Wikipedia, brand engagement is the process of forming an emotional or rational attachment between a consumer and a brand. Now that we’ve defined brand engagement, how does more of it benefit your business? Furthermore, how does brand engagement turn prospects into qualified leads, and convert qualified leads into customers?
Brand engagement through touchpoints?
The way in which a brand engages is through “touchpoints.” Many touchpoints can be established between you and your constituents: clients, prospects, networking partners, and so on. These touchpoints include visual/audio impressions on social media, advertisements, your company website, company communication in the form of email, direct mail, telemarketing – even the way in which your customer service personnel verbally convey your brand message.
Engagement experts estimate that it takes as many as eight visual/audio impressions of your company brand and brand message, to create a feeling of engagement or recognition. However, impressions only build recognition. They do not ensure a positive outcome. Instead, you need to create brand engagement by first making the target aware of your brand.
You can accomplish this in a number of ways, including:
- Creating advertising that delivers your brand and brand message creatively and consistently
- Designing a website that showcases your brand and facilitates a good online user experience
- Activating social media accounts that build a brand following and encourage interaction
- Deploying email campaigns to build awareness and encourage brand engagement
- Ensuring your search engine marketing is working optimally
So, minimally, a particular touchpoint creates an impression, or, at best, develops actual engagement with the message recipient, meaning they read – even react – to your message.
While each individual journey may take a different path, there are typically five phases wherein a Prospect evolves into a Customer:
The first step is ensuring your brand and brand message is being received by your primary customer following this step-by-step approach:
- Build a targeted customer profile. Who is your primary customer? What are his/her needs, hobbies, demographics?
- Build a list of prospects by mining your own databases, purchasing lists from reputable source, even building your own list from scratch
- Display targeted ads on the sites that your ideal customer visits. Studies show that 3 out of 4 people notice targeted and retargeted ads.
- Continue to reach out to these prospects through retargeting. It’s possible to reach each of the potential clients on your list hundreds of times through advertising alone during a campaign period…that’s far in excess of the eight impressions mentioned earlier in this article!
What’s next after brand engagement?
Once the Ideal Prospect has become aware of your brand, is engaging, or, is at least receptive to engaging, it’s time to gather the information needed to assist them cross the line into the next phase of their evolution from Prospect to Customer. That means it’s time to gather critical information that will speed up the acquisition process.
- Contact Information
- Decision maker info
- In the case of the insurance industry:
- Policy expiration date
- High MOD issues
- Monthly payroll
- Current provider
Because sales resources are always limited, this information gathering during the early stages of brand engagement is critical. It may prompt the target to contact you, but if they do not, then you can reach out to them, knowing they are not just a cold ‘lead.” They are a qualified, receptive Prospect:
- The recipient of a multiple impression branding campaign, hence your brand and brand message should be completely familiar.
- The provider of critical pieces of information which gives you with an enormous leg up on the competition. After all, (other than the incumbent), does anyone else know policy expiration date, the X-Mod details, and more?
Now that we’ve built brand awareness and gathered critical information, it’s time to move the Prospect to the “Capture and Convert” stages of the Prospect to Customer Evolution.
Capture and Convert
Dozens of studies show that qualified leads are more likely to convert. All the touchpoints that led to the capture of the prospect’s data have prepared the way for the final stage of the buyer journey. Brand engagement has built awareness and trust. Data collection has established the identity of the prospect and the optimal time for reaching out to them. Now it’s time to ‘acquire’ the customer.
In the case of an insurance prospect, the adage that ‘timing is everything’ is most appropriate. It means that reaching out to the prospect when they are at their highest level of receptivity, knowing their policy X-date, and having insight into some real details about their present policy, puts you firmly in the driver’s seat.
intouch Business, Inc.
Since 2006, intouch Business has partnered with insurance companies in dynamic and creative ways. to assist our clients ENGAGE with their customers and prospects.
Contact intouch Business for more ideas on how you can grow your business and increase customer engagement.