Engagement Marketing: What is It and Why is It Important?
For the longest time, brands relied on one-dimensional marketing tactics to attract potential leads. They sought to connect with customers through TV commercials, print advertisements, and direct mails, among other things.
While these marketing measures do work, they come with a slew of disadvantages. First, advertisements are extremely disruptive, and in most cases, annoying. No one appreciates an unwelcome ad break in the middle of their TV show.
Additionally, commercials rarely encourage engagement. It’s usually a one-sided conversation where brands try to coax customers into buying their products.
This divisive dynamic is a thing of the past. Nowadays, people expect businesses to respect their time and intelligence. As a result, they gravitate towards connection, interaction, and exchange. To put it into perspective, four out of five customers place the same emphasis on seamless engagement as they do on product quality.
So, what’s an easy way to build long-lasting brand-customer relationships? Engagement marketing, of course!
Before we dive in further, let’s understand what engagement marketing is.
1. What is Engagement Marketing?
Like most businesses, your marketing strategy is probably focused on generating leads and closing sales. Unfortunately, none of these things will happen unless potential buyers engage with your brand. This is where engagement marketing comes in.
Engagement marketing is all about building rapport with new and existing customers. By definition, it is the strategic process of generating relevant exchanges between a brand and its target audience.
With engagement marketing, you treat your clients as active collaborators instead of passive recipients. Simply put, you invite potential customers to be a part of your brand identity instead of yelling your message at them.
Engagement marketing is beneficial because:
- It can help you attract and retain more customers. Satisfied users are more likely to recommend your business both online and offline, hence attracting new leads.
- It reduces sales cycles. Engaging content can captivate customers and lead to faster conversions.
All things considered, it’s easy to see why most brands are ramping up their client engagement efforts in full throttle. The customer engagement solutions market, which stood at $15.52 billion in 2020, is expected to reach $30.92 billion in 2026.
2. Are Face-to-Face Interactions Important to Engagement Marketing?
Absolutely! Here’s why.
Ever since digital media turned into a marketing stronghold, brands have been quick to leverage online interactions. As a result, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a modern marketing campaign that doesn’t involve social media.
Digital marketing has its merits – but people still crave human connection. There’s something undeniably unique about talking to someone who’s sitting across from you.
Hence, it’s clear how face-to-face interactions can foster engagement. For a business, serving customers in person is a great way to build trust. Not only does it help create an authentic brand experience, but it also puts a face to your products and services. In other words, your clients feel more engaged because they know you on a personal level.
3. How Does Face-to-Face Marketing Improve Customer Engagement?
Body language and nonverbal cues play a significant role in communication. For example, you make eye contact, smile, and shake hands when you interact in person. Although small, these actions tell your client that you’re sincerely interested in their opinions. You’re no longer a stranger on the internet badgering them into a discussion but a real person with a story to share.
Let’s look at a few other ways in which face-to-face interactions enhance user engagement:
A) Minimizes Distractions
How many times have you skipped to the end of an email without paying attention to its contents? We’re all guilty of doing this. You can’t compel potential buyers to read your emails and messages when they’re on the other side of a screen.
That said, face-to-face marketing is a whole different ballgame. There aren’t any distractions: it’s just you and the user you’re trying to impress. This means you have a better shot at holding their full attention, even if it is for a few minutes.
B) Brings an Audience to Your Doorstep
The digital space is oversaturated with content. But that doesn’t mean people read everything they see. So unless you’re making waves with your marketing campaigns, you may get lost in an endless sea of prospects.
This isn’t a problem with face-to-face marketing. When you attend or organize a tradeshow, you take matters into your own hands by exposing your business to scores of potential customers instead of waiting around for them to find you via search engines.
C) Improves Brand Awareness
At a trade show, clients can meet your team and engage with your company’s culture. This enables them to get a better grip on your brand identity. If you play your cards right and sweep them off their feet, they’ll remember you for years.
There are plenty of ways to do this. Attractive booths can help you stand out from the crowd and make a great first impression. Add to that an approachable event management team, and you have a recipe for success!
D) Creates an Emotional Connect
As mentioned, emotions are at the heart of engagement marketing. You need to appeal to people’s emotional intelligence to evoke a visceral response.
In this regard, digital conversations don’t compare to in-person interactions. People often shy away from disclosing personal information on social media. They’re much more comfortable talking face-to-face. You can easily inquire into a buyer’s life and establish an emotional connection with them in person.
4. Seven Ways to Improve User Engagement at Your Next Trade Show
Contrary to popular belief, trade shows are alive and thriving. The latest statistics report that industry experts in the USA attended 7.8 regional, 5.9 national, and 1.7 international trade shows in 2020. As businesses recover from the pandemic, these numbers are sure to rise.
Improving consumer engagement at a trade show may seem hard, but it’s not rocket science. Here’s how you can do it:
A) Invest in an Eye-Catching Exhibition Booth
Gone are the days when people settled for minimalistic, boring exhibition stands. Nowadays, brands are gravitating towards personalized display boards with unconventional graphics and designs.
Remember, actions speak louder than words. So, try and substitute text blocks with videos and animations. Your booth should also display your products and services in crystal-clear detail. Finally, don’t forget to highlight your brand’s USPs. The goal is to package all your information as attractively as possible.
B) Don’t Push Too Hard
Sure, you want to sell at a trade show. You’ve spent a good amount of money on the event, and now you’re chasing returns. But hard sales tactics can drive potential customers far, far away from your booth.
Nobody likes being sold to. So, the trick is to start a conversation and introduce your product as subtly as possible. Ask relevant questions to understand why the buyer chose your booth.
Once that’s done, suggest solutions that could alleviate the prospect’s pain points. Show them that you’re attentive and willing to help. Include your product in the list of suggestions too, but don’t push it. Your buyer shouldn’t feel forced into making a purchase.
C) Weave an Exciting Story
Old-school sales pitches just don’t cut it anymore. The moment you hit people with a disingenuous, boring, overtly salesy comment, they’ll start looking for the nearest exit. Worse still, they’ll forget all about you by the time they leave.
Rather than spinning the same old yarn, try and inject some humor and emotion into your pitch. It could be a funny story, an emotional anecdote, or anything that paints your business in a positive light. For instance, if you have an unconventional brand name, you can share the story of how you came up with it.
D) Arrange for Contests and Games
A potential for competition tends to stop people in their tracks. You can use this to your advantage by hosting fun, enjoyable contests at your booth. Apart from generating a buzz, this will also help create an interest in your products.
E) Send Out Customized Invites
A trade show isn’t meant for potential buyers alone. You can invite existing contacts and customers by sending personal invitations. Doing this will let them know that you value their presence and appreciate their support.
F) Give Away a Few Freebies
People love free stuff. Branded giveaways are a great way to generate goodwill and enhance brand awareness. For example, you can gift each visitor a free coffee mug or a baseball cap with your logo printed front and center.
G) Add a Lounge Area
While many trade show booths try to attract as many attendees as possible, the general idea is to quickly get them in and out. If you want to try something different, consider adding a lounge to your booth.
For this, you’ll only need a few upholstered couches and some warm lighting options, and you’re good to go. To step things up a notch, you can add easily accessible charging stations and free Wi-Fi.
Here, the goal is to create a space that draws exhausted visitors for a quick break and some low-pressure sales conversations. Inviting potential buyers to stick around can increase your chances of having more meaningful encounters.
The Bottom Line
When done correctly, engagement marketing can keep you a step ahead of your competition. If customers find you honest and genuine, they’ll stick with you for the long run. Effective in-person engagement is sure to work wonders for your brand and propel you to newer heights of success.
Also, take your time. No one expects you to turn into a face-to-face marketing sensation overnight. The important thing is to keep learning as you go. Continue experimenting with new strategies and event formats. This way, you can avoid falling into a rut.
Is a brand-new display on your list of in-person engagement marketing tools? Look no further than Art & Display. We’re your go-to guys for trade show displays. With us, you won’t have to worry about cookie-cutter displays swamping your style, we go the extra mile to bring your vision to life. For more information, call us today!