Today's technology can help you reach more customers than ever before.
Customer engagement is an important component of your business that fosters sustainable growth through strong, meaningful relationships. But in today's always-on, tech-driven world, it can be difficult to attract and retain consumers' attention.
One way to overcome this is by capitalizing on the right tools or systems for the job. To find out more, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members to share their favorite apps and systems for increasing customer engagement. The YEC is an invite-only organization of young entrepreneurs who represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Here are the tools they singled out.
"Consumers today want to work with businesses that are genuine, authentic and relatable. Especially for small business owners, this requires creating high-quality content that allows them to really connect and share what their brand is all about. Canva is a great tool that helps businesses quickly and effortlessly create a large variety of engaging content, and it is very cost-effective." – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
"Wheelio takes the classic tactic of offering discounts in exchange for customer emails and enhances it with a gamified 'spin the wheel' format that makes it fun for people to give you their email addresses. We've seen insane conversions from this new app as well as cart conversions (people using their coupon code)." – Andy Karuza, FenSens
3. Yelp for Business
"For any business that depends on reviews from local customers, Yelp for Business makes it easier to track and manage your reviews. It's important to learn when you get new reviews so you can respond promptly. This app is useful, as you can set it up for notifications so you don't have to remember to log on to Yelp to see what's happening on that front." – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
"We use Monday.com, and it has changed our agency business amazingly. We've built more trust with our clients, and it's easier to stay on the same page with them about priorities or when projects get bumped or pivot. Our clients are loving the ability to 'pierce the veil' and see what happens even more clearly." – Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media
"Increasing customer engagement through celebrity or influencer endorsements has replaced mainstream advertising. In order to sidestep the time and expense of lawyers, the app Iconn is a platform that connects talent and influencers directly with brands. Book a celebrity, DJ, production crew or influencer for your brand needs without costly legal fees and have upfront rules that pertain to your needs." – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
"Twitter is probably still the most underutilized customer engagement app. It's great for breaking news, collecting and responding to customer feedback instantly, offering new promotions, and spying on the competition. Businesses that don't actively engage their customers on Twitter are losing customers and repeat sales." – Amine Rahal, Little Dragon Media
7. Q&A sessions on social media platforms
"You don't need anything new or complicated. Just take a fresh angle on the tools you already have. A good idea would be to start hosting Q&A sessions on your social media where your followers can send their questions and you give answers, either in Stories or during a livestream. It works as an interview, but it creates a more personal and honest atmosphere." – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
8. SMS marketing
"The overwhelming majority of consumers prefer to communicate via SMS, and so should your business. Begin to engage with your customers to share information, promotional deals, or to hold a connecting conversation. This is a method of engagement that will help convert a lead into a customer." – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers P.A.
9. Desktop push notifications
"You might think that they don't work, simply because you never click 'OK' when they pop up for you, but you'd be shocked at how well they convert. In some niches, they outperform email opt-ins in exchange for lead magnets. They straight-up work." – Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing
"IGTV is Instagram's way of showcasing videos for more than a minute, with an option to have a series and a swipe-up button from the Instagram story. I love that it has a good quality compared to Facebook and, at the same time, can easily sync with Facebook as well. It's one way to engage and show more in fewer clicks, while spending less time to post it." – Daisy Jing, Banish
"TikTok has been described as a mashup of Instagram, Twitter and Vine, which allows its 500 million users to create short music videos. Because it is still relatively new and popular among younger audiences, it is a prime opportunity for engagement advertising. The key to TikTok is to be authentic. Create content that fits your brand, have fun, and then see your marketing efforts take off." – Shu Saito, Godai
12. Drip email campaigns
"Drip email campaigns allow you to create prewritten emails that you can launch at a specific time and at fixed intervals. You can send out timely emails to keep you in the customers' minds using email automation. This spares you from having to create content in a hurry. You'll also have the time to plan what you want to say, and you'll be free to focus on solving serious issues at work." – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
"Chatbots are a great way to keep customers engaged on your website and to provide them with stellar customer support. You can add personalization and fun to the customer experience by creating a friendly animation that speaks to your visitors." – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
14. Facebook Live
"Facebook Live is a great app for increasing customer engagement. It's timely and popular, and video in and of itself increases engagement by its very nature." – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
15. Survey tools
"Asking your customers for feedback is a great way to increase customer engagement in the new year. Customers love to share their thoughts and opinions with businesses, and you can use their valuable feedback to grow your business even more. So, businesses should use survey apps and tools to collect feedback from their customers this coming year." – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
16. Artificial intelligence
"More businesses are using AI as a part of their marketing strategy than ever before. Specifically, chatbots are proving to be a useful tool for improving engagement. I think this year, developers are going to fine-tune chatbots and other variations of AI to create a streamlined experience for customers, which leads to a more engaged audience." – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
17. Social proof tools
"A huge part of engagement is trust. If consumers question the validity of your website, there's a slim chance that they will engage with your content and share your posts on social media. I think that social proof tools are bridging the communication gap between businesses and customers. We are going to see a surge of social proof applications helping business owners in 2020." – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
18. Augmented reality
"Augmented reality is very promising for a host of reasons, especially for companies with the ability to build it into custom applications. For example, Home Depot and Lowe's are using augmented reality to help people choose paint colors or consider options for remodeling a room. The opportunity for these experiences is extremely promising as a way to help people make purchase decisions." – Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva