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How to Increase Your Audience Engagement

Learn how to increase loyalty and build deeper user engagement with your digital product.

Whether you have a website, mobile app, two-sided platform, or content platform, you’re probably looking for ways to keep your audience engaged. Getting that first signup is great, of course, but it’s just the beginning.

“The goal is engagement beyond that initial purchase,” says Sasha Friedman, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Mailchimp. “Keeping your users coming back is important to show the value of your product.”

In order to continue demonstrating the value of your digital product, you want to keep users engaged regularly. Whether that’s a daily log-in or weekly opening of the app, the more that they interact with your product, the more likely they are to continue subscribing to your business and growing your revenue. And one of the best ways to keep users engaged is to understand who your audience is and what they need. Audience data enables you to reach out with personalized messages that boost loyalty, encourage upgrades, and keep users coming back.

See how other businesses boost engagement, and make a plan for your company, too.

What is audience engagement?

Getting your message out there is a good first step, but it’s not enough. How do you turn passive exposure into active participation? What do you need to do to leave a lasting impression that keeps customers coming back?

The answer is audience engagement. A business that has high audience engagement provides enticing reasons and easy avenues for their audience to react and respond to their digital marketing, creating a conversation and positive feedback loop between brand and consumer.

Engaging your audience builds brand awareness, trust, and loyalty. Not only can it help you retain customers, but it can also allow you to generate new leads with ease.

Eventually, as your audience engagement ramps up, it will translate into different forms of trackable metrics and analytics, giving you more traffic, likes, comments, and shares on your website and social media platforms.

Overall, having an engaged audience is a win-win situation. Your customers will feel cared for and enjoy special perks while you reach your business goals.

10 audience engagement strategies & tips

Audience engagement plays a huge role in the success of any business, but increasing audience engagement can take trial and error.

In this section, we have gathered 10 surefire strategies and tips to help you boost audience engagement, whether you want to concentrate on your social channels or make your business website more user-friendly.

1. Understand engagement

Engagement looks different for every business and it’s important that you are able to define what that means for yours.

For a mobile app, it might mean the number of users who open and use your app on a daily basis. For a content site, it might mean the number of articles that a subscriber reads each week.

However you define that metric, make sure you have a clear understanding of who you want to engage and how you will know that you’ve met your engagement goals.

2. Use audience data

Once you’ve defined your engagement goals, you can start using audience data to determine the best way to meet those goals. From age range and location to income and marital status, track the most relevant and beneficial data sets for your business and distill them into audience insights that can help you upgrade your engagement strategy. Here are a few examples of how some digital businesses use audience data to drive engagement:

  • A subscription meal kit service notices that people are coming to their site multiple times before making a purchase and visiting the post they have about healthy recipes. So they start building a blog section with more healthy recipes and then trigger an email to users who have visited the blog 5 times to offer a promo code encouraging them to sign up for the service.
  • A first-time subscriber to an online magazine visits the “travel” section of the magazine. The magazine creates a “travel” tag for that user and then sends an automated email to that user, and others with the “travel” tag anytime new travel content is released that they might enjoy.
  • An online ticketing platform realizes that many users just buy tickets from them and don’t use any of their app’s features to search for other shows in their area. They create a segment of users who only purchase tickets and set up a targeted email to them, suggesting future events they might like and includes links back to the “shows nearby” section of their app.

In each of these cases, engagement starts by understanding and measuring what’s happening on your site or in your app. Once you understand how often someone visits your site, how much time they spend in your app, or when they’re likely to upgrade, then you can start creating a marketing strategy to truly increase audience engagement.

3. Identify your target audience

Once you set your engagement goals, you need to understand who you’re setting them for and what it is they need. An audience-centered mindset helps you understand who you’re serving so that you can create personalized messages that meet their needs.

The more content and channels you utilize to connect with prospects and users, the more chances you’ll have to engage them and learn what resonates. “Someone may not be ready to sign up yet, but may be interested in a topic related to your offering,” explains Sasha. “So if you are able to share relevant content with them, you’ll learn about what is most important to them based on what they engage with and what they disregard.”

Analyzing how your audience engages with your marketing and uses your product allows you to understand their behavior and needs, such as:

The problems you can solve

An app that matches babysitters with families might learn that parents are looking for tips about what to do when sitters aren’t at the house. So, the app could provide content on topics like how to keep kids off screens when they’re out of school.

How they want to buy

Audience data can also reveal the ideal buying process for your users. For example, people may prefer to read dating tips before signing up for your dating site, or look at case studies before deciding to pay for an upgrade.

How priorities are shifting

When you keep your audience close, you can track how the things they value evolve. This data can be used to personalize your marketing, features, sign-up process, service, and other important details.

If you market to parents, for example, remember that their needs will change as their children grow. Their toddlers who play with blocks today will become interested in action figures and art classes, and your marketing should reflect that.

How else you can serve them

You can also learn about related services people would like to get or expect to receive from you. If you’re selling meal kits, your audience might also be interested in kitchen tools or pantry staples needed to prepare the recipes.

4. Organize your audience

As your business grows, the amount of audience data you have will increase. That means this information can shape and personalize your site content, app design, email campaigns, and other efforts to boost engagement. Since everyone in your audience has their own unique traits and behaviors, segmenting your audience based on those factors will help you better understand and personalize your marketing.

As you think about segments, keep in mind that in addition to unique traits and behaviors, you may also serve more than one specific audience. For instance, if you have an app that pairs students with tutors, you will have different messaging that would go to the students than would go to the tutors. And you may even have a separate set of messages that would need to go to parents. Within those audiences, you can further segment your users based on their traits and behaviors, so you understand who they are and how they use your app.

Organizing your audience can power personalized messaging and deeper engagement.

For example, if you have an education app and notice that someone has not updated their version of your app, you can send a targeted reminder to them to make the update and the benefits of doing so.

Or, if you have an online grocery service and notice that certain fruit is in season in a particular region, you can send a targeted message to users in that region highlighting that now is the time to buy that fruit.

“By organizing your audience based on traits and behaviors, you not only learn who people are and how they’re engaging,” Sasha explains. “But you can also start to connect with them on a more personal level, and that is key to drive engagement.”

5. Identify your engagement goals

With your audience organized, you can now create goals for each segment. Be specific around the content you want them to explore, the path you want them to take through your site or app, the features you want them to use, and how often you want them to come back.

Also, be sure to check your goals against what your audience data tells you.

“You may think you have an ideal experience in mind: log in first, then fill out a profile, etc., and you find out from talking to customers that people want to read reviews first before creating a profile,” Sasha explains.

As you learn more about differences between what you expected people would want, and what they actually do, be sure to adjust your goals. After all, addressing audience priorities is essential to success. “When you’re trying to improve engagement by explaining to your audience why they should do something, you should probably stop and listen, instead, to what they’re trying to do,” Sasha explains.

6. Create well-timed, personalized campaigns

With a target audience and engagement goals defined, you’ll be well-positioned to create messaging that speaks to each segment. You can create specific marketing campaigns—whether via email or on your site or in your app—to guide them to specific pages, features, or content.

The idea here is to send the right message to the right person, at the right time. A well-timed message is one more way you communicate that you understand someone’s needs. When you provide valuable information or meet someone’s needs, they’re more likely to stay longer, recommend you to their networks, and see you as a valued partner.

Automating campaigns based on that audience data makes timely and personalized messages possible.

Automated messages allow you to keep marketing, while you focus on continuing to grow your business. So if someone looks at your blog in the morning, you can set up an automation that sends them a related piece of content that afternoon.

Keeping the information top of mind and relevant, instead of waiting until you can manually send that information in a week when it may be less relevant. Or when someone downloads your app, you can trigger an automation to reach them immediately after finishing the set up to thank them for the download and walk them through all the great things your app has to offer.

“When you automate emails, you can really expand your reach and your connection. You can send upgrade or upsell messages, promote related features, or just say thank you to your users, all at just the right time,” Sasha explains.

7. Use chatbots

What can you do to take your audience engagement strategies a step further? How do you increase the performance of your business website? Moreover, is it possible to provide personalized, up-to-the-minute service to every customer on your site? If you are concerned about any of these questions, chatbots may be just what you need.

While the words “apathetic”, “unresponsive”, and “inaccurate” may pop up in your mind as soon as you think about chatbots, in reality, they have come a long way, with 53% of companies identifying AI as a tool for creating a customer-first culture.

In addition, your customers are far more familiar with and open to using chatbots than you think. 80% of people have interacted with a chatbot at some point and 40% even prefer chatbots to a “real human connection.”

Here are just some of the ways in which chatbots can keep people engaged your website:

  • 24/7 instant response: Chatbots are always available and can manage thousands of queries at once. Instead of waiting for a live agent to get back to them, your customers can avoid frustration by getting their answers from a chatbot.
  • Accurate information: Chatbots can be automated to provide well-crafted, straight-to-the-point answers to certain frequently asked questions. This gives your customers easy access to all the information they need to go ahead and make a purchase.
  • Personalized experience: Chatbots have the ability to store customer information and give personalized recommendations. They can even switch languages depending on the customer’s preference.

Other than the benefits chatbots provide to your customers, they also help you save time, effort, and money. Chatbots are an effective way to measure engagement on your website, increase session durations, conduct live polls, and get a good grasp on your customers’ interests.

2 men sit on a couch in an office, while one is holding a laptop happily discussing their marketing strategy.

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8. Create a social media strategy

Take advantage of social media to make direct contact with customers all over the world. Having an active presence on a social media platform can help your business increase its reach, gain top-of-mind awareness, provide better customer service, get helpful customer feedback, build meaningful connections with your customers, and so much more.

Since social media has become an indispensable part of life, having an effective social media strategy should definitely be on your radar if you want to grow your business.

Keep in mind that 55% of consumers learn about new brands through social media, and 78% are willing to buy from a company after having a positive experience with them on social media.

To engage your audience on social media, you'll need to create good social media content. Try to implement some of the following strategies:

Create a hashtag on Twitter

From retweets to Spaces, Twitter offers a number of tools to assist you in increasing audience engagement. Come up with hashtags to help your customers follow along with your latest moves. Whether you establish an event hashtag for your product launch or a make up a hashtag challenge, hashtags are something your customers remember you by.

Share user-generated content

Acknowledge important members of your community by sharing their user-generated content in your social media posts. Collaborate with influencers or commission art from designers or photographers.

Go live

Live stream a Q&A session, so you can interact with your audience in real time. Use live polling features to get a better understanding of what your audience wants. Introduce your products and guide more traffic to your website.

In addition, remember to always link to your website on your social media accounts. Post every time you publish a new blog post or make a quiz for your site.

9. Focus on design & function

Don’t overlook the design and function of your app or website. Building a user-friendly experience should always be a top priority.

While a visually appealing and optimized app or website can increase session time, a laggy and confusing one can entirely deter your audience.

Does your website use a unique but color-blind-friendly palette? Are there too many pop-ups in your app? Is your call to action button placed in a clearly visible spot on your landing page? Can users easily access the engaging content on your website?

The smallest details can influence audience participation.

Always try to apply the best UX practices and have a clear UX design process when building your app or website. If you don't know much about website design or mobile website design, use a website builder with expertly designed templates or A/B test to find out what’s working and what’s not.

10. Host a giveaway

Reward your customers for being active members of your audience. After all, who doesn’t like free stuff?

Host an exciting giveaway campaign on your social media platforms that customers are eager to take part in. Make engaging with your accounts a requirement for entering the giveaway to benefit from low-cost, word-of-mouth marketing.

For example, challenge those who are interested in your giveaway to tag their friends to spread the word about your business, or have them post the giveaway information on their own accounts. Either way, pair giveaway campaigns with other audience engagement strategies to stand out from your competition.

Keep personalizing your engagement

A healthy relationship is always changing, and staying engaged with your audience will let you know what they need at any point in time. What you learn will tell you what’s needed to strengthen audience bonds so that you keep delivering what matters most to the audience that is important to your success.

If you don't know where to start, take a look at Mailchimp's free website builder for inspiration. With customizable templates, a built-in stock photo library, and easy-to-understand reports and analytics, you're sure to make a website that garners audience participation.

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