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The Complete Guide to Digital Engagement

Digital engagement is how today’s business gets done. It connects prospects with brands, facilitates an exchange of information and provides insights that both companies and would-be customers can use to make decisions. Done right, digital engagement helps build long-lasting relationships. Done wrong, it risks tarnishing your brand and your marketing efforts as just more noise in an already noisy environment. 

That’s why brands investing in digital engagement must look beyond traditional channels like email and social media. Intelligent engagement platforms that combine webinars, interactivity features, data analytics and more can enhance a brand’s reputation while accelerating conversions and fostering brand loyalty.  

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the fundamentals of digital engagement, how to elevate your efforts and what the future of digital engagement looks like. Let’s get started.

What is digital engagement?

Digital engagement describes the use of digital services to replicate person-to-person interactions. It plays a crucial role within the business, enabling brand awareness to be built, leads to be generated and sales to be secured.

Outside marketing, digital engagement is often used to aid customer service by allowing businesses to promptly and efficiently address customer queries. It’s also sometimes used internally to help businesses communicate with employees and improve job satisfaction rates.

Businesses can use the data gathered through digital engagement to generate insights into customer behavior and preferences and employee feedback. These insights can then be leveraged to make data-driven decisions at all levels, including product innovation and employee welfare.

What is digital customer engagement?

Digital customer engagement is a catch-all term for the various ways in which businesses interact with customers through digital channels. It can be used to connect with both previous and current customers, as well as attract future ones.

In the modern business landscape, digital engagement is one marketing tactic that strongly impacts customer relationships. Through various platforms, including websites, webinars and social media, customers can conveniently access information about and communicate with businesses. This removes friction from the relationship and fosters ongoing interaction.

With intelligent engagement tools, businesses can take digital engagement a step further. For example, marketing teams can personalize digital interactions with customers and prospects through dynamic experiences and first-party data.

What digital engagement means for the marketing funnel

Engagement is important in the context of the marketing funnel because it plays an instrumental role in transporting users down from the point of awareness to the point of conversion.

Gathering first-party data from users provides insight into how they’ve engaged with your website or webinar and can help you understand how well they match your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), essentially prioritizing leads to nurture.

The data you collect from analyzing user engagement throughout the marketing funnel can also make the pathway to driving conversions easier to find. What kind of content they’ve engaged with offers hints as to how you can continue to engage them as they move closer to converting.

Why is digital engagement important?

Digital engagement is an important tactic for businesses of all sizes. It can be used to achieve many different purposes, with benefits including increased sales, improved customer relationships, and enhanced brand loyalty.

Here are some of the most compelling reasons why businesses need to harness the power of digital engagement to thrive:

Enhancing customer experience

Digital engagement simplifies customer experiences by giving representatives the context they need to address a customer’s concerns.  Intelligent engagement tools, like chatbots and AI-powered content engines, takes this contextual information a step further by empowering businesses by proactively personalizing customer interactions, catering to individual preferences and offering support.

The best part? The engagement data gathered through these personalized interactions can then be analyzed to provide even more valuable insights. This forms part of a feedback loop, where insights gained are leveraged to create more timely and relevant interactions with customers and prospects, resulting in further data.

Driving sales and revenue growth

Effective digital engagement strategies drive sales and revenue growth in various ways. By engaging customers throughout the buying journey, businesses can boost conversions and encourage movement into the next stage of the funnel, bringing them closer to a sale.

Enhancing employee engagement and productivity

Successful businesses take digital employee engagement almost as seriously as customer engagement. They make use of different platforms and tools that help to streamline internal communications, train employees, and facilitate knowledge sharing.

Businesses create happier and more engaged employees by speeding up processes, smoothing the way for collaboration, and encouraging feedback. Enhanced employee engagement increases productivity, making it a win-win for everyone.

What drives digital engagement?

For businesses looking to drive digital engagement, understanding how to build meaningful connections and use the available tools is essential.

Quality and relevance of content

It seems obvious. Still, too many businesses need to avoid marketing the content that they want their audience to see, rather than the content that their audience wants to see. And when users are not interested in the delivered content, they won’t engage.

Focusing on creating high-quality content relevant to your audience’s interests and business objectives will ensure that it resonates, driving engagement and opening up opportunities.

Personalization

Digital engagement takes off when you bring personalization into the picture. To implement personalization, use the engagement data your prospects have shared to create and share personalized recommendations, product suggestions and communications.

By creating tailored experiences,  businesses give audiences every reason to engage with marketing material and share buying intent.

Use of multimedia and interactive elements

Your message is only one-half of the engagement equation. The other half? How you deliver that message. Will it be through written content? Video? Webinars? Content hubs? What about rich digital environments like virtual conferences

Think about how you can incorporate different media types into your content — from combining the written word with videos and images to highlighting an infographic in a webinar. With varied media, you can more easily break up content, provide visual stimuli and make your material more digestible. 

Finally, don’t forget to make your audiences active participants in your content, not passive. Encourage active participation using interactive tools like polls and surveys as well as virtual breakout rooms and Q&A chat.

Timeliness and frequency

Maintaining a consistent digital presence helps to keep audiences aware and engaged, but businesses need to be careful of overwhelming audiences. Too much contact will irritate customers and prospects, which is counterproductive to business goals.

Instead, identifying the right points to engage customers and delivering timely content will ensure audiences remain open to interactions. It’s consistency, not quantity, that builds trust.

Data-driven insights

Where you have data, you have the need for analytics. After all, understanding what all of these disparate bits of information mean in sum is essential for anyone seeking to optimize engagement marketing efforts. 

Digital marketers should understand how metrics like click-through rates and response rates impact qualified leads generated. With this information, marketers can develop a deeper understanding of audience behavior and preferences and develop effective engagement strategies.

For example, businesses can optimize the content and timing of digital interactions through audience segmentation. With granular targeting, organizations can create personalized communications that resonate and get responses.

ON24 Webinar Software

We’ve designed our ON24 webinar software with all of these considerations in mind – plus many more. Find out how our webinar solutions can streamline and enhance your buying journeys by registering for a live demo.

How to increase digital engagement

Now that we know why digital engagement is important and what drives it, it’s time to look at actionable strategies and best practices that you can put into place to improve your efforts.

Digital engagement best practices and strategies

From interactive webinars to AI-powered chatbots, these tools and strategies will elevate your digital engagement to the next level.

Drive engagement with webinars and virtual summits

Webinars, virtual events, and other dynamic digital experiences play an important role in engaging customers throughout the conversion funnel. Thought leadership webinars and best practice sessions provide education and build awareness, while running live networking events and virtual product demos encourage direct interaction.

Capture webinar insights

Webinar interactions provide some of the biggest clues as to whether a lead is worth chasing. When combined with larger tech stacks, the engagement data gathered plays a valuable role in prioritizing and qualifying leads.

Webinar insights can be integrated with Customer Relationship Management systems and Marketing Automation Platforms to ensure a more cohesive and informative approach to engaging leads. This can be done seamlessly through various platforms, providing an intelligent way to increase engagement and drive revenue growth.

Creating on-demand content hubs

Live webinars are a great way to engage audiences with real-time interactions, but timing conflicts mean that on-demand webinars play a crucial role too. The good news is that on-demand attendees don’t have to put up with a static recording of the webinar — they can also be given the same opportunities to engage as those attending live.

With on-demand content hubs and AI-powered chatbots, businesses can connect with hard-to-reach audiences in a way that works. Interactive elements and conversion tools can be accessed both before and after a live webinar, ensuring that engagement is maximized at every stage.

Personalizing digital experiences

Personalized landing pages, content and messaging are more likely to resonate with audiences than generic alternatives. Tailoring experiences for a specific event, account or segment allows audience interests to be tapped into, and relevant, timely content can be delivered. Catering to specific needs and interests like this drives deeper and more meaningful engagement.

Providing interactive digital experiences

Interactive elements like breakout sessions and group discussions strongly enhance the digital experience. Interactive features mimic real life in a way that one-sided communications do not, contributing to a more humanized digital environment. 

Introducing interactivity to digital experiences also encourages customers or employees to engage with each other. By facilitating conversations among audience members, businesses reveal shared insights, foster deeper connections and fuel collaboration.

Providing a seamless omnichannel experience

Integrating digital engagement channels into a seamless omnichannel experience can significantly enhance engagement. Businesses ensure brand continuity and consistency, while audiences benefit from a cohesive user experience that removes friction and offers various pathways for interaction.

Digital engagement trends

The landscape of digital engagement technologies is constantly changing. But these are five of the biggest digital engagement trends unfolding right now, and why they’re important:

Personalized experiences are in demand

Audiences expect digital content to be tailored and relevant to their interests and preferences, meaning digital marketers need a personalization strategy. And that’s not mere conjecture. According to our most recent Digital Engagement Benchmarks report, personalized experiences see a 68% increase in CTA engagement and nearly a four-times increase in demo requests. 

The conclusion is clear: the pipeline potential of digital experiences is far higher when they are well-targeted and personalized. When audiences are offered content and experiences that are relevant to them, the likelihood that they will actively show buying intent increases significantly.

Expect audiences to engage on-demand

Marketers need to shift from a one-and-done event mindset toward an ongoing engagement strategy. According to our most recent Digital Engagement Benchmarks report, 44% of webinar attendees tuned into the event after its live date. This continues a trend observed in previous years as on-demand now commands a sizable portion of a webinar’s audience.

However, meeting both the growing demand for content and maximizing total engagement will require more than just making webinar events on-demand. Marketers will need to repurpose event content into both new on-demand webinars and different formats such as e-books, blog posts and short-form video. By spinning out events into different content, marketers can deliver ongoing, multitouch campaigns and ongoing nurtures — which can collectively drive better performance than a single live event.

Audiences are engaging with more digital formats

Audiences are now interacting with a more diverse set of digital experiences than ever before. As marketers advance their digital maturity, they are leveraging digital tactics for a broad range of go-to-market use cases, like professional certification, training, partner enablement, healthcare provider education and member enrollment. These use cases go beyond the most traditional form of lead generation and require an approach that is aligned to a desire to learn, rather than a vendor evaluation or product demonstration. 

This trend is important for marketers to watch for several reasons. First, it demonstrates that audiences are seeking out digital learning opportunities, a trend that will only continue as digital-native professionals advance their careers. Second, audiences want proof of learning, and are keen to share credentials provided by trusted sources. Finally, this shows that the competition for professional mindshare and the number of digital learning options are growing. Providing a frictionless, automated and easy way for professionals to receive certifications will be critical to capturing their time and attention, and for marketers’ own ability to scale.

Rise of AI and machine learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are growing rapidly and being integrated into an increasing number of digital workflows, including building engagement in the marketing funnel. Businesses can use AI-powered tools to automate key steps of the typical engagement process – ensuring that every lead who fills out a contact form is contacted immediately with content recommendations, for example.

And machine learning technology is equally valuable, helping businesses get valuable insights from their historical data to inform their digital engagement strategy, going forward.

Omnichannel engagement

While some digital channels are better suited to driving engagement than others, the best digital engagement strategies are omnichannel. An omnichannel approach to engaging with a digital audience makes it easier to reinforce key messaging points across multiple touchpoints, building trust and familiarity simultaneously.

Digital engagement FAQs

Digital engagement refers to how businesses engage their customers through digital channels. It covers the various platforms, tools, and technologies that businesses use to interact and connect with both current and potential customers.

There are a multitude of metrics that can be used to measure digital engagement. CTR, conversion rate, social media likes, and average time on site all indicate engagement and offer valuable clues as to how customers are receiving your content. Which metrics you pay attention to should depend on your goals, and will often involve a combination of data.

Digital engagement leads to more memorable interactions, a stronger brand identity, and increased opportunities for lead nurturing. Without engagement, it’s impossible to get past the awareness stage of the sales funnel. Purchase decisions require interaction from the customer, which is where digital audience engagement and its ability to boost conversions comes in.

A digital engagement plan is essentially the same as a digital engagement strategy. It outlines the organization’s digital engagement objectives, the KPIs that will be used to measure success, and the different channels through which the strategy will be implemented.

Improving digital engagement can have a marked impact on customer loyalty and retention rates. It increases personalization and provides consistent connection, forging a stronger relationship and cementing the business in the minds of its audience.