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How to Grow User Engagement Without Spending a Fortune

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from Eleanor Hecks of Designerly. Thanks to Eleanor for sharing her insights!

Whether you’re an SEO expert, a jack-of-all-trades marketer, or a PR and communications professional, you know how important it is to actively engage with your audience to generate leads, increase sales, and build a strong reputation online.

Growing user engagement comes with its fair share of challenges—understanding how to reach an audience and encouraging them to engage with your brand is no walk in the park. It takes more than just stunning visuals or a quippy tagline to grab a potential customer’s attention.

Below are some key ways you can grow user engagement across your digital channels and work to improve your marketing return on investment.

The importance of online content for business

It shouldn’t come as a surprise in 2021 that all types of businesses should be leveraging social media not only to build their connection with current customers, but to reach new customers and improve brand awareness. Small businesses and large corporations alike benefit from using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, to name a few. The same goes for your own website—it’s all owned media that you should be leveraging to the best of your ability, to grow your own online footprint. It’s all great for attracting attention to your brand.

However, what good are these marketing tools if users fail to engage with your content? What good is that attention if the people you attract don’t take any action? The value of all these channels decreases if users are not liking, commenting, or sharing whatever you post on your business pages.

Taking all forms of content into account, online content consumption skyrocketed last year, with the average person spending nearly seven hours a day online. Whether it’s online shopping or scrolling through social media, businesses need to establish a strong presence to reach users while they browse. The key to user engagement is producing content that consumers want not only to see, but to show others. However, it’s no simple task.

manufacturing trend report CTA

5 ways to grow user engagement

For some businesses—especially small businesses—marketing can be an afterthought, and companies may lack the resources to have a dedicated marketing team. Thankfully, there are some ways to improve user engagement without breaking the bank, which can be useful for smaller marketing departments.

Let’s explore some ways to grow user engagement so you can reap the benefits of more customer interaction.

1. Always Include Photos or Videos

Consumers today are engaging with different types of content than even a few years ago due to advancements in technology. It’s so much easier to watch video content on the go now, and whether it’s the latest Instagram poll on a business’ story or spending hours watching autoplay videos in TikTok, users from all generations and all over the world are consuming unique video content daily.

According to Forbes, 91% of consumers prefer interacting with online posts that include interactive or visual content rather than traditional, text-based static content. Visual content is the future of digital marketing, and businesses need to up the ante when it comes to the content they produce for their online platforms. Be sure to create visually appealing content that draws the user in and makes them want to explore your brand.

2. Incorporate Polls in Your Email Marketing

It’s commonly known that email is a tried and tested form of marketing. Businesses need to strike a balance between sending too many marketing emails and sending too few—just the right amount will encourage user engagement without overwhelming them or allowing them to forget you even exist.

By incorporating some interactive polls in your emails, you’re doing your best to grow user engagement. An email with only text is boring to read—with a poll, you’re allowing your users to make their voices heard. And not only does that interactivity increase engagement, it provides you with invaluable information about what your audience thinks and feels about your business.

3. Hold Social Media Contests

A perfect way to garner more engagement on your social media platforms is to host contests and provide an incentive for users to engage with your brand. Consider creating giveaway contests by asking your followers to share, like, comment, or repost your content in order to be entered into the contest. If the contest catches on, you might actually gain traction outside your typical follower base. Their engagement brings new eyes to your social media, and that can lead to people who would otherwise have never even heard of your brand joining in the fun.

Some users earn a prize, and you may gain new followers as a result—it’s a win-win situation.

4. Prioritize Your Website’s Design

User experience (UX) plays a significant role in user engagement. If a user has a poor experience on your site for any reason, they’re not going to stick around long enough to engage with your brand at all, much less make the decision to buy. Ensure your website is contemporary and modern, and that it runs smoothly when users arrive on your landing page. Load times need to be fast, and it should be simple for users to navigate the site and find everything they need.

It’s also key to follow best SEO practices when designing your site. Your goal should be to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) to draw more traffic to your site—after all, user engagement requires users, and if nobody sees your online presence at all, they’re certainly not going to engage.

5. Use Clear, Concise Calls to Action

A compelling CTA can drive your customers through the sales funnel and improve your overall business performance. Consider where you might employ CTAs:

  • On your website—to drive users to convert to a lead, or even to buy
  • At the end of your social media post captions—to drive them to your site, and
  • In your marketing emails—to point them towards specific content you want shared most

You’ll likely see more user engagement as a result.

When potential customers research options online, they often aren’t 100% sure what they’re planning on doing next. Help make that experience a little easier by providing clear next steps in their purchase process and guiding them in the right direction with CTAs.

User engagement is the key to success

Using social media, email, and your website to encourage user engagement is one of the best marketing strategies available to marketers in 2021. Regardless of the platform you use, leveraging different channels and applying SEO best practices will help you to grow your engagement. Be sure to measure your current engagement metrics to set benchmarks and set clear goals for the future, so you know if your efforts are worthwhile.

An engaged user is more likely to buy. Do what you can to make their experience better, and you’ll see bottom-line results.

eleanor hecks

Eleanor is the editor-in-chief of Designerly. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and her dog, Bear.