As a fledgling entrepreneur, you will hear all kinds of sage advice about marketing as the cornerstone of business growth. While that may be true to a large extent, the real truth of the matter lies in how you go about marketing in the 21st century. Or, put another way, if marketing is the cornerstone of business growth, then engagement is the foundation upon which you should lay that cornerstone. Without engagement, any marketing strategy is dead in the water. From customer acquisition to customer retention, engagement is the key that unlocks the door to business growth.

A Look at Engagement in the Digital Age

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There was a time in the not-so-distant past that businesses dealt one-on-one with their clients or customers. Sometimes this would be a face-to-face dialogue and other times it was at the other end of a phone call. It was easy to form a business relationship because you were actually speaking with a customer or prospective customer to discern exactly what it was they were looking for.

This was the precursor to engagement in the digital age. Believe it or not, today’s consumer still looks for this one-on-one interaction except the vehicle through which it is carried out has changed. You are going to be seeking the same results yet on a much larger scale and with technology and push notifications as your form of communication.

What Exactly Is “Engagement” in Terms of a Marketing Strategy?

Going back in time once again, salesmen were trained to ask “loaded questions” when seeking to close a deal with a prospective customer. Instead of leaving a question open-ended whereby the customer could respond, “Let me think on it,” the car salesman would ask a question that required a definitive answer. For example, they’d ask, “Do you prefer this vehicle in white or champagne?” to which the prospect would respond with a color.

Then another series of questions would lead the salesman to determine if that person was really in the market for a vehicle or were they, for all intents and purposes, window shopping. The conversation was a means of engaging an audience with the intent of making a sale. In terms of marketing, this is huge. If you want to know what sells, you need only ask your audience! It may sound overly simplistic, but in reality, this is what it takes to build an effective marketing strategy.

Following the Evolution of SMS Marketing

Could it have been just a little over a decade ago that SMS marketing was the focus of the digital age? Think back to those messages which were a novelty back then and how you were asked for a response. Anyone who responded was thought to have expressed some level of interest and from there, metrics were analyzed in order to go forward with mobile marketing strategies. Today, SMS marketing has evolved, and the arena has broadened to include the Internet. However, the way in which these metrics are gathered has also evolved.

Now, through the strategic use of AI and push notifications, it has become easy to target a precise corner of a market. In fact, there are now apps which you can use in any industry that utilizes machine learning to further tailor marketing strategies. Consumers will still be asked a series of questions necessitating a response, but as the number of responses grows, AI steps in to further tailor the questions being asked within a market. The best news yet is this can all take place in the background with little to no human intervention because of the way in which Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been programmed to ‘think’ logically!

Full Circle Back to Engagement

It’s amazing how easy it is to engage your audience in the digital age through such things as push notifications and with the entire Internet at your disposal. The key is in getting a response so that you can begin measuring your market. This is what engagement is all about and why it is a vital first step and the ultimate foundation upon which any solid marketing strategy is built.

As a final note, it is important to also understand that Millennials are a significant portion of any market and they are big on knowing who it is they are dealing with. With Millennials craving engagement especially on social platforms, and through push notifications that provide those one-on-one questions and responses, it is easy to see how to acquire and retain customers in the 21st century. It’s all starts and ends with engagement and once you see the direct correlation between engagement and marketing, you’ve won the battle. It’s time to grow your business.

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