Don’t let a small budget at your business prevent you from going big with customer engagement.

We believe no business is too small to have a robust customer engagement strategy. With the right tools, any business can build relationships and facilitate interactions with customers that create brand awareness and more incoming leads.

We rounded up four, cost-effective customer engagement strategies you can apply to grow your brand and increase loyalty in your business.

Step Up Your Content Marketing Game

When it comes to increasing engagement through digital marketing, it’s all about creating valuable content that attracts and informs the consumer. Why? Because today’s consumers want to learn about products and services but are turned-off by the hard-sell of traditional advertising. 61% of consumers prefer companies that create custom online content. You can engage your customers with videos, blog posts, articles, newsletters, or case studies – just to name a few.

You can use cost-effective, online solutions to get started that provide high-quality templates such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and Emma. Perkville’s free, customizable templates for newsletters, and Canva templates for graphic design, are also great tools to help make your content marketing easier.

To keep your content engaging, just make sure it addresses your audience’s needs, wants, and/or interests. Whatever you distribute should be useful to your customers. When done right, content marketing can cost 62% less than traditional marketing and generate about three times as many leads!

Have a System that Encourages Word of Mouth Referrals

According to Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all forms of advertising. This makes word-of-mouth referrals not only cost-effective, but also one of the most powerful tools you can have for advertising

Therefore, any customer engagement strategy should have a system in place that makes it easy for customers to become evangelists for your brand. You can offer something as simple as a new client special that current clients can tell their friends about to entice them. Have a custom link to your special to promote so customers can share it with friends via email, text, and social media.

Another consideration is showing appreciation for customers who bring you new business by rewarding them in some way. A yoga or pilates studio, for instance, may offer a free class for bringing multiple referrals. (Check out our 411 guide on a successful referral offer for more ideas.)

If you have a loyalty program, you can just automate your word of mouth referral efforts all together.

Pay Attention to and Manage on Your Online Reputation

An essential part of customer engagement is creating positive experiences for your clients. Moreover, those experiences should also be consistent across your business's platforms. If your business has an online presence, use this as an opportunity to connect with customers and prospects in the digital space, similar to how you build relationships when customers visit your business.

Your social media accounts are an excellent opportunity to listen and respond to customers questions, comments, and concerns. Prompt customers into dialogue by posting questions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to obtain valuable feedback and post comments that thank them for being loyal to your business.

You should also check your business page on each of your most frequently reviewed sites. Run an online reputation audit to make sure you’re taking action to facilitate positives experiences, such as righting any wrongs in the reviews on your page. In today’s market, chances are you and your customers are online, so you can only do your brand a favor by showing off your best self in that space.

Keep Customers Motivated with Gamification

Contests and bonuses are a fun way to enhance the customer experience, and in some cases can boost engagement rates by 150%! One reason for this is customers are more motivated to complete activities such as going to the gym when they have a goal, and gamification efficiently sets goals at your business.

To incorporate gamification into your customer engagement strategy, try celebrating your most active customers such as those who come in most frequently or those that act as advocates for your business by posting about you online or referring friends. Make it easy for you and your customers to track their gamification efforts at your business so customers can see their progress and stay motivated.

For additional tips, check out our Perkville guide to gamification and watch engagement, retention, and your bottom line grow.