After Kim’s post last week “To Increase Lead Engagement You Need This One Thing,” I started thinking about what lead engagement means to me and our business. This was quite the cognitive undertaking since I had never been faced with this type of “big picture”question. Up until now, I have always thought engagement was just the prior step before walking down the aisle! But the more I thought about its many facets, I suddenly had an epiphany! Scary, huh?

To me, engagement is about understanding behaviors and using those insights to nurture the relationship on a deeper, more intimate level — almost to the level of understanding your lead so well that you can finish their sentences (aka clicks in the digital world). So upon having this epiphany, a personal story surfaced I have to share with you.

Here’s why understanding and relating to behavior is so important when it comes to engagement.

My story may be yours as well:

I peruse Golf Hacks R Us on a daily basis with no real intent or supervised thinking [my girlfriend thinks it’s an obsession; I call it, well, an obsession] At the beginning of the golf season I wanted to “up” my game and decided to buy new clubs. lawn-1414855_1280

After countless hours surfing as an incognito visitor, the excitement of learning and buying was intoxicating  — I had intent! First things first. I went and signed up for Golf Hacks R Us email club.

That’s when the pearly gates were going to open and the harp music was to begin playing… So I thought.

I hurriedly went to the Ping section (a club manufacturer for those of you not into golf) and began perusing the best clubs for beginners. Filled with excited intent, I rushed over to Golf Hacks R Us and demoed a set of Ping irons. After that buzz had worn off, I went home and looked on Ping’s site to digest all the content and video “how to’s” I could “eat.”

Still with me? I then went back online at Golf Hacks R Us and looked at Ping’s newest clothing line because it’s better to look good than play well…am I right? At the end of my journey, I viewed a couple of Golf Hacks R Us’ video tutorials on “how to grip a golf club” and “how to reduce your slice.”

Clearly, these searches would indicate a person who is just discovering the game and has many questions that need to be answered.

The next day, I received an email touting Golf Hacks R Us’ newest GPS systems. Ok. Cool! One more thing to add to my wishlist. I then received an email with a link for 20% off new Taylormade irons. Huh? Ok. I’m a forgiver! The good stuff’s coming to my inbox shortly. I get, yet, another email on the “10 Best Golf Getaways for 2016.” WTF? I felt like screaming “do you not understand my needs or know who I am?” Talk about diminishing intent ;(

If Golf Hacks R Us would’ve sent me ANYTHING Ping related, I would’ve purchased from both its brick-and-mortar and online stores. And since I am a loyal customer, Hacks not only lost a sale but also will lose hundreds if not thousands due to a minor thing called lifetime value. Oops!

Clearly, it neither understood my needs nor cared to answer my questions. So I opted out… Sayonara!

Needless to say, after the intelligence I had gathered, I ended up purchasing Ping clubs from Craigslist! Why? because the personal seller engaged with me on many levels. She answered all my questions, gave me tips on the idiosyncrasies of the irons and even threw in a cool ball retriever. Talk about insight!

If Golf Hack would’ve had the insights to my behaviors, it could’ve sent me relevant information pertaining to my behaviors; thus, keeping me engaged and in the value loop. BIG miss for this company since I ended up spending over 1k on equipment. However, my slice is still wicked!  ;(

Watch this funny skit on “Do Your Emails Engage Your Audience” that re-enacts EXACTLY what I’ve been saying.

Oh, I almost forgot — tools also play a HUGE role in engagement! You wouldn’t shoot pool with a rubber hose, now would you?

There are certain things that you can’t do with traditional email marketing tools. For instance, this golf company uses MailChimp and didn’t have the technology to uncover insights that addressed my questions or intent. So there are certain tools that are going to hinder your ability to increase engagement and leave you guessing because you won’t know what people are actually interested in.  In today’s competitive world, if you can’t see beyond an open and a click, you’re in real trouble if you expect to get through the inbox clutter and garner their attention.

It’s a listen/respond strategy —  I listen to you, you listen to me, and we adapt our behavior to each other based on what I perceive or what you perceive. There’s no uninformed “here maybe you can use this.” lobbed over the wall. Or “read this article on s@#t that has nothing to do with answering your question.”

If lead engagement means sustaining a lead’s interest over time and facilitating a deeper connection until that lead turns into a customer, then you must start paying attention to what it is that lead’s engaged with and stop trying to force them to be engaged in something that they’re not interested in. And then lament the fact they’re not engaged. What’s the definition of insanity, again?

When the truth is you just haven’t listened and responded.  Because they’re telling you what they’re interested in with their clicks, their form completes, their downloads, their webinar registrations, and more…

So there, that’s my explanation of what lead engagement means to me. Click below and let me know what lead engagement means to you.

About Jason Hoelzel

Freud would've diagnosed him as a "walking conundrum." We just call him Jason. He's a blossoming copywriter and marketing automation specialist who enjoys surfing, golfing, sarcastic bantering, and eating boatloads of guacamole. Jason has the ability to turn any frown upside down with his clever one-liners and radiant smile ;)

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