How to Measure Emotional Engagement
Any marketer will tell you that they are inundated with data, so much so that it can sometimes be difficult to make sense of all the noise. Just because something can be tracked doesn’t mean that it has to be tracked. When measuring emotional engagement, it’s important to identify which metrics will help you to draw insights and which ones will just clutter your results.
While determining which metrics matter is largely dependent on your company and its goals, in general there are four main engagement metrics that will help any sales team refine and optimize its outreach.
Before you can measure any other engagement metrics, you have to make sure that prospects are actually looking at the content you send them. As cited earlier, 24% of sales emails are opened on average. Statistically speaking then, more than ¾ of the emails you send are disregarded out of hand. This is especially true of automated marketing emails sent without any personalization.
Optimizing your open rates should be your first priority when engaging with prospects. Without a solid open rate, your sales team’s efforts will be largely wasted. Some strategies for increasing open rates include:
Creating eye-grabbing subject lines
The subject line of an email is the first thing a prospect sees when one of your sales reps first reach out and determines whether or not the email is opened. Some simple A/B testing will let you experiment with different subject lines and identify the kinds of words that prompt prospects to pen emails and keep reading.
Write to one prospect at a time
Prospects are turned off by programmatic emails that look like they were sent to a huge batch of people all at once. By personalizing a subject line with something that appeals specifically to one prospect, you can increase the chances of that prospect opening the email.
Send emails from a person
Emails addressed from a company rather than a person look like spam or bulk marketing outreach, and prospects don’t like to open either of those. If the goal of your sales outreach is to foster relationships and emotional engagement, then addressing an email from an individual sales rep is the best way to establish that connection and entice the prospect to open the message.
Send at the right time
This is dependent on multiple factors, including simple ones such as time of day and day of the week, as well as less obvious considerations such as the context of conversation. Is this email being sent immediately after a prospect has taken an action on your company’s website or landing page? Is this the first interaction your sales rep has had with the prospect, or is it one of many? Context is crucial in framing your message and optimizing it specifically for your prospect and their stage in the selling process can dramatically increase your open rate.
A clear sign of a prospect’s engagement is the frequency with which they interact with your sales rep and the content they send. If they never open the emails sent to them or only occasionally look at the sales content catered to them, than they either aren’t being engaged with correctly or are simply uninterested in what your organization has to offer. However, if they regularly open emails and click on attachments and links, then you can tell that they are very engaged and are ready to progress further in the selling process.
The frequency with which prospects engage with your sales content is largely dependent on the frequency with which you engage prospects, and optimizing for send frequency is far from an exact science; it depends on the prospect, the kinds of content you’re sending, and, again, the context of the prospect and their stage in the selling process. Sending too little too rarely can hurt the frequency prospects engage with your content, but so too can sending too much too often; overwhelming a prospect with content can cause them to turn off and start ignoring you. Watch for changes in a prospect’s engagement frequency and alter your outreach frequency accordingly.
Recording what prospects are doing with your content (if anything at all) is key to determining whether or not they are engaged in the sales process. If they’re regularly interacting with your content, it’s a good sign they’re interested and thirsty for more valuable content. If not, that should be a red flag to either adjust what sales content you’re sending as well as who you’re sending it to.
According to the Data & Marketing Association, click-through rate (CTR) is the top performance indicator of your email’s engagement. A higher CTR means prospects are interested in the content and offers shared with them, prompting them to take more action and allowing sales reps to move the deal down the pipeline toward closing. In general, a higher CTR means a higher conversion rate; in fact, doubling your CTR can increase your conversion rate by as much as 50%. Giving prospects something worth clicking on increases their chances of signing up or making a purchase, making it easier to frame the sales conversation and move the deal along.
Some of the best strategies to improve your CTR include:
Avoid overwhelming the prospect with excessive text. By keeping your message short and to the point, you can drive the prospect’s attention to the valuable content you wish to share with them.
Sharing content specifically suited to the prospect increases the likelihood that they’ll click on it. Center your message around that prospect and the relationship you’ve built with them up to that point in order to increase engagement and strengthen the emotional impact of the content you share.
Odds are that your prospect will open the email on their phone, so make sure that the content you include looks good on any screen size. A text-heavy piece of content with small fonts won’t engage a prospect as well as a video that adjusts for mobile screens. Again, be mindful of the context of your engagement and share content that the prospect will be able to use and enjoy when they receive it.
Getting a prospect to click on your content is half the battle, but getting the prospect to consume it entirely is a completely different challenge. For that reason, measuring the duration of time that a prospect spends with your sales content is an important metric to measure overall engagement. If a prospect clicks a link or plays a video only to navigate away a few seconds later, that’s your signal to make your sales content more engaging. This can be done by better personalizing the content, increasing the content’s visual appeal, or shortening the length of the content.
While being one of the more valuable metrics of engagement, duration is also one of the more difficult metrics to track, requiring specials tools or content in order to gauge how much time a prospect spends engaging with a piece of content. Videolicious, for instance, makes it easy to track the duration of time a prospects spends watching a custom, automatic video sent with an email, as well as how many times it was watched and whether or not the video was clicked on. Integrating such tools into your sales engagement is critical in order to empower your team to accurately measure the efficacy of its sales efforts.
Though these and other engagement metrics are helpful in understanding how a prospect is interacting with sales content and outreach, they remain limited attempts to quantify a prospect’s emotional response to a company, product, sales representative, or a combination of all three. These metrics indicate whether or not prospects are engaging with your content and how often, but they don’t directly tell you how the prospect is feeling. Translating views and clicks to emotions is far from an exact science; in order to understand a prospect’s emotion, sales professionals have to learn how to use more qualitative metrics. These might include:
Net Promoter Score
Tracking a prospect’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) gives indication of how a prospect feels about your brand or product based on their likelihood to promote your content, company, or product online. Those who rank with a high NPS are your company’s promoters; these are the people who are intensely satisfied with your company and regularly share both its content and offers to their own networks through their own channels. Those who rank with mid-range NPS are passives; they don’t promote or detract from your company online. Finally, those with low NPS are detractors; they generate negative reviews and posts that adversely affect your company. Since NPS is highly correlated with a prospect’s overall feeling toward a company or brand, NPS can be a critical metric in managing both your customer experience as well as your company’s emotional engagement.
While helpful in gauging a customer’s emotional engagement, NPS is often a much later metric that comes into play after a prospect has converted. Though highly indicative of a emotional engagement, it must often be used in concert with other metrics in order to accurately understand what points in the sales process prospects feel positive about as well as what point they feel negatively about.
Measuring customer satisfaction through surveys, though more manual than other approaches, allows for a granular peak into a prospect’s emotional engagement. When well-written, surveys allow for more qualitative feedback that get to the heart of how a prospect is feeling, providing valuable feedback that can be used to improve the customer experience and create more impactful emotional engagement for prospects. Allowing for longer form feedback in the form of a sentence or paragraph provides the prospect with an opportunity to express their feelings more fully in a way that tracking clicks and views (as well as an overall customer satisfaction score rating) simply can’t.
There are obvious limitations to this kind of engagement metric. Firstly, it requires buy-in from the prospect; they have to agree to give the feedback and it requires additional time and effort on their part, which could potentially have the unintended consequence of decreasing their customer satisfaction if they feel put upon or inconvenienced. What’s more, feedback from a survey is only as good as the survey itself; if the questions are asked poorly or if the right questions aren’t asked at all, then the survey won’t be able to generate any meaningful insights for improving your emotional engagement.
Prospects regularly provide a lot of verbal feedback, either directly through email responses or phone conversation, or indirectly through comments, mentions, and other messages online. The tone of this feedback is highly telling; by discerning tone, you can get a pretty idea of a prospect’s level of emotional engagement through either positive or negative language.
Measuring a prospect’s tone can be one of the best indicators of a prospect’s emotional engagement as well as one of the most difficult metrics to quantify. While there are digital tools that help with measuring sentiment analysis, analyzing tone relies largely on a sales person’s intuition and instinct. Because of this, it’s important to keep all communication records between prospects and study them carefully; if there are trends with positive or negative tone, that’s your indication that there is something to either optimize or fix in the way your team engages prospects.
These are only some of the engagement metrics your sales team might track. Again, determining which engagement metrics depends on your company, your business needs, and your prospects responses. By analyzing your results and adjusting based on feedback, you can optimize the engagement metrics that matter to you.
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Posted on July 28, 2017