Let’s Get Engaged

By AdStation | October 22nd, 2013 | Categories: AdStation
dog training

How customer engagement is a lot like dog training.

It dawned on me today, while training my newly acquired puppy, that getting your customers to engage with you is a lot like dog training. It’s part of psychology and highly motivated by rewards.


Reciprocity. I give you something and you do something for me, right? You do this action and I give you this treat. Your customers, (like dogs, but they aren’t dogs!), respond best to instant rewards. Tossing your customers a bone means discounts, coupons, free downloads, loyalty points, cashback and so on. It can also be things such as VIP access or added services. It doesn’t always have to be a money-based reward.

Bigger hoops

Challenge your customers into higher levels of engagement by boosting the rewards. You can offer reward tiers based on purchases or any other criteria you wish to set. Simply: the higher the level, the higher reward.

Is that for me? What a delight!

Go for the unexpected and random. Offering a variety of possible rewards for engagement can be challenging and fun for your customers. Your customers know what they might get (and they’ll get something), but not exactly what or perhaps even when. This can provoke them to engage more often in hopes of upping their chances. Making this sort of engagement fun at the same time may make the process of repeat tries more of a delight rather than a task. Rewards can run the gamut from digital goods to physical goods to monetary ones.

“Atta Boy!” A pat on the head.

When your puppy did what you wanted him to do, you would most likely say to your puppy, “Good Boy!” Then give him a pat on the head. You need to do the same thing for your customers (in a manner of speaking). When they have taken the desired action you needed them to, let them know they did good! The typical “Thank you!” follow-up message is where you can show your customers your appreciation and gratitude for their loyalty and engagement. Be sure to try to use copy that will make an emotional connection with them as well.

How well did you do, Pavlov?

It’s imperative that you analyze your data. Find out which rewards worked and which didn’t. The typical applies A/B and multivariate testing, customer profiles and demographics.

In case you didn’t know, Ivan Pavlov is famous for his experiment where he conditioned dogs to expect food when he rang a bell. Eventually, in the absence of food or smell, they would salivate when they heard the bell – expecting food. Salivation wasn’t physiological in this case; it was psychological. In other words, it was all due to conditioning. Conditioning is what you are doing with your customers as well. If they engage, they will get. The bigger payoff might be that in time, hopefully, they will be so enamored with your brand that they may engage at times without the enticement of reward.