This blog is number 7 of our 8-part Rhythm Series. You can learn more about what rhythms in business are here and why I believe they are the foundation of any successful, sustainable, scalable creative business. Be sure to click here to subscribe to my email list so you’ll be the first to know when the next blog drops each week.
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Here’s the thing…
Until… suddenly you don’t.
Which makes ZERO sense to you because you haven’t changed a thing! But now, your well-oiled machine seems to be stalling out.
And ya know what?
It can be really freakin’ frustrating!
No, it’s not time to throw away the rhythms you have in place and look for the next shiny new marketing trend.
You’re just missing one simple, but really important piece of the equation:
You can plop your brand in front of your audience all day, but the messaging that landed 6 months ago may not be working anymore as your industry evolves and your audience’s needs naturally change.
I get it.
As CEO, you balance a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. Even if you’ve implemented rhythms in your work, it can be really easy to get caught up in your own world, to the point where you’re functioning in a vacuum.
I bet you’d agree:
There’s a reason so many corporate CEOs seem out of touch with their employees and their audience…
…they’re truly living in a different world!
And no matter if you’re running a Fortune 500 company or a brand new small business with a team of 2 (or even just you!), this can easily happen to you if you aren’t intentional about staying on the pulse of your industry and the people you serve.
Engagement rhythms are here to save the day and ensure that you remain connected, grounded, and in-tune with your ideal client now and in the future.
While your marketing rhythms get you in front of your ideal audience and your sales rhythms help you close the deal, your engagement rhythms are going to ensure your ideal client actually WANTS to hear what you have to say and feels connected to your brand!
Let’s dive in!
Engagement rhythms are regular intervals where you intentionally interact with your customers and your audience.
You can, and should, engage with your ideal audience as well as prospective, current, and past clients regularly to ensure your marketing initiatives and offers align with their needs now and in the future.
Something to get around to when you have extra time…
A task to hand off to an intern….
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make!
Engagement needs to become a priority and not just something you mindlessly tend to while binging your favorite HBO show (Yellowstone, anyone?!) or waiting for your double espresso latte at Starbucks.
No matter how big or small your business is, engagement can make or break your brand!
It is the foundation for long-term success in any business.
Because if you don’t engage with your audience you risk becoming…
In the blink of an eye!
Let’s explore the benefits of engagement rhythms and how they can positively influence your marketing efforts, inspire creative offers, and directly increase your bottom line.
Engagement rhythms will help you stay connected to the people you serve.
Being “out of touch” is never a good thing, especially in your business.
When people are out-of-touch in any scenario, it makes connection and trust feel impossible.
As a parent, I am currently very IN TOUCH with what’s popular for the Pre-K/Kindergarten crowd. This demographic is my focus because I happen to have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.
Naturally, I am invested in their needs and interests in the same way that you are focused on your ideal client’s needs.
Right now… “Stinky and Dirty”, a kid’s show on Amazon Prime about a trash truck and an excavator, is relevant to me so I can appease my truck-obsessed son!
If you asked me what tv shows are “hip” right now with the pre-teen demographic, I’d be in over my head.
I’m talking, Cher-level Clueless!
But, check back in about 10 years and I’m sure I’ll be the expert because I’ll have teens by that point!
If my daughter lets me in on what’s hip (wish me luck, ha!).
Your business is the same. Right now it’s your responsibility to know what makes your ideal client TICK.
You also need to realize that this can and (most likely) will change over time!
Without consistent engagement, it can be really easy to miss the mark when it comes to what your ideal client wants, needs, and expects in your niche.
Where so many entrepreneurs go wrong is they get caught up with the business side of their work and lose touch with the client-side of their industry. They end up hiding in the backend of their business, creating offers that simply don’t land!
This leads me to the second benefit of engagement rhythms…
Stop assuming what people want, and start asking!
Remember, you’re creating for your audience, NOT for yourself. Just because you like an idea, doesn’t mean it will sell!
Engagement rhythms help you go directly to the source to get feedback, inspiration, and ideas for your current and future offers.
When you engage with your audience regularly, you’ll be able to tune in to their current needs AND start to anticipate what they might need next.
Tending to engagement rhythms helps you avoid becoming so removed that you lose touch with your audience. Instead of creating in isolation (crossing fingers and toes hoping your new product or service sells!) you’ll be able to create in community.
Creating in community opens you up to constructive feedback. When you reach out to your ideal client often, you’ll get their eyes on your work and their thoughts so that you can be sure you really understand and cater to their pains, wants, needs, and desires.
Not only does engagement make coming up with new offers EASIER, but it will also make it so much more organic to market and sell this offer.
You’ll be ahead of the curve, enabling you to retain your current clients and appeal to new clients in a way that your competitors may not have even thought of!
When you keep in touch and stay on the pulse of your ideal audience, it is so much easier to understand and empathize with the people you serve.
You’ll become fluent in their specific challenges and dreams for the future. This knowledge directly influences your brand messaging to the point where you’ll almost feel like a mindreader!
When you intentionally engage with your audience, you enter into a relationship with them.
Soon enough, you’ll be finishing their sentences (aw, how cute!) and reading their minds.
Kidding (kind of)!
Over time, engagement rhythms teach you how to speak to your audience on their terms.
You’ll use the same language, be familiar with the same references, and connect with them in a way that allows you to genuinely relate to their needs and develop empathy for their biggest concerns. As a business owner, this will let you offer the solutions that will solve their biggest problems.
Your copy, ads and promotions will become more specific so you can easily call in the people who need your product, service, or offer the most.
It’s basically ongoing market research, marketing, and sales all rolled up into one!
Engagement rhythms will help you stay on the pulse of what matters to your people and in your industry so you can ensure your messaging is making an impact and speaking to the right people in the right way.
COO Tip: Use “voice of customer data.” This is a strategic copywriting tool that will make your life so much easier when it comes to writing sales pages, website copy, emails, and even social media captions. Instead of trying to find the right words to sell your offer, look to your clients for inspiration and use the words and phrases they use verbatim. The way they describe their unique challenges and successes will resonate with the audience you’re marketing to making your copywriting that much more effective. They are literally giving you the words to use!
In our marketing rhythms blog, we talked a lot about showing up in the spaces that matter to your audience.
Not sure where to start?
Ask the people!
Engagement will naturally show you where your audience spends time online and IRL (in real life). This can actually inform your marketing rhythms so that you can pour your attention into the platforms, opportunities, and events your audience participates in.
A great example is the introduction of REELS on Instagram.
Remember, this wasn’t always a thing!
And when Instagram rolled this new feature out, the marketing and business coaching world imploded for a bit!
Everyone scrambled to figure out how to use reels strategically and effectively. Most importantly, they had to take time to figure out if this platform would matter to their unique niche.
On the flip side…
Talking to your audience consistently through engagement rhythms will be like a guiding light, a north star, a compass, helping you to pivot as needed with insight, confidence, and strategy when it comes to marketing and sales.
Engagement is one of the core ways you can warm up and grow your audience when you do it the right way. You’ll build relationships and in turn create a relationship-driven business you’re proud of.
Relationships are valuable but they aren’t easily won. It’s the reason your skin crawls when that random person you went to high school with pops up out of the blue trying to sell you something.
For decades she hasn’t been interested in maintaining a relationship of any kind.
She wants something from you.
It doesn’t feel good, and it’s honestly the reason MLM marketing gets such a bad rap. This degrades the know/like/trust factor.
And to be honest, it can be easy for you to fall into these patterns too!
You’ve been head down at work and all of a sudden you look at the calendar and realize: it’s launch time!
So you start engaging, seemingly out of nowhere, to an audience who hasn’t been primed for it. It feels abrupt.
On the other hand…
If you are focused on engaging regularly, no matter if you’re launching or not, your community will know what level of engagement to expect from you.
When you use intentional rhythms that nurture authentic relationships in this way you BUILD trust, loyalty, familiarity, and likability organically.
Engagement rhythms tend to fall into two buckets: Your Current/Past Clients and Your Audience. It is helpful to engage with both of these groups regularly to stay connected to your ICA (ideal client avatar) at every point of the customer journey.
Engaging with your clients has everything to do with client experience! It’s all about being curious about how you can grow and improve so that you can show up, over-deliver, anticipate their needs while you’re working together and long after the work is done.
We often think, “no news is good news” when it comes to our client work, but often a lack of feedback simply means you haven’t ASKED for feedback.
Give your clients the opportunity to engage with you during and after your work together.
Get in the habit of reaching out at strategic times to find out how things are going on the client-side of things.
Feedback isn’t just a way to see if things are going “wrong” (although you definitely need that info). It’s also a chance to see what you’re doing right! Opening up a dialogue may help you highlight the services you take for granted because you’re so close to your work!
Look for opportunities to engage with your clients at different intervals. Whether you have a product-based business or a service-based business, these engagement options can help you to understand your clients at every touchpoint.
COO Tip: Send questionnaires to your clients right after a big milestone or win! People are more likely to fill them out and most willing to share feedback when they’re full of those warm fuzzy feelings! As a bonus, these often lead to some great testimonials!
The second pool of people you’ll want to engage with regularly is your prospective clients or your target audience. Engaging with future clients happens most often in the online space since this is the most accessible way to connect with new people and expand your audience.
This is where I start to feel the pushback from my clients…
I HEAR YA!
Social media CAN become a big-time sucker. If you let it.
But here’s the thing.
Have you ever tried to engage on social media with RHYTHMS?
It’s the key to making sure social media engagement works FOR you and not AGAINST you.
Aside from posting regularly as part of your marketing rhythms, you can create sustainable engagement rhythms that will allow you to stay connected to your ideal audience without having to dedicate hours of your time to managing these apps.
Since most of your engagement with your audience will happen online, here are some helpful things to consider when engaging on social media and email marketing platforms.
Before we dive into establishing your own engagement rhythms, I want to be very clear that when engagement is done poorly it actually degrades the know/like/trust factor of your business!
You’ve probably encountered a situation like this:
You hear from someone 4 days in a row.
It’s no surprise, they’re trying to make a sale and keep you interested in whatever they have to offer.
There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with this if…
They follow through and continue this high-touch engagement.
But what most likely happens?
You named it…
THEY GHOST YOU.
And it feels pretty (pardon my language)… shitty!
Whether it’s true or not… this sends a message LOUD and CLEAR.
And it’s not a good one.
This person is telling you through their engagement actions that they are only going to reach out when they want your money.
Immediately they have lost your trust.
Let’s make a clear distinction:
Engagement and Engagement Rhythms are not the same.
Engagement can be sporadic, self-serving, and random. While Engagement Rhythms are consistent, reliable, and in turn, build trust.
Furthermore, it’s important that your engagement rhythms span across your entire customer journey.
Let’s frame it with a story.
One of my clients gets RAVING reviews about her sales engagement rhythms. Her sales team is ON it. They reach out regularly, communicate clearly, and never go more than 3 days without touching base with some information, a tip, or check-in to keep the prospective client in the loop.
Many of her clients say this amazing engagement is one of the MAIN reasons they decided to work with her brand.
But then we noticed something.
While her initial feedback was UBER positive…
…her surveys halfway through were actually pretty negative.
How could this be?!
Well, it seems the moment the client signed on the dotted line, the sales team naturally bowed out, and the creative team took over.
The creative team was head down working hard on their new project.
The client didn’t see any of that.
What they did see?
An empty inbox.
They had come to know, like, and expect regular updates and engagement.
But what they got was crickets (even though the team was working hard behind the scenes).
We realized that the engagement rhythms in these two areas were out of sync with each other.
As you set your own engagement rhythms, I urge you to be mindful and consistent across all touchpoints. YOU teach your clients and your audience what to expect from you. Make sure the expectations are positive, consistent across the board, and sustainable.
It can all feel quite overwhelming if you try to implement all of these engagement strategies at once.
That’s where rhythms come into play.
You see, so far we’ve explored what engagement rhythms are, why they’re so important, and the many ways that you can actively engage with your clients and your audience.
NOW it’s time to zoom in on one engagement option at a time so you know where you’ll engage, when you’ll engage, and how often.
We’ll start by assessing if and how you’re currently engaging with your audience, clients, and past clients, where you see room for improvement, and one new rhythm you’ll implement to move the needle forward so that you can begin to engage more sustainably and strategically.
Let me walk you through this process step-by-step!
Make a list of all the ways you’re engaging currently. It is so easy to beat ourselves up for the million and ten things we feel like we AREN’T doing yet or enough. But taking some time to identify and celebrate where you are already engaging with your audience can boost your confidence and help you build on any foundation you’ve already put in place.
It may not be what you’d like it to be yet, but we all start somewhere! Why not begin on a positive note?
Take inventory of how you currently engage with your audience, your current clients, and your past clients. Consider engagement rhythms (whether they’re steady rhythms or not) such as:
Are you using email? If you have a marketing platform already like Flodesk or Mailchimp, you’re on the right track! Be sure to include even seemingly small steps like having a business email account! Then consider how you use email:
Don’t forget the in-person engagements too! Consider where you physically engage with your community:
I hope that reviewing where you are already showing up and connecting will inspire you to engage in these ways deeper and with more consistency.
Drivers are the things that keep your rhythms moving forward. Take time to notice when you tend to each of your current engagements. Notice:
These are engagement rhythms that happen at specific, repeated times like Tuesdays at 10 am or daily. They should be consistent and manageable on your end so that your audience can learn to know/like/trust you. If your current rhythm is happening sporadically, you may consider putting specific time-driven boundaries in place for yourself.
Cadence-driven engagement rhythms align with specific milestones during a client project or within the customer journey. Cadence-driven rhythms ensure you stay on the pulse of your client experience. This allows you to pivot, support, and innovate so that you can show up and serve your people well.
Event-driven engagement rhythms revolve around an occasion like a product or program launch or a workshop. These engagement rhythms are intentionally nurturing your audience before and while you sell so that your audience is engaged throughout the process. Be careful that your event-driven engagement is supported by cadence and time-driven rhythms so that you come across as authentic and consistent instead of pushy. These rhythms all work together harmoniously to support one another.
Noticing the drivers of each of your engagement rhythms will help you better understand where you can improve, why the engagement is or isn’t resonating, or why you haven’t been able to stay consistent. It’s all excellent data that you can build upon in upcoming steps.
Often we are blind to the tools and resources available to us and how they can make our lives and our work SO much easier! The answer might have been right in front of you the whole time. Stop trying to lean on your willpower, energy, and inspiration to consistently engage. Look to ways that you can automate, streamline, and systematize your engagement rhythms:
Your email marketing platform probably offers a way for you to segment your audience. All this means is you can collect information from them along the way to help them self-identify and tell you what they’re looking for or what they are more interested in regarding your services or products. This can help you engage in a more relevant and personal way with your audience and clients.
Aside from segmenting your audience, your email marketing tool can also let you automate pre-written emails that you send on repeat.
You can set triggers (AKA “cadence drivers”) to engage with your people at specific intervals such as at the midpoint of a project, as a reminder that they’ve left something in their cart, or to follow up with them about where they are in the customer journey 3 months down the line.
Get all of these “to-do’s” out of your head and into an automated system so that you can engage regularly without relying on memory alone!
Your CRM (Client Relationship Management system) like Dubsado or Honeybook offers way more than just contracts and payment options. These platforms offer easy-to-use forms, questionnaires, and templates to help you engage with your clients in a really professional-looking manner!
Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves.
With your list in hand, ask yourself, “Where can my current engagement rhythms be optimized to work better for me and my audience?”
Before you introduce anything new, it’s essential that you build on the foundation you already have in place and make sure it is working for you. Consider focusing on one current engagement rhythm at a time until you feel it is at a place where you are comfortable maintaining this rhythm and it serves your audience in a way that makes you feel proud.
I recommend coming to step 5 at a time when you feel your current engagement rhythms are serving you well. At this point, you can look for areas where engagement has been low. Look for areas where you are not engaging or where your engagement feels out of balance. Start by introducing one new rhythm at a time. When deciding on a rhythm to focus your attention on, consider the following:
Do you have ongoing engagement rhythms happening in your business that continuously engage your audience? Consider where a regular daily or weekly rhythm could help complement the event drivers you have in place.
Are you missing out on opportunities to get feedback on a project or reach out for a testimonial? If you haven’t been engaging with your current clients, you may decide to prioritize this.
Maybe you’re engaging regularly, but don’t have a plan in place to help you strategically engage around a product launch or upcoming workshop? Consider how you can engage with your ideal audience so that they feel connected to what you’re offering.
Once you know which driver you’d like to focus on, you can build out your new rhythm with these prompts in mind:
Set that new rhythm. Make sure it is clear, actionable, and realistic. Give yourself clear guidelines and boundaries so that you can set yourself up for success. At first, this new rhythm may feel hard to keep up with – stick with it! Allow some time for this new rhythm to take hold. Like any new habit, it won’t happen overnight. Once you feel confident that the rhythm is working for you and your ability to engage with your audience, you may consider pivoting to make sure it is sustainable, increasing the frequency of this rhythm, or introducing another rhythm you’re interested in exploring.
What Engagement Rhythms Look Like in My Business
Sometimes it’s helpful to peek behind the curtain and see how other entrepreneurs run things in their business.
While my business can and should look different than yours, the ultimate goal will always be the same. No matter which engagement rhythms you choose, these different rhythms nestle together into one larger symphony where they support each other.
Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ve established touchpoints throughout the entire week with regular intervals (rhythms) that let you show up and reach different people on a variety of platforms.
If you were to look at my Clickup right now you would see:
Each of these rhythms by itself probably wouldn’t move the needle forward in my business much.
But TOGETHER, they are a powerful engagement strategy.
Your engagement rhythms are going to look different based on your time, the platforms you choose, and the resources available to you.
The big takeaway:
When engagement rhythms are based on marketing rhythms, they will allow you to engage and respond to how people are interacting with your content. It spurs you to dive into conversation with your audience on these different platforms and explore what they’re sharing on their own accounts.
Each rhythm fits into a bigger picture so you can show up regularly in a way that feels good for you AND them! It makes it FEEL like you’re everywhere, all the time, without overloading your schedule or capacity.
The goal isn’t to focus on one engagement area.
The goal is to find the balance so you can interact consistently, on-brand, and develop your know-like-trust factor.
As you layer in your own rhythms it’s helpful to see the big picture when it comes to how they will all come together in the future.
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” plan for your engagement rhythms, but there are some tried and true rhythms that just make sense! Here’s some advice to help you choose, implement, and re-evaluate the right rhythms.
For example: Engaging on social media is likely something you’ll want to do weekly and eventually even daily. Other engagement options like sharing surveys with your social media followers, email list, or current clients may become quarterly rhythms that help you gather new information. Testimonial and feedback requests will happen at specific milestones.
For example: If you decide to commit to engaging with your audience on Instagram more regularly, decide what exactly that looks like. Will you respond to DMs and comments on your posts, follow new accounts, interact with their content, share conversation-starters in your stories? Instead of creating separate rhythms for each of these small tasks, it might make more sense to work on these collective tasks during the same block.
While marketing and sales rhythms are incredibly valuable, engagement rhythms are the pieces that ensure your marketing and sales efforts resonate with your audience now and in the future. When you prioritize engagement you’ll feel more connected to the people you serve which in turn will help you create magnetic offers, strategic brand messaging, and an incredible client experience you can feel proud of.
This blog is part of an 8-part series on creating Rhythms to support your short-term and long-term business goals. So far we’ve explored CEO Time, Financial Rhythms, Sales Rhythms, Operations Rhythms, Creative Rhythms, Marketing Rhythms, and Engagement Rhythms.
I am so excited to help you put rhythms in place for your business this year. I encourage you to…
With the right rhythms in place, your business will be humming along in the new year creating space, systems, and strategy that will help you to actively work towards, meet, and even exceed all the goals, resolutions, and dreams you have in mind for the year ahead!
Want to check out our previous rhythms blogs?
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