Back to Blog

Level 3: Frustrated Engagement

We’re cruising along in this blog series, focusing on The Seven Levels of Engagement and why they matter to your business and your outreach efforts. Let’s take a quick look back before we dive into Level 3: Frustrated Engagement. 

We’ve already discussed Level 1: Disengagement. This level is also known as “Why your customers don't even notice you in the crowd.” Your focus needs to be on identifying your customers and meeting them where they are. In Level 2: Unsystematic Engagement we focused on messaging those customers with clear and direct language. Remember, they might notice you initially, but if they're confused or turned off by your messaging they’ll be gone in a hurry. CatalystU provides a reusable roadmap and tools to help guide you through this process of customer identification and messaging analysis.

So you’re ready- you have a clearly defined audience and now you have the message you want to share with them. Sounds easy, right? But wait, where did your customer go? They were just here! 

Understanding Level 3 involves managing your engagement and limiting distractions. 

It's important to note that Level 3 is the final level in the ‘Attract’ phase of the Seven Levels of Engagement. Why does that matter? You're still working to gain people's attention. They're not fully ready to commit to you and your brand just yet. Level 3 is best characterized by a person or customer demonstrating interest in what you have to offer, only to have that interest change  due to distractions. Limiting distractions for both internal and external customers can be challenging. Remember, you don't always hold all the cards. When it comes to your customers they may be experiencing things that are beyond your control (a bad day at work, a spotty wi-fi connection) you're going to have to work extra hard to keep their attention.

Level 3 involves managing the boundaries of attention and limiting distractions where you can. Let’s think about how you view a brand or company.  Everywhere you look, you're always a consumer. You have to filter out the noise and choose what you want to focus on. So many times when you are trying to connect with a company, your focus is already limited. You know how that feels. It’s the same for your customers.They may be reaching for your content or your product but they're essentially swimming upstream, trying to drown out distractions they feel in their own life. 

So how do you combat that? You can’t change your customer. What you have to do is produce authentic content that makes them want to connect with you- seamlessly. It's important to look at why people get frustrated with engagement and how you can take steps to prevent that from happening. 

Your foundational work in understanding your customers in Levels 1 and 2 focused on identifying and speaking to those customers. Now in Level 3 you want to provide them with relevant content that they understand with no distractions. You want to talk to them in a way that they're going to respond to and one that makes sense to them. You also now need to focus on how customers are receiving that message or objects that are limiting their focus. 

Let’s consider your website. Have you done a thorough analysis of potential distractions that customers might experience there? Are there problems with your online ordering system? Maybe pop-up ads or slow loading times are distracting. It’s essential to consider the methods that you can control because there's a great deal going on externally that you can't.

When it comes to social media or other platforms used to reach customers there are going to be limitations. Operating successfully inside those requirements means you need a thorough understanding of your specific targeted interactions with potential customers. If your customers have to go through round after round of popups or distracting ads or too frequent messaging they're immediately going to be frustrated- and you're only hurting your outreach. The entire goal is to guide your audience to your product or service so they can engage with you at the next Level.

You’re working to earn their respect and trust by showing what you have to offer, so it’s important to make sure it seems easy to connect with you as you begin to gently guide them towards engagement. But it's too soon to ask too much. You don't want to ask someone to buy a product at the same time you want them to sign up for an email list. This is where the messaging itself is important. This is not the time for cute catch phrases or vague metaphors. Any clear call-to-action and attention to detail need to be provided in an engaging narrative without distractions. Maybe it's just getting them to look at one product instead of all 24 of the products you offer. Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest impact. 

We’ve worked hard to attract them, and they're ready to listen with no distractions. Now it’s time to get them to engage. We’ll focus on how you can do just that in our Level 4: Structure Dependent Engagement blog.