Engaging Customers: The Seventh Level of Engagement Series [Part 3]

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Amanda Slavin
Amanda Slavin



Welcome back to the Seventh Level of Engagement Series. In the past two weeks, we've covered an introduction to the Seven Levels of Engagement (part 1 in the series) and an overview of what it means to effectively attract customers (part 2 in the series). In this article, we’re moving onto the next phase of the inbound methodology: engage.

2 engage pyramid

So you’ve attracted your customer, and you’re consistently testing and optimizing to ensure that every message you’re putting out there is being positively responded to by your customer (which is called growth hacking).

You’re testing, then optimizing, then pivoting based on the reactions of your customer, and you’re conducting surveys and listening to your customer. Now what? It’s time to engage with your customer.

To reach the next bucket of engage, you need to ensure that you’re consistently doing the work to earn their trust (attract them). There are pitfalls at every turn for your customer to fall down levels of engagement. 


After attracting your customers, they feel like you’ve earned the right to ask something from them. I think of the first three levels as getting to know a person on a first date. By this point, you’ve gone on a few dates and are asking them to meet your friends, your family, go to work functions, and participate in experiences that matter to you. So how does this work in this bucket?

The bucket of engaged is broken out into two levels. The first level is structure-dependent engagement.

I’ll do what you tell me.

Structure-dependent engagement requires very little sacrifice. This level is when you ask your customer to do something that’s easy. Examples of this are when you ask your customer to comment below on a post, follow you on social media or retweet you, or sign up to an email list. These very simple instruction-based asks build your relationship with your customer while you’re still getting to know them and they’re getting to know you. 


Level 4: Structure-Dependent Engagement

Action: My followers will like or tag a friend when asked to on Instagram but will not comment. 

Structure-dependent engagement is indicated by active participation in the brand's instructed activities, provided that the barrier to entry is low.

Question: What action am I really asking people to take? 

Goal: Launch a sweepstakes that includes a requirement to share, comment, and post. 


But sometimes it’s hard to get people to do things! They’re busy, they’re “frustrated engaged”/distracted, so you have to think about incentives to get them excited about giving you their email addresses, phone numbers, or Instagram comments. So you come up with a carrot on a stick to do so.

This is where the next level comes in, Level 5, Self-Regulated Interest. This level is based on piquing a person’s self interest, or excitement. Marketing strategies such as influencer marketing, partnership marketing (sponsorship marketing), or sweepstakes are all ways to get your customer to give you something you’re asking for. People at this level are excited about what benefits them—and are still not willing to make any sacrifice for you.

What’s in it for me?

Level 5: Self-Regulated Interest

Action: People will comment on my post if they can win tickets to meet their favorite influencer. 

Self-regulated interest is indicated by increased excitement about a brand's message due to alignment with the audience's personal interests.

Question: How am I leveraging this giveaway or partnership to increase brand awareness or drive traffic?

Goal: Increase website traffic or email acquisition from partnership (incentive) channels.


When thinking of this level, it’s important to remember that you need a proper marketing funnel to convert short-term customers to long-term supporters/brand advocates, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll talk more about how to keep your customers coming back for more in the next post (see what I did there? I offered you something that benefited you, ah hem, which is self-regulated interest)! 

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