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User Engagement or Customer Engagement: What works best for you?

Last updated on Apr 12, 2024

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User Engagement or Customer Engagement: What works best for you?

“Sometimes the best discoveries are the result of simple observations” ― Dr. Seyed Reza Agha

Customers are users who engaged with your product and then made a purchase. Users are just visitors of your website. Customers is a subset of your overall user base but what we wanted to highlight here is that these are two different terms and two different set of audiences. Hence, the need to treat them differently. 

Understanding the  difference between Customer and User

customer engagementSource:  

Can user engagement and customer engagement be used interchangeably?

Well, they should not be. They definitely have reasonably good distinguishing aspects stringed along with them which make it criminal for a marketer to think of them as same. And the same applies to user engagement and customer engagement.

We often make the mistake of using the term user and customer interchangeably. Customer is KING and would always remain so. And it is because customer is the king, they need to be treated differently as compared to users. 


Let’s straighten these two out-

Your User is an anonymous site visitor who sees your message. Someone who is interested in knowing about your product or your service. There is very little information available to understand this visitor. User might just be someone who is visiting your website, strolling through your store. Offline equivalent of a users is a  visitor who enters your retail store.

Your customer, on the other hand, is the one who is buying from you. Someone who has a deep and genuine need for the benefit that your product or service provides. Someone actually willing to give you $'s for what you sell. If they have no interest in what you sell, and will never make a purchase, they are not your customer and never will be. And that’s fine. You would also have direct access to your customers with specific details about their name, preferences, address and more.

Simply put customers are usually a refined subset of your users. Obviously, your users are going to be more diverse and far larger than your customer base.

customer engagement inbound methodology

As a marketer, we are well aware of the importance of audience engagement at each stage of buyer cycle. We know, we have to follow the golden rule of marketing- Attract, Convert, Leads, Close, and Delight. We have recited this in our heads zillions of times that engagement is the key to a successful marketing plan.

With lots of effort do we craft a communication that assures engagement but, the question that lies here is, whom do you need to craft your messages for?

Customer is the king.  Is that true ? Is customer engagement more important then user engagement? 

Here, we all have a confession to make, we commit a mistake and we do it all the time. The mistake of keeping customers above users all the time. We say it all the time-Your customer wants this, Your customers will like that. But today we are vowing to change that. We had a change in my thinking and there is no going back now.

You know the old adage – the customer is king, well there’s a new king and every business today must shift their focus to the much broader world of the user. A large segment of this user community may never buy from you, but in today’s increasingly digital world they do influence how your brand is perceived and, in the end, who does or does not become a customer.


So, we need to change this mindset of focusing our engagement strategies only to your customers and immediately shift to establish an enhanced user engagement.

[Tweet "And as the first step - Stop calling them Users, and start calling them Potential Customers."]

Converting your Users into Customers - Why and How? 

customer engagement funnel


  1. When you make the shift in thinking about your customers instead of your users you make a shift in driving people towards sales instead of towards content consumption only.
  2. When you communicate to your prospective customers, you can get much more focused on the type of communication that will work best for them.

How ?

The trick is to become indispensable, through content and interaction to a large group of users, those that may never spend a dime with you, and your customers will naturally fall from this group. The larger the user group, the larger the customer pool. If you’re looking to acquire a customer base for your online business, you need to go where the people are.

You also need to focus on developing a deep understanding for your user and segment them well to create the right content for the right users. 

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Ruchika Sharma
Ruchika Sharma
Ruchika Sharma, the Product Marketer at iZooto is an Art Lover & Creative Writer who likes to sketch in her free time. She dreams of travelling the world someday, all by herself. To connect with her, follow her on Twitter: @Sh_ruchika

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