Dotdigital blog

How can you gauge customer interest?

Your customer engagement strategy can be boosted with contact scoring and eRFM.
Marketers trying to gauge customer interest.

With a boom in online retail accelerated by the pandemic, online is definitely where it’s at. Whether you’re in ecommerce or non-commerce, online offers a lot of benefits to businesses. You’re able to sell at scale, without the overheads of a physical store, and to a much larger audience. However, there are some drawbacks. One of those is that online dealings lack the face-to-face interaction and human connection you get with a physical store.

It’s harder to know people’s interest in your brand and their intent to convert. For ecommerce, you can’t see them browsing the products on the shelf and see their reactions to the goods. If you’re in the not-for-profit space, or B2B, which relies on building relationships, online doesn’t allow you to have a face-to-face discussion and see the emotions at play.

A visit to a website takes a lot less commitment and intent than visiting a physical location such as a store or an office, so you need to work harder to get that precious conversion. To do that, you need to engage your customers and know what they might be looking for. Let’s explore how to increase your customer engagement and how to gauge customer interest. 

Contact scoring

So, what if you could know who each customer is, and how interested they are in your brand and products. Imagine if you could tell how many emails and social posts they’ve engaged with, how long they’ve spent on your site, what they’ve bought from you, how much they spent, and whether they read your blog. Then use all this information collectively to work out how you should connect with them next.

It’s called contact scoring. Contact scoring gives you a way to score and rank your contacts based on two key metrics (scored between 0-100):

  • ‘Engagement’ – scored on contacts’ interaction and behaviors (such as campaign opens, link clicks, and visits to your website)
  • ‘Suitability’ – scored on contacts’ profiles (such as their job title, industry sector, and location)

These metrics combine to produce a third metric – an overall contact score. As a result, you and your company can manage and prioritize your most promising prospects.

Utilizing contact scoring

The purpose of this tactic is to enable you to deliver the right messages, to the right customers, at the right time and the right scale. For example, you might want to send a loyalty offer to those with a higher score, whereas you’d probably want to enter lower-scoring customers into a re-engagement program.

Once you’ve set up contact scoring, you can create rules to work with segments and automations that are triggered when certain scores are met. This will be different for every business, so the platform is designed to be super flexible – your imagination is the limit.


If you’re in the ecommerce space, eRFM is another great tool available to you. eRFM is our ecommerce behavioral model is designed to help you better understand the potential of your contacts. It’s a combination of our RFM model (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary) that looks at a contact’s purchasing behavior, with our engagement model that looks at the engagement of a contact – for example, their email opens and clicks, web sessions, and abandoned carts.

When we combine these models, we can better understand and detect purchase intent across various customer types – from inactive contacts to champions.

You can use eRFM groups within your segment building to make highly accurate segments based on the customer’s likelihood to purchase. You can then use these in your marketing automation programs to target these customers with the right message, at the right time.

What content should you consider for your customer engagement strategy?

To be able to score your customers’ engagements effectively, as well as your website and product pages, you need content to track against. This is especially useful for new customers that haven’t made a purchase yet, or if your product or service is something people tend to think about for a while before committing. Here are five types of content to consider for your strategy and why:

  1. Blog posts. Blog articles are liked by most audiences because they’re usually topical, digestible, and regular. Many publishers and brands will post blogs at least a couple of times a week, typically to distribute via social channels to drive engagement. This type of content is a great way to measure someone’s level of interest in your company – if they’re frequently reading your posts and clicking through to your site, then you’ll want to allocate a good proportion of points to these actions.
  2. Emails. Marketing emails are a great way to measure your customers’ interest in your brand. You can see when they’ve clicked through and converted, or haven’t, as the case may be. Each time they do or don’t engage with your emails, the more points you’ll reward or deduct.
  3. Webpages. You want customers to get to your site. But you want them to spend time there, navigating through it, and not just bouncing after viewing one page. The more pages a customer views on your site (and the longer they spend on it), the more points you should give them.
  4. Landing pages with forms. Customers who’ve landed on your page and completed a form are making contact. They’ve taken the time to complete the fields, which means they’re interested in your brand. You should therefore consider giving this type of engagement a sizable weighting in your overall score, and follow up while they’re still warm.
  5. Social media. Prospects and customers who follow you on social media are likely to be engaged with your brand. By recording this information, you can use it to target them on a platform that suits them, with content they’ve shown interest in.


Ultimately, given the distance when selling online, brands need to work harder to gauge the interest of browsers and customers. Luckily, technology allows you to track this reliably, perhaps even more accurately than in person, as someone behind a screen feels no societal pressure to be polite.

Ensure you’re tracking your customers and potential customers, and have segmentation and automation set up to react to changes and target them at the right time. When you’re acting on customer engagement and activity, you’ll be offering super reactive, relevant customer service, at scale.

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