Once upon a time, availability ruled customer decisions above all else. Today, however, the mere selection of brands and their products at our disposal has put the customer at the very core of the decision-making process. We can now choose based on brand values (is the brand eco-friendly?), product price (is there a more affordable alternative?), quality (how long will the product last compared to the investment it requires?), and many other factors. Some of them are apparent and easy to manage, but others are subtler by nature, and brands and entrepreneurs need to make sure they appeal to those thought processes, too.
For example, what kind of an emotional context is there around your product line? Are you donating a portion of your profits to a cause? What about materials you use, do you transparently showcase the entire line of products from buying raw materials to store-shelves? Is there a story to your brand that people can relate to? From content updates, social media, influencer relationships, all the way to transparency, there are ways you can make sure your customers choose your brand every time.
Digital word of mouth
We’ve always relied on the opinions and experiences of those closest to us, to make our own decisions in an informed, educated way. Today, we have access to the global viewpoint of any brand’s products, which makes it even simpler for businesses to earn the trust of their target demographic. Simply put? Publish reviews, testimonials, and case studies as part of your strategy to leverage user-generated content. This is the contemporary twist on WOM and it emphasizes the reputation you’ve built over the years.
Leveraging that reputation is necessary if you want to sway your customers’ decisions to choose your products and trust your brand. Using real-world examples of your success helps people get a clear picture of how others perceive you and have benefited from your offers.
For several years now, public personas and celebrities have had a role in shaping the perception of brands and businesses. As this trend has evolved, we’ve introduced the idea of influencers who have built their careers on carefully selecting, reviewing, and incorporating brands into their lifestyle. This helps people gain a new perspective through regular videos, live streams, how-to tutorials, images, and articles.
If you haven’t found your ideal influencer, the time is right to start crafting your own influencer strategy and to find a few hand-picked people with enough reach to appeal to your target demographic. This will not just help expand your brand visibility and awareness, but encourage people to trust your business more over time.
Some strategies have a more long-term reach, and compelling content definitely belongs in that group. Why? Because one trending foodie article won’t make up for the lack of SEO-friendly, engaging content published regularly to show your expertise, inspire conversations, and show how your brand provides value free of charge through this very same content. In recent years, publishing culture-driven content has become all the more relevant, so that you can specifically target niched market segments and connect with your audience on a more substantial level.
If you’re selling cookware, spices, or anything food-related, you can benefit from publishing a creative Chinese dishes list that puts your products to use and simultaneously educates people, providing valuable insights and advice. On one hand, this attracts your global audience interested in Chinese culture, while it also makes your brand more appealing to the Asian market with your unique selection. In either scenario, culture is an invaluable source of ideas to establish a stronger bond to your audience and inspire them to trust your brand.
The emotional value of your brand
When looking for a new pair of shoes, a new shampoo, or an exciting new book to read, a person wants to understand just how this will affect not just their wallet, but their sense of purpose and identity. Every purchase has an emotional basis, one that pushes people to make decisions (including the purchasing kind) to go in line with their personal values and needs. People want to make decisions that aim to improve personal development as a process, and they should know how your brand fits that particular goal.
Suddenly, a new pair of shoes isn’t just another expense, but a tool to enhance self-confidence, whereas a course isn’t just a certificate in their CV, but a way to expand their skills and greet the market with yet another advantage over your competition. Purpose-driven brands that are customer-centric always win the spotlight.
Diversity and customer engagement
Some businesses pride themselves on an exclusive, limited offer, which makes their products all the more appealing to their select clientele. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to other elements of the shopping experience, such as payment, shipping, and communication. On the contrary, the more, the better.
Introducing secure and varied payment options is a must for customers who now have a wide range of options from credit cards, digital payment platforms, and even cryptocurrency wallets. If you can add free shipping into the mix, your customers will appreciate knowing that from the moment they land on your site. As for communication, chatbots paired with phone lines and direct messaging as well as email all gives your customers a choice to interact with your business any way they see fit: increasing their desire to do so in the first place and go through with their purchase knowing you’ll be there every step of the way.
Your brand should do some of the heavy liftings as far as inspiring loyalty goes, but since there are other brands out there that can win over their interest and affection, you need to go the extra mile in your strategies to keep your customers coming back. Even during the browsing stages, carefully mapping out customer experience and their journey can help leave the right impression, instill trust, and nudge them in the right direction.
Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for technivorz.com. Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and inform people.