There’s no second guessing the fact that consumers hold the power in today’s marketplace. We’ve seen it firsthand in our own habits, particularly when we search for more information about a product or service. No longer do consumers turn to stores and company representatives as the first point of contact, especially when trying to make a purchase decision. Generally, this happens much further down the road after some initial information has been collected and processed. Instead, Google has become the initial source of information when it comes to searching for answers.
So if consumers aren’t turning to you as the initial source of information about whether to buy your product, how can you convince them that you’re worthy of their time and money? Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just have a well-written sales page and a website that boasts all of your product features. The problem is that these messages and claims all come from you, the business.
People trust other people, which means consumers trust other consumers, not businesses.
The innovation in the capabilities of communication technologies has made it extremely easy for consumers to ask other consumers about their experiences with a particular brand, product or service. More often than not, they get a response quicker than if you were to contact a company’s helpline. And besides, if they ask a company then the representative will just want the consumer to buy from them, right? This has led to consumers basing their opinions around other people’s experiences with different products or services. But this is nothing new, it even happens through word-of-mouth referrals that I’m sure we’ve all been exposed to. Anyway, there’s a term that describes this type of influence – it’s called social influence.
How your business can leverage social influence.
Having recognized this trend in consumer behavior, it’s important that you tap into these sources of social influence and leverage them to your advantage. Here are some different methods for doing so:
Asking customers to contribute personal feedback about their experiences with specific products or services is one way of getting quick, honest opinions that could help other users in making a purchase decision. Why do you think Amazon encourages all of its users to leave feedback and even has a program for people to review products? They do this for the purpose of providing the information that consumers need to make a decision about a particular product. Again, it comes down to consumers trusting other consumers’ experiences. You can include this feature on each page that contains a specific product.
Testimonials (on your webpage and sales pages)
Testimonials are similar to customer feedback, but are instead displayed on your main webpage for all of your visitors to see. Preferably, you approach clients and customers that have had positive experiences working with you in terms of your products or services. This acts as a great example of social proof, particularly when you’re trying to convince consumers about a certain benefit of your offering.
Influencers are those individuals whose contributions to a particular industry can sway the thoughts of others. Typically, these influencers of different industries and markets have earned the trust of consumers based on their opinions, reviews or other methods of demonstrating thought leadership. This can be one of the quickest ways to tap into a large segment of individuals, specifically those who follow the influencer’s online contributions. There are tons of ways to approach an influencer in hopes that they will endorse your brand. Of course, your offering must be relevant to their area of expertise and the quality must be there. The reason that your offering must meet a certain standard of quality is that the influencer will not want to tarnish their own reputations, so you must be mindful of that element.
It all comes down to this: consumers now have other methods of gathering and obtaining information that will assist in their purchasing decisions. It’s up to you as a business owner to leverage the power of social influence as a means of gaining credibility in your specific industry and market segment.
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