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Word-of-Mouth Marketing in 2020: The Power of Social Media Influencers

social media influencers

The power of influencer marketing is multidimensional, as it simultaneously affects different aspects of brand success: exposure, reputation, audience engagement, customer loyalty, and conversions. Influencer marketing is a way to tell your company’s story to the millions simultaneously through the mouths of those who already have the ear of your target audience. Here is word-of-mouth marketing in 2020 and beyond.

There is power in social media influencers.

The power in social media is generated by influencers individuals whose content resonates with broad audiences, impacts their lives, changes their mindset, and even affects their purchasing decisions because of their authority, knowledge, or position.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” — Seth Godin

Influencer Marketing: What Is It and Why You Need It?

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tactics to enter the trust circle of potential customers. These people are an automatically loyal community since your brand is introduced to them by a person they already trust. Customer loyalty is the primary factor impacting the buying decision, particularly in times of a recession, when uncertainty toward the future is soaring in the air. That’s why it’s so crucial for companies to invest in building trust and give customers more confidence.

Influencer marketing is fueled by an ancient but still actionable word-of-mouth method. It allows you to accelerate online brand expansion by partnering with a thought leader who can be the first to start the word-of-mouth chain nourished by helpful content instead of ads. According to McKinsey, word-of-mouth marketing generates two times the sales of paid advertising. At the same time, Deloitte reports that customers acquired through word-of-mouth have a 37 percent higher retention rate than by any other means. 

Customers come and return to a brand trusted by influencers. They are considered experts who always keep abreast of the latest industry trends and recommend something really worth attention. To drive brand growth and success, businesses should learn more about influencer marketing and actively leverage it in the digital age.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing: a New View

Image Credit: helena lopes; pexels

Influencers build friendships, not “brand� relationships

If you ask customers what kind of relationships with a brand they’d like to have, you will likely hear about something similar to friendship. People want to feel appreciated and know that brands care about selling and empowering and inspiring them. Influencer marketing is the key to building human connections between a brand and its target audience. 

Interacting with a brand through a prism of the influencer’s positive feedback, customers feel more value in what the brand does and creates. They start associating its products and services with authoritativeness and reliability as they are recommended by the leading niche experts, aka thought leaders. Influencer marketing transits brand-customer relationships to a more personal level and makes them friends.

It allows you to discover what resonates with your customers.

When partnering with influencers, you can explore what types of content, messages, and visuals work best with your target audience. Influencer marketing allows you to promote your brand and conduct “field studies� on the influencer’s social media pages, investigate how they are interacting with potential customers, and what drives audience engagement. 

By monitoring and analyzing influencer-audience relationships, you can learn more about your customers, define better strategies for your future marketing campaigns, and improve products.

It helps provide anticipated WOW & emotion-driven engagement.

Leveraging the benefits of influencer marketing, you can introduce your brand engagingly and creatively. Influencers are mostly driven by creativity, curiosity about getting new experiences, and desire to bring value to their followers. They invest time and effort in producing highly engaging content that targets people who might be your potential customers. 

Making your brand intro a part of the influencer’s amazing content, you significantly raise chances of making the WOW effect, creating an unforgettable first impression, and driving continuous customer engagement. It helps provoke the person’s thoughts about a product and forths the first emotional interaction with it. 

Companies should care about creating emotional bonds with a target audience because they are fertile soil for growing customer loyalty. Consumer loyalty is a significant business value since it helps smooth sharp edges of customer experience and keeps conversions up. When emotional connections are damaged, rational (or even critical) thinking rears up again, and it may negatively impact sales in the future.

It promotes a brand through useful content instead of ads.

People trust advertising much less than before. On the contrary, word of mouth still is relevant and actionable even today. The sunrise of new digital innovations has just given it a new boost. Today, most of our words are digital and can spread at wind speed across the web. You can add your brand more significance and amplify word of mouth arising around it by producing quality content that inspires people and helps them tackle the most actual problems. 

At the same time, you can also save time on content production and reach a new audience with the help of influencer marketing. Influencers may endorse your brand and introduce it to their followers, involving your brand information in their own content. 

It is a highly cost-effective digital marketing channel.

Social media influencer marketing is becoming one of the most actionable digital marketing channels, even if compared to email marketing, paid search, display advertising, and affiliate marketing. According to Convince & Convert, 22% of digital marketing managers find influencer marketing the most cost-effective customer acquisition channel. As reported in a study conducted by Tomoson, influencer marketing brings a $6.50 return on investment for every dollar spent.

Is Influencer Marketing Worth It? 

Influencer marketing is a goldmine that may help companies keep the target audience’s attention in the highly competitive digital world. Is it worth investing in? Only you can answer it for sure. However, before you do it, just look through the above-mentioned values arising when someone influential talks about your brand once again. 

A successful collaboration with thought leaders can help you increase brand awareness, conquer the hearts of a new audience, gain its loyalty, grow brand popularity, and multiply revenue. It’s a powerful machine producing new, exciting human-brand interactions bringing plenty of benefits for both of them.

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The Importance of Empathy-Based Marketing

empathy-based marketing

At one time, consumers were a captive audience. You sold it, they bought it, as long as it was a prestige brand, a household name, or was promoted by an influencer or by a really cool cartoon animal. Here is the importance of empathy-based marketing.

People have a lot more choices, nowadays, and marketers everywhere are clamoring for their attention.

To stand out, you not only need to have a quality product or service, but you also need to show that you understand your audience—not even stellar content curation and content promotion can save you if your marketing isn’t hyper-targeted.

Enter empathy-based marketing.

What is empathy-based marketing?

Empathy-based marketing is a strategy that calls for you to walk in your customer’s shoes for a bit. Instead of using a hard-sell approach, you consider their experience and think about how your brand can help them get what they want, which could be:

  • More free time
  • More happiness
  • More friends
  • Better health
  • A more attractive appearance
  • A career advantage

Yes, you’re still out to make a profit, but with empathy-based marketing, your strategy is different. You need to connect with your audience on a deeper and more intuitive level by delivering an immense value that they never anticipated. In short, make them feel like you read their mind before going above and beyond.

Define your customer

A lot of businesses use buyer personas to direct their marketing. These personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal customers. Without them, your marketing efforts can be a bit like throwing snowballs in the dark and hoping that you blindly connect with something.

To be effective, your personas need to take customer emotions into account. Identify their wants and pain points, understand how these factors make them feel, and then plan your content accordingly. For example, customers who are constantly rushed for time will want a simplified usage guide while those who are buying to indulge themselves value things that make them feel extra-special, like a free gift with purchase.

Understand your customer

Who are you marketing to? Is it busy parents? Small business owners? People who are passionate about the environment will pay attention. To communicate properly with them, you need to understand what they care about and how your product can give them what they want, whether it be more free time, a healthier body, or a new skill that they can use to climb the corporate ladder.

What motivates them to buy?

A detailed study by commerce experts SMITH identified eight different emotions that influence buying and shopping decisions. For example, it found that some people will only buy products that are ‘cool’ and state-of-the-art to make themselves stand out from the crowd while others are directed by opinions: they need validation from friends, family, and online testimonials before they buy.

So which emotions are guiding your customers when they shop? You can get the answer by:

Many businesses are even investing in artificial intelligence to collect and analyze customer data for info they can use for empathy-based marketing. This article by AI research and advisory company Emerj provides some real-life examples of how businesses like Walmart use business intelligence applications to understand their customers.

Send a message that resonates

Empathetic content shows customers that you understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes. People feel positive about brands that can solve their problem, so send a message, using the right words, that shows how your products address issues that matter to them.

If your company website has a blog (and it should), use it to create a narrative that talks about these issues. For example:

  • If your customers are busy professionals who rarely have enough time in the day to get everything done, post some tips, and share links to productivity tools that don’t compete with your products.
  • Are your customer’s young professionals or entrepreneurs who are just starting out in their careers? Share some ideas for assembling a classy-looking wardrobe on a budget, or maybe some tips for starting your own business.

Bonus points if you use video, especially if you’re marketing to millennials. Research presented by Google shows that when they want to learn something new, this age group is nearly three times more likely to watch a video than read a book. However, the highly visual nature of video makes it a great marketing tool for all customer types.

Empathy-based marketing in action

So, what are some practical examples of empathy-based marketing? Below are two cases of well-known consumer brands taking customer service to the next level.

The Delta pizza party

Few situations are more frustrating than a delayed or canceled flight. Passenger reactions can be so extreme that they’ve been featured on countless reality TV shows.

In April 2017, Delta airlines provided a perfect illustration of brand empathy when it ordered hundreds of pizzas for Atlanta-area customers whose flights had been canceled or delayed due to extreme weather. The pizzas were distributed to passengers stuck on runways and waiting in surrounding airports.

This move was more than simply good customer service. It presented the Delta brand as one that understands and cares about its passengers, especially when they’re in one of the most stressful situations imaginable.

LUSH shows how it’s made

The LUSH beauty brand is all about natural products, so their customers are people who want fresh, homemade cosmetics. To assure its community that they really are getting 100% natural beauty products, LUSH has a video series called ‘How It’s Made.’

Each episode shows real LUSH employees at work, explaining how they make all the soaps, lotions, bath bombs, and other products. Depending on what they’re making, you’ll see mounds of sea salt, fresh citrus fruit, and dried flowers on the counter, confirming to viewers that they’re getting what they pay for.

Conclusion

Although we’ve got millions of years of evolution behind us and are capable of both critical thinking and abstract thought, emotions still guide a lot of our decisions, including what to buy.

To succeed at empathy-based marketing, you want to create a journey map or experience/outcome that your ideal buyer can relate to, and feel good about. When you start by understanding them and then create content that delivers your brand message in an impactful way (go ahead and use a cool cartoon animal if you want!), you’ll stand out and succeed.

Image Credit: unsplashed

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