It has been demonstrated that influencers are losing trust. However, they can still help in your marketing Strategy. How?
In the past in order to introduce a new product to the market or attracting new customers, brands would base their advertising in two main areas. The first being traditional media (such as radio, TV, Newspapers, magazines) and the second being influential individuals (known as influencers).
Today more and more people bet on content marketing or content creation through company blogs or user-generated content UGC like client reviews on e-commerce sites.
According to research conducted by Best Relations, small brands are willing to invest in other alternatives that involve content marketing, other than traditional advertising. Recent studies showed that increasingly companies invest in content creation or in content research. In fact, just 38% of them created an ad campaign this year.
Those who make use of the power of influencers in their campaigns are aware of the importance of online reputation of products and services, in order to affect customers’ purchase decisions. An influencer can generate a buzz starting from his own opinion about a real experience with a product. Moreover, an influencer can be considered as such because he has a huge number of followers who consider his opinion. Therefore, with the help of a good influencer, we will be able to address a real audience and we will improve our visibility.
Be aware though. Even if influencers can reach a wide range of followers, we cannot base our e-commerce ad campaigns entirely on them. Years ago, influencers were on the top of their success, but things have changed.
It is clear that the number of influencers has increased, more and more people now have a blog and they are willing to write about your product in exchange for money, discounts or free samples. Therefore this behaviour, except for notable influencers who have already established a reputation, can cause suspicions and let people think that their reviews are not truly objective.
It has been proven that millennials trust influencers less and less. On the Dealspotr annual survey: Millennial Fashion Shopping Study, a study to better understand how social media influencers impact purchasing decisions, the findings have indicators that influencer marketing is in sharp decline. 52 per cent said that they trust social media influencers less nowadays.
Some carelessness from the most popular influencers and obvious false recommendations affected the reputation of the group. Now, people trust more in an authentic review, even if the influencer is a smaller engaged one.
Advantages of online reviews
Ultimately, users are looking for real, consistent and precise opinions. You can give voice to your customers and turn their opinions into your best business card. With online reviews, we can all create quality content for our website since our customers’ reviews help user-generated content.
Real opinions from real customers are the best way to affect future customers’ decisions. Users see what other customers think about the product and the shop in general. Bear in mind that this also has a positive influence on your website’s SEO, given that reviews keep content up to date and Google loves that.
Influencers and reviews – a perfect combo
If your brand is unknown, a ‘collecting client reviews only’ strategy, will not be enough. You will need to gain visibility first, to make your customers visit your site or search for it and find client reviews in that way.
Client reviews will grant you trust. Influencers, visibility. You can try using big influencers to reach their larger engaged audiences. Then potential customers will know about your existence, and you will be at the top of their minds.
However, you will need to attach trust-ability to that strategy and now is when customers’ reviews take place.
- Client reviews encourage buying decision.
- Your customer’s opinions will help you naturally reach the top hits on search engines since they create unique content that is regularly updated.
- Positive reviews can help you increase the click-through rate.
- Even bad reviews help you build up trust because it means that the reviews are REAL.
- Your customers and their opinion are your best allies.
Let’s take a quick trip on how a customer’s trust forges during their purchasing process.
Stage 1: first impression
60-80% of the visitors of an e-commerce are there for the first time. Their average conversion rate is only 2.5%. Visitors need only 2.6 seconds to get an idea of your brand. Once you have lost those visitors, the chance to bring them back is minimal.
Those 2.6 seconds are paramount: What is the first thing they see when they enter your page?
When it comes to first impressions, there are three main factors: Professional web design, a good UX – user experience – and a fast loading page.
Brands can improve customer confidence by improving these three aspects, and more, such as high compatibility with most mobile devices or Google Domain Authority. In terms of design, this means the use of professional resources: images, fonts, and graphic design.
Demonstrating UX knowledge and making navigation and the purchase process easy and intuitive also helps a lot in trusting your brand.
When visitors come to a website, the first thing they see is the design, then a UX heat map shows that their eyes travel towards online trust marks. Whether payment options, return policies or client reviews, among others.
Stage 2: The Test of other clients
This is the most important stage in the assessment of trust. Many websites can have a great design and generate some great first sensations but are they able to overcome the next step in the evaluation?
In this stage, online recommendations and opinions are the most important factor of trust. – 92% of people trust the recommendations of people they know, and 70% trust the opinions of other customers who have already purchased.
Here comes the good bit. Potential customers are looking for real opinions of customers who have already purchased, they can search for it in external sites such as Yelp or Facebook, or you can find them directly on your page, which dramatically increases the conversion rate.
Customers prefer not to rely on what the brand says about itself, but on the opinions of customers who have already purchased. Yes, PURCHASED, that is why influencers do not help here, because customers don’t perceive them to be impartial. They do not consider the influencer as a fellow. The user-reviews may persuade them to stay at your site and potentially buy something.
Stage 3: Risk assessment
After gaining a client’s trust on your website, the risk assessment process begins.
At this stage, the key issues of trust are the trust-ability of your personal information and how reliable it is for them to make a purchase.
The first step to gain their trust is to make clear that you will protect their information at all times and offer security: 23% of respondents feel threatened by hackers and 16% are concerned about companies that collect and use their personal data to collect information.
Another way to generate online confidence at this stage is to show complete and easy to find contact information. The last thing a customer wants is to give their personal information and their money and never see the product they have bought. Reduce the risk of losing the purchase by including multiple options to contact you like the phone (preferably free), mail or online chat. Include a Frequently Asked Questions, return policies and tracking shipments in a visible area.
Make sure to show that you accept the most popular payment options, such as credit cards and PayPal. While they are in the stages of the buying process, continue to show customer testimonials. These should emphasize your customer service and create trust in you and in order to close the sale.
Stage 4: From first time customer to regular buyer
The journey does not end when customers decide to buy.
In this stage, you want to transform that customer into a regular buyer and an ambassador of your brand, someone who not only returns but attracts more buyers.
The key is to offer an excellent first shopping experience. Make sure you offer a terrific service that makes them come back.
Encourage buyers to leave a comment on your website through your customer feedback service. This reinforces the confidence of a client who feels consulted and listened by the store and at the same time is a great marketing tool to attract other customers.
When asking for opinions you can offer discount coupons for the next purchase. This will help not only to encourage them to leave the opinion but also to repeat. It also works when they share those opinions in the social networks.
Once Influencers help you gain visibility, winning customers’ online trust is not easy. However, if you pay attention to all the aspects of the buying process, you can encourage many customers to shop in your store and come back.