by Rose Lugo..
Head of Global Marketing
At The Insiders we have been fortunate to serve the brand advocacy needs of hundreds of the world’s most iconic brands for the last 10 years. As part of our holistic marketing approach, we have deployed and tested strategic tactics to boost ecommerce performance across dozens of industry segments around the globe. There are sales to be made beyond amazon.com, and here a few best practices we learned through trial and error that are sure to help marketers seeking to be proactive in tipping their consumers’ purchase decision in the broader digital ecosystem.
1. Ditch display ads. If you want to increase online sales, choose peer-to-peer influence over ads because your consumer does. According to Nielsen(i), 83 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any type of advertising. In addition, 66 percent trust product reviews posted by unknown shoppers. Consumers skip ads, block ads and avoid ads in their entirety, as a response leading brands are shifting from being media buyers to becoming content producers.
2. Invest on CGC. The best content creator for your brand is your consumer, who holds the greatest persuasion power over any other advertising channel. Consumers are 97 percent more inclined to purchase after interacting with consumer-generated content(ii). CGC is important to move sales at physical stores as well. In fact, 45 percent of in-store buyers read reviews online before purchasing, it is the so-called ROBO effect, Research Online and Buy Offline(iii).
3. Engage your consumers. Don’t wait for your consumer to stumble upon your product online. Breakthrough the online noise by going old school with a tailored offline introduction. Reach out to highly-targeted consumers offering product trial and sampling to tip their purchase decision. Seek out consumers who already buy your brand to introduce a new product and grow your market share by converting consumers from competing brands.
4. Provide brand education. Drive purchase by educating your consumer about the benefits of your product. Empower your consumers with key insights that will increase the likelihood of them taking upon themselves to tell your brand story through thoughtful, authentic, and engaging product reviews that will sound like “cha-ching!”
5. Connect with your brand advocates. Consumers are already talking about your brand, are you willing to join the conversation? If so, your most persuasive voice is that of your brand advocates telling their peers why your product is the best. Apply big-data to identify consumers who already love your brand and those likely to fall in love as well. Nurture your relationship with them through personalized outreach to help them create emotional connections with your brand to increase your chances of getting raving product reviews.
6. Stimulate product reviews. Answering consumers’ questions, giving out coupons, or offering products at discounted rates might be just the incentive your consumers need to consider sharing their honest-to-God opinion, where other shoppers are looking for information before purchase. Don’t give into the temptation of buying fake reviews. Consumers are savvy in noticing phony reviews and incongruent ratings. Rather, build a relationship of trust with your consumers to generate the authentic recommendations that sway shoppers.
7. Ensure a steady stream of product reviews. Smart marketers have figured it out that generating between 40 to 50 new product reviews on popular retailer sites quarterly is enough to boost SEO performance on popular search engines like Google or Bing. Budget a review activation into your quarterly marketing mix to make it easier for consumers to find your product online. The accumulation of reviews over time is a plus as well, because the more reviews a product has, the greater its incremental sales.
8. Promote video reviews. Product video reviews are a growing trend set to disrupt ecommerce as we know it. The reason is the greater emphasis the most popular digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube place on video content to supply user demand. A survey by Animoto found that four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it(iv). Shoppers are keen on watching how other consumers have used products they are considering buying. Coaxing your ambassadors into creating product video reviews will be a great payoff for your brand.
As ecommerce grows in popularity it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd, brands that succeed are consistent in deploying robust brand advocacy tactics.
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(i) Nielsen - http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/nielsenglobal/apac/docs/reports/2015/nielsen-global-trust-in-advertising-report-september-2015.pdf
(ii) Bazaar Voice - http://www.bazaarvoice.com/cgcindex
(iii) Bazaar Voice - http://www.bazaarvoice.com/research-and-insight/infographics/research-online-buy-offline-infographic.html
(iv) Animoto - https://animoto.com/blog/business/video-marketing-cheat-sheet-infographic