Being able to search and access products online is just another one of the life hacks that’s transformed how we shop in the last decade. Ordering a pizza used to be a novelty – now you can surround yourself with all manner of shiny trinkets (while eating pizza).
Online marketplaces let you search, compare, purchase and review and they’ve muscled their way into the traditional retailer’s space, with giants like Amazon leading the way. eCommerce – propped up by digital marketing has changed the way consumers shop and behave, giving a new meaning to the word ‘convenience’. Purchasing decisions are being made without even entering a physical store.
eCommerce is rapidly changing; retailers are capturing more consumer data and insight, so that customer journeys can be personalised according to the platform or device someone’s using and their online behaviours. Whereas selling started out as designing a product and bringing it to market, learning more about customers means that the focus has flipped. We now see more and more audiences being built and nurtured – working out what to sell to them is coming afterwards.
With the amount of avenues open to consumers, high ROI marketing ideas are more important than ever. Building consumer trust and loyalty can lead to more traffic, leads and sales. Influencer marketing is a way of tapping into this and utilising new ways to build an audience and it perfectly captures the shift to building an audience first and foremost and then selling a product.
Becoming a social influencer is now a legitimate way of making money online. Attracting a strong, core audience and using direct social channels to vlog, blog and chat can give influencers a way of meaningfully interacting with people. They can shape their content and authentically engage with their audience in a way that brands struggle with.
Take Zoella for example, she’s probably the most well-known, pioneering Vlogger in the UK who made her name on Youtube. She’s built a humungous following based on make-up tutorials, but also her day-to-day life too. Now she has a book deal, a beauty range and a homeware range. All of the products in her ranges are linked to the persona she puts out on her channels, from the colours and slogans to specific items. The products have been designed around her personality and not the other way around.
Or Joe Wicks and his super successful Instagram-born Body Coach brand, which is popular because of what he’s saying, but also how he’s saying it. They’ve both built personal brands that are driven by their likeability.
The relationships influencers have with followers are because their audience have bought into their personality and lifestyle, instead of a product. They’ve secured loyalty and trust because they’re a relatable person and not a faceless brand. There’s a confessional aspect to being an influencer that makes an audience feel like they’re really getting to know them.
When they’ve built up a following through unique insight, pure personality and savvy content – that’s when influencers can create products to match the identity and lifestyle they’ve shaped.
Covering lucrative industries like beauty, gaming, health and electronics – influencers that position themselves as trustworthy personalities that have something worthwhile to say can forge strong collaborations with brands. And eCommerce is standing up and listening, popular platform Shopify teamed up with FameBit, which matches influencers and brands, to create an infrastructure for positive partnerships.
Brands can benefit from the trust that influencers have built up. They can find influencers who match the lifestyle and identity they feel their products complement and then piggyback off their already existing audience. This can be with sponsored branded content and contextual, personalised messaging.
Getting on board with an influencer or ideas that influencers use to grow their base can show brands the type of online experiences audiences want and actively look for.
Customers don’t want to feel as if they are being aggressively advertised to. Building an audience with valuable, useful content that relates to their lifestyle is important and this is what influencers have highlighted. Learning more and more about the type of customers your brand wants to sell to is a way of being able to produce aspirational and emotive content that taps into their interests.
Creating personalised messaging helps to make an audience feel special. This can be through personalised emails, chat bots, loyalty programmes or targeted content that caters to the specific social channel or entry point they’re using. There are all sorts of ways to focus in on specific customers and their needs.
Influencers have shown the popularity of personality-driven, relatable content and it’s this type of customer behaviour that brands should be picking up on. Building an audience and working on providing them with personalised, valuable messages can create more loyalty and a better relationship with them. Audiences value trustworthiness and authenticity.
You’ll then be able to gain more insight into the type of content an audience is interested in and what that says about their interests and lifestyles – products can then be designed with this in mind, instead of creating a product and building an audience around it.
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