Consumers are done. They’re seeing through the buzzwords, pandering messages, and shiny packaging. They’re tired of being passive participants in the marketing game. They’ve had enough, and they’re not going to take it anymore.
Thanks to the internet, consumers have reached a new level of empowerment. With so much data at their fingertips, empowered consumers are smart, self-sufficient, and connected. They can research and rule your brand out of a purchase decision without you knowing they were even looking at you in the first place.
But don’t be afraid! Reaching this new breed of customer is a lot easier than you think. Read on for tips on staying ahead in the age of the empowered consumer.
If you haven’t already started, now’s the time to fine tune your digital presence. The empowered consumer researches everything they can before they even think about making a purchase, including your brand’s online identity.
Make sure you’re delivering consistent messages on your website, blog, and social media accounts. It’s fine to adjust the message’s format to fit each channel, so long as the meaning remains the same. Sending out conflicting ideas can destroy your credibility and turn potential customers away.
Savvy marketers know social listening is a must. Someone out there is probably talking about your brand, competitors, and industry. They might be asking others about your products or writing a review. Social listening turns you into a fly on the wall, observing and taking note of people’s opinions, needs, and pain points.
Social listening platforms, like Hootsuite and Meltwater, alert you when your company, product, or any keyword you choose is mentioned on the internet. You then decide how to leverage that information. Do you want to engage customers directly on social media? Or should you answer their questions in a blog post? Identify which channels perform well to determine the best place to join the conversation.
Pull, Don’t Push
Back in the day, push marketing was the norm. Brands would “push” products down to consumers, using tactics like TV commercials, billboards, and flashy packaging to grab attention. The idea was to get the product in front of people, whether they wanted it or not (or just didn’t realize it yet).
Now, push marketing turns empowered consumers off. It’s too impersonal, too in-your-face, and too, well, pushy.Instead of going straight to the customer, you need to bring them to you using another method: pull marketing.
Modern pull marketing fully embraces inbound marketing strategies. It’s all about building relationships and turning strangers into customers. Empowered consumers already know what they want. It’s your job to create content that’ll draw them in, answer their questions, and offer something of value.
Consider writing informative blog posts or downloadable how-to guides that cover topics related to your industry. Shareable content, like infographics and videos, are also good ways to organically reach consumers.
Whatever content you decide to make, it should never sound like a sales pitch. The goal here is to educate, not sell. Giving out knowledge for free demonstrates to people that your brand isn’t just focused on turning a profit.
It’s easy to use cliches and canned phrases when talking to potential customers about a product. But empowered consumers crave authenticity. They want to hear meaningful messages that cut through the usual noise of advertising. They want content that’s honest, relatable, and human.
Storytelling is one of the best ways you can foster brand authenticity. But it’s not just about telling your brand’s origin story, which is what many companies attempt to do. Rather than making your brand the main character, center your stories around the consumer instead.
Telling a story, especially one that involves the consumer directly, builds emotional connections between your brand and the reader. People are also more likely to remember your brand’s messages if they’re told in story format. Over many emotional and memorable interactions, empowered consumers will trust your brand and see you more as a friend than just another faceless company.
The Bottom Line
With a carefully planned marketing strategy, you can adapt to the world of the empowered consumer. Ramp up your online presence, give pull marketing a try, and focus on building brand trust to keep empowered consumers coming back for more.
This post originally appeared on eZanga.