Factors That Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions: Rethinking the Marketing Funnel

In order to continue attracting your target audience, it’s crucial to firstly understand “what is a consumer need?” Then, must keep up with the wants and needs of customers. Consumer behavior is influenced by many things, such as price, product features, brand image, and recommendations from friends or family. These all playing a vital role in what people decide to purchase. This can be a real challenge if you don’t understand the factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions. Those factors are a lot different than what they used to be. This means that the customer journey has changed a lot as well. This updated journey is referred to by many as the consumer decision journey (CDJ). What makes the CDJ so different than traditional marketing funnels is that each consumer’s CDJ is unique. Keeping that in mind, the following are three of the biggest factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in today’s digital age:

Factors That Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions

Product/Service Reviews

social media likes

Very few consumers are going to blindly buy a product or service based on the content they’ve come across on your website. It doesn’t matter how effective you say it is, how clear your demonstration videos are, or what kind of accolades you’ve received. Customers are going to look up reviews first. Many consumers aren’t going to feel comfortable buying a product or service unless it has good reviews. Fortunately, online reviews are easy to find.

There are tons of different websites where customers leave reviews. In fact, a company having reviews on their website has now become so commonplace that not having the option to leave or see reviews can leave a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. Reviews are not always only about one specific product or service. Angi, Yelp, and Amazon all allow customers to leave feedback on products and services, as well as overall customer experiences. Reviews come in many forms. Gone are the days of a simple, written review. Now, many companies give consumers the option to upload pictures and even videos with their review.

In addition to consumer reviews, consumers also seek out professional reviews. For example, Consumer Reports provides professional reviews of certain products. They offer comparisons between different products as well.

Encouraging customers, as well as professionals, to review your products and services can be hugely beneficial. Doing so (as long as the reviews are mostly positive) can help improve your reputation and build trust with consumers who are in the evaluation stage of their journey.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

Peer Recommendations

More often than not, consumers will initially become aware of brands or their products and services through peer recommendations. They may ask someone in person for a recommendation or ask online, via social media, online chat, or email. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to continue targeting existing customers. The journey doesn’t end when someone makes a purchase. You want to continue marketing to those customers to turn them into repeat customers. This allows you to build brand loyalty, which will turn them into brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors will recommend your products or services to their peers.

two people looking at a smartphone and smiling

Social Media

Having a social media presence is incredibly important because so many consumers will turn to social media as a way to do research. They’ll look up brands, ask them direct questions, and ask their social groups about their thoughts on your products or services. They also look at your social interactions in general. This means that they will look at how you engage with your followers, as well as with users in general, to get a sense of how you carry yourself. They also do this to see if they can relate to you. A brand with no social presence is not going to make as good of an impression on consumers. Nor will one that doesn’t regularly engage with the community.

It’s important not to become over-reliant on the traditional marketing funnel. Consumers have so much power when it comes to doing their own research about different brands and their products and services, that it’s important to understand how unique the CDJ is. These are three very important factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in this day and age that you need to make sure you address.

  25 Website Must Haves For Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales
customer relationship

Customer Engagement Strategy

Building lasting customer relationships is one of the key challenges affecting most companies in today’s business landscape. Many are now investing more into their customer touchpoints by visualizing the customer journey, boosting customer satisfaction, and providing a seamless experience before and after purchase.

What is Customer Engagement Strategy?

A customer engagement strategy is a one kind of plan designed to encourage customers to repeatedly choose your product or service.

The ideal approach to customer engagement depends on several factors but should typically involve providing value, support, and resources. It also needs to make it easy for customers to do business with you by solving their problems quickly and efficiently.

The customer-centric aspect of your business should be felt all the way from marketing and sales to customer service. Your goal is to drive true engagement and encourage long-term loyalty that will eventually grow your customer base. Below are three customer engagement strategies that you can use to boost customer engagement.

Customer Engagement Strategies

1. Use Customer Feedback to Drive Improvements

group of people using laptops

The secret to being relevant in today’s customer-centric world is to give your customers what they want. But how can you give them what they want if you don’t understand their needs? First, you should know who your customers are and the problems you want to help them solve. That’s why you should prioritize their feedback throughout the customer touchpoints.

Some popular ways to engage with customers include conducting online surveys, engaging in social listening, making random but regular phone calls, participating in events and meet-ups, etc.. Regardless of where or how you seek customer feedback, ensure that the customers feel safe enough to be open and honest with you. That said, some feedback is just there to be observed, and you don’t need customers telling you what they want.

For instance, a high abandoned cart or bounce rate on the business website is one piece of feedback you can observe and then use your judgment to respond appropriately. In this case, for instance, the shipping cost may be high and needs to be lowered. Or your customers are forced to register before buying products, which complicates their overall site experience. A high bounce rate could also indicate a poorly designed website, unclear offers, or a poorly responsive/interactive site layout/theme.

By paying keen attention to your customers and their behaviors, you can learn a lot and find ways to boost their experiences. You can also request customer feedback to help you establish and develop your brand identity and to target your ideal market demographics.

2. Leverage Modern Technologies

Another way to enhance your customer experience strategy this New Year is to use modern technologies. These technologies don’t have to be complicated, they just have to make your business processes more efficient. For instance, adopting B2C/B2B marketing automation, such as chatbots, can guide site visitors and enrich their experience on your website.

The other technologies you might consider integrating into your overall business strategy to boost customer engagement include:

  • Virtual and Augmented Reality. AR and VR are no longer the dreaded technologies they once were. Today, businesses embrace these technologies to enable visual and more refined customer journeys. If your products are compatible with most AR/VR apps, such as Google Lens, you’ll have appealed to a larger audience.
  • Cloud. If migrating part or all of your customer-facing operations to the cloud sounds revolutionary, it’s because it actually is. The cloud offers several opportunities, from increased flexibility to rapid scaling capabilities. This will see you communicate and address customer issues across different channels from one central location.
  • Data analytics. Data is one critical element that can greatly improve your business operations if used properly. You can use data analytics software to gauge customer behaviors and make high-level decisions that positively impact customer experience.

Also Read: Core Difference Between Buyer Journey vs. Customer Journey

3. Create a More Customer-Centric Culture 

Most modern businesses emphasize customer-centricity and great company culture, but very few practice what they preach. In fact, only a few have fully integrated a customer-centric culture into their business operations. And it’s easy to see why this is the case.

three people smiling

According to a recent CMO Council report, only 14% of marketers say customer centricity is a crucial aspect of their businesses, and only 11% believe their customers would agree with that statement.

Changing the key aspects of your company culture to make it more customer-centric can be challenging. There would likely be a lot of resistance, even from the customers themselves, but it’s a crucial step to building a culture that truly puts the customer first. Some key steps you can take to create a customer-centric culture include:

  • Sensitize everyone in your organization to understand and empathize with customers.
  • Hire for customer orientation and customer experiences.
  • Ensure employees have access to customer feedback and insights.
  • Link employee culture to customer outcomes.
  • Reward employees who focus on customers and provide great customer experiences.

Besides implementing the tips above, you should also make the customer experience everyone’s responsibility. You can further enhance your efforts by embracing the 4C marketing model focusing on the consumer, cost, communication, and convenience.

The goal is to facilitate direct interaction with customers and encourage employees to intervene directly and build long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Final Thoughts 

Your customers deserve exceptional experiences when interacting with your products and services. One critical step to enhancing their experience is to understand their needs and commit to their growth journeys in ways your competitors can’t.

The goal is to amaze your customers and keep them coming back for repeat business. While there are many ways to accomplish this, some techniques are more sustainable and effective than others.

For example, it’s easy to use customer discounts to keep customers, but it may not be a sustainable strategy. On the other hand, implementing a customer-centric culture may take a longer time to yield results, but it is an ideal long-term customer engagement strategy..

As a business owner, you may need to combine various customer engagement strategies to build your unique ideal approach to customer engagement. The three customer engagement strategies we have highlighted above aren’t exhaustive, but they can guide you in developing a solid customer-focused business.

 

how to have a successful blog

How to Have a Successful Blog (Expert Tips)

Blogging has become a great way for companies to write about content that relates to what they do. This can include tips and advice on anything the company is an authority on. Topics for blogging can range from “What a Good Landing Page Looks Like” to “How to Start Your Own Business in 10 Easy Steps.” Blogs can also strengthen online marketing efforts.

You might be wondering, how can my company have a successful blog? Here are 6 expert tips to help you out.

blog written out on colorful popsicle sticks

Tips for creating a successful blog

1. Choose a Topic People Care About

The first step to having a successful blog is to write about a topic that people want to read about. Make the topic interesting, and something worth reading. Once you choose a topic, research it to make sure you are providing reliable information to your readers. Then you can begin writing your blog.

2. Make the Formatting Easy To Read

When formatting your blog, it is better to have many short paragraphs rather than a few long paragraphs. A blog is something that people want to be able to read easily. Short paragraphs are more easily digestible than long paragraphs. When writing a blog for your company, make sure to include offers and promote other blog posts as well.

3. Have an Attention Grabbing Title

As you are reviewing your blog, go back to the title. The title is important and needs to be clear and specific. Most importantly, the title needs to be attention grabbing. Titles should be between 50 and 60 characters. If it goes over 60, the end of the title will be cut off in the search engine results.

4. Pictures Are Fun to Look At

A blog without pictures can be boring. Add a picture or two to your blog to make it more visually appealing. These pictures can be relevant to your topic, and they can also just be a part of your blog as long as they fit. For example, if your blog is directed towards an audience of readers who are business people, you could include a picture of someone wearing a suit. Pictures are a nice addition to a blog. Do not forget to cite the pictures you use if they are not yours.

three camera icons

There are many reasons a successful blog includes links to other relevant articles. Successful blogs also include a CTA (call-to-action). You can offer downloadable resources like ebooks, checklists, or templates related to your blog post topic in your CTA.

Also Read: 50 Most Powerful Call-to-Action Phrases

6. Share on Social Media

Once you have written your blog, it is time to share it. You can share your blog through social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.

7. Be Consistent and Frequent

The most important things to remember are consistency and frequency. Blogging is more than one post. Instead, it is multiple consistent posts over time. When you are in charge of blogging for your company, it is best to post a minimum of two blogs a week.

Blogging can be fun. Follow the above tips for creating a successful blog for your company.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

Creating a Brand with Social Listening and What Tools To Use

Social media marketing is an important part of reaching today’s modern era customers. Setting up social media accounts that prioritize providing good content can be challenging. In order for your brand to stick out, you need to learn what your customers are looking for and how to provide them with that content. This is referred to as social listening. Those who have social listening strategies worked into their social media marketing gain an edge over their competitors.

Social listening plays a key role in growing your business and increasing your company’s brand trust with its customers. The good news is that the ability to operate social media channels and create engaging content is right at your fingertips. If you are looking for ways in which you can handle all the comments, likes, and messages on your platforms, fear not because we have a strategy for you.

The below content contains ways in which you can learn about social listening as well as tools you can use to make the process easier.

connected brains

What is Social listening?

Social listening is all about looking into your industry’s trends, comments, and content in order to gain insights into your brand experience. Social listening is critical for understanding how your customer feels about your brand which is commonly referred to as social media sentiment. Correctly using social listening is one of the most valuable ways to increase brand trust and create a loyal customer base. One good example of social listening is Netflix promoting a DIY sock that pauses the TV show. Netflix looked at what people were talking about on social media through comments, posts, and stories which lead to this creative invention.

Social Listening Tools

Keeping up with the constant change in social trends can be difficult. Thankfully, there are many different tools and programs that can help brands keep up with trends.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a premium service that helps brands and companies monitor data and trends on all social media platforms they are active on. It can also be useful for identifying social media goals that your brand can create based on the data. While Sprout Social is an excellent service and can help greatly with social media needs, they are more costly than some of the other social listening tools mentioned below.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a marketer’s dream program. Whether it be for creating inbound content, social media uploads, or advanced automation, HubSpot knows what tools a marketer needs. HubSpot has features that allow you to keep track of all social media posts, interactions, and total social media leads. 

social media doodles

Learn more about social media campaigns here!

One of the big perks of HubSpot is the ability to easily work together with the sales team to use social media interactions as a step to making a sale. Furthermore, HubSpot is a free-to-use platform which makes it a must-have.

Also Read: Using HubSpot Lead Flows To Improve Conversion Rates

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a service that allows users to view and interact with their social media followers in an easy and convenient way. Hootsuite’s dashboard is able to keep track of all social media interactions whether it be messages, comments, likes, or mentions without having to leave the service.

In addition, Hootsuite provides top-notch analytics and reports from all social media accounts in use. This, along with the convenient dashboard, makes Hootsuite a premium service that competes with the likes of sprout social. Therefore, the cost of the service is noticeably different than free services.

Buffer

Buffer is one of the more user-friendly tools on this list. The software application allows users to “buffer” social media posts on many accounts. The user interface is very clean and not as complicated as some other services. Buffer can respond to comments across many platforms. There is a free version available to use, however, the service will be lacking some features.

SEMrush

SEMrush is different from many of the other services mentioned above. The platform is well known for its keyword research and online ranking data. The ability to manage social media accounts makes SEMrush a valuable service to have. Want to manage all your social media accounts in one place? SEMrush has you covered. You can also use many of the SEO and keyword tools to help monitor your social media accounts.

Social listening can be tricky. Keeping up with so many accounts and followers is no easy task. Thanks to services like Sprout Social, HubSpot, Hootsuite, Buffer, and SEMRush, marketers are able to keep up with demand. Now it’s time for you to start social listening utilizing these tools. Are you ready?

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

What’s Trending in Marketing of April 2024

Step right into our April 2024 edition of “What’s Trending in Marketing,” your portal to the freshest marketing trends and insights. Stay ahead of the curve with our collection of marketing trends and reports for the 2024 year.

Additions in AI Advertisements

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is making it easier for brands to reach consumers with AI-powered tools. They’re introducing new features to personalize advertising campaigns, like creating multiple versions of ads tailored to individual users. Additionally, they’re offering personalized product recommendations based on what users have browsed and liked. These tools are available on both Facebook and Instagram, aiming to make shopping experiences more seamless and impactful. Read more here. 

people on arrow pointing to target

Brands Values and Their Customers

To keep your customers happy, it’s important for your brand to reflect their values. Most shoppers want brands to share their beliefs. Many have stopped buying from companies whose values clash with their own. To stay connected with customers, brands will focus on showing what they stand for. A survey found that nearly half of marketers plan to invest more in creating content that highlights their brand’s values. Only a small minority will decrease their investment. This shows the increasing importance of authenticity and alignment in fostering lasting relationships with customers. Read more here. 

The Rise of Podcasts

Given the surging popularity of podcasts and online audio, marketers are increasingly recognizing the value and potential of these platforms for reaching and engaging with audiences. In a survey conducted on marketing trends for 2024, 82% of marketers expressed their intentions to either increase or maintain their investment in podcasts and audio content. This signifies a strategic shift in marketing strategies. More emphasis is placed on leveraging the power of audio to connect with consumers in meaningful ways. Overall, the continued growth of podcasts and audio content presents an opportunity for marketers to expand their reach and build brand awareness. It also allows them to foster deeper connections with their target audience in the evolving digital landscape. Read more here.

Interactive Email Marketing Trends

In today’s competitive online marketing scene, you have to stand out. To do this, businesses are turning to interactive email strategies. These interactive emails go beyond traditional text and attachments. They offer engaging features like animated GIFs, navigational menus, integrated forms, rotational banners, and sliders. Not only do these elements add visual appeal, but they also improve the overall user experience. This encourages active engagement and interaction with the brand’s message. Google’s enhanced compatibility ensures seamless viewing across devices, while emerging trends like key frame animation and cinema-graphs add even more excitement. Interactive emails not only catch customers’ attention but also streamline user experience, making them a vital tool in modern marketing strategies. Read more here.

Innovative Video Strategies to Transform Your Senior Living Marketing

Digital technology has revolutionized marketing for senior living communities, offering unprecedented opportunities to engage potential residents and their families. Video content, in particular, is a powerful tool for showcasing the amenities, values, and lifestyle senior living communities offer. As seniors increasingly embrace digital platforms, mastering video marketing is crucial. Videos can tell authentic stories, educate viewers, and provide virtual tours, all of which are essential for attracting and informing prospective residents. Leveraging digital strategies like SEO optimization and YouTube presence enhances the reach and impact of video marketing efforts, allowing communities to connect meaningfully with their audience and foster trust in the decision-making process. Read more here.

How Brands Market To the Different Generations

Generational marketing targets different age groups in order to better meet their unique needs and preferences. Each generation has distinct characteristics that influence their consumer behavior and how they interact with marketing efforts. Baby boomers, for instance, value quality and respond well to email and TV ads, while Generation X prioritizes convenience and brand loyalty, engaging with social media and video content. Millennials seek authenticity and personal connection, favoring social media and influencer marketing, while Generation Z, the youngest segment of consumers, prefers an omnichannel approach and values brand ethics and authenticity. Understanding each generation’s characteristics is crucial for creating marketing strategies tailored to their behaviors and preferences, which allows you to effectively reach and engage with them. Read more here.

Nano- or Micro-Influencer Marketing

More brands are leaning towards collaborating with nano- and micro-influencers instead of celebrities or big social media stars because they charge lower rates and still generate high engagement. Reports show that marketers prefer working with small-scale influencers, with nano-influencers charging between $5 to $25 for a TikTok post and micro-influencers asking for $25 to $125. These smaller influencers also boast higher engagement rates, meaning their followers are more likely to take action based on their recommendations. To ensure a positive return on investment, it’s crucial to collaborate with influencers whose followers match your target audience. Read more here.

woman using social media

Companies in Partnership Marketing

More brands are teaming up with others in their industry because it helps both parties achieve their goals. This collaboration can involve co-producing webinars, appearing on each other’s podcasts, or sharing each other’s social media content. For instance, Videowise partnered with other brands to promote their ebook. Partnership marketing allows brands to reach more potential customers by tapping into each other’s audience, connect with industry leaders for insights and assistance, and gain access to valuable resources like customer insights and industry data to enhance marketing campaigns. Read more here.

User-Generated Video Content

We’re likely to see more user-generated video content because potential customers trust it more than highly-produced brand videos. These videos, created by real customers who have used the product or service, carry authenticity that resonates with audiences and increases the likelihood of conversion. To encourage customers to share their experiences, brands can ask for honest reviews, host giveaway contests for video testimonials, or collaborate with creators who can provide genuine opinions in exchange for a fee. This approach saves time, money, and effort compared to creating highly-produced videos from scratch. By leveraging user-generated content, brands capitalize on the credibility and relatability that real customer experiences offer. This fosters stronger connections with their audience and drives engagement across digital platforms. Read more here.

Crafting a Compelling Brand for Senior Living Success

In the competitive landscape of senior living, the significance of a well-crafted brand cannot be overstated. As the sector grows increasingly crowded, a robust brand can significantly elevate your community’s appeal, distinguishing it from competitors and fostering long-term success. This article delves into the importance of your senior living brand and explores the transformative impact branding has on senior living facilities.

Understanding the Significance of Your Brand

Consider senior living communities as more than just facilities; they are vibrant hubs where experiences and emotions play a pivotal role. Here, branding goes beyond mere aesthetics to forge a deep connection with potential residents and their families. A compelling brand acts as the community’s pulse, embodying its ethos and unique offerings.

person walking up an arrow pointing to the sky

The Transformative Effects of Branding

Branding transcends traditional marketing by crafting a unique identity that resonates on an emotional level with your target audience. For senior living communities, effective branding is not merely about listing features—it’s about crafting an engaging narrative that positions your community as a desirable, distinctive choice.

Strategic Brand Building Steps

Developing a lasting brand involves several critical steps, each contributing to a cohesive and appealing identity:

  1. Identify Your Audience:

    Part of an effective senior living marketing plan is to effectively segment and understand your target demographic. This clarity helps tailor your branding efforts to meet the specific needs, preferences, and lifestyles of potential residents.

  2. Know Your Competitors:

    Understanding the competitive landscape is crucial for setting your community apart. This means identifying not only the services and amenities offered by others but also their branding strategies. By doing so, you can emphasize your unique features and community benefits. You can also ensure these distinctions are front and center in your branding efforts.

  3. Understand Your Identity:

    Take a comprehensive look at what makes your community unique, such as its location, ethos, or exclusive offerings. This introspection should help crystallize a brand identity that not only reflects your community’s core values but also appeals to the emotional and practical preferences of potential residents.

  4. Purpose-Driven Branding:

    Your brand should be a reflection of your community’s mission and vision. It’s about more than aesthetics; it’s about conveying your purpose—why your community exists and how it improves residents’ lives. This purpose-driven branding resonates more deeply, creating a stronger emotional and rational appeal to families and residents.

  5. Develop a Unique Personality and Voice:

    Establish a distinctive personality for your community that can consistently be communicated across all platforms. Whether your tone is elegant, cheerful, cultured, or simple, it should authentically represent your community. It should attract residents who feel a natural alignment with your character.

  6. Craft a Compelling Brand Story:

    A compelling brand story is crucial as it forms an emotional bridge between your community and potential residents. Your story should encompass the founding, evolution, and unique aspects of your community, told in a way that is engaging and relatable. This narrative should paint a picture of a community that is not just a residence, but a home.

  7. Design with Your Audience in Mind:

    Design elements should not only be aesthetically pleasing but also reflect the core values and personality of your brand. Whether it’s the color palette, typography, or layout designs, each should communicate the essence of your community to the target demographic. This enhances the overall brand experience.

  8. Integrate Your Brand Across All Platforms:

    Ensure that your branding is consistent across every interaction with your community—be it digital, print, or face-to-face. Consistent branding strengthens your identity and reinforces your community’s character, making it easier for potential residents to understand and recall your brand, thereby fostering trust and recognition.

The Emotional Pull of Branding

Much like the iconic Pepsi and Coke rivalry, where brand identity could triumph over taste, the branding for senior living should create a lasting emotional bond with residents. This connection is what will make your community stand out—not just as a living space but as a preferred lifestyle choice.

senior living two elderly people talking

Practical Benefits of Effective Branding

A well-established brand not only attracts residents but also enhances several other aspects of community management:

  • Staff Attraction and Retention: A robust and resonant brand draws potential residents. It also appeals to potential staff members who are aligned with the community’s values and culture. By promoting a positive, distinctive workplace environment that is clearly articulated through your brand, you enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty. This strong workplace identity helps in retaining talented staff who are critical to the daily operations and overall success of your community, making your facility a preferred employer in the sector.
  • Market Differentiation: In the highly competitive field of senior living, a distinct and well-articulated brand is essential for standing out.  Highlight your community’s unique features, specialized services, and exceptional care. This allows your brand to act as a beacon that draws attention in a saturated market. This differentiation strategy is not just about being different; it’s about being recognizably better in ways that matter to potential residents and their families, thereby significantly enhancing your community’s market visibility and appeal.
  • Resident Loyalty: The power of a strong brand extends beyond initial attraction to fostering deep, emotional connections with residents and their families. These connections are crucial as they can transform satisfied residents into vocal advocates for your community. A well-branded community that consistently delivers on its promises creates a loyal base of residents who are likely to share their positive experiences through word-of-mouth, greatly enhancing your community’s reputation and aiding in both retention and new resident acquisition.

Actualizing Your Brand

Working with a creative agency specializing in marketing tactics for senior living communities can elevate your branding effort. These professionals can provide the insights and expertise necessary to craft a distinctive brand that effectively communicates the unique values and experiences your community offers.

A Lasting Impression

Ultimately, your brand is more than just a marketing tool. It is a promise of quality, belonging, and an enriched lifestyle. By investing in comprehensive effective marketing strategies you are ensuring your community stands out in a competitive field. You are also building a foundation for meaningful and lasting relationships.

For those eager to enhance their community’s branding and market presence, we invite you to Contact Us for a free consultation. Together, we can develop a branding strategy that resonates well with your target audience and establishes your community as a leader in the senior living