The better way to sell online

Influence vs. awareness

When it comes to business, influence and awareness aren’t the same. Many businesses pour love and energy into marketing campaigns designed to increase brand awareness. And while brand awareness - how many people know you exist - is a valuable metric, it alone won’t guarantee you sales.

Upon simple reflection, you might be able to name many brands for different products. The question is, who do you ultimately purchase from, and why?

The trick isn’t simply to get your name into the ears and memories of customers, it’s to position yourself as an expert, stay aware of trends, and continuously innovate.

Here are four ways you can influence your customers, in order to keep them invested in you.

1. Create calls to action.

Placing your product in front of someone may make them aware of you, but unless you prompt them to act, they may not respond.

You can influence customer action in a number of ways, such as creating challenges, inviting them to explore your ShopFactory website, or by offering them free downloadable ebooks or manuals.

When somebody comes across your product or advertisement, what do you want them to do?

A basic example is that of children's toys, which frequently plaster invitations for engagement all over the packaging. Cut out holes allow children to pull the tails of dinosaurs or press buttons which result in speech, which creates a 'this is fun and I want it' feeling.

By taking this concept and applying it to your marketing, you can influence behaviour. What might your customers enjoy doing, or want to engage with? How can you package it in an appealing way to make them not just click away, but engage?

2. Pursue innovation.

Customers are inherently curious: research shows that people across all age brackets can be tempted into trying out new products on the basis of different benefits.

By pursuing and promoting the innovation you are creating, you can influence customers into taking a closer look and purchasing your version of a product to try it out.

Innovating will also make you a better provider: by figuring out ways to streamline processes, improve quality, and come up with creative solutions to problems, you’ll become a stronger business.

3. Create emotional reactions.

Each piece of content you create, whether that’s an ad, a promotional video, or a blog post, should do one of three things:

  1. Educate or inform
  2. Prompt an action
  3. Inspire an emotional response

Each time someone engages with your business, they’re giving you time and energy. It’s your responsibility to ensure that they walk away each and every time feeling that they’ve gained something or felt something they wouldn’t have before.

By appealing to emotion, educating, and prompting activity you can influence behaviour; much more so than if customers visit your website and walk away feeling that they haven’t gained much at all.

4. Let yourself be influenced, too.

Influence is a two way street. Not only do you need to create calls to action, innovate, and prompt emotion, you need to let yourself be influenced too.

This means taking customer and employee feedback on board (your employees can be massive word of mouth assets, or reflect poorly on your business depending on their job satisfaction) and letting yourself learn from competitors and clients.

Which trends are you not a part of? Which new features are hitting the market? What are customers looking for? How can you increase the job satisfaction of your staff? What new materials are being touted as improvements on the old?

While being exclusively a copycat could spell a downfall for your business, listening and learning will help you grow an engaged customer base.


So while awareness is essential (people can’t buy if they don’t know you exist), influence is everything: so how can you prompt your customers to engage today?

- Lena Klein

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