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How to influence the influencers

And generate more sales as a result

Recently, I was taking my
significant other out to dinner when she asks me where I want to go. My answer,
like any reasonable gentleman, was “wherever you’d like to go is fine by me.”

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Then it struck me – though I
was picking up the check, she made
the decision based on what pleased her.

Those moments happen all the
time, and can greatly influence buying habits and, often times, be the driving
force behind the rapid adoption of new products. Take my company, TV Ears (www.tvears.com), for instance. A significant
percentage of our customers buy our doctor-recommended assisted listening
devices because their family and friends have told them in no uncertain terms
how tired they are of being blown out of the living room because the television
volume is turned up too loud. In several cases, spouses of our customers tell
us that the product has literally saved their marriage!

So while not always the
dominant reason for the purchase, the buyer’s circle of friends and confidants
can be a big factor in why people ultimately open up their purse strings.

Influencers are an essential
target audience in our marketing strategy, and I would bet that other companies
do the same. I’ve found, however, that this is easier said than done, and due
care and consideration for how best to communicate with them is essential if
sales are to rise. In order to prevent others from reinventing the wheel, I thought
I’d offer the three questions I try to answer when setting up a new promotion initiative
for this specific group:

  • How do
    the influencer’s pain points differ from the buying customer?
    Though the outcome may be the same, the
    perspective could be much different. In the case of TV Ears, the value to
    the influencer is one of providing peace, harmony and, in some cases,
    marital bliss! For the buyer it most likely means hearing the television
    more clearly.
  •  What
    are the key factors in an influencer’s selection of one product over a
    rival?
    Depending on the
    individual, the overarching question may have as much to do with
    convenience and appearance as it does feature and function. Regardless,
    understanding these nuances and answering to them could make the difference
    between landing a sale and losing one.
  •  How
    does the influencer like to hear about such products?
    Now that I know what the pain points are and
    the factors that influencers will include in their purchasing decision, I
    must understand how best to communicate with them. For instance, if my
    main customers for TV Ears are married men over 50, advertising to the always
    influential woman of the house will probably be more effective if we stay
    away from the Sports sections of the newspapers. That’s certainly not to
    say that the wives aren’t interested in such topics, but chances are,
    they’re reading other sections more frequently and the awareness factor
    will rise more rapidly if I cater to their habits more effectively.

The level of effort to
specifically reach out to influencers may be higher, but experience tells me
the return is far greater. Communicating with those that the customer holds in
high regard can be almost as good as word of mouth referrals. That’s why it’s a
big part of our marketing initiative, and, as a result, our sales.