Business landscapes have undergone an immense change in recent times, but the value of a great first impression remains, although they’re just as important or more important than ever before. So, making impressions count, not just gaining impressions is important as you must motivate those who see your posts to take actions that benefit your brand, such as clicks, subscriptions, or engagement that helps support your SEO and amplifies your message so it reaches new users. As you can see in the Pinterest data from one of my clients, impressions aren’t enough to support your brand’s performance. Notice that the second most popular pin in terms of impressions actually outperforms the first pin as it achieves more clicks (and features a much higher click-through rate [CTR]) and is repined 5 times versus none for the most receiving the most impressions. It also achieved a like. Thus, in evaluating your marketing strategy, the insight from this data suggests you should create more pins that look like the second.
Many companies fall into the trap of over-complicating the process of making impressions count. Now is the time to take things back to basics so you can improve your brand’s performance. Focus on the five simple steps, and you will see noticeable improvements.
Making impressions count
An impression is the number of times your ad or content appeared on screen, while reach refers to the number of users who saw your ad or content. Different social platforms use different ways to assess reach and impressions, although the two metrics are nearly the same when you account for things like adblocking software and other features that limit the actual display of your content to a user. These are called viewable impressions.
Making impressions count means urging users to act based on your content. While each piece of content stands alone when it comes to gaining impressions, making impressions count relies on both the text and images used to construct each individual piece of content and the sum of your content marketing strategy. If you post fresh, valuable content on a consistent basis, you improve your reach while also increasing frequency. It’s the frequency that drives action over time rather than the content of an occasional post. Experts suggest it takes three impressions for users to recognize your message, five to seven impressions to get a user to remember your name, and seven to eleven touches to motivate action, such as a click.
As you can see, gaining impressions is the name of the game but it takes multiple impressions to achieve success. That said, a positive first impression is five times more effective than a neutral impression while negative impressions might take a long time to fade away. The take-home message from this discussion is that making impressions count means creating positive first impressions and generating content consistently to increase the number of impressions over time.
Let’s get into five ways you can create content that makes impressions valuable.
1 – Use social proof
While fancy marketing gimmicks can spark interest in the brand, modern consumers are savvy. They won’t always fall for your ad campaigns just based on your posts touting the benefits of your product. The majority of consumers read testimonials and reviews to see what others say about your products before buying. In fact, 87% of respondents to a recent survey used product reviews as a factor in making a purchase decision, as you can see below.
Once they see that your company is trustworthy and that others view your products favorably, conversions soar.
Influencer marketing also rests on notions of social proof. When influencers recommend products, especially when those endorsements appear heartfelt, it improves brand awareness, engenders trust in the brand, and increases purchase intentions. The best results are unlocked when this act is supported by testimonials, positive reviews, and affiliate schemes that also provide social proof.
There are other ways to achieve social proof, such as displaying a counter of cumulative sales. Mcdonald’s used this strategy very effectively in the early days by displaying the number of hamburgers sold prominently on their signage.
2 – Be socially responsible
As well as monitoring what others say about the brand, modern consumers want to know you share the values they hold dear. People now want to align themselves with brands that share similar views on a wide range of social topics including climate change, employee support and fairness, making ethically-responsible purchase decisions, and even sharing their religious or political beliefs. In today’s climate, social responsibility is one of the most important issues that your business will be judged on, as you can see below.
From using rainwater tanks that reduce water needs and solar energy to power your business, your efforts drive purchases for the large percentage of consumers who are belief-driven. Meanwhile, consumer-facing items like greener packaging supplies can turn people into loyal clients.
3 – Train your staff
Thanks to the growing presence of digital channels, many brands forget the need for human interaction. The fact is that people still buy people. Therefore, it’s vital that you hire great sales employees and train them accordingly. When they provide a friendly and consistent service, the results are phenomenal.
Crucially, you need to treat each customer as a person. Listening to their issues and matching the right products to their needs is a hugely important skill. Your sales team and other customer-facing employees represent your brand to consumers and, when they act in a responsible manner, are helpful, and knowledgeable, consumers want to buy from you.
4 – Invest in great customer experiences
By now, you should know the effect of customer experiences on everything from SEO to purchase intentions. In fact, most consumers happily pay more for a better UX (user experience). The effects of a poor customer experience can damage your brand and cost you sales, as you can see below.
Meanwhile, many people actively reach out to the business before they make a purchase to understand if your product is right for them. Providing superior customer service with multiple contact options, including an online chatbot available 24/7, goes a long way toward improving sales. People want immediate answers, even if it simply means gaining clarity about how you will rectify an issue. Avoiding customer care mistakes should, therefore, get a lot of attention and planning. Because once you lose clients, they will not return.
5 – Build brand awareness
Smart ads might not win over clients by themselves. But your brand cannot succeed if nobody knows of its existence. Many marketers agree that brand awareness is now their #1 goal. So, you need to invest in SEO so you show up in search for related terms and a strong social media strategy, including a focus on engagement. These tactics help prospective buyers find you online.
While a great first impression won’t always lead to conversion, bad ones can end your hopes before you’ve even started. Use each of the aforementioned ideas, and this will no longer be an issue.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.