Last week we discussed influencer marketing and how it all works to generate buzz for your brand. But how do you know when you are talking to the right people? On the right channels? At the right time?
And what are touchpoints? Touchpoints are the places your brand makes contact with your audience. They are points where an influential action takes place where there is some sort of communication, human contact, or physical/sensory interaction. If you are just starting out, you may want to look at the overall touchpoints in your industry to see what your competitors are doing and where the general audience goes for information and purchase to get a sense of your own strategic foundation.
Mapping out your touchpoints simply means laying it all out there in a clear path. There are three stages in your touchpoint mapping: Before purchase, during purchase, and after purchase. For our purposes, we are going to focus on the before purchase touchpoints to find out where you can utilize influencers in your outreach strategy, however, you should never ignore your full customer experience. All points of the purchase cycle are important!
On a broad spectrum, before purchase touchpoints could include Social media, ratings & reviews, testimonials, word of mouth, community involvement, advertising, and marketing/PR. During purchase touchpoints might include human-to-human conversation and in-store signage, while after purchase could include email or phone call follow up, a dedicated customer forum, or social media.
What it all boils down to is how you build a relationship with a customer. Long-term relationships are great in business, so you want to make sure you get started on the right foot at the before purchase stage.
It’s never about you. Period.
The key to mapping out your influencer touchpoints is to make it about your customer, not about you. So put yourself in your customer’s shoes and start asking the right questions. At the before purchase stage, you might ask questions such as:
- Do I have a problem that needs to be solved or a need to be fulfilled?
- Where do I go to get info to solve my problem? (ie. search, forums, website, mobile)
- What is the deciding factor in my purchase decisions? (ie. Yelp reviews, Social media chatter)
- Who influences my decision most? (family? Friends? Third party review sites?)
Landing on your influential touchpoints
There are three basic steps to finding your focal touchpoints to include in your influencer strategy.
This is where you learn all you can about your audience and their behaviour. Find out where they like to get information, where they hang out socially, and any influential groups that stand out. Remember that not all of your target audience will experience your brand in the same way. Break your target audience down into smaller groups (segments) to look at all of the different behaviours that will affect how you reach your audience
Step 2: Map your customer journey through purchase process
After you have learned all you can about your audience segments, create a purchase pathway identifying any place your audience would come in contact with your brand. This would be the most time consuming
Step 3: Identify your most influential touchpoints
Have a look at your before purchase touchpoints and identify key moments of influence you can focus on in your outreach strategy. These will become the best ways for you connect with your target audience. Once you have selected your focal touchpoints, you can set out to find influencers who you can tap into to help you reach a broader audience at those touchpoints.
Making the most of your influencer touchpoints
Here are a three things you should remember as you are building your influencer strategy:
- Quality over quantity: This is why I suggest creating two lists of influencers, your first choice and your second choice. There are so many factors that go into building a campaign that sometimes you can only reach out to a small group, whether it’s because of budget, space limitations, product/service limitations, etc. Wouldn’t it be best to reach your ideal influencer in that small group? You will find that you will have a better influencer experience for your brand if they are the best fit for you. Sometimes if you reach out to everybody and their dog, you might still only get your top choice influencers who respond because they are ultimately the best fit for your brand.
- Align your brand promise with the experience: A blogger isn’t going to want to talk about your brand in a positive way if they’re not impressed by what you have to offer. You have to consider the entire process and aim to impress along the way. From your initial contact, to the receiving of the product, to the follow up, it has to be about making a great impression. For example, if you have a great product but you don’t invest in the packaging, then you have lost your chance at a good first impression, which can be hard to overcome!
- Don’t be afraid to create your own influencers: Sure, it’s great to have a blogger write about you to their thousands and thousands of followers, but what about a smaller, but captive, audience? You might find that happy customers are your greatest asset if you empower them to become brand ambassadors. You would do this by creating a great brand experience and then give them a platform or reason to tell their story.