Level of Trust in Influencers Found Online

Sara Steever
August 30, 2011

Rural lifestylers turn to third-party verification of information, often online, before making a purchase decision. “If it is a major purchase, something that takes a little more thought, I jump on the Internet and I do my research first.” Our study revealed that of those surveyed half ask for product advice online, and of those that shop online, 99 percent read product reviews while 98 percent write product reviews.

MarketingProfs released findings on March 29, 2011 that provide insight on trusting online sources when making purchase decisions. Fifty-nine percent of consumers say online consumer reviews and ratings influence their buying decisions more than any type of online advertising. Fifty-four percent have decided to make a purchase based on an online review, while 58 percent of consumers did not buy a product based on an online review.

Whether it is advice or a product review, their decision-making process is being influenced by complete strangers with a common interest. The feedback we heard from our interviews confirms that rural lifestylers are savvy enough consumers to know if someone is spouting off, or if reviews are legitimate. They look closely at the source of the comment as well as the context of the site the comment is posted on.

The sales process does not necessarily end with a sale — it is just the beginning of the next sale. It is a continuous feedback loop between current customers and prospective customers. Build an advocate community of macro and micro influencers to support your brand in consumer reviews. Aspire for a handful of influencers who frequently share brand updates with friends versus merely having many with little value.

By recognizing rural lifestylers’ purchasing behaviors, create a user experience that matches their expectations, converts sales and builds relationships.

Read more on how rural lifestylers continue to embrace new technology, engage in social media and change the traditional sales process.

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