Trustworthy brands put their existing customers at ease and give prospects a better chance of becoming loyal customers. This means that your company can attract new business, while still generating repeat business. Therefore, establishing trust with your clients and prospects is absolutely necessary if your business is to succeed.
A trustworthy brand puts potential customers at ease by attaching a strong positive emotion to itself. It is important to remember that when customers evaluate a particular brand, they use their emotions instead of objective data. How a brand makes them feel is more effective in building brand loyalty than information or facts about the business’s products or services.
Building brand loyalty however is very hard and delicate work – regardless of how compelling your content is or how well designed your landing pages and calls to action are, if your prospects doubt your credibility even a little bit, your bounce rates will explode. Trust takes a lot of time to build, but can be erased in an instant.
The professional services company Accenture carried out a customer loyalty study and found out that, “43% of subscribers left their current provider company when they lost trust in the brand”. This is especially true in the B2B space, where trustworthiness is essential if a professional relationship is to be built. When potential customers trust your brand, they won’t hesitate to use your products or services. B2B customers need to be certain that you are a reliable business that wants to create a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
And now, for the last hurdle for marketers: a study done by HubSpot Research found that only around 3% of people find salespeople and marketers trustworthy. Compare that to around 50% of people who find firefighters trustworthy! The only professions behind us are politicians, lobbyists and cars salespeople. So clearly we have our work cut out.
Of course there isn’t much that individual marketers can do to change the way people view the profession; a huge change in perception in society is needed for something like that, which is completely unrealistic. However, individual marketers can affect whether customers or prospects view a specific brand or business as trustworthy.
Building trust in your brand is a long process which involves many different factors. But one of the most important factors that influence your brand’s trustworthiness is content. Content is especially important in the early stages of your marketing efforts. Once you succeed in breaking the ice with a customer, then they are more likely to continue doing business with you.
So how do you build trust in your brand? Let’s take a look at some effective tips and techniques that will create deep and strong relationships between customers and your brand.
Providing valuable content for your prospects and customers is one of the most effective ways of building trust in your brand. Valuable content is simply content that assists your target audience to accomplish their goals, and hopefully start a “customer journey” that will ultimately lead to a purchase. Well written and useful blog posts are a good example of valuable content. If the reader is able to find a solution to an issue they’re facing after reading your blog post, then your copy has helped them achieve their goal.
The idea here is to post content that will not only rank well in organic search and get shared on social media, but it must portray your knowledge about the field. Bear in mind that this type of content should not be used for calls to action (CTAs) to entice a reader to buy your product or service. In other words, the content itself is not made with the explicit aim of making a sale. In fact, if you include a CTA in this type of content, it could very easily backfire on you. Most people instinctually hate the idea of “being sold to”, so once they notice this, you’ll lose credibility in their eyes.
Valuable content not only showcases your expertise, but portrays you as a business that has the customers’ best interests at heart.
Stand By Your Claims
When creating content, always check that you can back up the claims you’ve made. The credibility of your brand will strengthen among your prospects and customers. There are several ways to back up your claims. Firstly, do your own thorough research on a topic. This method can be even more effective if you use proprietary information which only you can access. Your readers will be impressed by your level of knowledge of a topic or industry.
Next, make reference to trusted sources in the field you’re writing about. So for instance, use HubSpot if you are producing content on digital marketing. Don’t hesitate to use quotes from experts in the field. Try to use quotes from trusted experts who are not related to your business-this will provide additional credibility to your brand.
Finally, use links to other trusted resources on the web to support your claims. You will have a double advantage: firstly, your expertise is reinforced by reliable sources. Secondly, not only will these links help your reader get a more in depth look at the topic, but they will help your SEO ranking. Search engines will notice a connection between your content and other trusted and well-respected content. This goes a long way in boosting your rankings.
You Have To Be On Brand
Being on brand essentially means being consistent throughout with your marketing and actions. Let’s say that what sets your business apart from the competition is the unrivaled commitment to customer service. Then you have to stick to this claim! That means engaging with prospects or customers on social media in a quick, friendly and professional manner. Don’t leave any questions unanswered on your brand’s Instagram account.
Or let’s say that you pride yourself on offering competitive prices. Then your business cannot make more expensive offers than other companies working in that market. You must stand by your brand’s message by checking, and then double checking that your online presence reflects those claims. Look for inconsistencies in all the places where your brand is present: from your webpage to social media accounts and emails. A consistent brand message will build trust with your prospects and customers. However, an inconsistent brand message will ruin your brand’s image. So pay close attention to your brand story!
When or if your business makes a mistake, you should resolve the issue as soon as possible. Always remember that 70% of consumers state that they read and trust online opinions and reviews. Therefore, a negative review about your business can significantly harm your brand’s reputation.
So, it’s important to first admit that an error has been made, and then to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue. Address your customers’ complaints promptly via proper channels. This can be done privately via private message, email or phone call or publicly through social media platforms or forums. We all make mistakes, and businesses are no different. And when you try to solve the problem, you prove to prospects and customers alike that your brand is truly dedicated to providing excellent products and service, instead of just making a sale.
Honesty truly is a cornerstone of a strong relationship. Be upfront with your prospects and customers about the business model you use and how your business generates revenue. Also, telling your audience what your product or service is both good for and not good for will cement you as a trustworthy company in the minds of people. You will prove to them that you’ve got absolutely nothing to keep from them, which gives your brand credibility.
Being dishonest in your marketing or content will very quickly hurt your reputation. And it’s almost impossible to regain it once you’ve lost it. It’s just best if you don’t play any games or tricks with your consumers; honesty is the best policy.
You will significantly increase the trustworthiness of your brand if you address social responsibility. Millennials are a demographic that takes social responsibility extremely seriously- two thirds of them are more likely to consider a brand that addresses social issues. Therefore, look for ways to incorporate social causes and philanthropy into your marketing campaign. Take a look at Microsoft’s YouthSpark for inspiration.
Add A Human Touch
Show your customers that there are wonderful people building your brand-it’s much simpler to establish relationships with prospects than it is with brands. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to give your brand a human touch! One of the first things your business should do is to give credit to the actual creators of content instead of the brand itself.
Giving credit to the content creator will act as a reminder to your prospect that actual people are working in your company. This will also boost self-confidence of your employees because they will be publicly rewarded for their content and will be portrayed as thought leaders.
Whenever possible avoid using stock photos on your pages. While it may seem simpler and easier just to use generic photos, you won’t give your brand a human touch. It is always significantly better to use photos of your real coworkers and team members-authentic photos will always be better received by potential customers and are guaranteed to be better performers.
And while we’re on the topic of visual content, don’t be afraid to use videos as well. Videos are an extremely effective way of establishing personal relationships with your prospects. You don’t have to worry about learning to use complex software to make professional looking videos; literally anybody with a computer can create great looking videos.
Your brand will shed that cold and impersonal perception that people by nature have towards businesses by filming the people who work in your company. As a result, it will be much easier for your coworkers to turn prospects into clients because they’ll be able to create trusting relationships with them. The personalities of people who work in the company will become a part of the identity of the brand by adding that valued human aspect.
It may be one of the oldest tactics in the marketing handbook, but it still works incredibly well. Other people’s actions influence our own. Take advantage of the fact that over 90% of consumers rely on the recommendations of people close to them. If you are able to satisfy one customer enough for them to share their positive experience with your business on social media, your brand stands to gain an enormous amount of trust among that person’s inner group.
Never Neglect Your Existing Customers
Once you’ve turned a prospect into a customer, you should continue to nurture that customer. After all, you’ve invested so much work in building a reliable business that provides value to its customers. Therefore, closing a deal is not the end of the road. Successful brands continue to build trust with their existing customers by providing value to them and more importantly, by ensuring that customers are achieving their goals with the products or services they offer.
There is also another benefit to continuing to nurture your customers: you can turn them into willing and passionate promoters of your brand! Remember that happy and satisfied customers will reinforce the trustworthiness of your brand and attract more clients via referrals and testimonials. Your brand stands to gain so much by nurturing and looking after your clients.
Once you’ve built trust with a prospect who then becomes your customer, you then must work to ensure that trust is not lost. Your behavior with existing clients should not in any meaningful way be different than when they were only your prospects and you were working to build a strong bond with them.
Trust isn’t only a buzzword in the world of marketing. Trust is good for your brand and your business. Consumers today are more empowered, sophisticated and informed than ever before. As a result, they have become very particular about the brands with which they interact and the experiences they wish have as conscious consumers. This should not come as a surprise to marketers, because the move from outdated advertising towards inbound marketing that focuses on customers reflects this shift in society.