There are many recognizable brands out there, a lot of people interact with them, and many genuinely like them. But if consumers don’t trust your brand, they’re not gonna buy from you. Of course, trust isn’t the only important factor when it comes to building your brand - there are dozens of equally important factors such as engagement and visibility - but it should be your major priority when it comes to customer acquisition and buying decisions.
If you want your customers to make a purchase from you, they need to be able to trust you. When you accomplish this, you can also boost the lifetime value of each customer and even command a higher price. So you need to make them trust in the accuracy of your messages, that the things you sell are exactly what you say they are, and, in case anything goes wrong with the transaction, that you’ll be there to support them.
But you can’t build this trust in a vacuum. If you want to become the go-to provider in your niche, you need to be able to deliver your promises on time, you need to understand your buyer personas, and remain consistent in your messaging. All this has one single goal - to provide customers with the proof that they’re trustworthy. Since a big name alone is not enough to ensure a strong customer base anymore, you need to give them a reason to choose your brand in this vast sea of competition.
Looking at that competition growing larger every second, the problem is that you can’t use any gimmicks to establish trust in your brand quickly. If you create negative associations in consumers’ minds, all the advertisements in the world won’t be able to undo that. You can’t trick trust out of people, and you surely can’t force it down their throats - you have to earn it in a natural way. On the other hand, wait times for trust to spread organically can be pretty lengthy and most of the modern brands can’t afford that. That’s why we’ve prepared some proactive strategies which will enable you to secure and solidify trust among your customers early on.
1. Make Them Feel Safe
This is definitely the first step and the most important one. Even if you’re not using an e-commerce platform to sell your goods, they’ll still need to visit your website and the amount of safety they experience there plays a vital role in how much they’ll trust your brand. You mustn’t allow them to suspect your platform is unsafe, which will happen if your checkout process is hard to follow and clunky, or if you spam them with advertising. Incorporate trust seals to increase their trust, use only trusted payment options, and enhance your security with basic SSL protection.
If you succeed in establishing yourself as a trusted brand, consumers will reward you with their personal data, which means you’ll be able to persuade them much more easily to subscribe to your newsletter or to set up an account. Since these processes involve surrendering their email addresses, you’ll need to have prepared policies in writing that their information will be secure and that it won’t be shared with any third-party. With continuous data breaches, these days the consumer’s faith in the safety of their information is all shaken up, so it’s crucial to do everything in your power to make them feel their information is safe in your hands.
Their safety is completely intertwined with the safety of your business, so intellectual property protection is also crucial when it comes to building trust. Furthermore, everything must look legitimate - not only your website but your whole business operations. That’s why it’s also mandatory to have a registered trademark which will provide you with exclusive granted rights to your brand. Basically, it is a confirmation that you are what you say you are. As professionals from Actuate IP constantly point out, the power of trademark doesn’t lie only in legal protection, but in the fact that it clearly distinguishes your goods and services from those of competitors.
2. Make The Most of Social Networks
It’s important to be active on social networks for numerous reasons - it’s the most efficient way to attract followers, those who you’ve already attracted are provided with a better feel of ʽwhoʼ exactly your brand is, and this leads to overall visibility boost. As you can see, this side of your brand is all about gaining numbers, so the more frequently you expose it, the faster you’ll be able to build trust. Social networks offer you a great deal of flexibility - you can update customers with information and news, post videos and images, engage with new and existing followers, syndicate onsite content, etc. With this kind of possibilities, all you need to do is to be present on numerous social platforms and remain active.
3. Focus on Content
In order to harvest all the benefits of social networks, you’ll need to pay extra attention to your content. The need to create and promote relevant and high-quality content is nothing new, but using it for building trust requires a newer focus. The trick is to establish yourself as a thought leader and, in order to do this, you need to provide your readers with content which addresses their problems and gives them real solutions, strategies, and tips - it is the only way to solidify yourself as a valuable resource. They won’t even think about buying from your brand if you don’t fully convince them that you know what you’re talking about.
The most common mistake which business owners make is that their content comes from promotional or sales place, which automatically ruins its credibility. Your content needs to be educational and authentic, and its focus shouldn’t be on selling your services but entirely on helping the user. If you create it this way, it becomes incredibly effective at building consumer trust.
Furthermore, proper content marketing can solidify your brand’s identity. This is very important since modern consumers want to know who you are as a brand - they wish to know voices and faces behind it. If readers are easily able to recognize you through the content you create you’ll develop a consistent identity which is crucial for building trust. Consistent messaging across all channels will reinforce your core values, so make sure that your content reflects those values, and that your communication is consistent with all the channels sounding like you.
4. Let Them Create Content For You
There are not many things more powerful in building trust that user-generated content. People trust other people, but sometimes it takes more than a face to convey trust and authority. We live in times when online reviews have become equally efficient as personal recommendations. Nearly 90% of people will consult these reviews before buying, at least on an occasional basis. Testimonials can also take you a long way, but they’ve received a ʽbad rapʼ in the past due to the fact that many companies have been creating their own which they’ve just posted on their sites. Modern consumers have become too smart for that, which is why it’s important to do it right. You need to provide your consumers with links to trusted review sites and offer them an incentive for posting reviews there. After that, there’s no problem in posting those reviews on your own site since they’ve come from a trusted source. As long as they’re genuine, you can include reviews and testimonials in your social media feeds, landing pages, and ads, which will provide you with an instant way to win trust. You can additionally boost this with stories and photos of your happy customers.
5. Maintain Transparent Communication & Availability
We can all agree that communication is a base skill for success, but still, many business owners make the mistake of leaving their customers in the dark. Of course, there can be an issue such as over-communication, but the general rule is that the more you talk with customers, the better. Nonetheless, not any kind of talking will do the trick - your communication with customers needs to be completely transparent when it comes to your business processes and goals. It needs to be honest, too, which means you should also respond to negative reviews with an apology and admission of failure, or make public posts if your shipments have been delayed. It doesn’t have to be good happy news in order to earn respect if you’re being honest and direct. On the other hands, if you’re neglecting the communicative side of the relationship or withholding details all the trust you’ve built will fall apart.
Of course, this communication postulates mustn’t remain a theory - you need to be available to your customers all the time, allowing and encouraging the interaction with you. They often have questions and if they have nowhere to get them answered, or at least not in a timely manner, that could shatter your credibility and trust with it. You need to provide them with multiple lines of contact, so make sure you include phone numbers and live chat on your landing pages, and even consider giving your personal number to some clients in case of emergency.
6. Watch Your Promises and Deliveries
The main reason why customers don’t trust brands nearly as they used to lies in the fact that today there are many lies involved. These don’t have to be straightforward or intentional lies, but any time customers feel they’ve been manipulated or deceived in any way, they won’t hesitate to part ways with the brand responsible. That’s why it’s crucial to be careful with your promises and to try to over-deliver when it comes to customer expectations. If you think that the shipment will take a week, tell them it’ll take two. If you think that the lifespan of a product is 10 years, claim it is eight. That way you’ll never risk breaking your promises.
At the same time, work on the reliability of your products and their deliveries. Make sure your product managers are up to date with the latest industry standards. Making sure that customers will be impressed with the quality of the product when it arrives on their doorstep is not a small task, but it’s a crucial one to justify the purchase.
7. Nurture Personality
Making your brand more personal will also boost the trust of customers since it will make it seem more human than corporate, changing their impressions of you for the better. You should strive towards this in both - your regular interactions with clients and customers, and in your advertising and marketing. Instead of using formulaic responses and scripts, you should encourage your employees to engage customers like real people and speak from the heart. The fact is that people really want to know who you are, and ʽabout usʼ page is just not enough. You also need strong storytelling across your social media accounts where you’ll feature your team members individually, encourage them to tweet about company events and celebrations, add some inspiration and humor to the mix. It’s also good to find some cause which your company will support - if you receive any community awards, post them in big ways. It all comes down to building a personal connection with your audience.
Not that these seven strategies are not some magic formula. While they can work instantly, the results will stick only if you’re looking to build trust in the long term, which means you need to be consistent in their practice. Applying them early on will certainly get you headed in the right direction, so all you need to do is to stay on the path.
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