As you ponder ways to build brand trust, be aware that the way we conduct business today is very different from a decade ago. The internet has revolutionized everything, with more people spending time online. Digital marketing has exploded in the past few years, and there is no sign of letting up. As long as people are getting online and shopping online, digital marketing can only get bigger.
People have to trust your brand enough to buy it and become loyal customers.
The pandemic has forced brands to re-strategize, with more people shopping online. However, most will only shop from brands they trust. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special report in 2020, 70% of consumers believe that brand trust is more important today than ever before. This belief cuts across all genders, age groups, and income levels.
What is brand trust?
Brand trust means how much confidence customers have in your products, services, or business as a whole. It reflects on your brand and whether it delivers consistently and stays loyal to its values. The way customers feel about your business is essential. It plays a significant role in building your reputation and your bottom lines.
Most people prefer shopping from a store they know and have built trust.
Advancement in technology means customers have more choices on where they shop. Shopping in an online store across the globe is not an issue. The question is, can they trust that business to deliver their items? How can they be sure that their problem will be solved and that their goods will not be delayed?
This is where you look to build brand trust. If the customers trust your brand, you have proven over time to be reliable and trustworthy.
Why is brand trust more important than ever?
There are millions of online stores. When you start an online store, you are not selling anything new under the sun, and your competitive edge can only come from building brand trust. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer says that people now trust businesses more than they trust the government, NGOs, and the media.
Brand trust has several benefits to your business:
Impacts customer buying decisions
Trust keeps bringing customers back to your brand. Customers who trust your brand will always choose you over other brands. Once you build brand trust, they become loyal and recurring customers, which increases their lifetime value.
Customers who trust your brand are more likely to tell others about it. Word-of-mouth advertisement is a powerful tool that drives more business. Satisfied customers will go out of their way to tell others about your brand and their experience. This type of marketing is a simple yet powerful reputation builder that will attract new business. In the Edelman Report, 78% said they would most likely repost or share content from their trusted brand, recommend it to others and defend it from critics.
Satisfied customers will keep coming back. They will remain loyal, and no matter the types of storms your business faces, they will keep it afloat by coming back time and again. 75% in the Edelman report said they would buy from the brand, even if their products were not cheap. 46% said that they trusted most of the brands they purchased.
In the aftermath of the global pandemic, people expect brands to take a stance and inspire hope for the future, advocate for more change and use their brand to better society. Brands have to steer clear of rapid responses and think long-term. Brand trust sustenance is a conversation that needs to be had every quarter for at least the next five years.
Build brand trust through digital marketing
Once upon a time, all a business needed for it to thrive was an easily recognizable brand. Today’s consumer demands trust before they can buy. The internet has changed consumers' outlook on things. They can easily search for brand information online before they purchase, and most do. They have to look for reasons why they should trust your brand before investing their cash in your products or services.
You can build trust via digital marketing in several ways, including:
Evaluate brand sentiment
Brand sentiment is a critical metric you need to watch. When you focus on the numbers, you only get a shallow perspective of things. Just because your brand gets many mentions online does not mean it is doing well. These mentions could be, in reality, bad reviews from customers.
Evaluating your brand sentiment determines the attitude or feeling toward your product, brand, or services.
Analyzing brand sentiment is made easy via media monitoring tools. With these tools, people tend to express their opinions via social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s impossible to search for all mentions manually and evaluate them, making media monitoring tools the best way to assess brand sentiment.
These tools analyze all your online brand mentions. This gives you valuable insights into how potential customers perceive your brand. The tools determine whether the mention’s sentiment is negative, neutral, or positive. However, a computer cannot detect nuances in a language such as sarcasm, so the tool cannot give you 100% analysis. It gives you a general overview of the sentiment.
Make your company mission clear
Your mission statement should define your brand’s business, objectives, and how you intend to reach the set goals. Your brand’s mission is the business’s foundation. This mission sets you apart from your competitors and defines how you value your clients. Other than stating what you do, you need a well-written and concise mission statement.
This goes a long way in making your brand more authentic and gives it a human face.
Consumers are already bogged down with online adverts. It becomes a challenge to connect with potential customers organically. Your mission statement should guide your marketing strategies. Build a brand voice that customers can relate to.
Understand customer behavior
Knowing your customers better allows you to get more business. When you understand your customer, you know how to give them better service. As a result, you forge good customer relationships. When you understand customer behavior, you can identify their purchase patterns or preferences, which allows you to anticipate their expectations and needs. You can do this by:
Tracking the customers' behavior In real-time
You can only track the customers’ behaviors with tools that can give you a glimpse into their behavior in real-time. You can invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) tool that allows you to view and analyze their activities in depth.
Categorize your customers
Tagging the customers in one general group leads to cross-selling campaigns with no tangible results. Understand how to separate the customers and on what parameters. Group them in purchase frequency, type of products they buy, geographical location, etc.
Once you have the categories, it is now easier to create precise cross-selling and marketing campaigns. The messages in the campaigns are targeted at specific categories and drive value for your brand and the customers.
Encourage user-generated content or reviews
Today, most customers are millennials, and they are on social media discussing their favorite brands. This is crucial for any company trying to build brand trust. User-generated content is an excellent opportunity for your brand to show how real-life people use your products and build brand confidence.
Ensure you share the customer endorsements on your social media handles. You can also have the content featured on your website’s testimonials page. Other than your regular customers, allow other trusted sources to vouch for you. You can showcase your collaboration with other brands, share photos and videos from reputable sources, and use influencers in your industry to push your agenda.
Provide valuable content
In digital marketing, content is everything. Quality content on your blog, social media, or company website can do a lot by setting you up as a thought leader and authority in your industry. Before you write any content, do due diligence and check what your competitors are posting. Find gaps in their content and write content that will fill these gaps. Your content should be engaging, more detailed, and generally better than your competitors.
Stick to the 80/20 rule of content creation. 80% of the content should be non-promotional and impart valuable information, and 20% talk about your brand. This engages the customer and tells them they come first. Remember this when creating a video, writing a blog post, or posting on social media.
Have a solid, active presence on social media to engage with customers
When customers have an issue and raise it on your social media page or website, you have to be at hand to respond. Chatbots can be a part of the solution, and customers like to get prompt replies. A social media presence is beneficial for projecting your brand voice. Clients will be happy that someone listens to their problems and works on a solution as fast as possible.
Respond to your reviews
When you encourage reviews, you demonstrate that you value your customers’ opinions. You cannot please everyone, and there will be negative reviews. Responding with transparency can turn a potentially ugly situation around into a favorable one. If you mess up, do not hesitate to own up and apologize. Customers will be happy with your honesty and your willingness to rectify the mistake.
Initiate and participate in industry conversations
When you initiate and participate in industry conversations, you will be recognized as an authority in your field. You will also be recognized as an industry thought leader. Ensure you are knowledgeable and have done your research to impart useful and accurate information.
Take advantage of customer testimonials
As mentioned, customer testimonials can act as proof of your trustworthiness. Post the testimonials on your website testimonials page. Most customers read testimonials before they can fully trust a brand. If they find unbiased feedback on your website, all the more is why they should trust your brand.
Share trustworthy links
Links are a crucial asset. They connect your business with the online community. The links you share should always lead to reputable sites. Your content posts should refer to sources that provide curated content. Branded links will serve you well on social media as they give your followers a clue of what they are about to click.
Branded links have a custom domain name with a keyword in its slash tag. When you associate reputable links with your brand, your followers know you will never lead them to phishing sites or spam. This trust can boost your click-through rates by a huge margin.
Be transparent and keep promises
Customers need brands to be honest and transparent in their actions. You can show your customers how truthful you are by turning away potential clients that are not a good fit for your brand. This demonstrates your integrity and shows you are not only after money but service-oriented. Honesty creates a good impression on customers.
Keep your promises to clients — they will remember it and keep coming back because they already know they can trust you to keep your word.
Partner with authoritative brands
Partnering with authoritative brands has significant value in building brand trust. It sends a powerful message to your customers that they can also trust your brand. A brand partnership is an agreement between two brands to use both brand names in an alliance.
This tells your customers that you are an authority in your field, and they can trust you to deliver what you promise. Your brand also gets a more extensive customer base from the alliance partner, who will trust you because a brand they trust believes in you.
Own up to your mistakes
No brand is perfect. When your brand makes a mistake, own the mistake and apologize to your customers. Your loyal customers will not run. Instead, they will empathize with you and appreciate that you have owned up to your mistake. Trying to defend your brand when an error has happened only serves to make things worse.
Ensure your site is secure
Website security is crucial in building brand trust. In this era of cyber-attacks, the first thing you need to do is ensure your website is HTTPS (hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). An HTTP URL sends a signal that it is not safe. Remember customers submit sensitive data over your site, especially when they make purchases. If they realize your site is not secure, they will not trust you
Use trust badges on your site to make it more trustworthy. Trust badges are symbols on your site that tell visitors that your site is legitimate. It also assures them that all there is collected data via secure and reputable third-party providers. Having the PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, etc., badges as payment options on your site can increase trust levels in visitors.
Allow your team some time in the spotlight
In the attempt to make your brand more human, it pays to allow your team to shine. Let the consumers know your team members and enable them to put faces to the names. This fosters a good relationship. Include a “Meet the Team” page and allow the team to shine in the spotlight. Post the good reviews left by clients about each team member. It builds trust and boosts morale among your team.
Use social proof on your website
Social proof comes in the form of testimonials and positive client reviews. This goes a long way in attracting new business to your brand. As mentioned earlier, customers trust reviews and opinions from other customers than they do your content.
Most consumers read at least ten reviews before trusting a brand. About 70% of consumers research by looking at several review sites, so it pays to use multiple sites for your brand as social proof.
Keep your brand consistent
Never go off-message. It will destroy the brand you are working hard to build. Keep your brand colors, log, personality, and tone consistent from day one. Consistency is significant in building brand recognition and awareness.
People should recognize your brand immediately they see it. For example, the Apple signature of a bitten apple is recognizable everywhere you go. When you go to any country globally, you will get the same product quality as the origin country. This is consistency. They have never changed anything about their brand, and it is easily recognizable anywhere.
In an increasingly technological world, building brand trust has become a crucial part of online businesses. A consumer has to trust your brand before they part with their money, and it is up to you to build their trust in you. Your brand is not what you declare it is. Instead, it is what consumers say it is.
If all you get are negative reviews, your business will fail.
Come up with strategies that will cultivate brand trust. Positive customer experiences ensure that your clients become loyal and recurring customers that refer you to others. Foster relationships by creating an authentic and human face that customers can relate to. Once you build that trust, ensure you maintain it by being honest and owning up when you make mistakes.