In Brand We Trust

Patti RennerWhen you read the industry articles and news lately, much of the focus seems to center around optimization for mobile, and Big Data, and analytical strategies to increase conversions. Those things certainly are important. However, when you dim the lights and lower the volume to meditate upon a singular focus, I suggest the mantra of your digital marketing be Trust. Let me explain.
Trust is the basis of any good relationship. As marketers, we make promises with our messaging. We promise specific solutions to our customer’s problems. We promise to make their life easier, healthier, or happier. We want the customer to come to us and we will take care of them. Even the marketing for a pack of gum promises better relationships thanks to fresh breath! As marketers crafting digital dialogues between buyers and brand, it’s critical to make sure your messaging across channels maintains the initial integrity and expectations of what your brand promises to deliver. A weak link in the chain can sometimes cause some serious damage without you even realizing it.

Digital marketing, such as email, SMS and customized website content, are powerful tools when it comes reminding your audience that you will deliver on promises made. Here are a few suggestions and reminders to enhance the level of trust. This is important because if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you – especially online. They also won’t refer others to you, “like” you, share you, and you could end up spending more trying to attract new business instead of doing more with those who already know you. In other words, trust is money.

Here are three things to look at in your own campaigns to make sure they’re true-blue solid.

  1. Trust and Understanding – Do your customers feel like you know them as individuals? If not, they need to. Use the information you have to establish a higher level of trust with your audience. To really understand them, you need to use your data (attributed to things like their individuals preferences, searches, clicks, and purchase history) to speak to them with real relevance. If you know that 80% of the time they purchase a specific brand from your store, targeting them with savings for that line, or sharing “new this season” inventory updates shows that you “get” them. Your messaging will be more appreciated since it’s tailored to their needs. But to do that, you need to get your data compiled into one place so you have that comprehensive view of the customer to make this possible.
  2. Trust and Honesty – Keeping your customers “in the loop” can help boost trust within the brand relationship. Giving them the information they need can help provide a deeper level of customer service. For instance, you might consider using SMS to share service delays or delivery alerts. Your transactional emails should include complete details on shipping, plus links to videos of assembly instructions. Abandoned cart data can be matched with future savings alerts, to show you’re looking out for them and their interests, to save them a couple of bucks (if worded properly). Follow up post-purchase emails can invite them to continue to engage your brand even after the sale, sharing true concern over their overall experience.
  3. Trust and Integrity – Say what you’re going to do, then do what you’ve said. It’s not that complicated, really. This is where consistency across channels becomes very important. If your emails are targeting one promise and your display ads another and the website lead image a third, it may appear like you don’t have your customer’s real interests at heart. And if a large number of customers are on their iPhone to view your email, but the link takes them to the home page of your mobile site instead of the landing page for the promotion, you have issues. Deliver what you promised according to their channel of choice – not yours. After all, if you couldn’t get their mobile click right, what makes them think you’ll be able to handle their online order? Consistency of a quality brand experience across digital touchpoints is essential.

Trust can often win out over best price when it comes to online sales. Now that you have this reminder about its value, I suggest you take some time before the rush of Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping to test the conversations people may be having with your brand. Walk through a few scenarios to see just how each person might be handled, and how you might do better.

So, what do you do to enhance the level of trust with your customers? We’d love to hear more from you.

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