It’s a small world, after all.
Though global population continues to expand, our connectivity is growing even faster. In 2019, the number of internet users worldwide stood at 4.13 billion, which means more than half of the global population is connected to the world wide web. The percentage of US adults who use social media increased from 5% in 2005 to 79% in 2019. And experts estimate most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.
While the internet is a lifeline, it has also exposed the misbehavior and greed of many of the pillars we count on, leading to a unique paradox: today, more people are connected and fewer are trusted.
In this vacuum of mistrust, marketers find themselves on one of three paths:
1 — Ignored
2 — Sneaking around
3 — Trusted
If you’re ignored, you can’t get far because you won’t earn much attention OR trust.
If you’re sneaky, you may gain followers, but not for long.
The third path – trust – is the only one that brings long-term benefits.
A trusted marketer earns loyalty by making promises, keeping them, and earning more loyalty. When the circumstances are right, that loyalty can become word-of-mouth recommendations or even tribal affiliation to your product or brand.
In a world that scans instead of reads, the best way to earn trust is through action. People remember what you did long after they forget what you said. When asked for a refund on a defective product, what do you do? When it comes to marketing, do your products hold up to the claims you make about them? When overloaded with new clients, do you put loyal customers on the back burner?
In a world of impersonal connections, you need to spend less time talking and more time doing: serving one customer at a time, day by day. Want to grow the currency of trust in your business? Consider options like these:
Make sure your customers feel safe when they shop with you.
Even if you aren’t selling your products online, customers will still visit your website, and the amount of safety they feel can play a significant role in how much they trust your brand.
People live online, and today many consumers equate a strong social media presence with relational authority.
The more active your brand’s social media pages are, the more likely it is that new customers will trust you. Equip your pages with striking images, company bio and contact info, and interactive content that meets customer needs. The higher your engagement, the deeper your relational roots will grow.
Any time a customer feels deceived or manipulated, they’re likely to abandon your brand.
Don’t overestimate your capabilities! If it takes you a week to ship a product, tell your customers it takes two. If a product will last for 10 years, claim it will last eight. Happy customers are loyal customers; surprise them by going above and beyond what you’ve promised.
Treat your brand like it’s your business’s personality, giving it character and life.
Don’t use scripts and formulaic responses; instead, encourage employees to speak from the heart, engaging customers like real people. This small change makes your brand seem more human than corporate, and can drastically influence positive impressions.
Make sure your customers have multiple lines of contact for you at all times — and if you have a dedicated account representative, give your clients that person’s cell phone number in case of an emergency.
Finally, be consistent. The more consistent you are with your service and your brand, the more loyal your customers will be – and the stronger your reputation will grow.