How a Shortage of Consumer Trust is Killing Your Marketing Efforts
The Big Trust:
Trust – it’s kind of a mystery, isn’t it? In some cases, it may feel as if you can trust a stranger after just one conversation, while it can take years to trust others, if ever. Consumer trust is arguably one of the most valuable assets an organization can have. However, many companies squander the trust they are given without ever realizing it. To grow your business it’s not only important that customers can trust you, but also that you know where their skepticism may lie. So how do we make sense of trust and put it to good use in our marketing efforts? Let’s begin with what trust is and work our way up.
The Evidence: Deciphering What’s Causes Trust
George MacDonald once said, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” Frankly, I’m inclined to agree. Trust is comprised of 5 elements, all of which speak volumes about you as an individual.
These 5 elements are:
1. Intent – Expressing intentions to act in good faith
2. Character – Being honest, trustworthy, and genuine
3. Transparency – Forthcoming and open, without hidden agendas
4. Competence – The capacity to do something successfully
5. Consistency – Being reliable and meeting obligations
These five qualities are the foundation for trust, and trust can’t exist without them. This is because humans use them as a safeguard against risk. When we are met with a situation that could end both positively or negatively, we begin to consider risk management. When the outcome is dependent on the actions of another person, we unconsciously decide whether we believe said person can achieve a positive outcome by looking for these five qualities. They are the best indicators of whether someone can, and will, do as they say.
The Ah-Ha: How It’s All Related
All of that may seem relatively intuitive, but it’s important to understand the intricacies of trust before you can properly apply them as a tool for building your business. The Three R’s of Marketing tell us reputation is the first step in increasing sales and building a brand alike. Consumer trust is such an important commodity in this instance because it is vital to a good reputation and a necessity for building consumer relationships. Although it may seem elusive, this asset is a hallmark of any successful business. So now we know what trust is and why it’s important, your last question is likely: How do we build it, especially with customers we’ve never met?
The Reveal: The Secret to Building Trust
For a business to build a reputation separate from its ownership, it must have a well-defined brand. Brands can gain and lose trust in the same fashion as a person. Due to the conglomerate nature of businesses, most consumers will naturally personify a brand and apply human attributes to it. You never hear your friends say “So-in-so person has the worst service around.” Rather, it’s much more common to hear “That McDonalds down the street can never get my order right.” It’s through this quirk of human psychology that we can build consumer trust in a company. You can use this information to strengthen your relationship with customers old and new by seeing how your brand fares against the 5 elements.
● If your business has an outdated or unattractive website, it can appear as if your company lacks consistency.
● If it’s poorly built, it will seem like your company lacks competence.
● A lack of social media doesn’t immediately devalue your audience’s ability to trust you, but it does offer transparency.
● Correcting handling negative reviews will strengthen your perceived character.
● Permission-based sales strategies that offer something valuable for free shows your company’s good intentions to help.
● Traditional Ad Campaigns such as TV, Outdoors, and Radio can help build most aspects of trust with the right creative, but the high cost of reach and frequency can be prohibitive for smaller businesses.
Now these initial judgement calls may be wrong about you. Yet, it’s the first impression a customer receives that largely dictates whether they’ll offer their most value asset: time. Just as you form an opinion about strangers when you first meet, your customers will do the same. If you focus on these aspects of your business it will pay dividends in the form of your prospect’s time and attention – and those two are much harder to acquire than that fresh lead that still doesn’t trust you.