A key element of sales and marketing that many businesses overlook is trust. Even after a campaign has ended, a business owner or marketer might put the disappointing results down to all sorts of factors such as “Well, it was bad timing” or “We probably didn’t reach out enough to the right target audience” – but they are unlikely to attribute a campaign succeeding or failing as a result of how much a customer trusted a brand.
Trust is a tricky concept that’s complex to address, and yet very important to a customer.
If you are planning to buy something from an individual and you don’t trust them, you wouldn’t buy what they are offering. Similarly, if there are any questions about the quality or function of a product, that lack of trust in the product is likely to make you think twice about buying it.
Is trust the same as liking?
For the consumer, trust works at many levels – which a business can often neglect. It includes how much he or she likes the brand, how familiar they are with it, and how strong the relationship is between the customer and that brand.
Trust isn’t the same as liking someone or something, but it’s more complex than simply ticking the box to say that the seller isn’t “a dodgy car salesman selling a car that will fall apart within 2 days”.
If a business launches a marketing campaign with an advert that only reaches its target audience once, that campaign might be great at raising brand awareness, but it doesn’t mean that trust has been built up sufficiently for a potential customer to purchase.
The campaign either needs to be extended over a longer period, or it needs to be combined with other marketing activities so that trust is built up.
Here are 3 other ways to build trust with your target audience:
As humans, we have a very high social element to our behaviour when it comes to having and buying things. We like to share our experiences with others and, if we like what we see from other people, we tend to follow the crowd.
The phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” is well known and the concept of wanting to have what friends and peers have is nothing new. If other people have bought a great product or service then more people are likely to buy as a result.
Similarly, if lots of people are complaining about poor service or a faulty product, we will shy away from buying.
This is called social proof, and there are many ways that you can provide social proof to prospective clients.
You can, for example, include testimonials and 5-star reviews in your marketing copy to demonstrate how other people (let’s call them the Joneses) love what you do.
You can also point out how popular your offering is with phrases such as “Over 10,000 downloads!” (if you are selling software) and “Over 1,000 books sold!” (if you are a book author).
There are other ways to subtly provide credibility by mentioning how long your business or a product has been around. There is an implied assumption that if a bakery, brewery or art maker has been selling products successfully for over 20 years that their products must be good as it’s hard to stay in business for 20 years if nobody buys or likes what they offer!
Reverse the risk
Another way to build trust and confidence is by what’s known as reversing the risk.
When a purchase is made, the buyer is taking on some form of risk. They are parting with money in the hope (or belief) that they are going to get something that meets their expectations.
If there is any doubt, the customer might not buy – but you can, however, increase the chances of a customer purchasing by reversing the risk so that the risk is on you – and not on the customer.
A reverse risk message for a restaurant might go something like this “Complete satisfaction or your meal is on us!”.
Is the food in that restaurant any good? We don’t know, but it’s completely free if it isn’t. The risk is on the restaurant, not the customer, making it a no-brainer for them.
If you think this sounds a bit too risky or are wondering how effective it is, many businesses from cleaning companies to household items have used it to grow their business successfully.
Dominos grew its business during its early days by promising “Piping hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free”*.
Make the first transaction zero-cost
A large concern when it comes to making a purchase is how much you trust the brand compared to how much you are about to invest.
It’s easier to trust a brand when buying a 50p product, compared to something that costs £100 or £500. That doesn’t mean you should lower your prices or give away your services, but you can increase trust by transacting with your prospect on a lower value offering before they make the main purchase.
According to Seth Godin in his online workshop (*available on SkillShare), offering something for free as the first transaction removes any barriers and fears that might exist.
If you offer a free eBook, sample or trial, the customer is more likely to interact with you and, even though it’s at zero cost, it effectively counts as the first transaction with the customer.
Trust has increased with the customer and they are more likely to make a purchase as a result.
What are you doing to build trust?
We hope you have enjoyed this article on how to build trust with your target audience. As well as what we have mentioned, there are plenty of other ways to build trust with potential customers.
If you would like help growing trust in your brand, why not get in touch and book a free chat with us to see how we can help. Email or call us today.
* The offer was stopped later on, not because it was ineffective but due to concerns over reckless driving to meet the 30-minute deadline