Guide to building customer trust through your brand
Digital marketing has undeniably shifted to a more customer-centric approach in recent years. For many, it’s easy enough to see why. Customer trust has been steadily eroding, for a wealth of reasons. Not only have audiences become much more tech-savvy, but they’ve also become increasingly wary of “sales” language. They’re more socially conscious, more cautious, and less patient. In this new context, building customer trust is imperative. However, as imperative as it is, it’s far from simple. As one of the top digital marketing agencies in New York, Digital Dot offers you the insight you need on how to use branding to establish trust and loyalty.
Where branding meets trust
As an introductory note, let us quantify this initial assertion.
Customer trust has indeed been waning in recent years, as the Edelman Trust Barometer has been documenting. What they dub the “cycle of mistrust” spans across the trust in governments, media, NGOs, and businesses. However, as an institution, a business enjoys a unique position – it’s the only one the public perceives as competent:
With only slight improvements in its ethical signals, which the Barometer finds massively affect purchase drivers, businesses can earn trust. The benefits it can then reap are substantial:
- More revenue. In the simplest of terms, customer trust directly informs conversions and final revenue.
- Higher customer retention rates. Trusting customers stay with brands longer. When acquisition can cost up to seven times as much as retention, that’s an invaluable metric in itself.
- More brand advocacy. Loyal customers also exhibit much higher Net Promoter Scores (NPSs), which produces organic brand advocacy.
But of course, trust cannot come with simple tricks and once-and-done practices. It requires holistic endeavors and must begin with a company’s very identity – its brand story.
Building customer trust through your brand
So, how can branding help foster customer trust? There are as many ways as there are creative marketers, but here we may cover 7 fundamentals.
#1 Polish your web design
For many customers, a website visit will constitute the first touchpoint with your brand. If it doesn’t immediately inspire trust, it will often also be the last. As a web design company NYC trusts, we’ve seen both unfold manifold.
Of course, your web design affects your website’s SEO, usability, UX, and more. In the context of building trust specifically, you may begin with:
- Professionalism. Opt for professional-looking designs, in line with your industry and audiences’ sensibilities, to make a stellar first impression.
- Clarity and transparency. Keep all your business and contact information, GDPR compliance pages, and product or service information crystal-clear and immediately accessible.
- Ease-of-use. Above all else, usability directly informs UX – and thus trust. A janky website will do you no favors and only drive customers away.
As regards website usability specifically, also remember what Nielsen Norman Group dubs the “aesthetic-usability effect”. This simple psychological principle holds that users perceive beautiful products as usable ones.
Citing the case study of Fitbit, pictured above, Nielsen Norman Group explains:
“The aesthetic-usability effect refers to users’ tendency to perceive attractive products as more usable. People tend to believe that things that look better will work better — even if they aren’t actually more effective or efficient”.
That’s not to say you should neglect visual appeal, by any means; only that you should prioritize usability.
#2 Leverage social proof
Naturally, building customer trust also hinges heavily on social proof. Customers may not trust brands as much as before, but they do trust their peers. Online reviews offer them unmatched reassurance in their choices and thus serve as excellent trust signals.
To leverage social proof effectively, you may first collect any that applies to you, including:
- Case studies
- Media coverage
Then, you may use them across your relevant pages, starting with your main pages. For a visual example of this prominent marketing practice, consider how Kinsta does so:
#3 Use influencer marketing
By the same token, you may employ influencer marketing if it fits your brand and strategies. Social media marketing New York trends strongly suggest that you do so, as we’ve covered in the past.
The simple reason for this is that influencers serve to humanize brands. They forego “sales” language almost completely, depending on their creative freedom. They serve as a human face customers can connect to, and come across as genuine. As such, they offer substantial social proof – as long as their engagement rates match their reach.
To quantify this, simply consider how much more trust customers show in influencers’ recommendations compared to marketers’:
#4 Showcase your teams
That said, humanization doesn’t start with influencer marketing. This staple of building customer trust can in fact begin with you, right on your own website.
Customer recommendations aside, what better way is there to humanize your brand than to showcase the humans behind it? For a native example, that’s exactly what we do ourselves in our “Our Team” page:
This one simple page lets us visualize the human element of our business. It serves as a visual reassurance of a pleasant work environment as it showcases the closely-knit teams of our employees. It prevents our business from being faceless, and thus perceived as untrustworthy.
Of course, you don’t need to copy our page for this step. In fact, you likely shouldn’t. Instead, apply the same principle to yours, and let your teams visualize your brand’s story.
#5 Be findable
On the subject of humanization, you may also ensure your business is findable. That’s not the same as being contactable, as we’ll cover next; it’s being findable on a map.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, reassuring your customers that you have physical premises works wonders toward inspiring trust. It lets them know you’re there, physically, and that you’re available. For an excellent example of this quality in action, consider how MoversTech does so:
That’s a fully interactive map next to their NAP information, right on their main page’s footer. It lets customers confirm their location and even visit, should they need to. Most customers typically won’t but knowing they can inspire trust all in itself.
#6 Be contactable
A truly different quality to being findable, you may also start building customer trust by ensuring you’re contactable. That does include accurate NAP across all online platforms and listings, but here it primarily hinges on your “contact us” page.
First, you may ensure your contact page is immediately available in your header and is readily visible. Then, you may optimize it through such means as:
- More contact channel options
- Short, concise forms
- Reassurances of swift, human-driven communication
For an example of the final point, we may cite ChoiceScreening’s page:
#7 Boost your customer service
Finally, you will also need to maintain your existing customers’ trust throughout their interactions with your brand. Remember, the sum of their interactions will make up their UX. NNGroup’s Don Norman, who coined the very phrase, argues “UX is everything” – and that notably includes customer service.
Customer service is indeed invaluable, as research shows. It informs brand perceptions, for one, but it also directly affects purchase decisions and thus final revenue:
How you may boost your customer service will of course depend on your own business and customers. However, you may begin with:
- Consulting your CRM solution, should you have one. In doing so you may reveal recurring query patterns you may address.
- Personalize your responses. Using your customer data you may offer more personal service that further fosters trust and enhances UX.
- Automating basic responses. Leveraging automation, you may automate query acknowledgments and basic resource distribution.
To summarize, building customer trust is arguably more valuable today than it has ever been. Customer trust has been declining steadily across the world and across industries alike. Addressing this longstanding challenge requires holistic effort throughout one’s branding, from web design to customer service and everything in-between. Hopefully, this guide helped you do so strategically and effectively. For more useful tips and guidelines on how to establish a bulletproof brand, make sure to reach out to our team here at Digital Dot.