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Build brand trust through digital marketing

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As you ponder ways to build brand trust, be aware that the way we conduct business today is very different from a decade ago. The internet has revolutionized everything, with more people spending time online. Digital marketing has exploded in the past few years, and there is no sign of letting up. As long as people are getting online and shopping online, digital marketing can only get bigger.

People have to trust your brand enough to buy it and become loyal customers.

The pandemic has forced brands to re-strategize, with more people shopping online. However, most will only shop from brands they trust. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special report in 2020, 70% of consumers believe that brand trust is more important today than ever before. This belief cuts across all genders, age groups, and income levels.

What is brand trust?

Brand trust means how much confidence customers have in your products, services, or business as a whole. It reflects on your brand and whether it delivers consistently and stays loyal to its values. The way customers feel about your business is essential. It plays a significant role in building your reputation and your bottom lines.

Most people prefer shopping from a store they know and have built trust.

Advancement in technology means customers have more choices on where they shop. Shopping in an online store across the globe is not an issue. The question is, can they trust that business to deliver their items? How can they be sure that their problem will be solved and that their goods will not be delayed?

This is where you look to build brand trust. If the customers trust your brand, you have proven over time to be reliable and trustworthy.

Why is brand trust more important than ever?

There are millions of online stores. When you start an online store, you are not selling anything new under the sun, and your competitive edge can only come from building brand trust. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer says that people now trust businesses more than they trust the government, NGOs, and the media.

Brand trust has several benefits to your business:

Impacts customer buying decisions

Trust keeps bringing customers back to your brand. Customers who trust your brand will always choose you over other brands. Once you build brand trust, they become loyal and recurring customers, which increases their lifetime value.

Brand advocacy

Customers who trust your brand are more likely to tell others about it. Word-of-mouth advertisement is a powerful tool that drives more business. Satisfied customers will go out of their way to tell others about your brand and their experience. This type of marketing is a simple yet powerful reputation builder that will attract new business. In the Edelman Report, 78% said they would most likely repost or share content from their trusted brand, recommend it to others and defend it from critics.

Brand loyalty

Satisfied customers will keep coming back. They will remain loyal, and no matter the types of storms your business faces, they will keep it afloat by coming back time and again. 75% in the Edelman report said they would buy from the brand, even if their products were not cheap. 46% said that they trusted most of the brands they purchased.

In the aftermath of the global pandemic, people expect brands to take a stance and inspire hope for the future, advocate for more change and use their brand to better society. Brands have to steer clear of rapid responses and think long-term. Brand trust sustenance is a conversation that needs to be had every quarter for at least the next five years.

Build brand trust through digital marketing

Once upon a time, all a business needed for it to thrive was an easily recognizable brand. Today’s consumer demands trust before they can buy. The internet has changed consumers’ outlook on things. They can easily search for brand information online before they purchase, and most do. They have to look for reasons why they should trust your brand before investing their cash in your products or services.

You can build trust via digital marketing in several ways, including:

Evaluate brand sentiment

Brand sentiment is a critical metric you need to watch. When you focus on the numbers, you only get a shallow perspective of things. Just because your brand gets many mentions online does not mean it is doing well. These mentions could be, in reality, bad reviews from customers.

Evaluating your brand sentiment determines the attitude or feeling toward your product, brand, or services.

Analyzing brand sentiment is made easy via media monitoring tools. With these tools, people tend to express their opinions via social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s impossible to search for all mentions manually and evaluate them, making media monitoring tools the best way to assess brand sentiment.

These tools analyze all your online brand mentions. This gives you valuable insights into how potential customers perceive your brand. The tools determine whether the mention’s sentiment is negative, neutral, or positive. However, a computer cannot detect nuances in a language such as sarcasm, so the tool cannot give you 100% analysis. It gives you a general overview of the sentiment.

Make your company mission clear

Your mission statement should define your brand’s business, objectives, and how you intend to reach the set goals. Your brand’s mission is the business’s foundation. This mission sets you apart from your competitors and defines how you value your clients. Other than stating what you do, you need a well-written and concise mission statement.

This goes a long way in making your brand more authentic and gives it a human face.

Consumers are already bogged down with online adverts. It becomes a challenge to connect with potential customers organically. Your mission statement should guide your marketing strategies. Build a brand voice that customers can relate to.

Understand customer behavior

Knowing your customers better allows you to get more business. When you understand your customer, you know how to give them better service. As a result, you forge good customer relationships. When you understand customer behavior, you can identify their purchase patterns or preferences, which allows you to anticipate their expectations and needs. You can do this by:

Tracking the customers’ behavior In real-time

You can only track the customers’ behaviors with tools that can give you a glimpse into their behavior in real-time. You can invest in a CRM (customer relationship management) tool that allows you to view and analyze their activities in depth.

Categorize your customers

Tagging the customers in one general group leads to cross-selling campaigns with no tangible results. Understand how to separate the customers and on what parameters. Group them in purchase frequency, type of products they buy, geographical location, etc.

Once you have the categories, it is now easier to create precise cross-selling and marketing campaigns. The messages in the campaigns are targeted at specific categories and drive value for your brand and the customers.

Encourage user-generated content or reviews

Today, most customers are millennials, and they are on social media discussing their favorite brands. This is crucial for any company trying to build brand trust. User-generated content is an excellent opportunity for your brand to show how real-life people use your products and build brand confidence.

Ensure you share the customer endorsements on your social media handles. You can also have the content featured on your website’s testimonials page. Other than your regular customers, allow other trusted sources to vouch for you. You can showcase your collaboration with other brands, share photos and videos from reputable sources, and use influencers in your industry to push your agenda.

Provide valuable content

In digital marketing, content is everything. Quality content on your blog, social media, or company website can do a lot by setting you up as a thought leader and authority in your industry. Before you write any content, do due diligence and check what your competitors are posting. Find gaps in their content and write content that will fill these gaps. Your content should be engaging, more detailed, and generally better than your competitors.

Stick to the 80/20 rule of content creation. 80% of the content should be non-promotional and impart valuable information, and 20% talk about your brand. This engages the customer and tells them they come first. Remember this when creating a video, writing a blog post, or posting on social media.

Have a solid, active presence on social media to engage with customers

When customers have an issue and raise it on your social media page or website, you have to be at hand to respond. Chatbots can be a part of the solution, and customers like to get prompt replies. A social media presence is beneficial for projecting your brand voice. Clients will be happy that someone listens to their problems and works on a solution as fast as possible.

Respond to your reviews

When you encourage reviews, you demonstrate that you value your customers’ opinions. You cannot please everyone, and there will be negative reviews. Responding with transparency can turn a potentially ugly situation around into a favorable one. If you mess up, do not hesitate to own up and apologize. Customers will be happy with your honesty and your willingness to rectify the mistake.

Initiate and participate in industry conversations

When you initiate and participate in industry conversations, you will be recognized as an authority in your field. You will also be recognized as an industry thought leader. Ensure you are knowledgeable and have done your research to impart useful and accurate information.

Take advantage of customer testimonials

As mentioned, customer testimonials can act as proof of your trustworthiness. Post the testimonials on your website testimonials page. Most customers read testimonials before they can fully trust a brand. If they find unbiased feedback on your website, all the more is why they should trust your brand.

Share trustworthy links

Links are a crucial asset. They connect your business with the online community. The links you share should always lead to reputable sites. Your content posts should refer to sources that provide curated content. Branded links will serve you well on social media as they give your followers a clue of what they are about to click.

Branded links have a custom domain name with a keyword in its slash tag. When you associate reputable links with your brand, your followers know you will never lead them to phishing sites or spam. This trust can boost your click-through rates by a huge margin.

Be transparent and keep promises

Customers need brands to be honest and transparent in their actions. You can show your customers how truthful you are by turning away potential clients that are not a good fit for your brand. This demonstrates your integrity and shows you are not only after money but service-oriented. Honesty creates a good impression on customers.

Keep your promises to clients — they will remember it and keep coming back because they already know they can trust you to keep your word.

Partner with authoritative brands

Partnering with authoritative brands has significant value in building brand trust. It sends a powerful message to your customers that they can also trust your brand. A brand partnership is an agreement between two brands to use both brand names in an alliance.

This tells your customers that you are an authority in your field, and they can trust you to deliver what you promise. Your brand also gets a more extensive customer base from the alliance partner, who will trust you because a brand they trust believes in you.

Own up to your mistakes

No brand is perfect. When your brand makes a mistake, own the mistake and apologize to your customers. Your loyal customers will not run. Instead, they will empathize with you and appreciate that you have owned up to your mistake. Trying to defend your brand when an error has happened only serves to make things worse.

Ensure your site is secure

Website security is crucial in building brand trust. In this era of cyber-attacks, the first thing you need to do is ensure your website is HTTPS (hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). An HTTP URL sends a signal that it is not safe. Remember customers submit sensitive data over your site, especially when they make purchases. If they realize your site is not secure, they will not trust you

Use trust badges on your site to make it more trustworthy. Trust badges are symbols on your site that tell visitors that your site is legitimate. It also assures them that all there is collected data via secure and reputable third-party providers. Having the PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, etc., badges as payment options on your site can increase trust levels in visitors.

Allow your team some time in the spotlight

In the attempt to make your brand more human, it pays to allow your team to shine. Let the consumers know your team members and enable them to put faces to the names. This fosters a good relationship. Include a “Meet the Team” page and allow the team to shine in the spotlight. Post the good reviews left by clients about each team member. It builds trust and boosts morale among your team.

Use social proof on your website

Social proof comes in the form of testimonials and positive client reviews. This goes a long way in attracting new business to your brand. As mentioned earlier, customers trust reviews and opinions from other customers than they do your content.

Most consumers read at least ten reviews before trusting a brand. About 70% of consumers research by looking at several review sites, so it pays to use multiple sites for your brand as social proof.

Keep your brand consistent

Never go off-message. It will destroy the brand you are working hard to build. Keep your brand colors, log, personality, and tone consistent from day one. Consistency is significant in building brand recognition and awareness.

People should recognize your brand immediately they see it. For example, the Apple signature of a bitten apple is recognizable everywhere you go. When you go to any country globally, you will get the same product quality as the origin country. This is consistency. They have never changed anything about their brand, and it is easily recognizable anywhere.

Conclusion

In an increasingly technological world, building brand trust has become a crucial part of online businesses. A consumer has to trust your brand before they part with their money, and it is up to you to build their trust in you. Your brand is not what you declare it is. Instead, it is what consumers say it is.

If all you get are negative reviews, your business will fail.

Come up with strategies that will cultivate brand trust. Positive customer experiences ensure that your clients become loyal and recurring customers that refer you to others. Foster relationships by creating an authentic and human face that customers can relate to. Once you build that trust, ensure you maintain it by being honest and owning up when you make mistakes.



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Growing a Business

Shopping Video – New Marketing Trend

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One of the best ways for marketers and business owners to increase sales and engage customers is video shopping. This new marketing trend involves using video content to promote and sell your products.

Here is everything you need to know about shopping videos for business owners.

What is Video Shopping

Video shopping involves using video content to promote your products/services with the aim of increasing sales. With a shopping video, business owners can show off their brand and give relevant information about their products and services. Also, videos help influence the decision-making process of buyers and increase sales.

Types of Shopping Videos

There are two main categories of shopping videos, and they are:

Live Video Shopping

This type of video shopping involves creating a live presentation of your products. It is not pre-recorded, thus making it easy for customers to interact in real-time.

Non-Live Video Shopping

In this case, you record the video and then upload it on platforms where customers can find them. While you can’t get real-time responses from customers, non-live videos are easily accessible, unlike live videos.

Engaging social video ads

Benefits of Video Shopping

Video shopping can provide many benefits for business owners and their customers. Some of the advantages of video shopping are:

1. Engaging Visuals That Increase Sales

Consumers generally prefer video content over text because they are a more expressive form of content. With video shopping, business owners can create an interactive environment where customers can engage. This form of engaging content increases your chance of converting visitors to actual customers.

2. Increase Brand Awareness

Business owners can increase the chance of being seen by their target audience through impressive shopping videos. Shopping videos prove to be a convenient way to promote your business and increase brand awareness.

3. Convenient Customer Interaction

Video shopping helps engage with customers in real-time, thus making them feel seen. You can chat with customers one-on-one, which makes it easier to serve their needs. Whether it’s a car dealer chat or a skincare consultation, you can count on video shopping to improve rapport.

4. Bring Products to Live

With video shopping, shoppers can easily browse products in real-time. For example, fashion brands often bring clothes to life by making a video of how it looks on a real person. This will help customers have a feel of how the item will look on them, and this can increase sales.

5. Easy to Create

Creating shopping videos doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. Shopping videos tend to be short and easy to make without requiring a professional. With a smartphone or camera, anyone can make a marketing video that converts. Also, there are many channels and platforms available to create videos that will persuade visitors into being actual customers.

6. Increased SEO Ranking

Videos tend to perform better than other forms of content, and having them on your website will increase your SEO rankings. This makes it easy for customers to find you and do business with you.

Video marketing

If you are running an online business, you need to keep up with new marketing trends to boost your brand. One of the latest marketing trends to implement is video shopping. When done correctly, video can help provide valuable information for customers, boost engagement, and increase sales.

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In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

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Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

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Growing a Business

5 Ways Virtual Headquarters Pandemic-Proof Your Business

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The coronavirus pandemic battered many businesses to the ground. At its peak, we saw businesses either shutting down or struggling to make ends meet. We had job cuts and salary cuts left, right and center. Businesses across the world, especially small businesses, are still suffering from the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Even now, with things finally opening up, many businesses are skeptical of the times and have gone into planning mode.

Every business now wants to create a contingency plan for when things start to go out of hand. Many businesses which were able to survive the pandemic were the ones that were prepared. The ones that had a contingency plan and a disaster management plan ready to roll out.

photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions / Unsplash

Taking a cue from this, all every company wants to plan for right now is this: What to do if and when a pandemic hits again? Is there a way to pandemic proof your business?

One step that most businesses have taken is setting up a virtual headquarters.

What is a Virtual Headquarters?

Virtual headquarters or a virtual office is a physical address of your online business. At this physical address, you can create shared workspaces, meeting rooms, and set up a virtual assistant. You and your employees can continue working from home, but you still have a physical address for your place of work.

But why would you go to all that trouble when everyone is working from home? A number of factors come into play here, the biggest of them being the pandemic. As more and more businesses attempt to pandemic proof their businesses, they are striving to find the right balance between remote working and having a physical office. For a lot of businesses, a model that works better is having a watered-down version of a physical space up and running.

Remote working

 

photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Here are some of the main advantages of opting to have a virtual headquarter for your business in order to keep it as pandemic proof as possible.

1. You get a prestigious office address

First impressions matter. And having a prestigious office address on your business card certainly makes the right impression. This point becomes even more significant if you are a small business that’s trying to make it big. A calling card with a flashy office address sends a positive sign to potential clients — about your seriousness regarding the business and your credibility and professionalism. A prestigious office address is also something your employees will be proud of.

So you get a great address without the long lease and the major utilities and upkeep costs involved. An absolute win-win.

2. Expansion is easy

It is a lot easier to expand or even downsize your business when you have a virtual headquarter. This is because you do not need to think about the physical space aspect of it. Need to hire more people? Go ahead without worrying about where they will sit, if you will need to lease a new floor, or if the office space is enough.

Thinking of moving a department offshore? No need to redo your office space lease to physically downsize. Having a virtual headquarters gives you the flexibility without the constraints.

3. Your employees can keep working remotely

Having a virtual headquarters does not mean a proper office space that employees will eventually return to. You and your employees will continue to work remotely while being associated with that one physical address.

Depending on how big or small your virtual headquarters are, you can make room for monthly in-person team meets. You can even give some employees to have the option to book up a terminal and work from the office once a week. Or you could simply reserve your physical address as a place to forward mail and work calls. The possibilities are endless.

Excellent customer service

4. Customer service are made easy

When the pandemic hit, too many companies had to suddenly shut shop and move everything online. While the transition came with its own hurdles, one of the bigger issues was customer service.

Shutting shop completely may cause some technical issues with providing customer service. Having a virtual headquarters means that you can now use the available virtual services, such as 24/7 customer service – which can be a critical success factor in winning customers during the pandemic.

5. Better work-life balance

Just knowing there is a demarcation between your work life and your personal life helps a lot in trying to strike a balance. As great as working from home is, many find it very hard to disconnect completely from work. This happens when the place you work from and the place where you relax overlap.

A lot of employees are prone to giving out their personal details more easily while working from home. This may be to receive official correspondence via postal mail or receive calls on their personal mobile number. While this may seem like part and parcel of remote working, it makes disconnecting difficult. Things seem tougher when you proceed to go on leave or a holiday but are constantly being bombarded with work calls, emails and postal mails.

When you have a physical headquarters, employees are able to make use of the virtual receptionist to handle calls and also have an address to forward relevant mail in their absence. This provides a much-needed demarcation between personal and professional life.

Business team meeting in a Virtual Headquarters

Takeaway

A virtual headquarters may not work for a particular business type. On the other hand, it may be the thing another business needs to flourish. It is important to evaluate all the pros and cons before you make a decision for your business.

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