Trust. It’s the backbone of any relationship. Whether you’re talking about a romantic connection, a friendship, or even the connection between a business and its customers. Simply put, if people don’t trust you, they’re not going to spend their hard-earned money on your products or services.
But trust isn’t just freely given, especially not in the world of business. It’s cultivated over long periods and fed with honesty, effective service, and quality products. There are many instances where trust will need to be established from nothing in the business world.
In the case of startup businesses, it’s even more important, as you don’t have any previous successes or experiences to draw on when trying to woo your target audience.
So how can you start building trust with a new audience as a startup business owner? In this article, we’ll walk you through several branding strategies that can jumpstart your trust-building efforts, creating a sustainable and loyal customer base that will return to you over and over again.
How Important is Brand Trust?
Brand trust is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of your business. This has been true since the earliest days of general stores and local mom-and-pop businesses. When people find a business they trust, they repeatedly return and often give it the benefit of the doubt when it makes a mistake.
Despite the shift from brick-and-mortar commerce to online commerce, brand loyalty and trust is still a factor online. In fact, consumers are 30% more likely to return to a site where they’ve shopped before and had a positive experience.
The unknown can be scary when it comes to spending money. Often, people want to return to a company they know is safe, honest, and of a certain quality rather than chase the latest deal and throw money away on a potentially inferior product.
Brand trust is the secret to generating repeat business, which is crucial for your ongoing profitability. If your business is a revolving door, where customers come and go and constantly need replacing, you’ll be spending a lot more on marketing, and remaining in the black will be a constant struggle.
It’s far more cost-effective to hold onto an existing customer than it is to bring in someone completely new. That’s why businesses work so hard to establish trust in their audience. While you should always be trying to attract new customers, you also need to serve your existing clientele as they provide a source of recurring revenue without having to be wooed through the sales funnel all over again.
When there’s a change in business ownership, the new business owners will need to decide whether they would like to continue the same branding strategy as their predecessor to create less friction or if they will completely rebrand the business and target a new audience. If they choose the latter option, trust will need to be re-established. This is a huge risk that new business owners take, as the trust-building process isn’t easy.
But when you’re a startup owner, you have no choice in the matter. You’re starting from square one with these people, and you must employ the following strategies to get them on your side.
Strategies for Building Trust With a New Audience
Deliver On Time or Early
One of the main secrets of startup success is to offer a product or service to customers for which demand is high, and supply is low. Noble Gold Investments got off to an incredibly strong start in 2016 with this tactic and is competing with companies that entered the market several years ago. You can read more about it in this Noble gold investments review.
Whenever someone orders such products from a new online store, whether they decide to pay through traditional methods or using revvi credit card type systems, they’re going to have a few questions, like:
- How long will it take to receive my order?
- What state will my order be in when it arrives?
- Will my order ever arrive?
By providing a great delivery experience, where items arrive either on time or early, you’ve taken the first steps needed to build trust with your new audience. The best way to ensure this is to partner with reliable shipping companies that can get your products out the door and into the hands of your customers quickly without breaking the bank.
Consider an alliance with a courier service. This can help you offer same-day delivery on products and also handle sensitive documents without any action taken by your new customers.
Shipping efficiency creates reliability, one of the most important elements in building trust.
Keep Brand Imagery Consistent
Your brand imagery is an important part of establishing trust in a new company. When new customers stumble onto one of your ads or social media posts, they won’t trust you immediately. There are a lot of scams out there, and modern consumers know this. That means they’re always going to be hesitant.
Now, imagine you’re feeling this hesitancy, and the moment you click on an exciting ad, it takes you to a site that looks nothing like the branding that initially caught your eye. The colors are different, the logos are different, and the verbiage and tone have completely shifted away from what initially drew your attention.
That’s going to shatter the trust of your prospective customers right away. It should all look consistent when they click through your website or a landing page.
Consistency is crucial because your potential customers should know what they can expect from you. Aside from your message and tone, the imagery you share across your social platforms and website must be consistent as well. Using mood boards and free poster templates for your brand will not only help you boost credibility but also make your brand look polished and professional.
Create a Blog
If you want your audience to learn more about your company, the value of your services, and the culture you’re working so hard to establish, it might be time to create a blog. Blogs are an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert in the field and a trusted place to shop.
If your customers have doubts about your industry knowledge and expertise, a blog can be a great place to put those fears to bed. Think about your customers’ questions and the pain points that drive them toward your business. Those are the questions and topics you should be addressing in your blog.
Make the content relatable, informative, and easily shareable. You should also stick to a regular posting schedule. This will help you establish a routine that your readers can rely on and ultimately come to trust.
Comment sections are also helpful with blogs. Your customers can ask questions or share their own experiences. This could even translate into them forming connections with other customers and starting conversations on your platform. Make sure you’re responding to these comments as well, engaging with your audience regularly to establish even more familiarity and trust.
Create a Podcast
In the same vein as creating a blog, you should also consider podcasting. Podcasts are a popular and growing medium. People typically enjoy these on-demand audio shows in the car or while working out, and they can be a great way to establish trust.
More so than on a blog, when someone can only read your words, a podcast allows them to hear your voice and lets your personality shine through. People tend to trust the podcasters they frequent, and they start to feel a connection to them, almost as though they know them personally.
When you’re podcasting, you’re demonstrating your expertise while forging personal connections with the people you’re trying to market to. That makes it an invaluable resource in the neverending quest to build trust with your audience.
Focus on Customer Service
Customer service is an important part of the business trust puzzle. People need to know that when they have an issue or a question in relation to your company or products, they’ll be able to get satisfactory aid through your customer service department.
One bad customer service interaction is typically enough to make a customer abandon a brand. That’s why you want to make sure that your customer support representatives are well trained and have access to the tools needed. They should be kind, courteous, and knowledgeable.
If it’s within your budget, consider a 24/7 customer support AI chatbot that can help you answer some of the more simple or common questions posed by your audience. This will ensure that you’ll be able to provide some form of support, even when your call center is closed for the day.
General advertising cast out to the entire world at once doesn’t do anyone a lick of good. In 2023 ads need to be personalized to inspire customers to purchase. You need to let that specific person know what you can do for their specific issues.
Doing this is not only more effective from a conversion standpoint, but it can also help you establish trust with members of your audience. If customers believe that you know what they need and provide a service to meet those needs, they’ll have more trust in your brand and turn to you more often.
That means your advertising should be targeted. Through platforms like Facebook and Google, you can set specific ads to only run for specific people based on criteria like:
- Marital status
- Geographic area
- Search history
- Buying habits
- And much more
You should have your audience segmented into various buyer personas and create ad campaigns specifically targeted and personalized to these groups. Using a customer data platform is an easy way to collect and store customer data and to build out detailed customer profiles.
Engage on Social Media
Every business needs a solid social media strategy. Obviously, you want your audience to engage with your social posts, sharing them, liking them, commenting on them, etc.
But when people take this desired action, there’s something you can do to help generate trust and endear your brand to these customers — engage with them.
Respond to social media comments, answer their questions, or just thank them for their observation if no question was asked. You can also pose your own questions to keep the conversation going. The beauty of public comments is that they’re public. You can establish trust with the customers you’re interacting with while also establishing trust with those who are just viewing the comments and seeing how attentive you are.
This also applies to the direct messages you receive. Make sure you’re responding to them promptly. It’s also a good idea to set up an automatic message that goes out whenever you get a new message from a customer. Tell them you’ve received the message and will get back to
them ASAP. Then, when you respond, be thorough and kind. Check for their responses and work to resolve whatever issue they’re having quickly.
List Reviews (Even Bad Ones)
Reviews are a powerful form of social proof that can be a lot more effective than corporate branding in establishing trust with your audience. The words of a peer carry a lot more weight than a company that is only trying to promote itself.
That’s why you should have review pages on your website, and also embrace Google reviews. Make sure you’re responding to all of your reviews, both positive and negative. Responding to a positive review is easy. You can just thank them for the feedback and continued use of your services.
With bad reviews, you have an excellent opportunity to establish trust with your audience. Address the concerns raised in the review and apologize for the experience falling short. Provide the user with resources that might help and offer to make the situation right for them. If you can turn around their perception, ask them to update their review.
Doing this publicly can make a huge impact on potential customers. They’re watching you handle harsh reviews in a respectful manner with no defensiveness whatsoever. They see you go to lengths to make it right, showing that you genuinely care about your customers. Bad reviews might seem like the end of the world, but they can be an amazing opportunity to improve the public perception of your business and generate trust with new customers.
Trust is a vital piece of the modern business puzzle, and you can establish that trust by following the strategies highlighted above.
To review, when trying to establish trust with your audience:
- Ensure that deliveries arrive on time or early
- Keep your branding consistent along platforms
- Create a blog
- Create a podcast
- Focus on customer service
- Personalize your advertising
- Engage with the audience on social media
- List your reviews and respond to them. Even the bad ones.
By doing this, you’ll be able to establish long-term trust with your audience and propel your startup business into the stratosphere.