Impact, authenticity, relationships. When talking to students, I have to remind them that building customer relationships is not a "trend". It's the foundation of great marketing. Authenticity in marketing is nothing more than putting humans first, which in turn creates timeless marketing strategies.
I said it before, and I'll say it again. As marketers, we need to make time to cultivate real interaction with our customers - that is what truly can make you stand out. And, by the way, I am not the only one saying this.
A 2021 survey of 1,000 consumers
concluded that more than 80% consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions, even though only 34% trust the brands they use.
Ouch - so if you're a marketer or entrepreneur looking to tap into authentic marketing and build trust to drive growth, there are 3 simple things you can implement today.
What is Authentic Marketing and Why Is It Important For Your Business?
Authentic marketing is all about being real and honest with your customers.
It's about showing the people and values behind a business - without relying on gimmicks or misleading claims. Did you know that less than 45% of brands have fully outlined their values and shared them internally? (Alt Marketing School, 2022 impact marketing report
When customers feel that they can trust and rely on you, they are much more likely to be loyal to your brand and become your marketing secret weapon.
Authentic marketing is rooted in connections, retention and relationships.
Share your Values Publicly
Whether you create a public manifesto, or add your core business values to your homepage, make sure your audience can quickly see what you stand for.
Consider creating dedicated social media posts, blog articles, or even email newsletters that dive deeper into your company values and how they influence your brand's products and services.
As you share your values publicly, remember to also practice what you preach and lead by example to build trust and credibility with your audience.
How to Develop an Authentic Brand Voice
Your brand voice is an essential part of practicing authentic marketing, and it’s important to keep it consistent and build recognition.
You know when you are scrolling on social media and you bump into a post that makes you think "OMG, that is EXACTLY what I was thinking"?
Just like your logo or color palette, a consistent brand voice helps your audience easily identify your brand, establish trust with new customers, and build brand loyalty with existing ones.
To develop an authentic brand voice, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Firstly, it’s important to stay true to your brand values and mission. Your voice should reflect what your brand stands for, which is why outlining your values is so important.
Secondly, make sure your voice is relatable to your target audience. Speak in a tone that resonates with your audience and makes them feel heard and understood.
Finally, be consistent in how you communicate your brand voice. This is where most marketers slip. I go as far as making sure our 404 page is infused with our unique tone of voice.
Use your Audience's Language
What are some of the secret weapons copywriters hold close to their hearts?
One that I used plenty of times in my ol' copywriting days is a word bank, including phrases, sentences and words that my audience uses to enhance my brand voice.
Be Upfront in your Communication
Let's say you got all the way to convert a new customer. First of all, you should celebrate - this is huge! Now, to turn customers into advocates, you have to make sure you keep up the good work. Gaining their trust takes time and dedication, but it's worth it in the end.
One of the most important tips for gaining customer trust is to be authentic.
First and foremost, keep your promises and deliver, especially at important stages like onboarding, email communication and beyond.
On top of that, personalize their experience by understanding their needs and preferences (tools like email can easily do this for you!)
Finally, the easiest and most powerful way to do that is to be transparent. Be upfront about pricing, policies, and procedures.
Map your Onboarding Process
This is where marketing meets product. Most businesses could do with a good ol' revamp to their welcome emails and onboarding series.
Spending some time looking at yours and making sure it's clear and covers everything your customer needs to know. Too much to cover? Break it down into a 2-3 email series!
Add an element of personality by embedding a quick Loom welcome video, or using personalization and tags to tailor the message to individual customers.
Supercharge Your Customer Testimonials to Demonstrate Credibility
Have you ever purchased a product or service based on someone else's recommendation? If so, you know the power of customer testimonials.
Testimonials provide social proof and add credibility to your business. A study by BrightLocal
found that 76% of consumers “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses, compared to 77% in 2021.
That's why it's important to collect and utilize customer testimonials in your marketing efforts.
Set up a simple automated system to ask for a review or testimonial, and make it easy for them to leave one by offering an incentive for their time.
Don't forget to respond to negative reviews as well. Show that you value all feedback and use it as an opportunity to improve your business.
Surprise and Delight your Customers
Just like testimonials, to build trust you can also keep track of customers' anniversaries and birthdays and send them a personalized message or email. Or, even more simply, sending personalized thank-you notes or offering exclusive discounts to long-time customers.
Focus On Relationship Building to Grow Customer Trust
Long and short of it, authentic marketing is the way to go. The best thing about authentic marketing often means looking at improving the foundations, nothing more! You have to be real with your people if you want their trust and loyalty.
So, how do you do it? Well, first off, consistency is key. Celebrate your values, and don't forget to develop a brand voice that speaks to your audience. Personalize and refine the customer experience. And if you want to seal the deal, leverage those customer testimonials.
But here's the real kicker: focus on providing value instead of just making sales.
I know it sounds simple. But trust me, it works.
If you want to build a loyal following and grow your business the right way, you have to be authentic. So, get out there and show your customers some love!