Trust issues are common in the marketing world.
Your customers have a hard time trusting that you have their best interests at heart, because they also know everything you do is in the interest of making a profit. Unfortunately, if you can’t cultivate enough trust from your target audience, you also can’t make sales.
Though trust has always been an important consideration for effective marketing, it’s particularly crucial right now. Consumers are particularly anxious about the way they spend their money, and which companies they work with in an uncertain environment. Following the 2020 pandemic, it’s harder than ever for brands to gain trust and loyalty.
The good news? It is possible to rebuild your connection with your audience.
Here’s how you can make a start.
1. Get Permission
Let’s start with the basics. You should only ever send messages to customers that actually want to hear from you. You’ll need to convince your clients to enter their email address into your signup forms and give explicit consent for you to contact them.
Not only is this a valuable way to build trust, but it’s also the law. If you contact recipients who haven’t asked to receive messages from you, then you’re violating regulations like the CAN-SPAM act and could end up in a lot of trouble.
The good news is that making sure your customers definitely want to receive your emails does reduce your chances of spending your budget on leads that won’t convert. Instead, you can focus on reaching out to the people who are most likely to respond positively to your content.
To increase your chances of gaining customer respect, you can even give your audience an opportunity to choose what they want to hear about.
A preferences center on your website allows your customer to choose whether they want to hear about your latest sales, or just get updates on your business. Clients are more likely to trust you if they feel that they’re in control of your relationship.
2. Welcome Your Subscribers
First impressions make a huge impact in the digital world. This is particularly true when you want to build trust with email.
Your welcome email is one of the most important messages you can send to a subscriber. It immediately lets your audience know what they can expect from you. This means they’re less likely to hit the “unsubscribe” button.
Studies suggest that recipients of email newsletters are most engaged with brands during the first 48 hours of subscribing. Despite this, only around 60% of companies send welcome emails during that important window. Take advantage of your chance to connect with your customer with a welcome email that sends out automatically whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter.
Your welcome email should include an insight into what your customers can expect to receive from you, such as regular blog posts, or discount coupons. Once you make those promises to your audience, make sure that you stick by them. Nothing harms trust more than customers feeling as though they’ve been cheated.
3. Make Every Message Personal
You should know by now that the only way to get customers to consistently read your emails, is to send them content that’s relevant to their interests. Segmenting your audience based on their location, age range, and interests is one of the best ways to personalize each message to suit your customer’s needs. Remember, your customers don’t want to feel like just another number.
If you’ve offered your customers a “preferences” center where they can decide what they want to receive from you, then honor those wishes by sending only the most requested content.
You can also customize the email experience further by creating customer profiles for each of your audience segments. Find out the age range, general behaviors, and opinions of each audience, and tailor your email campaign accordingly to build trust with email.
Remember, there’s more to personalized email marketing than adding a first name to your message. You should also be paying close attention to other factors too. In the Deliveroo email above, the message is tailored specifically to the location of the subscriber.
4. Send Emotional Messages
For the most part, your email strategy might involve sending messages to customers that show off your latest blog posts and invite them to take advantage of great deals. However, from time to time, it might be worth throwing an emotional, relationship-building message into the mix.
We’re not suggesting that you should throw a lot of pointless messages towards your audience just so you take up more of their inbox. Spam already accounts for about 28.5% of emails worldwide. But it is worth reminding your customers that you share the same values if you want to build trust with email.
64% of consumers say that they want to buy from brands that take a stance on societal issues. If you know there’s an important issue that your customers are facing right now, start a conversation. This is something a lot of companies started doing during COVID when they shared their plans on how to help their customers over email.
You don’t have to wait for a crisis to strike before you send a meaningful message. Information from your CEO when your business goes through an important change, or comments on an important topic can make your company seem more human and “connected”.
If you can also include some links to helpful resources, like in the COVID email above, you can drive customers back to your website, and strengthen that crucial brand/client relationship.
5. Get Influencers Involved
Smaller businesses often have a harder time gaining the trust of their followers, simply because they haven’t been around for long enough. It takes time for clients to get a feel for your brand and decide whether they want to trust you. Fortunately, you can build trust with email by leveraging the reputation of someone else.
Around 85% of customers say that they regularly seek out trusted experts for advice on what to buy and which companies to work with. If you can get someone to give your product a shout-out, you can instantly improve your credibility.
Consider sending an email to your customers that lists some of the top clothing picks your fashion influencer has chosen from your recent collection. You can link back to a blog about the influencer’s choices, and even send customers to their social media page (which hopefully directs them back to you).
You might even decide to pluck pictures shared on your Instagram or Facebook pages out of social media and put them in your emails. This is a great way to remind your subscribers that you’re active on other platforms.
6. Keep Communications Consistent
The timing of your emails, and how you send them can make a huge difference to your ability to build trust. If you promise your customers that they’re going to get a fresh roundup of all your best blog posts by 2pm every Friday, make sure you keep that promise. There are plenty of email marketing tools to help you stick to your schedule.
When someone buys something from your website, follow up immediately with a “thank you” email, and keep them posted with updates when you ship their product. Make sure that you have a service and support team on hand to handle any questions when your clients contact you by email too.
Remember, email isn’t just a marketing medium; it’s a method of communication, where you can launch valuable conversations with your audience. The back and forth between you and your clients will eventually help you to build deeper relationships. However, you need to be consistent about the experience you offer.
Aside from timing, make sure you’re also consistent with:
- Color schemes
- Logos and graphics
- Tone of voice
- Links back to your website or social pages
- Terms and conditions
7. Never Mislead Your Subscribers
Finally, the absolute worst thing you can do to when it comes to building trust through email, is mislead your followers. This means you should never create a subject line that promises a free discount or gift, just to get your customers to open your emails. Don’t tell your customer that you’re going to give them a special deal when they click on a link, then send them to a checkout page.
If anything you do feels like it could be misconstrued as being sneaky or underhanded, then you need to go back to the drawing board and reconsider your campaigns. While it’s important to make your subject lines and CTAs as compelling as possible, that doesn’t mean that you should risk your client’s trust to get results.
If you ever do make a mistake and do something that doesn’t seem suitable for your brand, make sure you own up to it immediately. Admit where you went wrong, apologize to your audience, and explain how you’re going to correct the problem in the future. Consumers can understand that businesses make mistakes, but they expect you to follow up appropriately.
Earn Yourself Some Trust
The reality is that you can’t run a successful business today without first gaining your customers’ trust. Fortunately, email marketing can be a wonderful way to develop relationships with your audience and showcase your credibility. Follow the tips above, and you’ll have the trust you need in no time.