What’s interesting about the recent Facebook scandal is that it wasn’t a secret that they were data-mining – it was only after they were exposed for doing untoward things with that data that it became a scandal.
Honestly, though, we all knew Facebook was selling our data – if you didn’t, remember the rule of capitalism: if it’s free then YOU are the product. Yet, still, we maintained trust in the brand largely because of the convenience their product provided.
Google is a company that mines significantly more data than Facebook, yet we still trust them to perform the majority of our search requests. Convenience has been a key factor in trust – or at least turning a blind eye – for years now. But with the recent changes in attitude due to data mining and demands for transparency, simply offering a convenient service is no longer enough. Brands need a strategy that can build trust.
In 2017, Amazon began trialling a service where delivery drivers could open the front door to a customer’s house in order to drop off a package. Customers could watch the delivery live on their smartphone, but – watching or not – that’s a lot of faith to have in anyone, let alone a corporation. It’s difficult enough to build trust in B2C brands, but B2B brands are dealing with accounts that could be worth millions. Trust when working with such figures isn’t just important, it’s a prerequisite. So how can B2B brands build a meaningful level of trust? This blog will take you through some ways that you can use your website and online presence to show your audience your brand is reliable.
One of the key factors that affect both B2B and B2C is User Experience (UX). If the website user has a positive experience on the site, it’s a good indicator of competence and putting the client first. It’s also encouraging to see a well-maintained site with HTTPS security measures in place. Measures like easy navigation, well-structured content, interactivity, fast load times, or minimal (zero for B2B sites) advertisements all better the user experience and make it much more likely that an inquisitive user can become a lead. UX is a part of your brand, so it needs to be a primary factor in your brand strategy. A thorough website audit can let you know your current UX standing – if the result is especially low then you might wish to consider a rebuild.
Content on your website has many advantages. Even before it’s read, content has an impact on a website’s SEO, with regularly-posted, relevant content favoured by Google’s algorithms. So, content is important for your website because it attracts new customers to the site and helps users engage with the brand. This engagement is the first step to trust. Users are reluctant to engage unless there is content that’s relevant to their personal circumstances and has an intelligent point to make. This content proves that your brand has an in-depth understanding of the industry.
Although blogs are what are most commonly associated with content, there are actually many forms. These include blogs, case studies, videos, newsletters, e-bulletins, and pretty much anything that users interact with. To make the most of your content, make sure it’s available to the right people at the right time, on the channels they use. Around 27 million pieces of content are shared every day and if a user decides to share yours, then that’s a sign of trust. Any impressions made from that share will also build trust in new potential clients – after all, we’re more likely to take a peer’s word on the reliability of a brand than the word of the brand itself!
Engagement is not just the responsibility of the customer. Interacting with your stakeholders can shape brand perception. First of all, it’s important to be available to your customers, be it via social media, a phone number, email, or an open door at the office. Chatbots are great, too, but they aren’t necessarily reliable for building trust, because there’s no human behind their words. A human is essential for generating trust because it helps customers believe they are being listened to. When you listen to your customers, you show them you care and that you aren’t a faceless corporation. The Xbox Support Twitter account is a great example of engaging with customers because they operate like a traditional help desk. They provide clear opening hours and reply to queries almost immediately. It’s not just about listening to the problem or query, however; you must also show understanding. Become an expert at customer needs and finding solutions to their problems in order to build a reputation of competency.
By being attentive and responsive, a brand will instantly seem more trustworthy. If a client trusts you to give expert advice, then they will see your product or service as a viable solution.
Especially in light of the recent events with Facebook, being transparent and honest with your clients is necessary if you intend to earn their trust. It can be difficult for your target market to get to know your brand in any depth, and that lack of understanding will sow seeds of doubt. Keep your clients informed of your brand: if you’re working on a large project, post regular updates about its status; if new compliance regulation has been introduced, share with your audience and highlight your plans; and if there is critical feedback, take responsibility by publically replying to whoever posted the criticism.
By opening up and being honest about your operations, you are showing that you value and respect your customers – a sentiment they might repay in kind.
Focus on branding
Despite being very important to a website, UX, transparency, content, and engagement mean nothing if your brand is not perceived as trustworthy. Trust is made or broken on the impression a brand makes on its market, and this is particularly true for B2B companies and financial services. A brand impression comes from the visual language, the tone of voice, the use of images, design, and pretty much all the services Dusted provide. We like to tell brands we are primarily about branding, design, and web development, but at the end of the day, what we offer are all the ingredients to become a reassuring, trusted brand.
Dusted can ensure a great user experience, plan and implement a marketing strategy, develop a brand identity that boosts confidence from the client, perform a website audit, and even build an excellent new website tailored around your long-term business goals. If you want to learn more about Dusted or want a free website audit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our contact page.