When you’re the new kid on the block, you have to prove yourself. This is exponentially more important given the current e-commerce landscape where there are hundreds of new kids on the block every week.
Very few brands are ready for an immediate turnkey advertising campaign that instantly starts pouring in interested customers. There are a few different tiers to develop trust that largely depend on the level of exposure your brand and product has had thus far.
If they have never heard of your brand before, your potential customers will look to others to validate their sentiments. The following three tiers tend to be very effective for building trust, especially when combined:
2. Influencers and celebrities.
3. User testimonials.
There is no single, static preference potential customers will have regarding which category influences them the most, so it’s important to cover all of your bases. Additionally, brands that are able to strategically launch brand-building campaigns can use each tier to facilitate the acceptance of other tiers.
The power of the press
Credible press is extremely valuable, but it can be difficult to come by for a completely new brand. Brands that attract the attention of notable media sites and journalists are at a huge advantage over brands that do not.
Organic media coverage in the form of editorial coverage that captures the narrative and purpose behind your brand helps readers understand why your particular brand stands out through the noise. Paid media in the form of press releases can also be useful to drive attention to a particular focal point of your brand. Although the line has started to blur between organic and paid, many journalists (and readers) tend to gravitate toward a story or unique value proposition.
If you already have some relevant media coverage, you’re on the fast track to building massive trust. Facebook ad campaigns that showcase your media coverage not only tend to receive higher click-through rates, but users who are more educated about your brand may convert at a higher rate.
If you’re seeking media coverage, it’s important to understand which outlets best match your target audience. Think of each media outlet as an aggregator of audience demographics. Most publications have media kits on their advertising pages that highlight all the important information about their audiences.
For example, Forbes has a 54 percent male and 46 percent female audience and boasts the “largest digital audience of millennials” and three times as many IT decision makers as its nearest competitor.
If this is somewhat in line with who your audience is, its close competitors are excellent targets to pitch.
Exploring the dynamics of influencers and celebrities
If you don’t have any press, the second tier may be a better place to start. Similar to media outlets, influencers and celebrities are also audience aggregators. Working with the right influencer or celebrity can ideally help align certain aspects of your brand with favorable qualities of that person.
Influencers can help with everything from amplifying your brand on social media to creating new creative that resonates better with your customers.
The beauty of influencer and celebrity campaigns is you can tackle a niche audience from multiple angles at a much more cost-efficient rate than, for example, a full PR agency on retainer. Additionally, these campaigns can help drive traffic to your social media profiles, which also help establish trust with your customers and can be leveraged to work with higher-quality influencers and media outlets.
Seeking user testimonials and feedback
If you don’t have an influencer or celebrity endorsement, your next best bet is to start driving user testimonials and reviews. What your customers have to say can be an incredibly powerful driver of trust for new customers.
Get your product in front of as many customers as possible, even if that means offering the product for free. This is much more effective once you’ve refined your value proposition and found, or neared, a palpable product-market fit. If you’re sending customers the beta version of your product, don’t expect them to withhold any punches in their reviews.
Keep in mind that even negative feedback is critical, especially on third-party review sites. Potential customers tend to be forgiving of less-than-glistening feedback as long as the brand responds appropriately and addresses the unhappy customer’s concerns.
The bottom line is very few people are willing to buy something unless they see it in the hands of someone they trust. Endorsements make a big difference, especially if they come from an outlet or an individual who has earned their own audience’s trust.
Ultimately, your reputation is everything. The three tiers above can help emphasize the legitimacy and authenticity of your brand. Once you have one or all of the tiers locked down, you can create advertising campaigns that perform and convert much better.
It’s also critical to funnel the attention generated in your trust-building campaigns into the appropriate retention strategies. Create blogs and articles that support your brand’s story and provide potential customers with a sense of continuity between what they see on other media outlets and influencer accounts, and capture interested leaders with a dedicated email campaign.