As a business owner, you know that customer trust is one of the most important elements for successfully growing your brand. Without it, your business will fail to thrive over the long run.
But how do you earn customer trust (especially when you are a new business without an established reputation in your community, if you’re trying to expand into a new market or rolling out a new service)?
The answer is by utilizing the power of great storytelling. A compelling narrative captivates a viewer, keeps them engaged, leaves a lasting impression, and encourages them to share the story. Storytelling plays a fundamental role in how we, as humans, build and maintain relationships with others.
Keep reading to learn how you can use brand stories to build a sense of trust among your customers.
Why It Is Important to Earn Your Customers’ Trust
Simply put, earning customer trust only leads to good things for your business. It means earning more referrals, more online reviews, a higher star rating, reduced marketing costs, etc.
Customer trust also plays a huge role in customer retention — which in turn helps facilitate the growth and stabilization of your brand. According to a 2020 report by Forrester, companies can increase profits by over ninety percent by increasing their customer retention rate. If a customer or client trusts you, your business will be the first option they turn to when they need assistance in the future.
There are four major trust factors you need to consider when crafting a story for your online marketing:
- Honesty – The power of your story will backfire if it comes across as disingenuous, so you must be honest when you share something about your business. A great story is true not just because it is factual, but because it is consistent and authentic. Whenever possible, use real anecdotes and back your claims with solid evidence. While you certainly want to show your brand in a good light, resist the urge to embellish your story in ways that will be embarrassing when (not if, but when) the truth comes out. Modern consumers are simply too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for marketers to get away with a slapped-together story.
- Transparency – Honesty is about being truthful in what you reveal about your business. However, it is just as important to be transparent; where customers can see for themselves the information they want to know about your business. So, make sure you are true to yourself and your brand. For example, be open about whom you partner with, what causes you support, and your role within the community. When you use facts and figures to highlight your service or product, make sure to cite your information sources, so people can do further research themselves.
- Accountability – How you address your mistakes tells potential customers a lot about the trustworthiness of your brand. It may seem counterintuitive, but acknowledging a shortcoming in your business can actually be tremendously beneficial in the long run. For instance, think about online reviews. A business that promptly responds to a negative review in a professional manner, where they own their mistake and work to resolve the issue, ultimately comes out looking much better than a business that ignores negative reviews in a misguided effort to look perfect.
- Reliability – A cornerstone of digital marketing is the mere exposure effect, where individuals will show an increased preference for something as a consequence of repeated exposure. You can not just say something once on a single platform and expect people to remember it. Rather, you must share your story across all of your online platforms to meet your audience where they are. Also, keep in mind that how you tell your story will vary across your various online channels. For instance, how you construct and present a narrative on YouTube will differ from the way you use Instagram, LinkedIn, your website, etc. Implement recurring themes throughout your storytelling over time by finding new angles and dimensions of your core topics to explore. This can help reinforce trust and confidence by showing your expertise in the subject matter.
How to Earn Customer Trust With Storytelling
Good storytelling is one of the most powerful and effective tools you have to cultivate a sense of trust among your audience. These days, people are bombarded by a mind-boggling amount of content. As such, you only get one chance to capture your prospect’s attention, so you need to make the most of the opportunity.
A well-crafted brand story can create long-lasting emotional impressions with customers, helping them feel more connected with your business. In addition to promoting customer trust and loyalty, storytelling also improves the longevity of your company by making your brand more memorable and widely recognized.
Beyond the four trust factors discussed above, here are three more tips on how to craft great stories that will help you earn customer trust.
Remember, the buyer is the hero
Cut through the noise and establish a connection with your audience by reframing the mundane buyer’s journey as something more like a hero’s journey. Think about it like this: your prospect is trying to find a solution to their specific challenge. Through insightful content, your brand can act as a helpful mentor on their quest, providing guidance, fostering growth, and guiding them to a successful resolution.
This means making sure you are telling your story on the customer’s terms — where the narrative is focused on them, not your brand. Tell stories that highlight your customers’ pain points without directly stating it and trying to sell your services; paint a picture they can relate to. Your audience should be able to see themselves in the story that you are telling, where your content has a relevant hook that makes it personally applicable to their lives. By understanding your buyer’s needs and joining them on their journey, you can build a positive relationship rooted in a sense of trust.
Utilize social proof in your campaigns:
Social proof like case studies, customer testimonials, online reviews, and content featuring thought leaders and influencers can be tremendously powerful tools for building trust. By outlining different scenarios and challenges that your audience can relate to, you show that you understand them and empathize with their situation. And by featuring first-person perspectives from people similar to your prospective customers, you demonstrate that you have been found trustworthy by their peers.
Get your customers involved in the story
Getting your customers involved in your brand story facilitates communication between your business and your customers which further encourages a sense of trust. It helps them feel like they have a place in your brand — that they are part of something larger than themselves. One way to promote customer participation is to encourage them to act as brand advocates by sharing user-generated content, where they tell their own story on social media relating to your brand. Make sure to monitor social media networks and interact when people mention your brand. If a customer (or potential customer) feels as if they are being heard, they are more inclined to trust your business.
The Right Tools for Effective Brand Storytelling
A critical part of being an effective storyteller is knowing how to “read” your audience, so you can take steps to refine your content and targeting. You need to have ways to determine if you are succeeding in capturing the attention of the right people and eliciting the desired response. In the digital marketing context, this means having the tools to implement and track your campaigns to find out whether your content is actually effective.
Surefire Local can help with our business intelligence marketing software. With the Surefire Local Marketing platform, you can:
- Measure how people feel about your business (for instance, word-cloud visualization of most commonly used words that appear in your reviews);
- Track performance metrics to measure how relevant your content is and where you are winning and losing your audience members;
- Easily store and organize your visual assets in the platform’s Gallery that enables you to easily share an image or video across your online presence (including website, directories, social media, Google My Business, and email campaigns).
Our mission is to help small business owners take charge of their digital marketing destiny. Contact us today to schedule your free demo and see how the Surefire Local Marketing Platform can help you take your marketing storytelling to the next level!