Trust is important in any relationship. It helps forge bonds by ensuring mutual respect and accountability, come what may. But for brands, building trust with both existing, potential, and even unknown customers is doubly important — brand trust is second only to price when it comes to purchasing a product from a new company, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.
In the same survey, 70% of respondents said trusting a brand is more important today than in the past. It makes sense: Upwards of 74% of consumers consider a brand’s societal impact when making a purchasing decision. Consumers want to be sure the brands they support not only share their values but are also honest in their beliefs.
So, how does a brand build trust with new and potential customers? Though there is no industry-agnostic approach to appealing to every group of customers, there are some tried-and-true best practices to help build brand trust and validity with top of the funnel buyers — and it starts with aligning your values throughout your marketing and content.
First Things First: What Are Top-of-Funnel Buyers?
Buyers who enter a marketing and sales funnel are in the first stage of their buying journey, which means they probably have very little knowledge about your company. This represents the group of prospective clients and customers who fit your products or services but aren’t yet ready to make a purchase. The primary goal for marketers here is to build brand awareness and trust with these buyers, pushing them closer to purchasing.
Promote Your Values With Relevant Content
Creating and publishing content relevant to your brand is about building influence and becoming a thought leader in your space. This means developing content ideas and copy that address the concerns and interests your customer base might have.
Consider a plumbing company that posts how-to videos addressing common issues like leaky faucets or backed-up lines: The goal is to get consumers to invest in their services — and that’s always the intention with targeted content.
By first appearing in a customer’s world as a respected source of information, a business can establish themselves as the go-to expert for anything in their field. That kind of trust is usually worth the squeeze, even if, in this case, some customers don’t call in because they now know how to unclog their own drains.
Prioritize Authenticity in Public-Facing Profiles
Social media profiles are a trendy way to educate audiences on the values your company considers important. By creating a personality for your brand through Twitter and Facebook, you can reach new customers who might not otherwise know what your business is all about.
This personality should appeal to the audiences you covet the most. Think about Chuck E. Cheese’s social media profile — it’s no surprise that it’s silly by nature, engaging children and parents alike.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it authentically. This requires a great deal of self-awareness from your company. But if you nail down the voice and tone of your brand, you can show top of funnel buyers that you put your shoes on one foot at a time, just like everybody else.
In a survey of consumers and marketers in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, 90% of consumers agreed that authenticity is important in the brands they choose to support.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Proof
The advent of online review sites like Yelp and Trustpilot can be a boom or bust for businesses. For a company with a healthy serving of positive reviews, consumers can be directed straight to your product or service with almost no effort. In fact, one survey found that 92.4% of consumers use online reviews to guide most of their purchasing decisions.
However, on the other side, poor reviews have even more power to drive customers away. In a separate survey, more than 94% of respondents said negative reviews had convinced them to stay away from a company. Understanding the review ecosystem as a way to enforce brand trust through social proof is key to building validity with top of funnel buyers.
Turning Brand Trust Into New Conversions
Cultivating brand trust through messaging and social proof is no easy task — and once it’s done, the work is far from over. Your next goal should be to focus on transparency. Backing up your messaging with actions is the best way to turn the act of building brand trust into continuing consumer loyalty. After all, 89% of American consumers stay loyal to brands that share their values.
While you’re at it, consider looking to the experts at AdRoll for more information on how to leverage trust into new business.
Originally published on May 21st, 2021, last updated on April 12th, 2022.