“Trust” is a word you often hear in business models and marketing strategies today. The new generation of consumers places great importance on how honest, transparent, and authentic a brand is.
According to one SDL study, millennials are seven times more likely to give personal information to a brand they trust as opposed to any other brand. Around the world, consumers want every aspect of a brand to exhibit trustworthiness, from the About Us page to a secure checkout process.
Here are six user experience (UX) design tips that can help a brand achieve this golden standard, and secure customer loyalty for the long haul.
1. Be Consistent in Everything You Do
Nothing makes shoppers wary of a brand like inconsistency. Consumers want to enjoy experiences that are predictable and live up to their expectations. Branding consistency is vital to the health of a company’s reputation, as it shows that consumers can rely on a brand to continually meet expectations and stay true to the original message or promise. Be consistent in everything you do, from your website and social media presence to engagements within your community. Present a united front to the world by building a UX that users have come to anticipate from your brand. Here are some tips on how to master consistency:
- Use the same tone across all forms of content.
- Choose a colour scheme and stick to it.
- Use the same company logo and brand identity across different apps and platforms.
- Create congruency between your brand’s website and landing pages/marketing content.
- Match third-party elements to your native brand.
- Keep messages clear, smart, and simple.
Trust between a consumer and a brand is something the company can build over time with the right strategies. One such approach is remaining consistent on all fronts at all times. Anything less will confuse readers and make them second-guess the company’s motives. Going way off base from other marketing materials could even make customers think someone has hacked your site; a misunderstanding that could put a severe dent in business.
2. Let the People Behind the Brand Shine
If there is one thing today’s customers hate is a brand that sets out purely to make a profit. While profitability is a vital aspect of sales, customers do not want to feel like making money is the only reason a company exists. One way a brand can prevent appearing too eager for profits is letting the people behind the brand shine. A company’s product or service should not outshine the brains behind the operation. Customers want to get to know a business from the inside out and find reasons to feel good about supporting the brand.
Emphasize the people at a company (or key people in the case of larger organisations) through a down-to-earth ‘About Us’ page, staff biographies, and videos featuring real staff members. Use images of your actual company and team members instead of stock photos. Tell your story in a way that is engaging yet authentic, explaining your company mission, core values, and why you started the brand. The more honest you are about why the company exists, the more likely your customers are to develop a real relationship with the brand.
3. Use Your Content to Establish Trust
Content marketing is an excellent opportunity for establishing trust with your online customers. Trust-building strategies via content include maintaining a regular communication (via a blog for example), trying a drip email marketing campaign, posting often to social media profiles, and replying to user comments and questions. Your content marketing strategy should aim to fulfil user expectations, fill needs, and keep consumers engaged with your brand.
The more up-to-date you keep your content, the more trustworthy your brand will appear. Having outdated content can not only hurt your search engine optimisation – it will make users wonder whether they can trust you to fulfil the needs of today’s customers. Update old content to keep it fresh and relevant. With the right content marketing, users will start relying on your website or blog if they have questions relating to your field. Trustworthy content is how companies establish positions as thought leaders in their industries.
4. Show Total Transparency
There is almost nothing more important to the health of your brand than transparency. One study found that 94 percent of consumers are likely to show brand loyalty to companies that offer complete transparency. Almost three-fourths of consumers (73 percent) said they were willing to pay more for products that provide openness across all attributes. The days of pulling the wool over customers’ eyes to cinch sales are over. It is no longer acceptable to engage in shady business practices to pinch a profit. Today’s customers are incredibly savvy and have zero tolerance for dishonest companies.
Customers want to know everything they possibly can about a product: where it comes from, what it is made from, whether it is cruelty-free, if it is recyclable, and so on. They are hungry for information about a product or service. Moreover, they will insist on gathering knowledge before they decide to support the brand. Generating lifelong customers takes being utterly transparent about everything you do. Labels need to be detailed and honest. Company values need to be authentic. Your content needs to provide ample information about yourself and your products. Transparent branding is a must in creating trust, and something that can spark genuine long-term customer loyalty.
5. Engage with Customers on Their Desired Platforms
Being personable can go a long way toward developing a healthy relationship with customers. Millennials want brands to come off as friendly, caring, and dependable. Engaging with customers through their desired outlets and platforms can show that your company cares about the people it conducts business with and wants to start the conversation on their terms. Design UX to be engaging on every possible level. This could mean real-time customer engagement techniques such as instant recommendations through targeted ads, employing a chatbot for live communication, or interacting with fans on social media. It could also expand outside of the digital realm into hosting live events for customers.
Poorly executed marketing efforts can harm a company more than doing nothing at all. It is crucial to carry out a social media marketing campaign with a firm understanding of whom you are trying to reach, how to do so, and what to communicate. Properly engaging with your targeted customers takes a knowledge of which platforms they prefer.
For example, the most recent research shows that if a brand wants to target 18- to 29-year-olds, they should engage with them on Facebook, as 88 percent of adults in this age group use this platform. Instagram is another good option, with 59 percent of people in this age group active on the app. Meet your desired audience where they exist through a carefully designed marketing plan.
6. Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Website Design
Last but certainly not least, establishing trust with your consumers takes designing a robust website. The appearance and usability of a site can make or break the user experience. A website that appears outdated takes too long to load does not have enough white space, or commits another web design faux pas is a red flag for the modern user. One study even found that 44 percent of site visitors will bounce if the company does not include its phone number or other contact information.
Even seemingly small details like contact info are what signify to a user that he or she can trust the company behind the site. Trust-oriented website design relies on high-quality design elements, relevant and engaging content, ads that do not feel like spam, consistent messaging and clear communication. Establishing and maintaining trust for the long run depends a great deal on the user experience. These six UX design tips will help you foster genuine trust between your brand and its customers, and help you win their loyalty for life.
(Lead image: Depositphotos – affiliate link)