It's no secret that shoppers buy from companies they trust. Some companies seem to effortlessly establish trust with their customers, while others struggle to make the connection. Authenticity and Transparency are two aspects of modern marketing you should embrace if you wish to build long-lasting, trusting relationships with your audience.
Transparency vs. Authenticity
While you should use both transparency and authenticity to establish trust with your customers, it's important to note the differences between the two.
- Transparency refers to how much your company is willing to share with your audience.
- Authenticity refers to who you are as a company, and what you believe in.
When a business is transparent, they are willing to share important information about their business. Transparent businesses don't have customers wondering if they're being lied to or led on about certain aspects of the company. When you're straightforward with information about your business, you are transparent.
Whereas transparency is about how much information you are willing to share, authenticity has to do with what you share. Are you sharing content you personally believe to be true? Are you offering products that will work as they are advertised? Do you share the same beliefs and values as the audience you are marketing to? Your answers to these questions will define your authenticity.
Why Do Shoppers Respond to Transparency and Authenticity?
It's important to understand why customers respond positively to transparency and authenticity. These words are often thrown around in marketing guides, but you need to know why they're effective trust-building tools.
When your company is transparent, your customers believe you have nothing to hide. If your customers ask questions and you don't provide them with proper answers, you'll immediately risk their trust. Sometimes being transparent means you have to give people answers they don't want to hear, but ultimately this will allow you to build a foundation of trust with your customers. Many people would rather be told the truth than “what they want to hear,” and thus, they value transparency in a business.
People respond to authenticity for many of the same reasons they respond to transparency. They believe that what they see – what your company is advertising – is what they get. If you are advertising a lifestyle with your business, your customers expect you to believe in that lifestyle. If people don't think you believe in the lifestyle you are selling, they might think you are only in the market to make money – not to help them. However, people will respond more positively if they believe your company shares the same values as themselves.
How Can You Integrate Transparency and Authenticity into Your Marketing Strategy?
If your company is authentic, you shouldn't have trouble convincing your customers of it. By offering your customers a product and a lifestyle you truly believe in, they should recognize your authenticity without issue. This will help you immediately establish trust. However, you may want to reconsider your choice of market if your audience doesn't believe you are authentic. Ask yourself, do I believe in what I am selling? If the answer isn't a resounding “yes,” you might encounter some trouble convincing others of your authenticity.
Conversely, you can directly impact your company's transparency. You can decide whether or not you want your company to be extremely transparent, or shrouded in mystery. Ultimately, the right level of transparency will depend on your business. Strive to share enough information that will answer your customer's questions. Some popular ways to show transparency include:
- Putting your weaknesses out in the open. Talk about hurdles you've overcome as a company, and what you've done to improve.
- Showing where your products come from, and how they are made.
- Making financial figures very clear.
If your customers have questions or concerns about your products or how your company operates, answer them honestly and clearly. When your customers feel like you are hiding something, they'll be quick to retract their trust in you.
How do you convey trust and authenticity on your website? How has transparency helped you build trust with your audience? Let us know in the comments below!