How To Build Customer Trust In 2019

The marketplace is more skeptical today than ever before, and for good reason. In 2018, our eyes were bombarded by news reports about the Facebook scandal that compromised the privacy of a reported 87 million users, the Marriott hack that compromised the data of 500 million travelers, and the words “fake news” were uttered more times than anyone could possibly count. That’s why there’s no time like the present to take a good, hard look at how to build consumer trust in 2019.

The research says it all. Fewer than half of the people in the U.S. trust businesses–48% to be exact. And chances are, this includes your business. Simply put, when you lose consumer trust, you lose business.  It can take years to earn trust. But trust can be lost in a matter of seconds.

Let’s dig into 3 strategies to build consumer trust in 2019:

1.How To Build Customer Trust In 2019 With Micro-Influencers

Major brands like Amazon, Kia, and Snickers invest millions of dollars into macro-influencer marketing. Remember the Amazon Alexa 2018 Super Bowl commercial that featured celebrities including Anthony Hopkins and Gordon Ramsey (just to name a few?) Or the Kia commercial with Christopher Walken? Or pretty much any commercial selling a Snickers bar? Commercials featuring macro-influencers are memorable and very effective. However, they’re also beyond any small business owner’s budget.

Don’t fret! Micro-influencer marketing is the hot new tactic that’s building customer trust faster than a speeding bullet. In fact, 82% of people are likely to follow the recommendations of micro-influencers.

A micro-influencer is typically defined as an online personality that has a highly-engaged audience of fewer than 100,000 people. It could be a YouTuber you’ve never heard of, but one that your kids follow religiously. Or a blogger that writes on a niche topic that a small, but wildly loyal audience engages with throughout the day, every day. They’re the people that have far fewer followers but far more loyalty and therefore, influence.

A report by Digiday indicates Instagram influencers with fewer than 1000 followers have an 8% engagement rate, while those with more than one million followers engage with just 1.7% of their tribe. Because these micro-influencers have fewer followers, your cost to get them to feature your product or service in some of their social media posts, blogs and/or videos is very affordable, while you’re ROI is often off-the-charts awesome. Yes, you’ll need to reach out to more micro-influencers to maximize your reach than you would if you hired Jimmy Fallon to promote your brand, but

a) they’ll actually talk with you when you call

b) you’ll be able to afford to work with them


c)they’ll likely generate instant buzz around what you sell because their followers trust them implicitly and buy what they recommend.

2. How To Build Customer Trust In 2019 With Social Proof

I’m willing to put money on the fact that you’ve seen social proof in some form today. Maybe you read a review on Yelp or Amazon. Maybe you looked at a recommendation on LinkedIn. Perhaps you noticed a massive amount of shares for something on Facebook. Social proof comes in many forms and it’s a must for marketing your small business in 2019 because it’s one of the fastest ways to build customer trust.  Because people rarely trust what you say about your own business. They trust what your customers say about it. Especially if those customers are part of their tribe.

Here are some of my favorite ways to feature social proof:

  • A photo that illustrates how popular your product/service is: Social Media Examiner is promoting their annual conference ticket sales right now and they are letting a picture do the talking for them. The vast majority of their attendees know, love and follow the woman in the picture. By featuring her picture in the promo image, users believe this conference is the real deal. And it is. If you want to master social media marketing, you need to go.
  • Testimonials featuring real pictures of real customers raving about your brand:  The more “real,” the better, meaning snapshots with “just ok” lighting or video testimonials with someone that doesn’t look like they belong on a daytime soap opera will serve you well.
  • Screenshots of actual comments people have left online after engaging with you: For example, on my speaking page I feature a number of comments I’ve received on Facebook from people that have heard me speak because I want meeting planners to know, this isn’t my first rodeo. 
  • A pop-up box that shows every time a purchase like the one you’re considering has been made: There are lots of tools that can make this possible. SalesPop and Proof are two well-respected service providers you might want to consider. While pop-ups like this are common on e-commerce sites, my inner marketing nerd was totally turned on this morning when I saw one created by Proof that was used for setting appointments while listening to a webinar. This just goes to show these pop-ups can be used in countless ways.
    How To Build Customer Trust Proof
  • Text that indicates how many people are buying what you sell and what they’re saying about it after they purchase – Basecamp does this beautifully on their site.
    How To Build Customer Trust Basecamp

3. How To Build Customer Trust In 2019 By Incentivizing Friends, Family & Colleagues To Market For You

83% of consumers in 60 countries say they trust recommendations from friends and family more than anything else. That said, to build customer trust in 2019 you’ll want to craft offers that incentivize your customers to share your offers with their friends, family, and colleagues.

The key to doing this well is to make your referral rewards intriguing enough to compel people to take time out of their busy day to be your brand evangelist. $5 or a 5% kickback is unlikely to make anyone promote your brand for you. On the other hand, a more substantial offer, like Chase Bank’s $100 referral reward is lucrative enough to garner attention.

How To Build Customer Trust Chase

Moo has a smart, “win-win” approach in their referral program. They reward their small business referrers with a $20 gift card and the referee with a coupon to save 25% off their first order. They have a separate program for bigger business referrals where they give the referrer $150 and reward the referees with a higher level of support, discounts and more.

How To Build Customer Trust Moo

While many friends & family referral programs reward with cold hard cash, there are some that offer other rewards that are equally, if not more intriguing to their customer base. For example, when stock buying/trading mobile app Robinhood Instant launched, it had a 3-day waiting period before users could get access. Knowing there were hundreds of thousands of people in line, they incentivized people to share the app with their friends. Those that shared the most got in first.

How To Build Customer Trust Robinhood

To learn more about how to create a winning referral campaign, check out this blog post that lays out a simple 10-step process.

When you consider how to build customer trust in 2019, you need to keep a few things in mind. While this might be a new year that’s filled with new opportunities, human nature hasn’t changed. People buy from people they know, like and trust. We’ll cover becoming known and liked in some future blog posts. For now, focus on implementing at least one of the trust-building ideas I’ve shared with you in this blog. After all, as airline mogul David Neeleman says, “with high trust, success comes faster, better, and at a lower cost.” And don’t you want more of that in 2019?

Want to know if your company is conveying trustworthy marketing messages? Hire us today to perform a Content Evaluation and learn how your company is perceived in the marketplace.

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