To say that a lot has happened in the past year is an understatement. This year is going to be anything but old and traditional. People are going to take risks. Some will stay on the sidelines. There will be a lot of movements in the markets. And yes, these markets will continue to be volatile for who knows until when. There you are, in the middle of all this chaos. No business today can ever assuredly say it knows what to do in the next few months when a new strain of the coronavirus is threatening us once more. The world has forever been altered and so does the way businesses earn money, earn trust, and earn loyalty from their customers.
Two years ago, a study showed that 81% of customers consider their trust in a brand before buying from it. But of that number, only a third actually trusts the brand from which they buy from. The rest says they don’t trust the brand they buy from, and neither do they trust its marketing communications to be truthful. This has become problematic for companies. The next two years were dedicated to trying to earn this trust through loyalty programs, brand ambassadors, influencer marketing, and exceptional customer service.
But in 2021, these things will change. Brands can no longer be in full marketing mode. They need to be more conscious of what their customers need to hear and see. Customers are going to demand much more from a brand.
Show That You Care
Most of the time, it is the simplest thing that matters the most to your customers. How do you show that you care as a brand? First, in the digital world, you have to protect their identities by encrypting information they share with your website. You have to show them that your site has all the safety protocols, so they don’t need to feel wary about interacting with the site.
In your physical store, make sure they feel safe. Keep the store neat, clean, and organized. During winter, hire a snow removal service to shovel the snow away from the walkway and driveway. Make sure the parking lot is well-lit to prevent criminals from pouncing on their victims there. Your customers need to feel assured that you will do anything in your power to make them feel safe and free them from harm.
Personalize Your Offers
Personalized marketing has been very big in the last decade. It will continue to dominate many marketing strategies this year since customers want to receive special offers made exclusively for them. Sure, they want the rewards program, but they also want brands they support to offer something that’s tailor-fit for what they need. During their birthdays, customers expect to receive a gift card or extra rewards points from a company they’ve been supporting for years.
During the sale season, you can give customers a peek into the upcoming sales way before the general public. This will show them that you appreciate their patronage of your brand. When you send them emails, make sure it’s addressed to their names. There’s a simple tool to help you with this, although it will require access to your customer database.
Make a Stand
Gone are the days when brands could sit idly by as social, political, and environmental issues surround them. In the past year, you have seen brands take a stand about various issues. The market demands this. Your target audience wants to know if your company values align with theirs. Even if you don’t publicize it, a lot of customers have been researching about the brand and its owners. They want to find where you stand on different issues. Advocacy campaigns are going to be front and center of this year’s marketing strategies.
Highlight User-generated Content
Forget about hiring celebrities or influencers. While they work, there’s another cheaper and more effective way to market your products and gain your customers’ loyalty. That’s by publishing user-generated content. Customers trust testimonials and reviews from real people more than they trust what a celebrity and social media influencer will say. It’s the same thing with user-generated content.
Customers love seeing real people use the products they, too, are eyeing to buy. When they do see these on ordinary people, that pushes them to try the products themselves. You gain their loyalty by publishing the content they produce showcasing the products they bought from you.
Building trust takes a lot of work. Your brand’s reputation will undergo so much scrutiny before a customer becomes loyal to you for years. But by knowing what the market demands from brands, you’ll be in a position to respond positively to such needs.