Earn your customers’ trust: How to use personalization and authenticity to reach target audiences

Marketers are always looking for new ways to serve their customers and communities, and 2020 brought more opportunities than usual. The rapid transition to digital customer experiences as a result of the pandemic allowed companies to test many new ideas in order to appeal to their target audience.

The tone of customer communication also changed. The events of 2020 coupled with the move to digital interaction resulted in marketers using less jargon and messaging that customers may perceive as less than authentic communication.

The focus was on personalized, concise and transparent messages in order to build lasting customer relationships based on trust.

According to a recent global study of marketers and consumers, COVID has taught marketers the value of straight talk and consumer appreciation for value-driven news. People are faced with a deluge of news from a variety of sources, resulting in shortened attention spans and fatigue in common terms like “the new normal”. Customers are also willing to read news indicating pandemic circumstances, another report revealed – likely because they have learned how to deal with the situation and are ready to adopt an adjusted “business as usual” lifestyle.

Organizations therefore face the daunting task of identifying messages that strike the right balance.

This consumer and marketer study also shows that there is a gap between the perceptions of marketers’ trust and the reality of consumers: three quarters of marketers said that customers trust their organization’s use of personal data more in 2020 than in year 2019; However, just over half (52%) of consumers said they would be happy to give companies their personal information in exchange for a better experience.

Personalized content is not a new approach, but if implemented wisely it can help marketers move from using trust-reducing communications to developing communications that are both in tune with a brand’s voice and respect a customer’s personal considerations.

Here are some tips on how to overcome trust barriers while dealing personally with customers.

1. Create an opt-in culture to build customer trust

In recent years there has been an increase in awareness of privacy and data brokers. In many cases, a company’s customers are not happy with how easily their data is compiled and sold.

Around half of people find it worrying when a brand knows something about them that they haven’t directly revealed, as the 2019 study by Acquia shows. The same research found that 65% of consumers would stop engaging with a brand if they found that their data was being used dishonestly.

Organizations can solve this problem by switching to an opt-in model, which often results in higher quality data. When customers trust your company with their identities and preferences, they may be ready to provide more specific information. More accurate data helps brands create better customer profiles and more precise segmentation, which in turn leads to better personalization.

2. Use data to create more human experiences

Marketers need to remember that there is a human behind every click of the keyboard. People have never been so cautious about the messages they receive from companies. More than half of consumers in Acquia’s 2019 study agreed that companies are lagging behind when it comes to interacting with customers both online and offline.

Companies should use personalized data as an opportunity to be more human with their customers. Personalization can drive human interactions and make customers feel understood.

With the right tools, companies can develop cross-channel experiences that keep customers happy with their interactions.

3. Don’t rush

Just like you wouldn’t ask about your partner’s creditworthiness or suggest marriage on a first date, marketers shouldn’t ask too much of customers upfront. It is rare for customers to share detailed personal information at the beginning of a relationship.

Once data is collected, some marketers want to act on their results immediately, but a methodical process could be more valuable. By taking a step-by-step approach, marketers can refine their communications as the interactions progress and deliver more sophisticated and insightful messages to their customers.

4. Think small

The pandemic has forced many companies to switch to digital-first operations and look at their customer bases in entirely new ways. Audiences are exhausted from too much information in an unstable time. Sending short, easy-to-navigate, consumable content will get you noticed.

As marketers face shrinking budgets, smaller campaigns can reduce the risk of overpaying on large-scale marketing initiatives. With the right data foundation, marketers can create micro-experiences for consumers that feel very personal and still get conversions.

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COVID has made marketers realize something they should have known and put into action: Authenticity and a personal touch in their communications are the best way to build trust, loyalty, and long-term relationships with customers.

Use personalization and authentic communication to create a better customer experience in 2021.

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