The holiday season means a spike in sales for most businesses. At the same time, though, honesty is never a more powerful marketing tactic. Customers often value a comfortable experience, with a brand they can trust, more than they do product features – especially when they’re already rushed during a busy shopping season.
How can honesty improve your marketing strategy?
No matter what you have to offer, doing what’s best for the customer can never fail to bolster your marketing impact.
- Positive publicity. According to Vocus, 77% of online shoppers base their purchase decisions on reviews from other customers. If website or Facebook visitors see glowing reports about your candid service or friendly, no-hassle interactions, they’ll more likely consider you as a reliable, trustworthy solution to their needs.
- Good reputation. Have you ever decided to stop by a new store because you’ve heard ‘everyone’ buzzing about it? Studies have found that happy customers will tell 4-6 people about a positive brand experience (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs). That’s an encouraging invitation for prospects who may not be familiar with what you have to offer – especially if they feel they’ll be ‘joining’ their peers by sharing the same experience.
- Repeat business. It’s plain and simple: if visitors feel they know and trust your brand, they’re more likely to come back. Just a 10% increase in customer retention can result in a 30% increase in the value of your company (Source: Bain & Co), so it’s worth the effort to help customers become familiar and comfortable with your business.
So, how can you develop a more customer-centric focus?
Responsibility. When mistakes happen, ignoring or disguising them doesn’t help anyone. If you come clean instead, apologize to offended customers, and offer amends (like special discounts), your customers will know that you care– not only about their satisfaction, but also about creating a better experience for them in the future.
Authenticity. It’s easy to ignore a faceless corporation – but if customers can see who you are as an organization, beyond the products you sell, they’ll develop a stronger relationship with your brand. What values do you strive to embody as a business? What problems or challenges do you help solve, for your customers and for the community? What unique experiences or perspectives allow your employees to provide better service?
Sincerity. Telling customers what they want to hear may seem like the safest, easiest way to close a sale. In the long run, though, customers are quick to see the real value they’re getting for their investment – so mincing words or trying to build a larger-than-life image can do more damage than good. Simply promising what you can deliver – and delivering what you promise – is a much more effective way to inspire your customers’ trust and loyalty.
Accessibility. Remember the department store fire truck scene from Miracle on 34th Street? Creating a great experience often means putting your customers’ needs above the sale. The more simply and directly you can provide them with what they want – or guide them to it, if you don’t have it – the more highly they’ll esteem your business as a helpful, valuable resource, and remember you the next time they need something you offer.