Customers don’t trust you, and that’s a fact. Don’t be embarrassed because you’re not the only brand in the industry with trust issues. A massive 96% of consumers wouldn’t believe the ads they see, whether they’re from SMEs or big corporations, according to this study by Adage. The reality is, they are skeptical people.
However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise because businesses and audiences have been engaged in back and forth for decades. It’s your job as an entrepreneur and leader to position your company to add value to your base and plug a gap in the market. Of course, even when you do, you’re not guaranteed to be successful.
In another cruel twist of fate, consumers also take the aesthetics of advertising into account. This means that if you come across as hacky, they’ll avoid you like the plague and choose a rival that has struck the perfect balance between selling and being “real.” Wow, crafting an innovative and socially conscious advert that’s not over the top is hard. How does Apple do it?!
Aside from the millions of dollars they throw at their marketing and research and development teams, they do the following. Here are the five ways to prevent your campaigns from appearing hacky.
Get Off The Bandwagon
Something happens, society reacts, and the world keeps on turning. It happens every day, and it’s called the news. More often than not, responding to a stimulus is tempting because it’s potential marketing gold. By jumping on the bandwagon, you can prove that you’re cool and hip and keep up with the times.
Sadly, it usually has the opposite effect. Consumers see brands as opportunists, which means they know that you’re not invested in the topic, but merely using it to push brand awareness. Although some people think that all PR is good PR, it isn’t in this morally-conscious period.
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Whether it’s the “Black Lives Matter” movement or defunding the police, they are vehicles of change for the people, not businesses attempting to capitalize on the latest developments. As a rule, it’s best to remain loyal to your brand identity.
Stay quiet and gauge the mood as, otherwise, you’ll come across as inauthentic and self-serving.
Be Culturally Sensitive
Advertising is undoubtedly challenging. Getting the tone right is essential, yet it’s also tricky. You never know what a person or group will find offensive, even if it wasn’t meant in the light that they view it. Still, there are marketing faux pas that is evident to everyone, and you must boo-boo them before they go live.
Please note that it’s not only small and medium-sized enterprises that are tone-deaf – some of the biggest mistakes in the past have been from the likes of H&M and Heineken. This Inc. article lists seven of the worst embarrassing branding mistakes, and you’ll be shocked by all seven.
If massive brands with non-exhaustive teams and money to burn can mess up, how are you supposed to know whether an ad is insensitive? The key is to trust your gut. When an advert feels close to the bone, there’s a good chance that it is. There’s nothing wrong with pushing the envelope, yet you shouldn’t take undue risks, either.
Alternatively, you can create a team of quality controllers. Their sole job should be to flag issues and make you aware of the offense they can cause to your audience and the brand.
Use Unassuming Marketing Methods
If the idea of using unassuming marketing methods appears counterproductive, it’s because you have a point. The whole reason you advertise is to attract attention and raise awareness of the brand. By doing this, you hope to boost the generation of leads, as well as the conversion of sales.
Of course, not every advertising technique is loved universally. For instance, television is a passive form of media that lets ads wash over you as you sit and stare at the screen. As a result, the odds of the message landing are high. A cold call about something you have no interest in, on the other hand, is annoying.
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Thankfully, cold calling is a habit that you can drop from your marketing strategy as the likes of text and email blasts now exist. Aside from being unobtrusive – people don’t mind receiving emails or text messages – Drop Cowboy points out that both are linked to mobile devices.
Considering there are over one-hundred-million in the US and that 98% of Americans have access to SMS and email, you only need a small chunk of people to respond to keep the revolving door turning with an influx of new customers. Not only are they pretty much guaranteed to reach your target audience, but they are personal, too, and add a nice touch.
Sometimes, adverts can be cold and salesy and not put the customer first. A text blast solves these problems in an instant.
Eliminate The Non-Promises
Promising a feature that you’re never going to deliver is a terrible marketing plan. As a rule, you should only advertise the elements that you can control. That way, you can typically guarantee that what you say will happen, and shoppers won’t be disappointed. Of course, it’s easy to go overboard when you and the team think up creative ways to be colorful.
However, “colorful” should never be a euphemism for “liberal with the truth.” If you can’t deliver, you shouldn’t highlight it as the main selling point of your product. Let’s face it – superior products and services don’t need to beep their horns. The item says it all without you uttering a word.
For those who are unsure, here is a selection of promises that you should avoid:
- Quick delivery – if it takes five working days, so be it.
- 24-hour customer service – unless you have a team of workers on split shifts working throughout the night, this isn’t truthful.
- The best “X” on the market – are you in the same sector as proven brands? If so, customers will see through the hyperbole.
- Any guarantee that’s too good to be true – you might plan on maintaining the promise, yet it could cost you resources in the long-term.
When in doubt, opt for transparency. Your customers will appreciate the truth because at least they won’t expect a service that doesn’t exist.
Show Your Social Worth
Social worth, or social proofing, is when fellow customers embrace your brand. By investing in your products and services, their testimonials act as references for other consumers trying to sort the weak brands from the strong. As they have nothing to gain from their opinions, shoppers’ peers are excellent sources of information.
Still, you’ve got to get the first group on board first. The good news is that you should already have evidence of social proofing in the form of testimonials. Customers that leave positive reviews are highlighting to other shoppers that you are trustworthy.
However, you need to be careful as only including the good reviews on your website will tip off browsers – they’ll assume you’re rigging the game. Instead, it’s essential to rank highly on the likes of Tripadvisor and Trust Pilot since they’re unbiased and have healthy standings in shoppers’ minds.
Working with influencers is another tactic – you can find more at Post Planner – but the posts must be natural and authentic. Otherwise, they’ll seem contrived and hacky.
Is your marketing strategy centered around organic methods?
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