"Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned."
The other day, I came across this thought-provoking quote that can be applied to so many facets of life, whether with friends, coworkers, or even a business. Due to my internet marketing and web strategy experience, I instantly began to think about how the values of this quote could be applied to a company or brand’s online presence as well as the brand’s relationship to its customers.
If we break down the quote, these are some of the questions that it evokes for me:
- “How do I become well respected?”
- “How do I know that others believe me to honest?”
- “How do I gain the trust from people who don’t know me?”
- “How can I, as the brand or business, create more loyalty among my user-base or customer-base?”
The answer is simple, or at least it seems simple to me. You need to “keep it real.”
What does “keepin’ it real” mean?
To me, keeping it real means staying true to yourself, your culture, and your people. It also means being transparent, accepting responsibility for yourself, and holding yourself accountable. As a business or brand, by keeping it real online, you will begin to earn respect and trust by your web visitors. In time, as you continue to stay authentic, both in person and online, the loyalty will certainly come.
What does this look like in practice? How exactly do you keep it real online? Here are a few ways you can begin to update your web strategy and show off your brand or business’ true authenticity.
- Ditch the stock photography and use real photos. Camera phones have come a long way, folks! Snap photos of your office, yourself, your projects, and your happy clients. Not only will these kinds of photos help display a sense of culture for your brand but it also helps with the beginning stage of likability and then trust.
- Speaking of photos, there is no better way to “keep it real” than by plopping a picture of your mug on your website. Having a photo and a bit of info about yourself on the site injects personality as well as makes your site more personable; therefore, makes the brand memorable. It's you and your employees that come into contact with your customers and leads on a daily basis. You may never actually meet with a customer in real life, but by having your photo on your site, they will put a face to a voice or text and get a sense of knowing you better.
- Share your customers’ success stories. Of course, your customers’ success is your success but we get so caught up in our day-to-day tasks that it’s hard to make time to put this content out there. Believe me, I am 100% guilty of this too! But it’s so important to build trust with your customers and show authority within your industry.
- Divulge your data. The proof is in the numbers! Do you capture information based on customer retention, employee retention, success-rate, improved performance, etc? These juicy little factoids are a great way to present proof of your product or service to potential customers. No need to add fluff here, if your product or service works, the numbers will align!
- Don’t use weird business jargon. Sure, words and phrases like “synergistic,” “open the kimono,” and “guru” are all the rage and flow so easily off the tongue. (Truth: I love using the words “leverage,” “empower,” and “align” - sorry, not sorry!) But, on your website, try to keep this kind of strange jargon to a minimum. Just say what you need to say to drive the point!
- Carry it all the way through. From your sales process, your quotes, your website, your initial meetings, and throughout the life of the relationship the voice should all be similar. By having a disjointed process, you could run the risk of creating confusion and thus, a lack of trust. Your website is just an extension of your business so it needs to use a cohesive voice and tone.
Sounds fairly easy enough in theory! Now it’s time to take stock of your online assets and give them a second look. Check to see if the voice and tone are a good gauge for how you speak with your clients on the phone and that the content you use on your website and social media representative of the work that you do. Not only will keepin' it real help you to create better relationships with your customers but it will also help you attract the right kind of leads that are a good fit for your business.
Does your website represent your business well and tout your products and services the best way? Let us help!