Transparency – it’s one of those words you’ve heard time and again when discussing good marketing tactics. But what is it? Traditionally used when referencing the government or media, transparency in marketing implies openness, communication and accountability. Basically, by allowing customers free and easy access to the information surrounding your business processes, you are giving them opportunity to constructively critique and improve them, reducing the power imbalance between you and them, for their benefit, and in turn, your own.
Transparency promotes ethical conduct in business, improving public trust, which is one of the fundamentals of successful business. It has become a core value for successful companies such as Google, whose self-stated mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
So how can your business become more transparent? By allowing your customers access to the following you can improve your customer relations, and in turn, your bottom line.
Case studies can be used to show how your business’ product or service has been used successfully by your customers. It’s a way of demonstrating something’s use instead of just talking about it.
Amazon successfully uses case studies to illustrate the success of their ecommerce platform, Webstore.
They tell customer focused stories that bring their product to life and actually show it being used successfully.
Adding case studies that do these things to your website is an inexpensive way of telling your customers what other people think of your business. A 2013 study found that customers are much more inclined to believe their peers than they are business leaders – so including positive case studies gives your customers access to information they are more likely to believe.
Reviews serve the same function as case studies, as well as helping you learn more about your product or service and your customers’ attitudes towards it. What worked well? What could be better? This information is invaluable in growing and improving your business.
A 2012 study found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 52% are more likely to use a local business after reading a positive online review. These statistics speak for themselves, so reap the benefits by encouraging your customers to write reviewsand including them on your website.
When people shop, especially for more expensive products or services, there is a degree of uncertainty. This eases when customers research their purchase, and find out that others have successfully done something similar before them. This is an example of social proof, which is a powerful psychological phenomenon that makes people assume the actions of others. Testimonials give evidence to your customers that what you say your product or service will do, it actually does.
To make the most out of the power of testimonials, make sure any testimonials you include on your website show results, demonstrate how customers overcame objections, are specific to your audience and are short, snappy and focused.
Creating Useful Resources
As well as transparency, there’s another kind of information that you can provide for your customer that will do wonders for your business. Creating useful resources (content that has a real and specific value to your customer) is a great way to improve your business’ reputation and broaden your audience.
An example of a valuable resource created by a company is Simply Business’ small business email marketing guide.
Basically, it’s an interactive guide that incorporates a collection of links that are useful to their specific audience, in this case, small businesses. The page incorporates all the necessary widgets to allow their resource to be liked, tweeted, shared, or +1d easily, and the resource is branded with the Simply Business logo to ensure that its new audience knows where it comes from. The logo also doubles as a link to their site, directing potential customers and creating link juice, boosting their site’s search engine rankings. As well as all of this, creating such a useful resource adds value to the brand’s reputation.
In attempting something like this, you’re not focusing on selling a specific product or service, but how your company can help your customers succeed.
And it doesn’t have to be an infographic, videos, blog posts and how-to guides can all be relevant, shareable content. Start giving your customers great information today and see for yourself the positive effects if will have on your business.
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Read more: Things You Need to Know About Your Customers