How can digital marketing agencies win customer trust?

Vizulate Digital Director Scott Brant answers some of the concerns businesses might have when thinking of working with a digital marketing agency, particularly at a time when there is so much distrust surrounding digital, data is misused, and online scams are becoming more sophisticated.

How can digital agencies assure customers of quality when they can’t see or touch the product?

Data is a massively important tool in this regard. For example, when running an online advertising or marketing campaign for our clients we provide monthly performance reports that detail accurate and timely data – not just on the number of impressions and clicks, but whether or not those clicks turned into a sale or a lead. This allows us and the client to make informed strategic decisions.

What marketing tools are important?

Maybe it’s better to talk about what marketing tools and strategies are becoming less important.

Everyone talks about content and that ‘content is king’. I believe that this was the case but not anymore. Content still has a place but now there is an abundance of content out there all vying for your attention and trying to convey trust – be it through blog articles, videos or social media. However, very little of it is actually useful and consumers are becoming more knowledgeable to the fact that, ultimately, what the business really wants is their cash or their data so they can continue marketing to you, and they are far more reluctant to part with either if they sense distrust or underhand tactics. Clickbait headlines used by online media companies really have not helped this!

Is it all about social media, and are websites less important?

Social media can be your main marketing or lead generation tool, or even your main communication method. However, do not under-estimate the value of a website, even if it’s simply used to gain and win trust.

We still firmly believe that your website should be the ’hub’ of all your marketing activity. It’s the online presence of your business that you have most control of. That said, far too many business websites, particularly those belonging to SMEs, are still not mobile-friendly, which in 2019 is inexcusable.

What are the best ways to gain trust with a customer?

It depends what service you are providing, but we have found that simply providing honest advice, even to the financial detriment of our own business is the best way to convey trust and reliability. For example, many digital marketing agencies will simply run online advertising campaigns for their clients without measuring ROI or conveying this back to their client. This means the agency continues to get the revenue for a while but sooner or later the client will want to know exactly what they are getting for their investment in digital/online marketing. When the clients find out that it may be very little, then the trust has gone and inevitably so is the relationship.

We always run trial campaigns to test that the marketing channel provides a positive ROI. If it doesn’t, then we inform the client that it isn’t right for them which means less revenue initially for us but we find that the client respects our honesty and integrity and is much more likely to stay with us and try something different than move to another agency.

Are there any ‘secret weapons’ businesses can use?

I wouldn’t say that there are many ‘secret’ weapons businesses can use. But knowing the full capability of the tools they are likely already using is certainly a powerful weapon. Many businesses are using things like SEO, and platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram but aren’t making the most of the features available to their business through these platforms to gain a competitive edge.

Early adoption is also key. Digital marketing trends change. Even the popular mainstream digital marketing channels are continually evolving, and being an early adopter of a new feature or channel can give you the edge – even it’s just for a short time. However, it can often keep you there!