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Customers Have Come To Distrust Marketing, So You Have To Build Trust

And it’s not just your customers, really, but all of us. We flick through a magazine, search for things on the web, switch on the TV, and marketing is everywhere. We’re continually barraged with marketing and it isn’t a wonder why we have become cynical of the claims we hear or read about.

A recent poll done by internet market research firm YouGov (which we got from the blog theblackboard.net) showed that people’s trust levels on different types of media vary considerably. 52% thinks that radio is fairly trustworthy, while 47% thinks that TV can be trusted. Newspapers have 28%; websites got 21%, while emails only garnered 11%. People apparently distrust direct marketing and YouTube and website videos, having gotten only 8% and 1%, respectively. But they have a higher trust level in non-commercial reviews—31% trust the reviews and comments of other users, and a similar percentage also has faith on the editorials authored by professional writers and journalists.

Knowing this, here are some tips on how restaurateurs can build trust with their market when they implement marketing efforts for their restaurant.

Short and snappy email messages. One of the reasons why people hardly trust email messages is spam. There’s so much spam that clogs up inboxes, customers are confused who to believe. You, the advertiser, only have as much as three seconds to catch their attention before they strike the delete button, so make sure your subject offers an irresistible benefit, and your message is short and to the point, keeping it at 100 words.

Customers believe other customers. Customers relate to the experiences of other customers, so they hunt for user reviews before they go to a new restaurant. Monitor your restaurant’s reviews on mainstream review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor so you can defend your name against unfair reviews. You can also give subtle suggestions–like a poster or card that comes with the receipt on your elegant check presenter—encouraging diners to write a review if they were satisfied and enjoyed their experience at your restaurant. If they give a good assessment, thanking them will help build a good relationship and convert them into loyal customers.

Boost your online trust factor through customer feedbacks. The YouGov survey showed that people do not always believe in the claims that marketers have in websites and emails. But you can change that if you integrate customer feedback on these tools. You can add testimonials or ask customers questions in your restaurant’s social media sites. Any feedback you get, good or bad, whether it comes with the cash on your check presenter or given online, should be handled responsibly and attended to promptly. Criticisms are good for the business—you will know your areas of improvement, so welcome it the same way you welcome positive feedbacks.

Customers know better. Remember that we are now in the Information Era–do not think, for a second, that you can fool your customers with false awards or acclamations. The key to winning them is being honest, straightforward and ethical. Everything they need to know can be done with just a few clicks away, in the same manner that any adverse reaction they may have towards your dishonesty (think public backlash) is just a mere Tweet away.