Extending Email Trust to Social & Mobile Channels: 3 Tips to Inspire Confidence

Multichannel marketing communications have multiple benefits, including a broader audience reach, multiple touch points to reach customers and greater amplification of your message. But the dangerous duo of spam and viruses that have eroded consumer trust in email marketing have now spread to mobile and social channels, as hackers and spammers become smarter about launching attacks on these channels.  

As a result, online marketers now face the challenge of wary customers who are skeptical of the messages they receive, regardless of medium. Companies must set themselves apart from fraudsters in order to build a relationship of customer trust across all channels -- as we would all hate to lose a valued customer over a bad search experience or misdirected mobile message, for example.

The good news is, the traditional rules for building trust via email campaigns apply to social channels as well; the key is to ensure your messages are aligned across channels.

Here we share three strategies to ensure your online marketing campaign tells a trustworthy story.

1. Email marketing is the foundation of trust-building. Email marketing campaigns are deemed trustworthy when a subscriber views them as something they are receiving by choice. Enter the transparent opt-in process. This means no prechecked box on the opt-in form, clear statements about content, format, and frequency -- and plain-language terms of service and privacy policy, among other key features.  

Email design and functionality are also important to recipients trying to determine whether your communications are spam. To ensure your emails get instant inbox recognition, include the brand, company, or newsletter name in the "from" field (never a person's name or email address) or the subject line, or both. Emails should also include relevant content that displays clearly, with or without images, in the email and the preview pane. Finally, emails should be free of blocked images, bad code and broken links.


2. Extending trust to mobile devices.
Another way to build customer trust is to allow subscribers to choose the method in which they want to be contacted -- for example, email or SMS. Use the credibility you've earned with email to achieve results via mobile. Similar best practices apply, such as:

  • Post your opt-in mobile SMS text on your landing pagesto grow your mobile prospects.
  • Use short, targeted SMS texts to reach wider audiences and those on the go.
  • Use personalized short codes for SMS text replies.
  • Keep messages highly relevant and concise.
  • Update content regularly based on response rates.

3. Use social networks to build credibility. By all accounts, social networking has reached critical mass. These channels provide marketers the opportunity to forge relationships and extend customer-service efforts. They can also be used to gain the trust of your prospective customers via the following activities:

  • Establish official pages on major social networking sites, using company logos and other design elements to distinguish them from individual fan pages.
  • Post contact information, such as your Twitter account name and URLs, to your social network pages, your Web site and your email messages.
  • Update pages frequently with content that reflects your current email campaigns (offers, links to online version of articles, etc.).
  • Use search programs to monitor conversations involving your company on social media.
  • Respond immediately to public and private comments, questions, or criticisms that indicate a trust problem.

It takes time to build trust, but it is well worth the effort. The time invested to shore up your credibility and demonstrate that you deserve your customers' trust will pay for itself many times over. Trust me on this!

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3 comments about "Extending Email Trust to Social & Mobile Channels: 3 Tips to Inspire Confidence".
  1. Rita Allenrallen@freshaddress.com from FreshAddress, Inc. , September 20, 2010 at 4:24 p.m.

    Great points. Trust in contact begins with ethical engagement and ultimate permission based on ample offered opportunity to unsubscribe. A 'friend of a friend' is too far a stretch when making any assumption about email contact. As one of the last protected vehicles for communication, that spam button is always a click away and will kill deliverability and performance...as well as trust.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , September 20, 2010 at 4:39 p.m.

    Businesses with which addressees are familiar are more likely to be opened. I goes back to Advertising 101 - more than one avenue for the message increases sales. It is more important now than before.

  3. Lisa Fernow from Fernow Consulting, LLC , September 20, 2010 at 4:43 p.m.

    I found this to be very practical advice. I have been re-reading Diffusion of Innovation recently; the author talks about how people at later stages of adoption depend more on interpersonal communication from someone they trust (v. early adopters who are more likely to rely on mass communication media). Seems like the distinctions between interpersonal communication and mass media communication are blurring more than ever, which will have big implications for marketers. Love to hear what others think about this.