Transparency is a concept that seems to be overused these days. You can hear it being mentioned and insisted on in various fields including politics, personal relationships, and, naturally, marketing. The belief that brands are using marketing and advertising to lure people into buying their products with somewhat false promises is the reason why many people roll their eyes when they hear the word transparency being used for marketing.
But it’s not only brand customers that need transparency but also companies themselves. Namely, digital marketing differs from traditional marketing in the sense that it can be hard for people who are not marketers to make sense of metrics and analytics due to the fact that there are lots of various marketing channels.
Let your clients in
Freelance digital marketers are even more affected by the perceived lack of transparency because their jobs heavily rely on the reputation they build with their clients. A recent survey has reported that 56% of small business owners aren’t sure whether their digital marketing efforts are working. This stat shows that apart from being honest with your clients, it’s crucial to educate them and offer them an insight into how their campaigns are performing.
For example, some of the problems with digital marketing include ad fraud, viewability, and brand safety, so you need to make sure that your ads aren’t shown to bots but to real people as well as that they don’t just flash on the screen for a brief period of time which significantly reduces their chances of being viewed. One of the ways of establishing transparency with your clients is by making them administrators of their own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media accounts.
But, when it comes to paid platforms, marketers are usually reluctant to give their clients access out of the fear that they could accidentally alter campaigns and make a mess. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a problem because, with a reliable SEO reporting platform, it’s easy to keep track of all your metrics and share them with your clients.
Deal with privacy concerns
The effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts depends on your ability to keep pace with today’s fast-changing marketing landscape. Namely, in the wake of GDPR and other regulations which aim to protect user data, it’s important to be compliant. Marketers use websites to collect personal information about visitors, and this has been one of the most important lead generation tactics. With the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal still fresh in our minds, handling your users’ privacy concerns in a transparent manner is essential for building trust with potential customers and avoiding legal issues.
This means that allowing people to opt-in and opt-out, and asking for their consent if you want to collect their personal information is a must. Not only will this kind of transparency establish your reputation, but it will also help you focus only on interested prospects who will voluntarily give you their personal information. Let’s not forget that, for example, Canada has one of the harshest anti-spam legislations in the world, and that companies operating in this country have to obtain explicit consent from every recipient if they want to send them commercial marketing messages. If they fail to do so they can face huge financial penalties.
Own your mistakes
We all make mistakes. But, transparency and honesty can turn your mistakes into an effective marketing strategy.
Namely, when a company or a brand makes a mistake, owning it and being open about everything can strengthen their customers’ loyalty. For example, Apple quickly reacted on Twitter to admit their mistake after Taylor Swift called other performing artists to boycott Apple Music because the company initially didn’t intend to compensate them for any of their music played during the one-month free trial. The whole thing was so masterfully executed, and if we bear in mind that Swift appeared in one of Apple commercials shortly after this, no wonder that it raised suspicions that the whole incident was a publicity stunt.
Generally speaking, the best policy when it comes to any negative reviews is not to ignore them and wait for people to forget, but to acknowledge and address them. This especially goes for unhappy customer reviews on social media, and the best way to handle such situations is to apologize for the inconvenience and to promise that you’ll do your best to fix the problem. By doing so, you’ll show that you pay attention to your customers’ opinions and that you care. Needless to say, such an attitude will provide you with excellent PR and help you build a great online reputation.
Even though transparency has become somewhat of a buzzword in digital marketing, it’s clear that you need to embrace it not only when it comes to dealing with your clients, but also when it comes to all segments of your business, including the strategies you use.
Nate Vickery is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in the development of startup and SMB digital marketing strategies. He is also the editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on many other online publications.