13 Ways to Be Transparent
1. Your Supply Chain
Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of where and how their products are being made. I look up every brand I buy from, and try to research as much info as I can on how their ingredients or materials are sourced, from where, what goes into their packaging, transportation, and labor practices.
But finding all this info requires that companies be transparent. It's okay if a company is not "perfect" in terms of sustainability, but it's clear when brands are making a clear effort and when they're just green washing. Transparency here builds confidence in a brand and is a way to gauge how honest a brand is.
2. Your Values
Knowing and being clear about your core values is like having a North Star for your brand. I read somewhere that instead of selling being the goal, you should let your values be your goals. And I agree with this statement. This is how you think big picture. This is how you think long-term. The sales will follow the values.
Furthermore, consumers are more and more conscious of buying from brands that are in line with their values, so being clear about them matters. When customers feel that your values are in line with their's, they are more likely to be loyal to your brand.
There are a couple brands that I follow and shop from that have been very open and transparent about their pricing. One of them is Cocokind, a skin care company. I recommend checking out how they breakdown their pricing. What I like about their honesty here, is that Cocokind wants their customers to see that they put more dollars into developing superior formulations than they do packing or marketing. It's about quality over sparkle and dazzle.
The reason this matters is that it allows consumers to see and know exactly what they're paying for. It builds trust. Everyone knows that businesses need to make a profit. So, this isn't about faulting companies for making a profit. It's simply about knowing.
4. Commitment to Sustainable Practices
Sustainability is about people and planet. Transparency here is really important because of the amount of greenwashing there is now. As I mentioned above, personally as a consumer, I'm not concerned with a brand being "perfect," because there' really no such thing. Instead, I want to see a brand that's making a genuine and clear effort. And this is usually made clear by how much information is shared, and how that information is communicated.
I think we can all sense when someone is being honest and open, as opposed to being vague and superficial.
5. Actually Answer Customers' Questions
This may seem obvious, but I can't tell you how many times I've reached out to a company with an inquiry, and received a response that was not only copy and pasted, but didn't actually answer my question. It's quite frustrating.
Make sure you are specifically answering customers' questions, and not just responding to a general matter, even if related to the question.
6. Be Transparent Internally and Externally
As with all things in life, we have to start from within. You can't be transparent with your customers if you're not transparent with your employees. Lack of transparency also prevents people from being able to do their job to the best of their abilities. So, it's a matter of efficiency as much as it is a matter of ethical business standards.
7. Share Your Wins and Your Losses
Being open and honest about your journey, and letting your customers in on your wins and losses makes your brand relatable. It makes your brand feel real. When your brand is real and relatable, customers are more inclined to support your business, because they are connecting with the human(s) behind the brand.
8. Stay Open to Feedback
In fact, don't just stay open to feedback, regularly invite feedback. It's how you constantly improve your business and meet your customers needs. One of my favorite brands is not only always asking for feedback, but also regularly implementing feedback. When customers see their feedback implemented, they feel seen and understood. And that is powerful. (Speaking from personal experience as a customer who has felt seen and heard)
9. Build a Community, not a Following
Social media has made us obsessed with numbers and validation. And while having a large following is great, and means more eyeballs on you, building a community means building engagement and productivity. It means building a lasting connection.
10. Give Customers Meaningful Behind-the-Scenes Looks
Letting customers in and showing them some of your process, and the people behind the products and business is another way to feel real and connected to your customers. You're not just brand. You're not just a machine. You're real humans providing a solution for your customers. You're real humans who care about your customers.
When you're customers feel connected to you, they're more likely to become returning, loyal customers.
11. Own Up to Mistakes
This sounds like another piece of life advice, doesn't it? That's because the best copywriting and business tips are often good life tips, too.
We're all humans. We make mistakes. And we learn from them (hopefully).
12. Use "because" and "so that"
This is something I learned in law school, and I was reminded of it in my copywriting courses. "Because" and "so that" are powerful words and phrases. They invite transparency and help your customers understand what's happening or why something is happening. When a person knows "why," they are empowered to make decisions or be supportive if/when you have to make tough decisions.
13. Communicate During Down Times
Regular communication is important to maintain relationships, and to show people you care. It's like maintaining friendships. I may not talk to every friend every day, week, or even month. But occasionally, I'll send a message just to say "Hey, thinking of you. How are you?" It's about keeping customers in the know, as well as showing them you care and that you're thinking of them.
And for this, I recommend utilizing email. You can make email feel more personal than a social media post. But utilize all channels and cross-post.
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