In my content, I often refer to the customer journey, or what I like to call The Marketing Hourglass, which includes the following stages: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer.
All of these stages are important for moving customers closer to the sale (and beyond), but today I really want to focus on the Trust component of the journey as there are so many businesses who are lacking in this area.
The fact of the matter is, we’ll buy products we like, but we’ll rarely commit to an organization unless we trust them.
There are a ton of simple things a company can do to build this trust, they just aren’t always aware of what those things are, so let’s cover a few here.
Know your audience
I sure hope you’re not getting sick of me talking about this topic because I’m not going to stop any time soon. The best way to gain a person’s trust is to show you truly understand who they are and what it is that they’re experiencing. In order to best alleviate their problems and concerns with your expertise, you need to do your research to uncover who they are.
A few ways to get to know your audience include:
- Reading past emails with customers and identify trends
- Talk to your sales and support teams who have the greatest insight into what your customers are going through
- Read reviews
- Be observant on social media platforms and forums
- Interview current customers
The more research you do, the better off you’ll be. It may be time-consuming, but it’s worth it.
Creating content shouldn’t come as a shock as content should be at the core of everything you do when it comes to marketing and attracting people to your business. To build trust with content, you must be helpful, educational, and consistent. You want people to be able to depend on you for the information they’re looking for.
Get a solid understanding of their pain points and write content that addresses those problems. Understand what your audience’s intent is and speak to it.
The one thing I want to stress is that you don’t want to sell using content in the trust phase. This is not the time for that. This is the phase where they are simply trying to get to know you and are doing their research to ensure you’d be the right choice. Selling during this phase won’t work because they often simply aren’t ready to buy. It could actually turn many people away.
When it comes to actually creating your content, whether it’s written, a video, a podcast, or any other format you’re focusing on, be conversational and personal. Your audience wants to read/see/hear something they can relate to. Develop the content as though you’re creating it for a single person. It will help you personalize it even more than if you were writing for a group of people.
Other writing tips to keep in mind include:
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short (and video for that matter) so that people will actually consume the content.
- Use rhetorical questions to make them feel like they are a part of the conversation.
- When possible, avoid industry jargon.
Last, but certainly not least, use your content to tell a story. Storytelling will help you connect with your audience and show them the human side of your business. The ability to tell a person why your business does what it does through a story and how you illustrate it for their benefit is key.
Keep in mind, your audience needs to see themselves in the story which starts with their challenges, problems, and issues that they don’t know how to solve.
Use your website
To build trust, your website must make a good first impression, and to do so, be sure it includes the following:
- A promise – You need to make your audience a promise that will solve their problems.
- A sub-promise – A sub promise is the trust factor and social proof that a company offers.
- A clear call to action (CTA) – CTAs help to guide people through the customer journey and advise them on next steps.
- Contact information – Consider using a little personality as well to make your audience want to contact you even more!
- Visual branding – Integration of strategy, messaging, positioning, and brand is important is so important for a business to build trust.
- Video – Video allows you to give people a real sense of who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story.
- A list of problems – Identify the problems you solve and make it easy for website visitors to see them.
- Show trust, proof, and authoritative elements, including quotes, client logos, association badges, client results, case studies, media recognition, and awards. These really are like currency in the trust phase.
- Updated content – Show that you care about your own business and publish new content regularly.
- Optimize for mobile – This should be a top priority of yours for a number of reasons, including trust building.
- Show your personality – This will help to establish an emotional connection with your audience which will make them more likely to trust you.
As mentioned above, the more you are able to establish relationships with your audience, the more likely they’ll be to trust you. A few tips to do this include:
- Be empathetic and show that you care
- Be responsive
- Be genuinely interested in what they have to say
- Be yourself
- Be transparent
- Ensure the communication you have with your audience is a clear two-way street
Bottom line? Be human.
General tips for building authority and credibility
In addition to my points above, there are a few general tips to keep in mind when establishing trust that I’ve listed below:
- Build up your online reviews and testimonials. Work to improve them not only on your website, Google My Business listings, and social media but also on relevant industry sites (Houzz for interior decorator reviews, for example).
- Know your unique point of difference. Show what separates you from the competition and make it clear for anybody who comes in contact with your business.
- Understand your brand identity. Along with understanding your point of difference, you need to know your company’s voice and personality. This will help to humanize your business and establish those connections.
- Go above and beyond. Under promise and over deliver and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Be predictable. If you were watching my content creation like a hawk, you’d know that I publish a post on Duct Tape Marketing every Tuesday, a post on the Duct Marketing Consultant Network site every Wednesday, a podcast episode every Wednesday or Thursday, a Consultant Tools post every Friday, and a Weekend Favs post every Saturday. Why? Because at this point people expect it. They trust I will give them useful content throughout the week which holds me accountable to give it to them. Remember, you want people to depend on you for the information they need, so you need to do your best to give it to them.
At the end of the day, in order to get people closer to the purchase, you need to get them to trust you, so do everything you can to help them do just that.
What trust-building tactics are you implementing that have worked for your business?
Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to SEO. For more on website design, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.