How to Build Trust with Potential Customers
A key component missing in many marketing plans is trust. Without it, you can’t build a solid relationship with clients and future customers. Understand the role trust plays in your marketing.
You’re on Twitter and Facebook. You’re putting out press releases each month. You’re sending monthly email newsletters. But you’re still not gaining traction with new customers. What are you missing?
It’s an element often overlooked in the marketing equation, but one that is altogether necessary for the success of your brand. Without it, you have empty marketing efforts. But with trust, you take an ordinary marketing strategy and turn it into something truly extraordinary.
First Step: Identify Your Brand’s Voice
People trust personas, not brands, per se. That is to say, your company should have its own voice in every communication it puts out. Communciations should humanize your business and make people feel comfortable when interacting with it.
If your target audience is mothers, your brand’s voice should be one of comfort, concern and sharing. It should be one that mothers are confident in engaging. If you provide business services, your brand’s voice should be expert and professional; it should give your contacts reassurance that your company is reliable and knows what it’s doing.
You may have one or more people distributing messages across multiple channels for your business; aim for consistency. The voice you use on Twitter and Facebook should be the same as the one used in emails. Work together to identify how the brand voice will be portrayed, and make sure all employees “speak” in this voice.
Step Two: Understand the Tools
One of the best tools for building trust is social media, yet it’s the one most abused. Many companies use social media to blast out links to their sites. Some use social media for spamming. Social media is best used to develop conversations. Conversations build trust, and that’s where you should direct your efforts.
Using social media successfully isn’t an art form, but it does require paying attention to some guidelines:
- Use your brand’s voice to start conversations and participate in them.
- Send a mix of questions, shared links and product mentions for healthy balance.
- Engage with others individually to build trust, rather than using shotgun effect.
- Listen! Don’t just talk.
Blogger outreach is another great trust-building tool. Rather than sending out dozens of samples in exchange for blog reviews, work to identify bloggers who address your market, who might be good brand evangelists. Focus on building a relationship with them, which will help establish trust. In turn, they will share insights with their readers regarding how great your company is.
Email, too, is a good way to establish trust. But it’s also often misused. Focus on providing useful content for your contacts. The newsletter isn’t a product push; it’s a way to stay connected, at the top of the minds of your contacts. Establishing a good impression of your brand will make clients want to buy from you.
Step Three: Get Feedback
The only way you will know what people think of your brand is if you monitor what’s being said online. You can do this by setting up a search on Twitter and Facebook for keywords that include your company name as well as industry keywords. You can also search for blogs that mention your brand. You might be surprised to find out that people are complaining about your product online. In this case, it’s important to address the complaints directly and publicly, to get to the root of the problem (was it really the product, or maybe the salesperson that left a bad taste in their mouths?), and offer a solution.
On the other hand, people might be saying great things about your business. If so, celebrate it! Share these comments with others, and thank those that support your brand. You could even go above and beyond by sending a gift or free coupon as a thank you to anyone saying positive things about your company. In this way, you show your appreciation of those that support you, and you reward them.
Final Words on Trust
Building trust takes time, so don’t get frustrated if you find it hard to nestle into your target market. Devote time daily to communicating and interacting, and the trust will come on its own. Build trust building activities into your marketing plan, and refer back to it when you need ideas.