Why Trust matters in Content MarketingLeave a Comment (0) ↓
Content Marketing (as I always tell people that I am mentoring on their business social media usage) is all about being sensitive to your audience and delivering information and solutions to them in a personalised, informed and useful way.
But there is no point at all in embarking on this approach if you do not recognise that the customer rules. He or she controls the online conversation; and every market is a buyer’s market. If you are not honest and trustworthy in the content that you provide, be sure that your sins will find you out.
What follows is a quick list of dos and donts in establishing trust with your customers.
Define Trust-Based Marketing:
A professor from MIT Sloan School of Management, Glen L. Urban, coined this term, and he set out how it related to the modern world and content marketing. He made strong claims for this approach, saying –
“Trust-based companies have higher customer retention and more stable revenue streams. The prediction is that trust-based businesses will, in the end, have higher sales volumes and lower marketing costs than companies that survive on push-based marketing strategies.”
Whether or not you buy into his claims whole-heartedly, the key elements of his approach are surely sound. They include the following:
Replace the old ‘push marketing’ with ‘customer advocacy techniques’. These are all about helping buyers to make informed purchase decisions, based on comprehensive ‘equitable’ market advice that you provide, which may include what is on offer from your competitors.
The theory is that your honesty and openness will build trust and establish a loyal fan base. We all know that customers have access to comprehensive product and supplier data. There is nowhere to hide. Therefore the market information that you supply must be impartial and accurate.
We see this in action with the rise of the comparison sites. If you have these in your marketplace then you should strongly consider participating and ensuring that your products and services are fairly and accurately presented. Do not fear that you are not the cheapest in your sector – if you have product superiority, then there will be plenty of potential customers that will recognise this and even point it out in the associated forums to other undecided browsers.
Even if there are no relevant comparison or rating sites for your activity, then consider starting your own. Allowing customers to post reviews on your site demonstrates confidence and transparency. Over 60% of buyers read reviews before purchasing.
If you have famous or respected customers, then show them on the site. Don’t be afraid of having them poached – if you are not confident of your abilities then you need to be working on your customer service anyway.
Nurture your loyalists – the ones who make you the most money. Do you concentrate all your efforts on offering ‘new business carrots’ that are unavailable to long-standing customers (this is very common in the insurance market)? Isn’t that the wrong way around? Those who trust you deserve your trust.
Give a cast-iron guarantee and promote it upfront on your site and everywhere you appear. This removes another important barrier to purchasing.
Show people how your product works, overcome any fears – explainer videos are by far the best way to engage and reassure people.
Add Live Chat to your site – show a human front and encourage a conversation. Not only do prospects get help, but you get data on FAQs and areas of concern that you can seek to address.
Do not over-sell yourselves. In social media, you need to seed thoughts in the customers’ minds, not indulge in hard sell techniques. Become a thought leader, not a spammer.
There is much more I could advise on this subject, and if you want to engage in a constructive conversation on Trust in Content Marketing then I’ll be happy to do so.
Colm Hannon is the founder and CEO of Hannon Digital, Social Media Marketing agency in London