When it comes to your company’s brand, the most important feature to establish is trust. People can fall in and out of love with brands for a myriad of reasons, but trust is a virtue that can endure in perpetuity once locked into place. Potential customers most likely have numerous options to select from within your industry, leaving many to ask themselves, “who do I trust?” Your brand is your identity. How you communicate it can be the difference between your audience having the right or wrong impression about you, for better or for worse. Something so vital to your company’s health cannot be left up to chance.
So how do you take control of the way your brand is perceived and the trust level it garners within the marketplace? By dedicating resources to effective marketing communications and by producing thoughtful and meaningful content. You can have the best product in the world but if you can’t successfully get customers to trust you enough to give it a whirl, you might as well never have come up with the idea in the first place. According to DemandGen, a whopping 95% of B2B service and product buyers consider content trustworthy when evaluating whether or not to do business with a company.
With that said, there are several key elements that need to be present if you’re going to create content that builds brand trust. Here is how your marketing communications can be all that they can be:
Your customers need to have faith that you are true to your word if you want them to also believe what you say when you’re selling your product. This includes knowing your limitations. You can still put a positive spin on them within your content, but admitting shortcomings or prior mistakes will not only make you relatable but will also instill confidence in others that you can be trusted. Always be yourself; trying to be something else will eventually get sniffed out. Your audience is undoubtedly comprised of many reasonable and realistic people. By exemplifying honesty in your marketing communications, you are showing your potential customers that you are living in the same reality. This will allow them to take you seriously and even more importantly, permit them to get serious about doing business with your company.
Be prolific but patient.
In any relationship, it takes time to build trust. And it’s often done so one interaction at a time. In the context of marketing communications that means churning out heaps of quality content so that users can gradually strengthen their bond to your brand as they pass through stages of the buyer’s journey. People need compelling evidence before they’ll be able to reach a verdict on your brand. According to DemandGen, 47% of buyers view at least three to five pieces of content before deciding to speak with a sales representative. By creating content in volume and on the regular, you will establish familiarity with your brand for users as they keep coming back for another helping.
To build true brand trust, in addition to not having a nose like Pinocchio, there can also be no strings attached. The transaction can’t be quid pro quo and the “what’s in it for me” mentality has to be flung out the window. Try to give as much of your content away for free as you can to provide unconditional value to your potential customers, giving them an organic reason to want to present value to you in the future once the reciprocity effect springs into action. If people think you're providing something useful, they will be inclined to return the favor. And in this case, that favor will be in the form of engagement with your company or by potentially purchasing your product. Try not to be overly self-promotional in your content—or at all if possible—to show that you’re being sincere in providing value upfront and so that users don’t worry about an impending sleight of hand. According to Stratabeat, 80% of executives and business owners prefer to learn about a company through content rather than advertisements.
If you want people to put stock in your brand and product, you must demonstrate competence, intelligence and a command of industry knowledge. Know what you know and do your homework to learn what you don’t. Have the foresight to anticipate the questions and concerns your users might have and include those answers throughout your content. Show your track record of success so that potential customers have confidence that you’re a thought leader in the space. In turn, they will trust your opinion with one of your most important opinions down the road—that they need your product. Reference credible sources, use testimonials and show tangible proof of your expertise. According to DemandGen, 96% of B2B buyers seek out content from industry thought leaders.
There’s no way to lose a person’s trust faster than by exhibiting actions that don’t match the words. If you make a claim, back it up. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you pontificate a belief, don’t flip-flop the next day without unveiling the discovery that triggered the diversion. Potential customers want to know that they won’t regret it if they make the leap into doing business with you. They need assurance that they’re going to land somewhere they can comfortably set roots to grow the partnership. There are monetary as well as mindshare costs associated with deciding on who to trust in the marketplace. Don’t make them regret their decision by being inconsistent in your marketing communications and denting your brand’s reputation. Consistency is also especially critical in regards to the visual elements and standards of your brand—you should always look like the same you whether from up close or afar.
Content isn’t a “one-say” street, it’s a conversation. Users provide their feedback daily in the form of clicks, comments and attention. Create a forum where your customers feel welcome offering suggestions or furthering the discussion. Listening and being receptive to what you hear will help you grow and become a stronger business. Accept that you do not know everything even if you’re an expert in the field and that others might be able to bring enlightenment to the table. Appreciate different perspectives and foster an environment where both parties can help each other develop. Allow users to show you the same respect that you’re trying to show, by letting them provide useful content to you as well. And always be present and accessible in your communications. It will help the user trust that you will institute the very same policy should they choose to become your customer.
How can a potential customer expect that you’ll understand all of their needs as a client if you don’t show the ability to recognize how they feel upfront? Try to provide meaningful content that taps into the thoughts and attitudes of your users. Speak to them like a person, not like a company. Just like many other sites on the internet, if you sound like a robot, that means you’re not getting through. Find out what they value and speak to it. Build an emotional connection through your content so that users will be eager to stick around for the long haul.
By incorporating the elements above, you’ll be well on your way to providing worthwhile content that helps build brand trust. Start by taking your company’s clearly defined goals and using them to drive all of your marketing communications. Your content should always be in the name of your company’s overall objectives. However, keep in mind your content is just one instrument in the symphony that is your business. You still need a great staff, strategy and product that delivers substantial value to your customer base. But if your content is perfectly in tune, what beautiful sounding music you’ll be able to make.