We’ve all been victims of bad customer experiences, and over the past decade or so we’ve lost all trust with organisations we’re supposed to trust.
This erosion of trust means that you have to think carefully about that critical moment of truth when a potential customer discovers your business for the first time.
Consumers can choose to buy a similar product or service to yours, for a similar price, at a similar quality from anywhere in the world. So why should someone buy from you?
Think to yourself “why would someone not buy from me?”. What can you do to build and establish trust faster than your competitors?
I would like to help you to understand how building and establishing trust quicker than you competitors is how you will not only grow your business, but build a solid foundation for your business over the longer term.
People judge you online before they judge you offline
If you’ve been hanging around here for any length of time you will be familiar with the concept of the Zero Moment of Truth. (If not, click here to read about it in a new tab)
What the Zero Moment of Truth research tells us is that 70% of the consumer buying decision is made online before someone contacts your business for the first time.
We operate our businesses in a time where people judge you online before they judge you offline.
People judge you online before they judge you offline [Click to tweet]
Consumers don’t want to be sold to, they want to make an educated buying decision and they can get all the information they need to do so at the click of a button or the press of a screen.
A lot of business people have said to me that they can covert enquiries into customers easily if they can just get them on the phone or get in front of them. I’m sure they can, but if you aren’t thinking about how people find you before they know who you are, and how to build trust with people before they contact you for the first time, you are losing customers that you never even knew you had the chance to get.(Credit Jay Baer)
The obvious challenge here is that you won’t get the chance to speak to your potential customers on the phone or in person if you aren’t involved in specific activities to build trust before they contact you for the first time.
So with all this in mind, let’s look at 7 ways to build and establish trust quickly.
7 ways to build and establish trust quickly
1 – A great website
Simply having a website isn’t enough, it needs to deliver a great experience.
Your website can’t look and feel like it was built in 1994, and most businesses don’t put enough priority on their website.
Don’t forget that people aren’t simply comparing their online experience against your competitors. They are comparing their experience with your business against the smoothest and best online experience that they are having today.
The most popular websites and applications that people are using everyday are simple, slick and geared towards delivering a great experience.
That’s where the bar is set.
There’s a really good chance that landing on your website is the first real experience that someone has of your business and your brand. Here are some key elements to consider:
Building strong relationships and establishing trust is at the heart of the principles of content marketing.
Every single piece of content you publish is like building a new layer of trust with your audience and potential customers, which adds huge value to your business over a longer period of time.
Here at CMA we firmly believe that content marketing is the best way to grow your business, and we encourage you to embrace the principles of content marketing and never look back.
In order to do so you have to be publishing some form of rich source of content – blogs, podcasts, video – that is truly helpful and valuable to your audience. Think about how you can answer questions and solve problems through your content and communicate without selling to people.
Your potential customers are looking for answers to questions and solutions to problems and you need to be able to provide this information to them, and be found, when they aren’t looking for you – before they even know you exist.
As discussed earlier, if you’re not creating content you don’t exist to people who have never heard of you before.
The biggest myth in content marketing is that someone will read your content, contact you, and then buy from you. However, this won’t happen on the first exposure. It takes time, just like it takes time to build any strong and trusted relationship.
Content marketing is not a tactic or an outcome, it’s a culture of communication and a philosophy that you cannot afford to ignore.
If you invest in helping people rather than selling to people you will build trust far more quickly with your potential customers.
There are two key aspects of trust building to consider here. Firstly, the initial influence of social proof for a first time customer. Secondly, building stronger trusted relationships with current customers.
First time customers
Think about how you buy things today. You probably do some or all of the following things:
Look at reviews on Amazon
Compare features and prices online
Ask your friends on social media
Read case studies and testimonials
You do everything apart from speaking to a sales person.
When it comes to making a buying decision potential customers need to see some kind of tangible social proof. Not only to prove that you’ve actually made a sale, but that you have had some form of success – satisfied customers, successfully completed projects, results, etc.
Build your customer testimonials, reviews and case studies into the fabric of your website and place relevant social proof content on relevant services pages.
It’s also important to consider other major platforms such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and any other relevant online locations where you can display some kind of social proof, review or rating.
Building strong trusted relationships
The journey for a customer does not end at the purchase, and if you are doing the right things you will be thinking about how you can build a strong trusted relationship with your customers over a longer period of time.
A great way to build a stronger relationship is to find ways for your customers to get involved in your content. You can do this by asking them for a testimonial, review or case study.
By asking the right questions not only will you have a great piece of social proof content, your current customers will be proud to be part of your story and feel much more emotionally connected to your brand.
Joe Wicks is one of the best examples I can think of. He is building an amazing business in a very difficult, distrusted and highly competitive industry. The reason these before and after photos work really well is because they are generated by his customers and he’s been very consistent with them over a long period of time.
For Joe these images (amongst other key elements) has built a huge amount of trust for his brand.
Advances in mobile technology and Internet access has reduced the barriers to creating and publishing video to almost zero.
Snapchat, Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live, Twitter Video, and YouTube are examples of some of the major video platforms available to you right now.
You are literally one swipe of your smartphone away from broadcasting live video to your audience.
Video is a hugely effective and perhaps the best way to build relationships with your potential customers at scale. It gives people a chance to get to know you before they ever meet you, and when they do meet you for the first time they already feel like they know you.
When it comes to video think about:
Creating live content from within your business
Producing video for your website home page and services pages
Integrating social media and video
Using video to make meaningful and personal connections
Consistently deliver great video content and don’t just think about you, think about how you can showcase your team, your customers and your results.
Example from Gilles and Mackay
Here’s a timelapse video of the team at Gillies and Mackay erecting one of their amazing sheds. Check out their YouTube channel for more great video examples.
Email is not the most convenient way to get in touch with a business today. As mentioned, consumers are making 70% of their buying decision before they contact a business for the first time, and providing multiple methods of access to your business is absolutely critical.
When a potential customer is trying to make an educated buying decision they will likely take a look at your social media profiles and see how active you are, how you communicate with people, and get a really good feel for your brand personality. They may even reach out to you for the first time via a social media platform.
Video, images, blogs, live content and a engagement with your audience will create the level of personable interaction that will show people that you are a good communicator, which will build trust quickly with people discovering you for the first time.
Not only that, if your content is delivered in the right way people will share your content with their audience, creating a further layer of trust.
A lot of business people think that social media doesn’t work because it doesn’t make them direct sales, but in most cases it’s about understanding how social media, and access via these social platforms, builds strong relationships and trust over a longer period of time.
Take a platform like Snapchat as an example – the level of access to people there is incredible and I believe that those businesses that are willing to eradicate the barriers to access to them and their team will distinguish themselves from the competition.
There’s never been an opportunity like this in the history of business to use a channel like social media as a way to interact and engage directly with your potential customers, build relationships, and establish trust.
7 – Consumption of your product or service
Nothing works better than consumer/user generated content. It’s free and if people are encouraged positively, they will love taking pictures and video and share that content on social and on their blogs to show people how proud they are.
Think about how you can enable your customers to take pictures of:
Workshops, seminars and conferences
Example from Gillies and Mackay
This is a time lapse video recorded and published by the customer from foundation to erection!
Example from Jannettas in St Andrews
A quick search using #jannettas will returns over 1400 customer photos on Instagram.
Perhaps the most overlooked part of all of trust building is consistency – not only turning up consistently, but delivering a consistent message across multiple platforms over a long period of time.
The great opportunity here is that building trust isn’t about big vs small – it’s not about who has the most financial and human resource. It’s about fast vs slow.
The faster you can establish and build trust with your potential customers, the more likely you are to get that customer, and hold on to them for a long time.
The most successful businesses in the world are able to:
understand their customers better than anyone else
get closer to their customer better than anyone else, and
emotional connect with their customer better than anyone else
I’d like you to think about what you can do right now to increase the speed of building trust with your potential customers.
I hope you agree with me that trust is everything in business. [Click to Tweet]
Turn up, help people, add value, answer questions, solve problems and use all of these ideas to focus on building and establishing trust with your potential customers.
About Chris Marr
Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.