Do you trust the companies you purchase from?
Of course, that is part of the pact you make when you decide to buy from them. Without that trust, it is likely that there will be no sale.
Trust is especially critical in B2B marketing, where the decision to buy is left up to not just one person, but several unseen stakeholders.
And you aren’t relying on trust at the purchase stage of the process. Trust needs to start with the first impression that the customer goes from the brand and continue throughout the relationship. This is how business relationships form.
We will guide you through the areas where customers need to trust you, starting from the first impression, all the way to the buy.
The First Impression
This 2006 study showed that consumers only take 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about a website. That means as soon as a customer encounters your brand, they are judging whether you are to be trusted.
How do you make sure that this first impression is favorable?
1. Social Posts
It is the age of social media and businesses must create a favorable first impression on all their channels to gain the trust of potential buyers.How does this get accomplished? Make sure the faces of your brands are trustworthy ones. This means friendly, moderately attractive faces should be the ones representing the brand. Research has found that slightly surprised eyebrows and a small smile often are the most trustworthy faces. Facial symmetry is also a key component.
Outside of the faces representing your brand, make sure that your brand has a specific tone it uses in its social media. This means wording your posts in a similar style to keep the brand consistent and professional sounding.
On that same note, make sure that all the details on your social profiles are filled out and link a curious consumer from your social media account to your website in a way that makes sense. Remember to keep this section of copy following the same stylistic guidelines as the rest of your profile. You don’t want to send mixed messages so early in the process.
The final area to touch on is keeping your social media active. If someone stumbles across your social media account and you haven’t posted in a year, it is likely that the consumer will move on, questioning if you are even in business anymore.
2. The Website
The first impression of your website will determine if a consumer comes back. Is your website easy to navigate? Did your link from social media take the consumer where they expected? Do the pictures you have on your website contribute value to it? Do you address any needs that the customer might have on your website? Does your design match up between social and your website?
If you answered no to any of these questions, your website might be scaring away a potential customer right from the start.
So now you have the customer on your website. When they start looking at your content, will they continue to trust you? Are you offering up content that is valuable? Are you bringing in outside sources to confirm your validity?
3. Reviews, Testimonials, and Case Studies
There is nothing that is more effective to gain the trust of consumers than the encouraging words of other consumers.
It is important to put any good reviews, testimonials or case studies on your website. This lets you control what reviews the consumers reads, ensuring that they see what draws other customers to buy from your brand.
In a study, it was found that 61% of consumers read reviews before purchase. It makes sense, since these are the people that have tried your offering and know it better than anyone (other than maybe the creators).
4. Outside Media
Has your business won any awards? Was it featured in a magazine or newspaper? Make sure you talk about it on your website. Like consumer reviews, this positive press will serve as a validation for consumers to trust your business.After all, if Forbes wrote about your business, it must be good, right?
This is the type of stuff that consumers like to see, especially in B2B where other stakeholders will also need convincing.
Now you have them hooked and you seem credible enough, now you need to tempt them into opting in to your marketing messages. This is how that’s done.
5. Valuable Content Exchange
Make sure when asking anyone for their contact information, that you have something valuable to give in exchange. Maybe it’s an ebook or a free trial of your software. Or maybe a well-curated newsletter of that month’s best content.Regardless, you need to make sure that you give away some of your best stuff for free. This shows your consumers that you have value and your product might too.
When you ask your audience for information, make sure to include assurances that their information is safe with you. Assure them that signing up for your list won’t condemn them to eternal spamming.A common approach is “We hate spam as much as you do…” Make this common message match the tone you’ve established for your brand and it will help reassure your audience too. This works by soothing some of their fears about giving away their contact information. It makes them feel that they can trust your brand with it.
In Your Communications
Now that you have the consumer on your list, you want to keep them there. Direct communications are tricky because it’s the quickest way for your brand to make or break a relationship with a consumer.
7. Frequency of Communications
You may be tempted to hit someone with everything you’ve got when it comes to direct communications, but resist that temptation. Make sure to not over or under send your marketing messages. The frequency really depends on your audience, so watch your analytics to determine if your communications are still getting opened or if they are causing a multitude of spam complaints or unsubscribes.
Your list might contain people that share some characteristics but not others. Cater to these differences by segmenting your list and personalizing communications appropriately.This will ensure that the right, relevant content reaches the right audience, which is key in keeping those on your list trusting you.
After the Sale
Your recent customers are you best customers. Ensuring they have a smooth experience with not only the purchase process, but any issues they may have later will make a difference in how others view your company.
9. Customer Service and Retention
This area is what makes a one-time customer a returning customer. You want to provide a responsive customer experience to keep the customer satisfied for the life of the offering they purchased. Nothing scares away consumers like bad customer service reviews. After all, if you can’t trust a company to take responsibility for their offering, then why would you want to buy from them in the first place?
Consumers are suspicious because they are bombarded with offerings, some trustworthy and some not. You need to give them a reason to trust you at every step in your relationship with them. Otherwise, there is no reason for a consumer to buy your offering over your competitors.
- Have you earned your customers trust?
- How did you do so?
- How do you regain lost trust?