The ultimate goal of marketing is to influence someone to engage with your business and purchase your product or service. Depending on what your service/product offering is, your sales cycle will vary. Businesses that have a long and high touch sales cycle will operate and market themselves very differently to a business who has the ability to generate sales quickly.
Regardless of what you sell, how much it costs and who your target audience is, the one thing a business owner always needs to focus on is building trust with the market and your audience.
People buy from people and organisations they trust. They also know a lot about your business before they engage with you. In fact, in some instances, customers are 70% of the way through the sales cycle before they even contact you. So the question is, how do you get the market to trust you? Well, the answer is a little complex but let’s unpack it.
The first thing to understand is that building trust takes time and as a business, you need to be thinking long-term gain – this is not a “quick win” area. You need to invest time and effort into building long-lasting relationships and ensure the trust building process is inherent in everything you do as a business.
Next, look to develop trust signals in the way you market your business. These trust signals are tactics of customers interacting with your business and having a good experience. Examples of these include:
- Google reviews on “Google My Business” – this is very important as the reviews show up when somebody Googles your business and it also enhances your search engine optimisation efforts.
- Written reviews on your website – having a selection of written reviews on your website that directly discuss the experience customers have had with your business is a really good reference point for potential new customers.
- Case study videos – the importance of video marketing as an effective marketing tool is growing every year. Businesses that employ video case studies and video marketing are maximising the market’s increased need for information in quick, easy to access formats. Having examples of your customers talking about their experiences of working with you/your business is a fantastic way to build customer trust and also provides insight into what it is that you do and the value that clients get from using your service/product.
The ultimate marketing tool which businesses can employ is to develop a customer advocacy program. Customer advocacy is a process where happy/contented clients promote and advocate for your business on your behalf. Customer advocacy programs can (and should) be developed with a structure that sees your top clients help support what it is that you do and promote your business. Different business offerings will have different advocacy needs and you should work with your customers on how they talk/promote/advocate for your business.
One example we know works well in the financial services industry, sees the business list references for the potential new client to contact for feedback on your product/service – almost like supplying references for a job application. The potential customer can contact these clients to have a discussion about the business, the types of services, their experiences, and the value they got from working with you. It is a fantastic and innovative way to help promote the sales cycle and improve the chances of new customer acquisition.
All businesses need to consider ways to build trust at the forefront of every interaction they have and invest in initiatives that focus on building and maintaining trust. Remember, it takes a long time to build trust and including it as part of your marketing strategy will help potential customers have more meaningful, long-term engagements with you.