This is a guest post written by Susan Payton, President of Egg Marketing & Communications.
These days, it’s not the company with the giant billboard that gets the customer, it’s the one who bothered to build a relationship with her. These days, consumers want to connect with brands in new and meaningful ways. They want to trust the brands they give their money to. Do your customers trust you? Would they refer their friends to you?
Building trust is easier than it sounds, but it takes time. You do this through providing great content on your blog and website and through your interactions online. Do these consistently and you’ll not only build traffic to your site, and your social media following will grow, but you’ll begin to see that you’ve created relationships with people who then become your customers.
1. Listen to your potential customers. Find out what their pain points are, and find ways to solve them. It might have nothing to do with what you sell. For example, if someone on Twitter needs a web designer, refer one to them.
2. Engage in conversation. Twitter and Facebook are great places to talk to people of all walks of life. Jump in conversations (read: do not push your product) and see where it leads.
3. Create valuable content. Your blog is the key to building trust. By providing content that solves people’s problems or otherwise entices them, you are making them aware of your brand, and building that trust.
4. Let your product sell itself. With trust marketing, you don’t need to push your
product. Certainly, offer sales and discounts where appropriate, but let that trust work its magic. The sales will come.
5. Share, share, share. Share content that’s not your own. Share a good recipe. Share someone else’s good news. That’s how you connect to people.
6. Thank your customers. Call out customers who are your brand evangelists publicly to thank them. Give them freebies just for loving you.
7. Become an expert in your field. Be the go-to name for news, tips and advice in your industry. If you’re in eco-friendly cleaners, be the resource for getting out stains the environmentally friendly way.
Give it time; building trust between a brand and a consumer takes as long (if not longer) than trust building between friends. But you’ll see over time that business picks up, and it won’t be because of that Yellow Pages ad.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and blogs for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple, BizLaunch and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.