Before your company can persuade a new customer to purchase its products or services, it has a significant hurdle to cross — convincing your target audiences that your business stands behind its promises and values. A company’s need to prioritize brand trust looks different than it did several years ago now that we are in the world of easy information via websites, social media and online reviews
Customers’ trust in businesses has been on the decline for several years now. Only 42 percent of customers said they trust businesses to do the right thing, according to Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer.
Whether this brand distrust has emerged from an environment of fake reviews, unsubstantiated brand promises or simply too many unfamiliar brands competing for their attention, customers need a compelling reason to identify your company as trustworthy.
Building brand trust isn’t a quick fix. The solution lies in delivering your value with integrity at every interaction. This goes beyond your product or service and includes the marketing content you provide along the customer journey. It is possible to develop a content marketing strategy that builds a case for brand trust over time.
I recently tweeted that great marketing content is today’s craftsmanship.
— Bart Frischknecht (@DecisionDr) March 29, 2019
What I meant was that these days the first impression a customer has of a new brand is most likely through a piece of marketing content rather than seeing the product on a store shelf, at a dealer or as an image in an advertisement. The marketing content must fill the role of installing a sense of intrinsic quality that the visual craftsmanship of a product traditionally played.
Making a case for brand trust early
The content you’re developing should take into account the customer journey. Especially early in the journey, it should focus on the core problem your ideal customer is trying to solve — not necessarily the attributes of your particular solution.
Start improving brand trust by reviewing the content you’re currently using during the Awareness phase. Does it provide real value focused on the problems they face (not your solution)? Beyond what your competitors are offering? Is it compelling? At this phase, content needs to encourage people to continue to interact with your brand. When they need additional information, they should be convinced that they can find the answers from your company. Customers will have a reason to trust your brand if they feel that you know who they are and what they value.
This is a critical step in winning over customers. If those customers consistently experience positive interactions with your brand, you have a better chance of gaining a higher level of brand loyalty.
Some organizations are more successful at gaining brand trust because they produce a lot of helpful content that’s only loosely connected to making a sale. They’re building a rapport with their audiences that sets a solid foundation for brand trust.
For example, a company that sells practice management software in the dental industry may find, through data analysis, that their prospective customers are searching for ways to grow their practice or how to become more successful — more general topics than software specifications.
By speaking credibly about ways to improve the dental practice — providing valuable information not directly linked to the software solution, the company is able to build its reputation as a reliable source. The company demonstrates that it’s more in tune with what the audience needs at different stages of their journey.
While it takes time and resources to create this type of comprehensive content at the Awareness stage, it can be impactful in setting the foundation for brand trust.
Avoid the temptation to fill your content with super salesy Calls-to-Action or to focus primarily on gated content at the expense of Awareness phase content. Too many “buy now” CTAs or too much gated content will turn customers off. It puts you at risk of damaging brand trust because the message you’re sending is that you are putting the company first, not your audience.
The right balance of appropriate content, with the majority focused on the Awareness and Consideration phases, can boost customer perceptions of your brand as a trusted provider. Also, the transition from problem solving to solution providing will be more natural and synergistic.
Establish trust with social proof
Winning over a customer requires more than one touch and more than one experience, and the path to a conversion will look different for every customer.
Highlighting customers in your content can be an effective way of building brand trust when a prospective customer is ready to focus on finding a solution. The focus is not on your company, but on customers who are showcased as the heroes in testimonials, case studies and use cases.
This type of social proof presents content in a way that helps prospective customers see themselves and the possible outcomes they could achieve through a partnership with your brand.
Storytelling through customers’ perspectives is yet another way to demonstrate that your company understands its audiences.
Give your customers what they want — a relationship with your brand that’s built on trust. By delivering valuable content that addresses their needs at the right time, you can build a solid foundation for brand trust and effectively win over more customers.
Learn how content intelligence can help you understand what your customers need. Talk to Vennli about a free demo on how you can effectively balance your resources to grow brand trust.