Build trust for consistent sales by educating your customers with great content. Your customers will gladly refer a resource they trust. Content marketing can quickly build trust by demonstrating your expertise. At the same time you are facilitating referrals from these educated customers who value what you do and understand your difference. Creating great content that your prospects and customers want to share is the tipping point. Great content has three vital characteristics: honesty, relevance and expertise.
Honesty is about being ethical in your communications and opening a dialogue. This can be accomplished by online polls, customer support forums, online ratings both on your site and third party review sites. Asking for your customer’s opinions and reviews and responding to the comments both negative and positive. Being ethical in how you respond and interact should be a first priority to maintain trust. Negative comments and reviews should not be deleted but rather addressed. And after a few deep breaths with a calm and helpful tone. Coming off as a pompous “know-it-all” saying, “Well, you didn’t use our product correctly.” or as a heartless tyrant, “That’s our policy and you have to deal with it.” I once saw a response on a real estate firm’s review where the owner basically called the reviewer a dummy for not reading the fine print of the agreement since “everyone else” understood it with no problem. The moral of the story is to keep your raw emotion out of it. See the problem from the customer’s point of view and remember your core mission. Would you rather have a referral or win an argument? It’s better to create goodwill and turn that person into a satisfied customer who will speak kindly of the experience with their own network. Besides, maybe your company should consider the feedback as a potential problem that needs to be addressed.
Relevance means that your content is not self centered. Your content talks about your ideal customer’s needs and wants not your super Grade A award-winning product or service. Blogs that focus on special discounts, how many hours of training the owner went through or how many cakes you sold last weekend only serve to boost someone’s ego and it is not for your customer. Your customer has specific expectations of what they want to get from interacting with your company. Talking about how wonderful you are all the time only encourages the reader to tune out as they detect another commercial. Think about it. When a commercial starts on TV aren’t you tempted to switch the channel?
Expertise is a quality we all have on some level. As the business owner, you started your company because of an intense need to share you skills and knowledge while earning a living. You have training, education, and work experience in some specialized way no matter what the industry. Showing your expertise is important to your customers and prospects. They want to know that they are making a good decision in hiring you to help them. No one likes to make mistakes. By demonstrating your expertise in your field, you are becoming a resource instead of a salesperson. You cut through the hype and stand in your authority. As an expert you help guide the customer through their decisions. Expert content gives the customer the information when they look for it; not when you broadcast it. Some owners scoff at the idea of giving out ‘free advice’. Just remember, you’re not giving away your work. You are demonstrating that you are the right person to solve a particular problem. Publishing an eBook about what to look for when hiring an attorney is very different than giving out legal advice to a client in a consultation.
These three characteristics: Honesty, Relevance & Expertise can help create content that simultaneously builds Know, Like and Trust. Once your business is seen as the logical resource, you are seen as the obvious choice over your competition. To existing customers you become the ongoing teacher who helps guide them even after the sale. Now you don’t have customers, you have advocates. People who enjoy telling their friends and family about how hiring your company is simply the best decision they can make.