This is another biggie, because trust is not something that people get automatically as a general rule. Most people give trust only after it has been earned, so you have a big job on your hands. Building trust takes time, and a lot of consistency and effort. To get people to trust you, you need to consistently deliver value to them in your products and services. They must be happy with your offerings and ready to talk to their friends or family about you. If they see you as an authority this will help a lot more, because an authority on any subject gets nearly instant trust by virtue of their being an authority in the first place. The more people seem to trust you (think Facebook Likes to a Page, or Twitter followers) the more others will as well. If you have a busy social media page, and you answer people quickly via messaging – these things will go a long way toward building trust. The key thing to remember here is not to push this, because you cannot rush trust – it only comes in time, when you’ve done everything right. Keep giving them things of value, and try to give some of them away for free, just to be helpful, because you’re such a good person!
Becoming an Authority
To build on that last tip, you have to do some specific things to become an authority of a subject or business. This also cannot be done instantly, because people need proof. There are always people out there who will believe anything they see online, but most want to see where the information came from, and why they should trust you with it. We’ve all seen fake news on Facebook, but few will follow the original link back to find out if it’s bogus or not via sites like Snopes.com or HoaxSlayer. When someone DOES point out that the news is false or bogus, the person who shared it feels foolish and stupid, so make sure that you do research and post REAL statistics and news that won’t leave you with egg on your face later. Do your own research on statistics and data before it gets posted, don’t just rely on stats that have been given to you by a company looking to promote their own product. Anyone can say 99% of doctors prefer ______ product, but none would be able to actually back that claim with real data.
You want to start with building trust with your clients, but alongside that you can also work on becoming an authority. Learn as much as you can about your business, your product, and the market you intend to sell within. Share tips with your clients, and post quality information that can be verified as accurate using links to original research or sources of a scholarly nature.
Do Something Different
You don’t want your brand to be the same as everyone else’s, so do something that nobody else is doing. If all the gyms in your hometown are offering services to the public, but all of them are contract-only, where you must pay a monthly fee for the gym even if you don’t go at all for the month, then you can be the gym who has no contracts at all, where people pay per visit instead. Similarly, if you were a cable company and you wanted to sell TV packages to people, you would know that all cable companies offer bundles of pre-determined channels. If you want special movie channels or premium services you pay a lot more even if you only want the one extra movie channel and never watch the others. You could be the cable provider who offers custom channel selections to people so they can build their own package deal with only the channels they watch and want. Whatever the case, know what your competition is doing and do something totally different to stand out from them, and offer something with more value, or at minimum, something more interesting.
Tell Your Story
While it’s great to be a good listener as we pointed out earlier, you want to make sure that your story is heard somewhere, even if it’s in a link to a back page “About Us” somewhere. This goes along with building trust and authority, people will bond more strongly with you and your business if they feel they know who you are… more so if you’re a fallible human being just like themselves. Don’t be afraid to highlight failures from the past, it makes you appear more real and honest. Tell people enough to make them comfortable, but not too much. You want to avoid oversharing, it tends to creep people out. It’s fine to post a photo of yourself and your family, or of you and your partners.
You can talk about the building your business started in, or the first computer you used for work, you can talk about the genesis of your first project and how far you and your business have come since. When you’re sharing this story with people, don’t try to talk yourself up, let it come from a genuine place, where you’re simply looking to share, not to impress.
This is a big problem these days, some places more than others. Anywhere you go, people have a choice to make when they see you at their place of work. They can choose to make a difference in your day, or make it worse, or they can be totally indifferent and ignore you. Good customer service is rare anymore, and people will be extremely loyal to companies which provide that to them. It’s not hard to care about other people, you simply need to ask yourself how you want to be treated and then do that for other people. You want to respond to them as quickly as possible, and if you don’t have a lot of time – then you must delegate that responsibility to a personal assistant or someone else who represents your business.
Keep people informed of upcoming specials, or deals, and give them free information, tips, and other helpful things that seems tailored to their needs. Take care of any issues you’re informed about immediately and let them know you’re handling it but be sure to ask them if there is anything you can improve upon when their issues are sorted out. By seeking feedback, you can make sure that all customer contact with your company is always fantastic, and always looking to improve.
Keeping a balance between sending too many emails or notifications and not sending enough can be tricky. Some people don’t mind being emailed daily about new stuff, but others will quickly label it “spam” and delete them before even reading them. A good rule of thumb to use is to keep your social media page active. Post at least once a day, even if it is only to share something you found on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. Post trending things like memes, vines or GIFs (short clips of moving imagery). You want to post on your own site, or blog – once a week at minimum, and you can share those to your social media page. You don’t want to exceed posting 3x a week on your own site, because it becomes too much for people to keep up with reading. Most people work and have busy lives themselves, so your information should seem convenient for them to read, not a mad dash to catch up.
For email marketing, be sure not to spam your list. You want to email people twice a month when you aren’t currently selling anything but you want to give them something of value so they don’t forget about you. You can share your newest blog posts with them, or information you’ve just learned. When you DO have something to sell, you can email them about 4x a week on average. One is to tease about the upcoming special sale or product launch, one is to give backup information as to why the product matters at all, and to increase incentive to purchase, one is to actually link to the landing or sales page, and one is to remind as a follow-up not to miss the sale or special before it’s gone. You don’t want to email them more than this usually because it can cause people to unsubscribe.
Be a Local
Word of mouth is a pretty strong sales tool, one that is less used today than in times past, but no less strong for it. If anything, word of mouth means a lot more today when people feel they can find out on their own by Googling reviews. Go out to local events and charities and make your name known. People will begin to link your company with charitable things and good efforts in the world, even if it is just supporting the local elementary school sports team. The more you can get your name out there, the better it is for your business. Just be sure the local event you show up for is respectable. You wouldn’t want to be the sponsor for t-shirts promoting a political figure, or for polarizing topics like abortion.
The Sky is the Limit
Don’t self-limit. What does this mean? Don’t only think local or small. If your company is offering a service or product that can only work in your own country – that’s different. But if you’re offering something that can improve life of people from anywhere, then don’t be afraid to expand and branch into new markets. It does cost more money to advertise when you begin to think internationally, but the amount of reach you can get, and the clients you stand to gain are astronomically huge. Your company could see exponential growth for half the effort. If you’re already online and you already have a business presence, it can’t hurt to dip your toe into other waters to test it out and see how you can do. There is a lot more competition out there internationally, but if you create a separate campaign specifically for people in other countries, and dedicate a budget for that alone, you can compare your results with local offerings and see how to improve.
Even if you fail to gain any new international clients, you’ll learn a LOT about marketing to your local ones.