As a brand, it is essential to build trust with your audience if you want your content to resonate. Consider that consumers are continually inundated with content from social media posts, email, and other digital marketing channels. Combine this with the fact that consumer trust is at a historic low, and you have a compelling reason to establish trust with your target audience –even prioritizing it over traffic.
Need more convincing? Here are some other reasons to expend most of your energy on building consumer trust – and some digital marketing tips that help you accomplish it.
A Healthy Relationship Can’t Survive Without Trust
Here’s the bad news: In general, people do not find marketers or salespeople trustworthy. A recent survey revealed that only 3% of respondents found marketers and sales reps trustworthy, only slightly ahead of lobbyists and politicians. Ouch.
Now for a bit of good news. You can take steps to build trust with consumers. And in today’s digital world, the way you build trust is through the generation of quality content.
We define “quality content” as content that:
- Conveys authority and expertise
- Creates value for the reader or expands their knowledge
- Compels the reader to share the content with others
- Demonstrates to the reader that the author is trustworthy regarding the topic
In addition, trustworthy content is:
- Long. In general, people tend to share longer posts socially, which is an important component in building trust. As an added bonus, Google algorithms tend to prioritize longer posts.
- Well-tailored to your target audience. If your main consumers are millennials or gen Z, you will use different terminology and tone than if you are a B2B speaking to fellow professionals, for example.
- Packed with value. Resist the urge to generate content for content’s sake. Always make sure your content offers takeaways and actionable advice that your readers can use.
In essence, your business begins in a precarious position because people don’t trust marketing – but you can build trust by thoughtfully creating and curating content for your target audience.
People Don’t Trust Advertisements
In the old days of advertising, consumers trusted marketing messaging. Advertisers would pull in “experts” to promote their products and services, whether those claims were harmful or not. For example, tobacco companies would claim that their cigarettes were the preferred brand of doctors. It sounds outlandish given what we now know about tobacco use, but it was a popular tactic.
Advertising obviously and rightfully no longer works this way. Advertisers not only have to comply with industry-specific regulations, they are also following lower levels of consumer trust. Millennials, in particular, are wary of advertisements and are hence more challenging to connect with. In general, millennials tend to think of advertisements as little more than spin, which requires advertisers to think outside the conventionally drawn lines when considering advertising ideas.
Your Audience Wants a Subject Matter Expert and an Interested Friend
According to Nielson, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertisers. In general, a prospective customer is more likely to see a recommendation from a fellow consumer as favorable compared to the “recommendations” they may see in an advertisement. They tend to trust opinions from their peers because they are more likely to be unbiased. This provides an interesting opportunity for companies to leverage influencers.
Influencer marketing has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. Surveys consistently find that consumers who are exposed to influencer marketing often buy a product after seeing it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
The most effective influencers are those who have a natural fit with your brand and mission. Ideally, they already love the product and readily agree to endorse it (or are willing to try the product and give it an unbiased endorsement).
How Can I Build Trust Online?
Whether you’re starting from scratch or starting over, there are a few digital marketing tips that build and enhance trust in your brand:
- Define your audience. If you haven’t in a while, now is the time to revisit those buyer personas and determine your audience targets and segments. Having a clear understanding of who you are marketing to helps you set the tone (including proper nomenclature and terminology) when addressing your audience. Simply put, when you speak your audience’s language, they are more likely to trust what you say.
- Think of your niche. Separate from your target audience, your niche lets you hone in on your own expertise and can help you generate content ideas. Having a well-defined niche also helps you define your link-building campaigns and guest-posting opportunities. Determine where your audience reads online, and then build authority guest posting there.
- Do research and find out which content performs well. Using a tool like Buzzsumo can help you determine what people in your niche like to read. Creating long and well-written posts about popular topics can help you build both trust and authority.
Many businesses look at traffic when trying to improve their search engine ranking, but perhaps they are looking in the wrong place. Traffic metrics are important, but one of the best ways you can improve that number is by increasing consumer trust through the generation of quality content and other marketing initiatives.
When customers trust your brand and authority, your popularity – and traffic – will naturally follow suit.