Inbound marketing is the art of attracting and engaging the right people to your website through traditional and social media marketing. Done right, inbound marketing can help increase the trust of prospective clients and customers have in you – something that is essential for conversion from prospect to customer or to additional sales.
My colleague Rocky Mills, member of a networking organization I belong to, coined the phrase Know-Like-Trust-Refer. First your connections (in this case referral sources, but it also applies to prospects) must know you. Then, if they like you, over time they may come to trust you. It is only after the initial milestones of Know-Like-Trust are passed that a referral source will refer you business or a prospect.
With inbound marketing, a prospective referral source or client can’t see you online to read your body language or get a first-hand knowledge of who you are. So, how do you get to trust online?
First you have to get known online through social media and traffic to your website. You have to engage your site visitors and followers on social media with interesting content and messaging so that they like you.
Establishing trust online is tricky. Here are four critical factors for building trust and maintaining it with your online marketing.
1. Always give credit to your news and information sources. Blogs and content with no attribution to anyone or anything really make me wonder. You should wonder too. I have had my original content copied, borrowed, riffed upon, with no attribution. I read other blogs in the B2B marketing space, and I see posts with the same image, same words in the title and body as other – some very well known – bloggers’ posts again and again. It’s unprofessional and untrustworthy – and, well, just sad for those who need to copy others with great content.
2. Be consistent with your social media activity and content. Blogging whenever you feel like it? Did you state on your blog that you’d do weekly posts, but you haven’t delivered the promise? Do you have a mix of personal opinions and business messages? Do you publish valuable content? Can your followers count on you?
3. Be transparent.Tell us who you are and why you exist. Explain what you do. Then do it. Show us your photo. Have a physical address somewhere on your site, even if it is just a business mailing address. Be a human person behind the company, don’t hide! Oh, and one of my pet peeves – put dates on your blog and website! Let us know how long you’ve been around, how long you’ve been blogging, and when that post I just landed on was written (see my previous post on this, B2B Blogger – Are You Being Tricky or Transparent?)
4. Build your online presence organically. Attract and connect with people you like and with whom you have synergies. Don’t just copy your competitor’s followers. Don’t connect to someone to steal their contacts. I have had my social media connections and followers copied and followed and, in at least one case, aggressively contacted for business. First it’s creepy, and second, it’s sad for the person who doesn’t have friends, colleagues or business contacts with whom they can connect organically or contact that they attract through good content and messaging.
Read more posts about establishing Trust online (and off) with this link to my blog posts about Trust.
Do you need help with setting up and running an Inbound Marketing program? Contact us today at New Incite – we provide setup, consulting and actual execution to get you up and generating quality leads and conversions.