(This is a contributed post)
Engaging new prospects while retaining your existing clientele has never been a trickier balancing act. And while the digital world may give us all kinds of shiny new marketing bells and whistles, we mustn’t forget the importance of the basics. Don’t get us wrong, that’s not to say that a strong approach to digital marketing can’t bring a significant ROI. Indeed, it can be invaluable in making your brand visible to the right people at the right time. And when you’ve climbed to the top of Search Engine Results Pages, getting that all important click from prospective customers can allow you to secure their business at the expense of your competitors.
But getting that first click on your website is only half the battle. In these uncertain times, consumers are more fickle than ever. Prospects may have limited funds and be loath to take a leap of faith in an unproven commodity such as yourself. They want to do business with brands that they can rely on. That can be a pillar of stability in a world that seems increasingly tenuous and unknowable. But building that trust isn’t something that can be done overnight. Winning the trust of fickle prospects is a battle that’s fought on a number of fronts.
Here are some questions you’ll need to ask yourself to ensure that your business is doing all that it can to engender trust to engage new prospects and keep existing customers coming back…
Have you invested in adequate security on and off-site?
Security is one of the most important places to invest your capital, which is why keeping your business finances under control is an important first step in establishing trust. Only when you have a clear picture of your business finances can you consider making the investments in infrastructure that will pay dividends later.
Needless to say your on-site security needs to be impeccable, and a Commercial Locksmiths should be engaged to ascertain your premises’ security needs. If you store client data on-site, and a breach compromises the safety of that data, it can cause a huge black eye for your business’ public image.
If any portion of your workforce is working remotely, you’ll need to take additional cyber security precautions so that they can do their jobs effectively while also safeguarding your business and client data. Migrating part of your infrastructure to the cloud (where security updates are automatic, frequent and folded into the cost of membership) and using VPNs can help make your digital security more comprehensive on and off-site.
Are you taking the time to create thought leadership content?
There are many reasons why you should make content creation a key part of your marketing strategy. For starters, it keeps users coming back to your website, spending more time on-page, scrolling more deeply and moving around your website more. These can all contribute to improving your SEO and making your brand more visible when local search engine users are looking for the products or services you offer. More importantly, however, creating regular content like blog posts, videos, tutorials, infographics and live webinars can all contribute to building trust in you and your brand, establishing you as a thought leader.
Thought leadership content can establish you as a highly knowledgeable, experienced, accomplished and trustworthy personage in your field. It can help prospects to see how you deliver more value-added than your competitors. It can also help them to start building a personal relationship with your brand that keeps them coming back.
Still, for thought leadership content to be effective, it can’t just be you finding new ways to explain how fantastic you are, or tell stories about the amazing things you’ve done in business. All content needs to bring value to the reader / viewer, helping them to address a common pain point or overcome a problem that they have to deal with.
Do you offer them visibility and transparency?
Whatever product or service you offer, visibility and transparency need to be at the heart of your processes. Your customers want to be able to see what you do and how you do it. And that includes scrutinising your supply chain to ensure that they hold themselves to the same high standards as you. Both in terms of quality and in terms of ethics. Many consumers, especially millennials, expect the companies they do business with to have a clear focus on ethics and sustainability not only in their own operations but in every link of their supply chain. And if you cannot give them visibility and transparency, they may assume that you have something to hide.
Do you consistently deliver on your promises?
In an era where competition is fierce, and everyone’s looking for a USP that elevates them above others, it’s easy to fall into the habit of over-promising in the hopes of poaching custom away from your competitors. However, when you over-promise and under-deliver, that’s the surest way to send potentially loyal customers into the open arms of other businesses.
It’s essential to keep your promises realistic, and manage customer expectations so that you always over-deliver and generate more value-added in every transaction.
Are you available on the platforms that matter to your customers?
As well as being offering visibility and transparency to customers, you also need to deliver accessibility when they need you. And this doesn’t just mean keeping your phone number up to date wherever you’re listed (although that is important). It means making yourself accessible on the social platforms that your target audience uses. Not everyone feels comfortable contacting you over the phone and some of your customers won’t even use email… but they will check into their favourite social platforms regularly. Which is why it’s important to have a presence on all the right platforms and respond quickly and decisively to customer queries and complaints.
Are your testimonials from happy customers front and centre?
Finally, no matter how well you sell yourself in your website copy and marketing materials, consumers are always going to take anything you say about yourself with a grain of salt. They’re more likely, however, to trust the word of other customers. Which is why your 5 star customer reviews and testimonials should be readily accessible on your website, and the best ones should be positioned visibly on your home page and any landing pages. So that you can start building trust straight away and make the perfect first impression!