Things can seem so complicated when it comes to attracting target customers through online marketing. You hear about new techniques and tools, all the shiny new objects available to get more traffic, more leads and more sales. It gets overwhelming sometimes, especially when you travel down the wormhole looking for the next best idea or precise solution. The answer is never going to be housed in a new tool or tactic. It’s contained in your content strategies and once you tame that beast, a lot of things start falling into place.
Developing and publishing content that earns trust does not have to be complicated, however, you do have to spend time and effort on your goals. Content strategies without stated goals are useless. Decisions must be made on what you aim to achieve and what results can be expected. It’s not a one-time exercise. You must analyze your results, refine your strategy and, if need be, re-define your goals.
Let’s simplify by breaking things down step by step. The best way to define your goals and create strategies is to answer this question: What do I want my target customers to do?
Content Strategies Promote Desired Customer Actions
- If you’re a retail or local business, leads and sales would be your goals.
- If you’re a non-profit, donations and volunteers would be your goals.
- If you’re a B2B, certainly referrals, leads and sales would be your goals.
- If you’re selling an event, you’d want target customers to register.
And so on. Your content strategies then start to take shape because you’ve stated a desired outcome.
Content strategies lay the groundwork for earning trust. Identify how your target customers consume content and what specific steps they take as they move further down the path to the desired outcome.
These 3 basic content strategies cover at least one or more of the ways your target customers will interact with your business. To meet them where they are and to attract even more target customers, it’s ideal to embrace and test all 3 strategies.
1. Blog Strategy to Earn Trust
- Start with WordPress. A self-hosted WordPress site has these advantages:
- It’s FREE and open-sourced…and that’s freedom
- Easy to use and learn
- It’s extendable with themes and plugins
- It’s search engine friendly
- Safe and secure
- It can handle different media types
- Content Calendar. Your content strategy needs a place to live and here it is. A content calendar will help you and your team brainstorm ideas and establish consistency.
- Engage Employees. Employee-generated content is your best source for quality and trustworthiness. After all, your employees live in your business 8+ hours/day and they typically understand what customers need and want to know about the company.
- Share Customer Experience Stories. Has someone just posted a positive review for your business? Ask your team member to describe the transaction details. Invite more sharing of customer experience stories and recognize or reward the best ones.
2. Email Strategy to Earn Trust
- Encourage Sign-Ups with Helpful Giveaway. When someone visits your site, offer them a white paper or ebook in exchange for their opt-in.
- Make it Easy to Opt Out. The best way to betray trust is to trick someone (even if it’s unintentional). Earn trust by giving people an easy way to disconnect.
- Speak Like a Human. Corporate sounding or canned content will not earn trust.
- Lose the Term “Email Blast.” You’re not blasting customers with advertising, you’re earning trust by offering a different experience than your competitor.
- Provide an Easy Path to the Sale. For customers ready to act, provide a link taking them to the next step in your sales process (whatever that may be).
3. Video Strategy to Earn Trust
There’s nothing like visual proof to establish and convey trust and credibility. “Transparency” was born from video and it continues to elevate brands in customers’ minds.
- Step Up for Good Equipment. The easiest way to spot an amateur is poor sound quality. Depending on your content strategy and budget, consider hiring a videographer.
- Embed Video Content on Your Site.
- Step 1: Upload your video to one of the popular, well-established video hosting services like Vimeo Pro.
- Step 2: Once your video has uploaded and is ready for viewing, copy the URL to your video and paste it into your WordPress post or page where you want the video to appear.
- Take Viewers “Behind the Curtain.” Given all the dubious facts online, customers are increasingly apprehensive and skeptical. Earn trust by showing what it’s really like inside your business.
- Ask Raving Fans for Interviews. There’s nothing like happy, loyal customers’ opinions to solidify trust with new customers. Develop 4-5 questions to ask ahead of time so both your customer and the interviewer are comfortable.
- Do “Bio” Videos of Your Employees. Studies show that customers trust “people like me.” Employees are your best shot to bring even more trustworthiness to your brand. Of course, it must be sincere and real, so check your culture before you take this step.
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
Successful content strategies don’t have to be complex. However, solutions only come from deliberate, thoughtful planning. Take the time, invest in whatever it takes and get assistance from a content strategist if you need to. You’re halfway to the sale when trust is evident.