Every person on the face of the earth has a built-in BS meter. When people are exposed to a typical marketing campaign, the needle starts to dance.
Why? Confusion. Deception. Unsubstantiated claims. A lack of transparency.
In other words, people are seeing or hearing the same garbage they see or hear from almost everyone else. There’s just a different company name attached to it.
For some reason, business owners and marketers assume whatever they say will be believed. They don’t seem to realize how important trust factors into buying decisions and how difficult it can be to earn that trust.
Instead of working to earn that trust, they follow the same stale, ineffective formula because they’ve been conditioned to believe this is the right way to market a business. It’s also easy to copy because there isn’t much substance behind it.
Here are six things you can do to neutralize the BS meter, earn people’s trust and close more sales.
1) Simplify your message
A recent study by Statista found that the majority of respondents trust traditional media ads and don’t trust online ads. For example, 63 percent of respondents trust newspapers ads, but only 33 percent trust online banner ads.
This doesn’t mean newspaper ads are more effective than online banner ads. It just means people trust what they understand. Most people don’t understand why they see an endless barrage of display ads for power drills after spending a few minutes researching power drills online. Some find it downright creepy.
How does this relate to a simplified message? Well, the easier your message is to understand, the more likely someone will be to trust your company and the product or service you offer.
A simple, clear message builds trust by removing uncertainty.
2) Prove your expertise
I’m a big fan of keeping it short and sweet on website pages and social profiles. Ideally, no more than 150-200 words. So how do you get people to trust that you truly know what you’re doing?
Develop blog posts, articles, videos or podcasts that answer common questions or educate people about topics related to your business. Create a database of knowledge that positions you as an expert.
A chiropractor probably can’t dig deeply into a specific topic like how therapeutic massage combined with chiropractic adjustments can be used to treat sciatica. But this can be covered comprehensively in 500-word blog post or three-minute video.
Don’t just say you’re an expert. Build trust by proving it.
3) Validate your claims
Similar to the last point, every business on the face of the earth needs to go through their marketing materials and remove the clichés that have been the bane of my existence for my entire career.
We use the highest quality materials. We offer the best customer service. We have the most knowledgeable staff. Blah blah blah.
If one of these claims is a selling point, fine. Validate it.
What materials do you use? How do these materials make your product better?
What is it about your customer service that’s better than everyone else? Give me some examples.
How did your staff acquire this vast knowledge? How is it relevant to the customer? How do you know your competitors aren’t just as knowledgeable?
If you can’t validate your claims, it’s just empty boasting – the same kind of empty boasting that every other business does. Your boasting has no more substance than theirs, and it’s just as annoying.
Build trust by giving real value and validity to every claim you make.
4) Be human
People want to do business with real people, not companies. Show your personal side. Show why you’re passionate about what you do, and make sure this passion is engrained in your company culture.
Instead of just talking about your company’s product or service, talk about what you and your people believe in.
Maybe the chiropractor had a personal experience that helped to shape his or her approach to wellness. People can relate to these kinds of stories. Suddenly, the scary doctor is perceived as a regular person.
By humanizing your company, you start to build lasting relationships based on trust.
5) Balance emotional testimonials with facts
Statistics have value, but I’m not a big fan of overwhelming people with numbers alone. I think videos of people explaining why they had such a great experience with your company are much more powerful than saying you have a customer satisfaction rate of 99 percent.
Build trust by sharing real customer stories, reinforced by relevant facts and statistics.
6) Accept and respond to criticism
When you created a business page or account on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, you opened the flood gates for criticism. Whether complaints are legitimate or not, nothing is more frustrating to a customer than having their comments ignored or even deleted.
I just witnessed a pretty nasty local election season, and quite a few candidates regularly deleted comments on Facebook from people who criticized or disagreed with them. Politics aside, this just fans the flames of resentment and suspicion.
If someone complains, you apologize – no matter what. If you can prove the complaint is unwarranted, do it by all means. But if you screwed up, admit to it, offer to make it right and learn from it.
Build trust – and regain trust – by quickly and humbly owning up to mistakes.
How do you use marketing to build trust?
I’m a copywriter, marketing consultant, lifelong New Jersey resident, husband to a beautiful wife and father to two beautiful girls. I love playing with my daughters, a day at the boardwalk, sarcasm, craft beer and grilling. I despise beating around the bush, synchronized swimming, Toddlers & Tiaras and onions. Most people don’t know I used to be a radio DJ and once wrote, produced and voiced a commercial for the TV show 24. Two places I want to visit before I die are Ireland and Norway, the homes of my ancestors. One place I never want to revisit is my first apartment because my creepy landlord, Monty, freaked me out. That just about covers it.