Customers are tired of selling. They want more from your business before they purchase from you. It’s why so many customers (57%) complete their own due diligence about your company before they ever even speak to a sales person, according to CEB Global.
So, how do you ensure that the due diligence leads people to becoming a customer and not running away? You can use your content to engage potential buyers early on in the marketing and sales funnel by creating a narrative that helps them form a connection with your brand. One way is to create content that is all about relationships, building trust, and demonstrating value.
The key is the way you approach content creation. We’ve gathered our nine favorite tips and tricks for using content to build relationships that transform into sales.
1. Tell a Story
The first step is to create content that tells a story that your customers can relate to. Story telling is a way to demonstrate your brand, what it stands for, what you believe in, and what you offer. It humanizes your business, which is vital for building trust and relationships that last. One of the best ways to tell a story is to use people. Use your employees and your customers to bring a human element to your marketing.
Coca-Cola is great at this. Using a range of marketing channels, including all of their social media, they encourage their customers to “Share a Coke” with a friend, neighbor, lover, family member, or stranger. This demonstrates how their company and product brings people together—one of the core tenants of the Coca-Cola brand.
2. Be Consistent
Have you ever had a friend who you only talk to once a year? In the end, they’re not really a friend. You have to talk to someone regularly, at least once a week, to have a real relationship and that’s the same for content marketing. You can’t expect to send out one social media post and blog a year or month and expect to build relationships with your customers.
Instead, you need to consistently provide content that tells your story and shares your values. This way your customers can get to know who you are and come to trust that who you are won’t change. If you’re great for a week but then fall off the wagon, your customers will have a hard time trusting that you’ll stick around.
3. Respond to Your Customers
When it comes to building relationships, you can’t just talk at your customers. That’s a lecture, not a relationship. Instead, you need to focus on engaging with your customers in a back-and-forth dialogue, which can be done through content.
One way is to respond to comments or questions on blogs and social media directly. Another way is to gather a list of common questions you’ve come across from customers or to send out a survey asking how you can improve or what your customer must want to know, and then providing a response to that survey or those questions in a blog, video, case study, or infographic. It doesn’t matter what type of content you use. The key is to show your customers that you’re listening to them and responding to them.
American Airlines is great at this on their social media, particularly Twitter. They respond to customer complaints, questions, and comments no matter the time or day or night to ensure that their customers know they have a voice.
4. Make it Personal
Customers want to interact with people and not companies, so make your company personable. Add candid pictures to your blogs and social media posts that show your company as it is. Use a name to sign off on marketing emails. Write blogs in the first person or using “we” so they feel more authentic.
You can also make it personal by addressing individual customers. For example, when writing a Case Study, it’s appropriate to refer to the name of the person you were working with as long as you have permission. It’s also a good idea to direct emails to a person individually “Hi Ryan” instead of using “Dear Sir or Madam.”
5. Use the Appropriate Tone
How do you want your customers to relate to you? While being professional is always important, it can also be important to be relatable. One way to do this is to create content with a friendly, considerate, and personable tone. And, depending on your brand, you can even take your voice a little further and be sarcastic like Cards Against Humanity or funny and snarky like Wendy’s. Don’t believe us; check out Wendy’s on Spotify. It’s something truly special.
nDash can be a great platform for finding writers who know how to create content in the tone you’re looking for. All you have to do is indicate the tone, voice, and focus on the article you’re looking for, and then nDash will provide you with a list of professional content creators who can provide you with exactly what you’re looking for.
6. Provide Help
One of the best ways to build a relationship is to focus on answering problems and providing help. Potential customers want to know that you care about them. So the more you can do to provide useful and relevant information, the better. This is also a great way to avoid selling and to focus on building rapport. One way to get started is to figure out what questions your audience might have and then to create content around those questions.
7. Meet Your Customers Where They’re At
Great, you have a blog. If that’s all you have, you’re missing out on so many chances to interact with your customers and build relationships. A blog is only one way to interact with your customers. You need to be creating and delivering content wherever they’re at.
Figure out where your customers spend time by creating a buyer persona and then deliver content on each of those platforms. For example, if your customers spend time on LinkedIn, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile that regularly shares company updates. The same goes for Twitter, email, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, and any other location where your customers are hanging out.
For example, you’ll find Netflix all across social media from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more. And the type of content they share is focused on video or short Gifs, which makes sense for their brand and is important for consistency.
8. Demonstrate Transparency
It’s hard to build a relationship without trust. And you can’t have trust if you’re not honest and transparent about who you are and what you offer. This is not only important to your customers but to your employees, investors, and stakeholders.
There are many ways to build transparency into your content. You can share Case Studies that demonstrate what you did for a particular customer and how it worked out. You can also be transparent about how you use data, which will keep you from getting intro trouble like Facebook. Truthfully, the more information you can provide your customers, the better.
9. Use Social Proof
92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family. This is an easy tactic to take advantage of. On every page of your website, have at least one form of social proof that demonstrates how your customers feel about you. You can add widgets to your web pages that show things like:
- Social follower count
- Customer testimonials
- Ratings and reviews
- Expert mentions
- Awards and rankings
- And more
It’s possible to build relationships with customers that last and transform into business, and more importantly, repeat business. The key is to focus on what your customers need, and then the rest will come.
Editor’s note: This post was written by nDash community member, Kelly Vo. Kelly writes a variety of business articles and website copy on topics such as Cloud computing, business safety, B2B & B2C marketing, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and more. To learn more about Kelly, or to have her write for your brand, check out her nDash profile page.