Put yourself in the shoes of your buyers. What concerns his or her daily life? Does she or he have a family? Is he or she afraid of making the wrong decision at work, in fear that it will mean they will lose face - or worse, their job? How many other people rely on the decision they are making?
We often think that marketing for B2B (business to business) is simpler than consumer marketing. That employees are more rational and don't care about how something looks, just that it gets the job done. And if your widget is better than Company X's widget by at least 10X then you will have a winning product on the market.
Only that's not completely true.
Because if Company X is the market leader, and the safer bet as far as the market is concerned, your consumer will choose them. If there's even a hint or rumor that your company isn't doing well, even if it's not true, your sales will fall. Businesses need to know that the companies they invest in will be around for the duration. They need to know that the time and effort it takes to implement your process or technology will not be a waste of time. People may not even realize all of the things they consider when they are in the product choosing process.
Most companies meet the customer considerably later in the process, as companies are now able to research options online. As such your online branding and presence are more important than ever before. Here are four things you can do to help build trust in your customer base:
- Educate your market: The more information you share about your products, services and other customers the more you build trust. One way to think of it - companies who give away information have nothing bad to hide. This means blogging, webinars, white papers, case studies, speaking at conferences, and any other conceivable way to get your message across. It also means you need to market this content through email marketing, paid promotion, social, and earned media.
- Design and brand to build: We trust companies that look huge and stable. We don't trust companies that look small or unstable. This isn't rocket science. While design might not matter to you (or, more likely, you don't realize how much it matters to you), it does matter to most people. That means appearing large, stable, and like an industry leader - even when you're just a 50 person start up. That can only happen through a well-thought out, thorough branding that is executed precisely. It never ceases to amaze me how much design affects peoples decision making process.
- Mind your publicity: Your brand isn't what you say it is. Your brand is what your customers think it is. If they don't think you're doing well, or won't be around for the long-term, you won't be. Not all press is good press. If you make a mistake - by all means own up to it, apologize publicly and loudly, and move on. However, if your company is going through hard-times, make sure no one lets that information out. Just the whiff of it can scare away potential customers.
- Message to each persona: You most likely have more than one Persona that you are marketing towards. You need to map out what matters to each persona and make sure that their individual concerns are met in your messaging. For example, the Project Manager will care about time and budget, the QA Director cares about quality and the Department Head wants to make sure that your product will help raise the bottom line, cut costs, or both.
Are you sending out the image you should be to gain mindshare? If not, why not? What difficulties have you had in execution? Leave a comment below.
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