Using Your Business Blog to Build Trust with Customers
Anyone who runs a business knows you need a website these days. Whether you do business online or run a local small business, having a website makes it easier for people to find the products or services you’re selling.
That’s a fact of the age we’re living in. And setting up a successful e-commerce website involves so much more work than creating product pages and accepting credit cards. You still need to sell to people; you still need to convince them they need what you’re offering.
Much has been said about modern people having the attention span of a goldfish. But why is that? Doesn’t it make sense that people will eventually tune you out?
Now consider the blog for your business website. You almost certainly have one because that’s what the SEO (search engine optimization) experts say, right?
Well, the SEO experts are definitely not wrong. Google loves having a source of fresh, ever-expanding content on your website. But here’s the thing some of them get wrong: it really only matters if it’s good content.
Why? Because bad content is an immediate red flag to people visiting your website. No matter how good your SEO is, if the people visiting your site see content that was written by a robot or with bad grammar, they’re going to bail.
Plan for a Successful Blog
Having a blog with a constant source of new content is good SEO and necessary for any inbound marketing efforts. But no marketing effort will work if the consumers in your market don’t trust you.
Just as a blog full of Markov-generated spam will kill your visitors’ trust, a blog full of insightful, quality content will help build their trust. When you provide value to people, they will naturally be more trusting toward you.
If you want to use your business blog to build trust with your customers, then you need enrich their lives in some way. The specific way is up to you, but by really understanding the people in your market, you’ll gain the insights needed to make their lives better.
Define your audience
It’s hard to have an insight into the lives of your target audience if you don’t know who they are. If you don’t already have market research for your niche, then that should be the first order of business.
The same goes for your customer persona or buyer profile. This profile (or profiles) will be who you keep in mind when you create the content for your blog. Just as your customer persona is the person most likely to buy your product, this is also the person you have the best opportunity to delight with your blog.
Map your customer experience
You may or may not have already mapped out your customer journey. If you rely on inbound marketing, then you probably have at least a sales funnel.
Having a successful blog for your business can be important to virtually every stage of the customer journey:
- Awareness – Popular content brings in new people and has a better chance of becoming viral.
- Engagement – Good content that people value will bring them back and keep them on your site longer.
- Decision – Each blog post gives you a chance to give your visitors an opportunity.
Stimulating and engaging content tailored to your customer persona plays an important role in managing a successful business blog.
Develop authority with your audience
Becoming an authoritative voice in your market and industry is a standard way to support inbound marketing. But what does that really mean?
Becoming a pundit or guru may be one way to develop authority in a niche, but that’s not necessarily what that description means. Being an authority means earning the trust of the people in your niche. Fashion mavens, film critics and celebrity chefs are also all authorities within their niches.
This is where having a strong brand identity is critical. When you’re developing your business authority, you’re representing your business brand.
Choose your content strategy
Before you even begin, you need to have a strategy. You need to know exactly the types of content your customer persona already engages with. Then build on top of that.
Don’t limit yourself too much with specifics, though. Your customer may love pictures of cats, but if you’re selling a makeup subscription box don’t plan all your content around cat pics.
Or maybe you should do that. The point is that you should have a plan to produce the types of content the people you want to become your customers want themselves.
Plan your content marketing strategy
Your content strategy is how you plan to provide value to your customers using content, but your content marketing strategy is how you get it in front of their eyes. It’s a fine distinction, but important.
When you choose to make blogging an important part of your content marketing, you’ll need to ensure that people are reading your posts. These days, social media and email are probably the two most popular ways to accomplish online content marketing.
Use influencers to establish social proof
Social Influencer marketing has only become more important as social media networks have grown and matured.
A social influencer is someone who others look to as a role model for certain topics. When they mention your brand it automatically gets a boost.
When you’re using a blog to build trust and awareness in your business, having influencers share your content can become an important traffic driver.
Encourage comments — and respond to each one
Sparking conversation has been at the heart of blogging virtually since its inception. Creating content that begs to be discussed is a sure-fire way to give you opportunities to engage with people.
Personally responding to each comment builds trust and goodwill not just in the people you’re responding to, but also with all the people that read it.
This is called a one-to-many approach in specializations like customer support and community management. One person can help many people at the same time with public problem-solving.
Make it easy for people to contact you
There’s something to be said for the complaints you may hear about intrusive pop-ups that are so popular on virtually every b2b blog these days. But they continue to persist because they represent an important rule: always make it easy for people to contact you.
When was the last time you went out of your way to sign up for a newsletter or say thanks on a website? You don’t have to be pushy if you don’t want to, but you do need to have your contact information on every page.
Invest the time to track and analyze
Finally, out of all the steps to take and tasks to accomplish, you should always make time to understand what is driving your blog’s success (or contributing to its failure).
Using analytics tools will help you understand what types of content on your blog are successful. Over time, you’ll be able to hone in what’s contributing to that success and focus on that.
Collecting and analyzing data in the age of the Internet also makes it possible to test different versions of your content in real-time to find what works best.
Building a successful blog and earning trust go hand in hand
Using a blog as a cornerstone of your business relationship with the people in your market is a popular choice for a good reason. The stuff it takes to build a successful blog is the same stuff it takes to build trust and respect.
When you build a blog for your business based on providing value and service to the people in your market, you’re showing them that you care. Do that and they’ll be happy to return the favor when it comes time to complete a transaction.
About the Author: Pieter Konink is a customer experience specialist from Portland, Oregon who specializes in using content strategy and community management to support web-based products and services.
website: http://pieterkonink.com Twitter: @pieterkonink