How to Lose Your Audience’s Trust With Your Marketing

Marketing works best when it helps you reduce perceived risk and gain your prospects’ trust. That’s the most effective way to help a prospect move through the buying process.

Your Audience’s Trust

If one of marketing’s main goals is, as I touched on a few weeks back, to reduce perceived risk for your prospects, then it’s worth discussing ways you can lose your audience’s trust and how to avoid the mistakes that are likely to lead to that loss.

First, it’s worth remembering that your prospects’ expectations have changed. In both the B2B and B2C worlds, buyers are less likely to be won over by “bullhorn” marketing (“Here we are! Buy from us now, now NOW!”) and more  likely to respond to an approach that focuses on their needs.

Delivering Promotion Where You’re Promised Resources

That shift to prospect needs typically means that the most effective way to connect with prospects is to provide information of value to them as they’re deliberating their choice.

You still need to make the case for your solution, of course, but you’ll more often be doing this indirectly. Or, at least, you’ll be focusing on the prospects’ needs first, and following up with marketing that focuses on what differentiates your offering.

For example, an agency with a focus on email marketing might attract new clients by publishing information on designing emails that are compliant with accessibility guidelines. Or they might talk about ways to maximize the deliverability of your email marketing messages.

If that agency promotes helpful materials like that, but then delivers marketing content that illustrates those points by going heavy on examples of how great their solution is, they’ll lose their prospects’ attention and trust immediately.

So be sure to separate company news and promotional materials from educational materials and broader information. There’s a place in your marketing for both, but if you promise resources, deliver resources.

Case Studies Where the Case Is You

On a similar note, think about how you use case studies. We’ve read too many case studies where the focus is on the marketer and their solution, rather than on the outcomes and the benefits that the client experienced.

Make sure your case studies are a reflection on you, not about you.

One special consideration: process. Process can be a key differentiator for a lot of marketers. If this is the case for you, once again be sure that you highlight how the process benefits the buyer rather than simply illustrating how great the process is.

Don’t Ask If You Don’t Need, and Don’t Ask Twice

Use technology to help you grow your prospect relationships. Tools like progressive profiling and integrations between your CRM, email marketing functionality, and your website can help you build a prospect profile without redundancy.

On first contact, don’t ask for more than an email address. When you reach out to offer the next logical piece of content, prepopulate that email address and ask for another useful data point.

The trick here is for the data point to be useful to you and to the prospect.

For example, if you ask them to tell you the size of their firm, you should be offering them information that’s tailored to firms of that size. Otherwise, trust erodes as they wonder what you’re doing with that information. Why should they let you try to get to know them if they don’t feel like you’re really even trying?

The goal is to strike a balance between what you give and what you get so that you really can learn enough about a prospect’s needs to establish a relationship, build trust, and win their business.

Author: Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?

A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.

His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications. 

Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *