Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Establishing trust and credibility in your marketing campaigns [speed read]

‘Credibility and trust’ are the two most important attributes that online marketers must establish in order to gain the confidence of visitors, according to a 2015 study by KO Marketing Associates.

Why content credibility matters

If the credibility of website content is called into question, it has the potential to affect the reputation of not just the online channel, but also that of the wider organisation.

Content that is credible will result in higher levels of visitor engagement. For example, users will stay on your website for longer, interact with a wider range of features, make repeat visits; and are more likely to convert from visitors into customers.

The more visitors engage with your online content, the higher the 'quality score' attributed to it by Google. This will have a direct impact on reducing the cost of any pay per click (PPC) advertising campaigns you are running.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a good online experience for visitors to your website matters in the same way that a good face-to-face experience does. It is a touch point that contributes to achieving the strategic goal of achieving and maintaining high customer satisfaction levels.

However, only 33% of people trust online reviews, and just 8% trust online advertisements - so digital marketers have a lot of work to do to establish levels of trust within their content.

Step 1: Know who you want to establish credibility with

Segment your audience. Understand who the decision making units and influencers of decisions are. [click to Tweet]

This can be achieved in a number of ways, for example by analysing your current customers and stakeholders to understand what brought them to you; what their likes and dislikes are; their demographic profiles; and so on.

Step 2: Understand what your audience(s) needs to know

Now you know who your target audience is, understand the content they are actively seeking out; the challenges they are trying to overcome; and the places where they are active online. You could get this information through:

  • social listening exercises (including sentiment analysis)
  • primary research, such as telephone interviews
  • secondary desk-based research.

Step 3: Mirror your audience’s interests with your content

It sounds obvious to make sure that your content is of interest to your audience. The key to establishing credibility with them however, is to do this without trying to sell them anything!

Trust can be gained by offering genuinely useful information that helps your target audience on their decision making journey. [click to Tweet] This may involve talking about products and services that you don’t offer! Remember, each interaction you have with them is a touch-point with your brand.

Step 4: Nurture your relationship

All relationships need to be nurtured if they are to mature - and this is true of online relationships. The more genuinely useful and transparent your content, the more likely your reader is to regard you as the go-to source of information on their topic of interest.

In order to nurture relations, it is important that your content speaks the language of your target personas - which is often different to the terminology used by internal stakeholders. The right language to use can be identified through techniques such as:

  • analysing the interviews you carried out in step 2
  • studying correspondence into your call centre
  • assessing the terminology in online forums and social networks used by your target audiences.

Step 5: Listen, learn, and react

Creating your marketing materials is the start of your process, not the end. Test content with members of your target audience to:

  • ensure the message received is the one you think has been delivered
  • understand what key messages can be recalled
  • learn about how your content made the reader feel.

Amend your content to reflect what you have learnt. Keep a record of the changes you have made, to inform future content production.

"The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place" -  
George Bernard Shaw

About the author
Claire Cresswell-Lane is a UK based, CIM Chartered Marketer specialising in digital marketing strategy and communications. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.

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