If you follow the news about marketing in today’s economy you might get the impression that marketing is all about technology. The headlines continue to talk about Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter—and a host of other newcomers to the social media and digital marketing universe.
The thing is, modern marketing isn’t about technology—and never really has been. Technology has played a huge role. What it’s done, however, is level the playing field and put customers in charge of what information they want to receive. Companies can’t simply make outrageous marketing claims. The Internet has made it possible for consumers to talk to each other and either verify or debunk those claims.
Marketing today is about trust. People like to do business with people they trust. But trust has to be earned. But how in the world does marketing build trust? It starts with being truly customer-centric. That means knowing what you customers really want and giving them the information that will help them make the right decision. It’s not about trying to sell them something they really don’t want. It’s about helping them decide if what you have is something that will really meet their needs. For years, sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer has preached that: “People hate to be sold, but they love to buy!” You build trust by actually putting your customers’ interests and needs above “making the sale.”
What undermines trust?
Sometimes marketing people are so eager to “close the deal” that they overstate what their product or service actually does. It used to be that if you fooled someone into buying something that didn’t perform, you’d simply never sell to that person again. The Internet has upped the ante. If you deceive someone, not only will she not buy from you again, but she’ll also tell all her friends on the Web. And they will tell all their friends—and it snowballs. Be honest.
Marketers want to get in front of the right audience. They know that Google is watching (and ranking), so they try to load their online content with keywords. But if I’m looking for an electric screwdriver, I don’t want to read a post or a web page where every other word is “electric” or “screwdriver.” It’s fine to use the terms somewhere in the copy, but give me helpful information about your screwdriver. Tell me what it’s good for. Show me how it’s going to help me.
Sell, sell, sell
If someone arrives at your site, there’s probably a good chance that they want to buy from you. But pushing them to buy isn’t going to win their trust—or their business. Selling hard is about you. They aren’t at your site because of you. They are at your site because they have a need and you may be able to meet that need. Answer their questions about your product or service instead of trying to convince them that they should buy. If they decide to buy make it easy for them.
Bad First Impressions
If your site is unprofessional or inaccurate, it makes it hard for people to trust you. Typos, broken links or inaccurate information make it look like you don’t know what you’re doing—or that you don’t care. And if you’re selling a high-ticket item, that can be a big deal. If you’re not careful with what you say on your website, what makes you think people will trust you with a significant investment?
Building trust is at the heart of today’s marketing approach—what’s commonly referred to as “inbound marketing.” For a closer look at the difference between today’s inbound marketing and conventional “outbound” marketing, I invite you to download our free Inbound-Outbound Marketing whitepaper.