To make a sale, business professionals must earn the trust of prospects first, and effectively communicate the inherent value of the product or service in question. When the overall process takes place offline, the relationship between the salesperson and the customer develops through a series of body-language cues, voice inflections and persuasive conversations, culminating – hopefully – in an eventual conversion. But when it comes to online marketing, trust must be developed in other ways, and branded website content often does much of the talking and selling.
According to a study from nRelate
, a content discovery platform, U.S. adults depend on discernible information published to official websites to educate their purchasing decisions. When it comes time to buy, 44 percent of consumers say they trust custom content
from a brand over any other channel. The study also shows that 76 percent of Americans click on subsequent links to related stories for complementary information. This has emerged as the primary information discovery method among U.S. adults, surpassing content links from social connections.
While having high-quality branded content converts leads to sales, businesses would benefit from extended web presences, and the ability to improve transaction rates beyond the confines of their websites. To achieve this, marketers must expand branding by creating consistent content delivery strategies, build social presences to broaden reach and personalize media production to appeal to buyers.
The ever-expanding reach of internet marketing unveiled
The internet is a lot like the universe in that its boundaries seem endless. According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2Bs and B2Cs use an average of 12 promotional avenues to reach prospective and current customers. For marketers looking to expand the reach of their internet marketing campaigns in order to generate more sales, building relationships with current customers can help attract new buyers down the line.
Businesses must know who already uses their products and services, and craft marketing materials that speak in languages current customers understand and embrace.
According to a study from Demandbase and Ziff Davis
, 60 percent of B2B marketers use social media content to drive sales. Fifty-three percent employ content creation practices to reach buyers. This insight might suggest that brands have begun to transition to lead nurturing practices over blanket lead gen campaigns, but the same study noted that more than half of respondents don’t have basic understandings of their target markets.
In order to reach prospective customers, businesses must know who already uses their products and services, and craft marketing materials that speak in languages current customers understand and embrace. The only way a brand can extend trustworthiness across the ‘net is by producing consistent content that builds upon and supports previously released media.
Build a social presence the acts as a site extension, not a lone entity
Brands don’t use social media just for engagement anymore – networks generate leads and sales
. According to Webmarketing123’s “State of Digital Media 2012 Report
,” 54 percent of B2Bs and 22 percent of B2Cs say lead generation continues to be a top priority moving into 2013, and 41 percent of B2Bs and 52 percent of B2Cs credit social platforms with helping them achieve this objective.
If websites remain the most trusted resources for consumers, it seems buyers use social media as their traffickers.
In fact, a recent study by Compete, evaluating Old Spice’s “MANta Claus” and “Smell is Power” campaigns, discovered a direct link between the success of social media marketing and an increase in website traffic. If websites remain the most trusted resources for consumers, it seems buyers use social media as their traffickers. According to the source, Old Spice published video content to its YouTube site and increased traffic to 264,969 unique visitors. Additionally, during the same months the company uploaded new visual media to its YouTube Channel, website traffic surged to 56,525 visits – up from the 10,000 to 20,000 visits seen in months past.
Website copy may earn consumers’ trust, but social media marketing plants the seed and compels readers to look for additional information published by the brand.
Deliver the right content type to foster trust
Perhaps the most important component of building trust with consumers is the medium used to deliver the overall value proposition. For marketers, knowing the type of content consumers prefer to engage with based upon specific data can help create a content campaign that consistently fosters trust.
For example, brands that notice their websites serve a growing mobile population may want to alter the type of content they publish based on data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The agency found that 92 percent of mobile video viewers share content with their networks. Fifty-six percent republish via Facebook, and 44 percent pass their mobile devices off to friends. As these findings make clear, video content earns the trust of viewers quickly, and people eagerly share media with their friends both online and offline.
Marketers can only build trust with prospects when they understand their clients’ online purchasing behaviors. Conversions may come from website content, but the preliminary process of driving users to sites occurs in numerous ways. Building branded extensions via social media and delivering the right content type in a timely manner can greatly influence long-term sales upticks.