A report from About.com found that consumers view small businesses’ marketing efforts on the web as critical to building trust. According to the study, 84 percent of Americans said they will not purchase an item from a business until they feel comfortable with the company.
Building trust is an essential task, and the web offers small businesses countless opportunities to establish relationships with their prospects. According to the study, small businesses using content marketing and maintaining presences on social networks are best positioned to create the type of trust that leads consumers to convert and remain loyal. Informative pieces that detail the value of products or services and articles that express a feeling of empathy with the consumer can be particularly useful tools in building and maintaining audience trust.
“With the high volume of information at consumers’ fingertips, not only is trust a valuable filter, it is a prerequisite for consumers to even enter the purchase funnel,” Laura Salant, director of research for About.com, said in a release. “By understanding how consumers view trust and what they value most, marketers can tailor their outreach to deliver meaningful information and tools to create authentic, long-lasting relationships.”
About.com found that 85 percent of consumers said they trust companies trust brands that offer resources every step of the way as their needs evolve though the purchase funnel. This means marketers should have a presence that captures and speaks to online audiences across channels as they’re doing research. For example, using SEO to achieve a strong search ranking can cater to new buyers searching for general info, and developing a social media marketing presence conveys a sense of accessibility and opportunities to learn more and interact with a particular brand, which makes consumers feel like their business is appreciated.
Moreover, using a social strategy to help consumers even after they’ve made a purchase can help encourage loyalty to a company. In fact, 62 percent of respondents said that seeing a small business answer other people’s questions or engage them on social networks improves their view of the company. Guiding prospects through a conversion funnel with content that shows a company understands the reason they’re considering a purchase is important for 83 percent of consumers.
Overall, an integrated marketing presence powered by content on shared on multiple channels is essential, with 82 percent of respondents saying they form their opinions based on information from more than one source.
For some small businesses, maintaining an effective presence in several different channels can be challenging. However, many SMBs have found that seeking help from third parties can make campaigns more successful. ContentLEAD recently reported that a study from Sagefrog Marketing Group found 53 percent of companies outsource at least one channel effort.