Have you ever heard of the “know, like, and trust” factors? If you’ve been in sales and marketing for quite some time, you’re probably familiar with these already. They are MUSTs in the world of sales and marketing. When I started my first company at 18 years old, I learned these pretty quick.
Nobody wants to do business with somebody they despise or feel may dupe them in some way!
So the bottom line is this: You need to make your customers comfortable with you throughout your interaction with them. The only way to do this is to get them to know, like, and trust you.
Now how can you do that online? Many businesses don’t understand that this should be done not just with the traditional face-to-face interaction and with the usual physical promotional materials. In this digital age, you have to know how it can be done online too.
Make Yourself Known
There’s no point in having an amazing and novel business idea if you can’t get noticed. When Scott Sanfilippo and I owned Solid Cactus, having a cutting edge website was always a top priority. We were always ahead of the competition, and that was always the plan.
First, you’ve got to create a website that paints a good picture of what your business is all about and what you’re offering. Even back in the early days of the web, before responsive design, people would judge the size of your company and your credibility would be determined by your web presence. In 2002, 2005 and 2006, our pet supply company, The Ferret Store, won numerous awards including Davey awards and Multichannel Merchant Awards. It was no surprise that in those years, our retail sales were the highest in the ten years we operated before we sold the company to Doctor Foster’s and Smith.
Second, get yourself out there on social media! Set up a Facebook page, get in touch with prospective customers through Instagram and Twitter, show behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube, and more. In my current role as VP of PR for Americaneagle.com, it is important that we tell the world that we are the best at what we do, and in our industry of premier web design and development, we use social media and video not only to highlight our achievements, but also the achievements of our customers. This video features the CEO of WeatherTech, David MacNeil showing how our company helped their company grow and you can bet I’m happy to share this video.
Third, join groups and organizations online where you can meet more potential followers and buyers. Of course you should get to know them as actual friends, not just for the main purpose of selling or promoting your own interests. Remember that they will know it if you’re not sincerely interested in them. I spend a lot of my time in my local marketing association, SFIMA, South Florida Interactive Marketing Association. All of the best marketing professionals come together once a month and we have featured presentations where we can mingle with our friends. joining a group in your area is well worth the time.
Fourth, you can actually make use of paid advertising methods too— on Google, Facebook, and a lot more! If you have the budget, there are tons of ways to get your brand known online. Facebook offers the ability to drill down to unique customer demographics so you can better target your advertising, and they even offer a remarketing pixel which even allows you to display videos, ads and posts only to people who have visited your website.
Finally, you can tie up with well-known bloggers and celebrities who have plenty of followers online. Ask them to endorse you or review your products and services. Give them free samples and trials in return. Back when I used to own The Ferret Store Online, we used to provide discounts and free merchandise to our animal shelter customers, and in return, they would promote our business.
Now that there are more people who actually know about your business, what’s the next step?
Yes, make yourself liked. It’s not enough that people know you, but they have to like you too.
We’re not talking about the number of likes you get on your Facebook page or the number of followers you have for your Instagram account. What’s more important is to make people actually see you as their “friend”— somebody they genuinely like.
One way of doing this is to put a face to your business. It’s easier for people to like you and view you as a real person they can be friends with if there’s a face they can see. From time to time, post photos or videos of yourself that they can easily relate to. For instance, if you are selling cars, you may want to show yourself driving one of your cars or inspecting one before releasing it to a buyer.
It is also important not to limit your posts to everything about your business. Let’s say you are marketing an insurance company. Obviously you will post about financial literacy, the importance of leaving something behind for your family, and the like. But every now and then, try to just show yourself relaxing in your backyard or perhaps enjoying a cup of coffee or a good book. These will make people connect better with your business, seeing your human side.
In addition, did you know that people are naturally drawn to those who are generous? If you often give discounts and freebies, then there’s a greater chance of them liking you more. But of course, you shouldn’t overdo it, or you won’t appear sincere.
Another good way to get yourself liked is to like others. Do not limit yourself to your own posts, but also make time to check their posts, like and comment too. Be supportive, like a real friend! And of course you have to customize every reply or comment as much as possible. When Scott Sanfilippo and I owned Solid Cactus, Scott was the face of the company and I ran the operations behind the scenes. Scott used to do podcasts, videos, and he even hosted customer events. Scott’s face lives on at Solid Cactus, even years after we sold the company to Web.com. Here’s Scott with a video for Solid Cactus Call Center.
Keep in mind that the “know, like, and trust” factors should all be present in order to make your customers feel comfortable—- enough to eventually turn them into buying customers and even loyal clients!
So how can you develop this trust in your business? Well, the best way to go about it is to build your niche authority and industry credibility.
One way to accomplish this is through the content that you release to the world. This can take the form of social media posts, blogs, and videos. Avoid being too promotional, but rather focus on providing valuable information that you feel can be used by your target audience. Always go for those that you know they will appreciate you for in the long run.
If you are in the health food business, for example, you can give out tips on various fruits and their health benefits or perhaps share the latest news on ingredients for healthy cooking.
It would also be wise to start your own Facebook group or page, LinkedIn group, and the like that are not under the name of your business, but a topic in which you are well versed. For instance, you can create a health and wellness group for the purpose of just building a community of those who want to be healthier. Because you are the administrator, you will be deemed with more credibility in this arena. At Americaneagle.com, I utilize many of our industry experts to create content that our customers will want to read and share. As I encounter trends within our industry, I immediately reach out to our experts to create, or help me create the content that will be of the most use to our customers. You don’t only want to create good content, but you want your customers to share it
It’s also essential to be true to your word. Don’t over-promise so you will never under-deliver. Also be wary of complaints and comments, which you should respond to promptly and properly. This is a large part of living the life as a PR professional. I use Cision to monitor all media mentions at Americaneagle.com, and respond instantly to any communication, whether it is positive or negative.
Indeed making yourself known, liked, and trusted will help each customer feel more comfortable with you, leading up to an actual sale and an ongoing relationship for repeat purchases.