Business is built on trust: who do you trust to provide the right products or services to best fit your buying needs? Earning customer trust is marketing gold for business success. The most trusted form of marketing is word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends. Nielsen’s Trust of Advertising 2015 report shows 83% of respondents completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.

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Nielsen’s report also revealed that branded website content, such as blog posts, infographics, and eBooks, is the second-highest trusted marketing influence after word-of-mouth. Creating engaging, user-focused content to populate your online sales funnel is an excellent way to build trust with prospective customers. Content marketing takes your offline sales funnel and moves it onto your website where trust can be established at the reader’s pace.

Inc.com recommends several simple tactics for building customer trust on your website and social media, such as adding testimonials, posting your contact information, and more. This creates a great context for you to start using content marketing to build greater customer trust through your online sales funnel.

Attract

The first segment of your online sales funnel is your “Attract” stage. Building trust with prospective customers means giving value first before expecting anything in return. Posting helpful blog posts and sharing industry tips and insight through social media are two great ways to add value to your audience. Sharing great content attracts the right readers to start a conversation and creates industry credibility. Read more about how to create a sales funnel here.

Convert

Your “Convert” stage is where you start exchanging trust with prospective customers. You can offer a premium content resource, like an eBook or white paper, in exchange for customers’ email addresses. Dan Newman, president of Broadsuite, in an excellent article about building trust through content marketing said, “It is much easier to build trust (and sales) when the right reader is given the right content.” (Entrepreneur.com) As trust is built, customers can trust you won’t spam their inbox when they give you their email address. This also means they trust the premium content you’re providing is worth their invaluable email contact information.

Close & Delight

The “Close” and “Delight” stages of content marketing signal a customer is committing their trust in your ability to deliver on your promises. True trust only begins to build when a customer-company relationship is established. The more you can meet and exceed customer expectations, the greater their willingness to mature into brand evangelists for your company’s cause.

As the saying goes, “Trust takes time.” Content marketing is an investment in the value of your customers’ trust. Keep delivering the right content to the right audience and you will see greater opportunities to secure their trust and sales for the future.

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