With data breaches becoming a very real concern for consumers, trust has never been a more topical issue within the broader lead nurturing arena. Today's consumers have plenty to worry about when entering their information online.
Although most ethical marketers are able to ensure that data remains protected and private, a huge part of the process comes down to consumers having enough trust in brands to give away their email addresses and other sensitive information.
Many brands are so focused on closing the deal and converting leads that they forget how much of a role trust plays in the lead nurturing process. Without trust, even leads that seem hot at a glance may not end up converting into sales. Easy to break and far harder to earn, trust is often overlooked in the process of turning potential leads into actual sales. Trust plays a vital role not only in conversion but also engagement, reputation and loyalty, too.
What steps do you need to take to ensure that you build trust right from the very beginning? Which lead nurturing steps and strategies should you follow in order to build trust and increase loyalty? Let's take a look.
Building Trust in the Lead Nurturing Process
You could think of the lead nurturing relationship as being a bit like dating. Like dating, these relationships require both time and trust in order to flourish.
Much like relationships are built after meeting your prospective partner for various dates, during which you get to know each other better and find common ground, the lead nurturing relationship cannot be rushed or fast-tracked if you want to build a genuine relationship based on trust and respect.
Your first interaction with a lead is not totally unlike your first date. Rather than rushing and scaring away your lead, you need to help them get to know you a bit. The majority of leads are nowhere near purchasing at the first encounter. They may not be ready for a few months. Try to push too hard too soon, and your lead will likely run for the hills. Spend time building a relationship that is based on trust, and you will have a far higher chance of converting once your lead is ready to take your relationship to the next level.
As consumers become more wary of online interactions and shared data, the slow and steady approach has become more important than ever before. Many buyers will spend time engaging with brands before making a purchasing decision. Lead nurturing is one of the most effective ways to help build relationships with leads in a way that drives loyalty, trust and engagement.
According to 2016 study conducted by Ascend2, 48% of businesses say that the majority of leads require long cycle nurturing, with many influencers. This shows just how important it is to put effort into building trust.
To get the most from your lead nurturing relationship and trust building efforts, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Know your audience
The very first step in building trust is knowing your audience. To do this, you need comprehensive insight into your target customers. That means understanding what your customers want, along with their behaviour, demographics, challenges and any other information that will allow you to create targeted messages. If your messages are not aligned with your audience, the result is a disjointed campaign that reduces rather than increases trust.
One major reason for a lack of trust in digital marketing is the trend of mass-produced, generic emails and text messages that are sent out with little to no thought. These practices are on a par with spam and have the opposite effect of building relationships. You could think of these messages as the digital version of bad pick up lines or unwanted attention.
Rather than risking a major hit and miss, focus on starting with a clear idea of your audience, so that you know exactly who you are aiming to reach. This will make it easier to proceed to the next step.
Make a good first impression
The next step comes down to making the right impression right from the very start. Just as you would make a bit of an effort for a first date, you need to pull out all the steps to entice leads to the first part of the nurturing cycle. This could be done by something as simple as a beautifully designed lead page, a website that is mobile optimised and easy to use, a lead magnet that attracts the right audience instantly or even up to date contact details and easy to find links that help prospective leads make an enquiry without getting frustrated or leaving your website.
Identify key pain points
A very effective way to build trust is to learn how to genuinely listen to your audience. What are your audience's biggest pain points? When you start talking directly to your audiences in order to find out what they want, you will come across as transparent and genuinely interested. Open-ended questions that ask about issues keeping your leads up at night, which resources would add the most value, whether events, whitepapers, forums, videos or other content types help, which services add the most value and what information helps the purchasing decision will all help you know where to focus your efforts.
Focus on helping
Once you have a better idea of what your leads want, how can you go about giving it to them? When you focus on helping rather than selling, you have a far better chance of driving engagement. Think about how many emails and texts you receive each day. How many of those messages are focused on genuinely trying to help? By contrast, how many are focused on trying to sell? Even for those who have opted into messages, non-stop sales messages can quickly get frustrating. While there is a time to gear into sales mode, it is certainly not the early stages. First, you need to reach a point where enough trust has been built. Consider content such as useful tips on products that customers have already shown interest in purchasing, along with helpful industry tips, how to guides, limited time offers, expert advice and any other content that adds real value
People trust industry leaders and experts more than they trust brands that lack authority. When you establish yourself as an expert in your field, people will begin to listen. People are more likely to listen to advice and input that indirectly relates to the product or service they are considering over a sales pitch from someone who is obviously trying to get them to make a purchase. When you take the time and effort to offer help, listen to customers and be someone that customers can turn to for help, you will soon begin to gain their trust. Try adding Q&A, industry insights, detailed guides, ebooks and other content that helps you establish your authority.
Fine-tune your lead funnel
From here, you can begin to fine-tune your lead nurturing funnel so that it adds genuine value at every stage. When you build your funnel from the ground up, focusing on adding value at each stage, you will soon be able to drive trust. This is where lead nurturing comes into its own, nurturing leads rather than trying to rush them through to sales. Using permission-based marketing and A/B testing, you can perfect your funnel so that you reach leads at the right time, in the right way. This will ensure that your customer journey stays on track, without jeopardising warm leads or rushing the process.
All in all, it's a delicate dancing act that requires time, effort and patience. Try these steps and you should start to see a difference in trust and reputation across your lead nurturing efforts.