If you want your brand to win your market, you need to cultivate one thing: brand trust. But these days, trust between companies and consumers is in short supply. Why? Because businesses haven’t been particularly respectful of their audiences. And as tech has evolved, that trust has eroded even more.
We recently welcomed Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, President at Lytics, to our Best Story Wins podcast to chat about the ways brands need to evolve, and this topic was fresh on his mind.
“We’re at a massive deficit in trust with businesses,” Kaykas-Wolff says. There are many reasons for this. Far too many businesses say they’re working for their customers’ best interest, but their actions say otherwise. And, according to Kaykas-Wolff, the evidence is everywhere.
- It’s the collecting of data without consent.
- It’s the creation of content catered to the brand’s message, not the audience’s needs.
- It’s the unsolicited spam in your inbox.
- It’s the clunky UX and typos on a brand’s homepage.
These things erode trust incrementally, and yet most brands don’t even realize they’re actively turning their audience off.
This is an especially relevant problem in SaaS marketing, where you aren’t just targeting a single buyer.
According to Gartner research, the average number of stakeholders that influence a B2B buying decision is 11—and sometimes up to 20.
A lack of trust at any stage of the process can influence any of these decision-makers—and cause your business to lose millions of dollars in deals.
Fortunately, there are many concrete things you can do to improve your credibility, build trust, and create lasting relationships that will bring you long-term success.
How SaaS Marketers Can Build Brand Trust
Building trust doesn’t happen overnight. It happens incrementally, through many different touchpoints. Try these tips to tweak your approach and build more trust—one piece of content at a time.
1) Adopt a customer-centric approach.
Kaykas-Wolff says that although almost all companies think they’re customer-centric, most don’t actually act that way. They focus on what customers can do for them, or the ways they can make customers do specific things—instead of focusing on how the brand can serve the customer. This makes it nearly impossible to build trust and community. If you want to create a customer-centric content strategy, you need to focus on your audience and your audience only.
Tip: Create marketing personas to understand your audience’s unique pain points, challenges, and desires. Then use empathy to create content that they can relate to. See how these brands create empathy-driven content that really connects.
2) Create a consistent brand experience.
People are drawn to the comfort of consistency. They want brands to show up for them throughout the buyer journey—and do it every time. There are so many things that contribute to a consistent brand experience, from product quality, to customer service, to your website design. For SaaS marketers, one of the easiest ways to provide a strong brand experience is to build a strong brand identity.
- Create strong messaging. This will help you tell a consistent story throughout your content.
- Design a powerful visual identity. A strong identity helps your brand stand out from the crowd and become instantly recognizable to your audience.
- Define your brand personality and voice. With clear guidelines, you can ensure everything from your tweets to your home page copy is on-brand and consistent.
- Understand your brand promise. Reinforce that positioning in content throughout the buyer journey.
Tip: Use our free toolkit to build a complete brand identity that makes it easy for content creators to create on-brand content every time.
3) Build your credibility through content.
If you want to build a customer-centric brand, you need to create the right content for the right channels. In essence, you need to tell the stories your audience wants and needs to hear—and do so in a professional, credible way. Luckily, there are more ways to do that than ever.
- Use data storytelling. Dig into your data to uncover interesting and relevant stories. You can also dig into public data too. This is a powerful way to build brand trust because numbers don’t lie. Data-based content can also be appealing to news outlets, helping you expand your reach.
- Offer thought leadership to industry publications. The ultimate goal of all marketing is to establish yourself as a thought leader, and getting placement in the publications your audience consumes is a great way to build brand awareness and demonstrate your expertise.
- Expand your partnerships and endorsements. Collaborate with credible influencers or other brands that align with your values. Partnerships and endorsements from reputable sources can enhance your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.
- Create content with publications. Beyond being quoted in an article or two, you can increase your credibility by co-creating content with publications. This is a win-win. The publication benefits from your expertise; your brand benefits from their reach and reputation.
Tip: See our tips to create publication-tailored content with your publications of choice.
4) Personalize your content.
Your audience is being assaulted by content all day long. It’s harder than ever to stand out in the crowd and make an authentic connection, so the more you can humanize your audience and prove that you see them as an individual, the better.
- Use personalization throughout the buyer journey wherever possible. Tailor marketing messaging to your audience’s unique pain points and needs.
- Use humor to build brand trust. Inside jokes can be an especially great way to connect with your audience and demonstrate that you really get them and their unique challenges. (On that note, fun and lighthearted content that isn’t boring is a great way to stand out from the crowd. See our tips to create SaaS content that doesn’t suck.)
- Use data and analytics to understand their preferences, behavior, and needs. With this insight, you can tailor messaging, formats, channels, etc.
Tip: Copy is always a powerful tool to grab attention. Follow these tips to emotionally hook your audience with your messaging.
5) Share your values.
Honesty and transparency are crucial if you want to build trust with your audience. Not only do you need to be transparent about your business practices, pricing, and policies but you need to share your values as well.
This isn’t just for accountability purposes (although that is incredibly important). The more you publicize who you are, what you care about, and what you believe in, the more you will attract the right kind of people who share those values.
- Engage in community initiatives or support social causes that align with your brand values. Demonstrating your commitment to making a positive impact will always help foster trust among customers.
- Share your culture. People want to know what life is like behind your company’s four walls. Social media can be a great way to peel back the curtain. (See more tips to show off your culture on social media.)
Tip: There are all sorts of ways to share your values through content. Get inspired by how these smart brands have done it well.
6) Show social proof.
If you want people to trust your brand, they need to see proof that other people trust you—and have had a positive experience working with you. This is especially true in SaaS marketing, where buyers are spending large budgets and need to get buy-in from multiple people before closing the deal.
92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.
—G2 and Heinz Marketing
You need to put that social proof front and center throughout your buyer journey.
- Encourage customer reviews. Make these visible across your site, social, and industry review sites.
- Tell marketing stories about the successful results you’ve achieved for your clients. For example, find out how we helped Happy Money reach millions of people on social media.
- Welcome customers into your brand story by sharing user-generated content. When people see other people engaging with your brand—in any capacity—they are much more likely to trust you.
- Highlight your most successful case studies. Make them visible on your homepage, too.
Tip: Use our guide to write powerful customer success stories that convert.
7) Gather their feedback.
If you want to build strong, healthy relationships with your customers, it can’t be a one-way conversation. You need to regularly engage and demonstrate that you deeply value them—at every touch point.
- Interact with them on social media. Ask questions, respond to comments, etc.
- Ask for feedback and incorporate it. Social polls, email surveys, etc. are a great way to do that.
Tip: Email marketing is a fantastic way to cultivate your relationship with your audience. See our tips to help SaaS marketers improve their email marketing.
Remember the Key to Brand Trust: Value
Above all, to maintain a relationship (and continue to grow it), you need to provide value to your audience. Create content that speaks to their needs. Show interest in the things they care about. Promote the values you share. And look for ways to strengthen your relationship at every touchpoint.
On that note, it you need more marketing inspiration of your own, subscribe to the Best Story Wins podcast and start with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff’s episode to find out how he cultivates trust and empathy for his audience.