One of the most important – and most often overlooked aspects of advertising is that the act of advertising functions to build trust with your niche market or target audience.
When consumers see a local business advertised – whether it’s on television, on the radio or in the newspaper – there’s more than a little “trust” earned. I’m not sure whether it’s an issue of trust being transferred from the media to the business – or whether deep down inside consumers know that a business has to spend money to advertise – but when you advertise your small business in local media -you’ve taken an important step in establishing the trust needed to win a customer’s business.
However, advertising your small business in local media is just one step in establishing trust. In Small Business Advertising Success Secret #1, I recommended that small business owners take another big step in establishing trust and find out why customers chose to do business with them by asking for testimonials. It’s not only a great way to discover how your customers are actually using your product – but it’s also a great way to build trust with prospective customers.
Featuring those testimonials in your advertising – or on your website – is another great way to build trust with your prospective customers. Sometimes – those testimonials can change the direction of your marketing – and your business.
Vonage is a pioneer in the VOIP phone service arena. In the early days, Vonage was targeting ‘everyone” with their advertising and marketing messages. Their message was simple – “dump the phone company and save money without sacrificing call quality”.
Not long ago – Vonage decided to ask their customers for testimonials. They offered a potential appearance in a television ad in order to get video and written testimonials from their customers. Shortly after that influx of consumer input – Vonage took a turn in their advertising. Suddenly – they weren’t targeting “everyone” – but instead began targeting people with family and friends all over the world. They still kept the same core message – but instead of being delivered by actors – the message was now being delivered by real people and the result is tightly targeting a key niche market while building trust with prospective customers.
There’s something reassuring about knowing that REAL people who look like you and speak like you are using a product or service.
Testimonials are just one way to build trust with prospective customers. Other tried and true method to winning trust with your customers is to commission university studies to give an unbiased opinion about your product’s quality. Getting the endorsement of a respected authority figure also serves to build trust with your target audience.
Of course, the most basic elements needed to build trust with prospective customers are the elements that many people think of as “branding’. A professional logo, a well designed web presence and prominent signage are amongst the basic “trust building” tools in your business building arsenal.
Building trust is an essential part of building small business advertising success. If prospective customers don’t trust you – they won’t do business with you – it’s just that simple.