Marketing for small businesses is often considered to be all about generating leads for the business. At which point, many people think that marketing stops and the sales function begins. With today’s buyers often completing up to 70% of the buying process before they talk to anyone (even in the B2B world), marketing’s role in supporting the sales process has perhaps never been more important. A massive part of this is helping the buyer to trust you and believe that your business can deliver. This article will discuss how marketing helps develop trust and help buyers to trust small businesses.
It’s been some time since we last wrote about perceived risk (and you can read that article, including the 7 different types of perceived risk, by clicking here) so let’s quickly cover it here and explain why its so important.
Perceived risk is the level of risk someone believes there is in doing something, in this case in buying something. The level of perceived risk varies dependent on these things:
- The cost of what they are buying.
- The importance of the purchase to them or their business.
To help them buy from you, the level of perceived risk in their mind has to be reduced to an acceptable level. The role of marketing is to put in front of buyers the three key tools you have for reducing risk:
The knowledge and expertise within your business is a key part of your ability to deliver on your clients’ needs. The more people consider you to be an expert in your field, the more likely they are to approach you in the first place. Assuming that demonstration of knowledge continues during the sales process, the buyer is much more likely to buy from you.
If you “stand” in front of a prospect, saying “I can deliver what you want, honest guv!” or words to that effect, they might buy from you. If you can put evidence in front of them that backs up your claims, they are far more likely to buy from you. Evidence comes in many forms:
Examples of work you’ve done for other clients. These show that you understand the prospect’s industry and have helped others just like them. Here’s an article about the key parts of case studies and why you should include all the parts listed. You can see some of our case studies here.
Most effective when given verbally, but often contained within articles and blogs. Stories usually look in more detail about a specific part of something you’ve done for a client.
The words of your clients carry a lot of weight with your prospects and will really support the sales process. Ideally in video format and should include the name, title and company of the person who said it.
Most reviews are placed on independent sites, so you have no ability to edit them. We generally recommend Google Reviews, but companies like Trustpilot and Feefo have been around for years.
Most often delivered as the results part of a case study (see how we believe a case study should be structured in this article), showing how you have delivered on previous clients’ needs is a key part of demonstrating value. If you talk about how you have saved a company 10x what they spent with you, or quickly found them a member of staff they’ve been trying to find for ages, you’re demonstrating real value. The more you can do this, the better.
Depending on the size of your business and the way clients buy from you, the role of marketing is developing trust can vary.
At its most basic level, marketing:
- Produces content that demonstrates the knowledge and expertise within your business
- Writes case studies and publish them onto your website.
This is where a lot of small businesses make a big mistake. They spend the time collating all the proof we’ve discussed above. It goes onto their website and it …. Just sits there. The real role of marketing is getting this content in front of the right people. Assuming you have already identified and mapped your Ideal Clients (see here for more information on that), it is time to get this evidence that you can deliver in front of them. Within the buying process this can mean:
- Building automated email campaigns that share this content at the right time within prospects’ journey through your pipeline.
- Making print and digital versions for sharing by Sales, either at trade shows or through trackable email clicks.
- Embedding your Google reviews on your website.
- Tracking WHO is reading what so that your Sales team know what to talk to people about.
- Getting them back to the website regularly until they are ready to buy.
- Analysing how people are engaging with the website to improve it, thus increasing leads and sales.
All of the above can happen after a potential client has made that first contact. If your Sales staff do this, you are taking them away from that vital role, so let your marketing continue after the lead is generated.
To find out more about how SME Needs can help you with this, give us a call on 020 8634 5911 or click here to get in touch.