You’ve read the research that says people prefer to do business with people they know, like, and trust, right?
Yet whenever I hear that advice, I think, “that sounds nice,” but what does it really mean to know, like, and trust someone? And what does it take for that person to know, like, or trust your brand?
And, more important, how do you translate that understanding into your content?
Get audiences to know, like, and trust you through your #content, says @WriterRen. Click To Tweet
To get at the answers, I investigated what it really means to know, like, and trust. I’ll share what I found, along with examples of companies that get each of those elements right.
To know you, your prospect must ‘get’ you
This kind of knowing is not surface knowledge where people have seen your name, logo, brand, or content. In that kind of knowing, people recognize you and know you exist. You’re not a total unknown or stranger. They know about you or of you.
The kind of knowing you want – the kind that opens up greater possibilities for stronger relationships that can lead to sales – is deeper – the kind of knowing that follows when someone shares private details and understands what sits at your core or foundation.
Let’s look at how this plays out in an example shared in a Psychology Today article. The author uses actor Johnny Depp to ask: “What’s the difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone?”
As a fan, I know some facts about him. He:
- Is older than me (not by much)
- Has two kids
- Plays guitar
- Likes to work with Tim Burton
- Was magnificent as Captain Jack Sparrow
But can I say that I “know” him?
In order for you to “know” Johnny Depp, according to Psychology Today, Johnny himself would have to “actively share information with you, particularly intimate, private information. For instance, you may be able to find out online what Johnny Depp’s favorite movie is, but if he were to tell you himself, perhaps with personal insight into why it’s his favorite, or where he first saw it, that would give you reason to say you know him (at least a little).”
Businesses that get ‘knowing’ right
Example 1: Jonathan Fields
Author and entrepreneur Jonathan Fields is intimate and open with readers from the first sentence of his About page: “You can read what’s below, but truth is, that image above, that’s all you really need to know …”
As you read, you naturally look at the image. The colorful heart draws you in.
You wonder why it illustrates all you really need to know.
You head back to the text, and find that Jonathan took the picture while giving the final keynote presentation of the World Domination Summit in 2011. He shares how he felt and the importance of the photo.
“On that day, I was nervous. Though I’ve spoken in front of much bigger audiences since then, it was my first time standing before 500 people. Eyes and hearts staring back at me, yearning for something good. Something real. … As I walked up onto the stage, I brought a small picture that had been hastily drawn by my then 10-year-old daughter and tucked into my backpack before I left. A series of colored hearts to wish me luck and remind me how much I was loved. That’s all I needed. I knew that at any given moment, no matter what happened on that stage, I could look down and know everything was going to be okay.”
Jonathan reveals more than the standard “about” information – his background, his experience, his accolades, etc. He reveals himself – the man behind the entrepreneur and speaker.
After reading his page, you feel that you know him. You likely want to learn more about him and his business.
Let’s look at a corporate example next.
Example 2: Zendesk
Zendesk’s About page starts with two simple headings: “This is Zendesk” and “In the beginning,” followed by three short sentences that explain how the founders wanted to create software that was “nice to look at” and “easy to use.”
Scroll down, and the page tells what to expect from the company’s products – software that simplifies customer service and incorporates design elements people expect.
Scroll further, and learn what ignites the hearts of the people at Zendesk – making lives better for the people in their communities.
The next panels give a sense of its playfulness.
After viewing the About page, my overall impression is Zendesk is clear, simple, heartfelt, fun.
Do I feel as if I “know” Zendesk? I’m starting to “know” them and I’m also starting to “like” them enough to want to learn more.
TIP: While About pages are ideal places to give visitors a chance to know your brand, it’s not the only place where your content can help your audience know the real you.
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How to lead people to ‘know’ through your content
How can you instigate that kind of “knowing” to someone poking around on your website, reading your brochure, or scrolling through your Facebook page? As in the examples, your brand must be more personal so your prospects can know who you are as a company, your values, and your approach to work.
To trust you, prospects want to know who your company is & what it values. #Content can help. @WriterRen. Click To Tweet
Here are a few ways to reach that level of knowing.
- Let loose with a little color and personality. Share details of the time when an experience with a customer made you break into a big smile. Is there a running joke among your staff about those Philly pretzels you must have flown in every month? Tell your audience about it. Are you in business to make life easier for a group you care about? Share it. Does your CIO like to do headstands before lunch? Yep. Sharing a detail like that instigates knowing, too.
- Share your brand’s WHY with readers. Simon Sinek, author of Knowing Your Why, explains about your why in his popular, 18-minute TED Talk. Here’s the five-minute version that gets to the heart of the matter fast.
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To like you, your prospect must connect with you
What does it mean to like someone?
I’m not talking “like like” as in having a romantic crush. I’m talking “like” as in appreciating or respecting a friend, mentor, or colleague.
What do these friends, mentors, or colleagues do?
- They inspire you or make you see things in a new light.
- Their values and opinions match yours.
- You feel good around them.
- You like their sense of humor or style.
- You enjoy some of the same things, whether music, sports, hobbies, or mustaches.
Businesses that get ‘liking’ right
Two caveats before I get to the examples:
- “Liking” is subjective. What I like, you may not. If you find that the examples aren’t to your liking, think of companies or brands you really like. Then, ask yourself, “Why?”
- The world is filled with companies and brands. To find the few I share here, I turned away from the internet and asked myself, “What brands do I really like?” The brands that first came to mind made it to my roster of examples.
Example 1: Big Ass Fans
Here’s a tidbit about me: I hate the heat. Despise it. Heat makes me cranky. While it might not make sense that I lived in Florida for 20-plus years, it does make sense that I now live in the mountains of North Carolina.
I discovered Big Ass Fans while searching for a fan big enough to cool the gym where my husband and I worked out at the time. The workout room was at least 10 degrees too hot. When the owner (finally!) brought in a fan, I was happy – until I realized, rather quickly, that the fan wasn’t big or strong enough. I waited impatiently for the slight breeze as the fan pointed in my direction while rotating.
After suffering through too many overly hot workouts, I searched online, and came across Big Ass Fans.
I fell in love right away with the bold use of the word “ass” in the company’s name, playing right into the story in my head of “Renae the rebel.”
The other obvious reason for loving the brand is, of course, the product – the big ass fan, which I needed in my life to tackle my big-ass aversion to heat, both at the gym and at home.
Example 2: Velocity
Velocity is a B2B content marketing agency in London. I discovered the company when it promoted an e-book called the B2B Marketing Manifesto. That e-book broke the rules of e-book design, moving away from walls of text on a page to a few words on a page. It spoke in simple terms rather than jargon. It used large, bold images to get a point across.
Yes, Velocity uses a few cuss words, which speaks to my rebellious spirit. And that’s exactly why I like the brand. I feel a connection. I aspire to be like them. I like the things they think, say, and share.
How to lead people to ‘like’ through your content
Now, how to translate what you do into content that boosts your “like” factor? Consider these ideas:
- Create content that inspires people and makes them feel good – aspirational content.
- Recognize that even if you’re a B2B company, you’re selling to people – people who are consuming your content. Use second-person language. It’s far more personal and increases a sense of connection. (Do you get a sense that I’m talking to you? I hope so!)
- Provide real value in your content, not a sales spiel – create and distribute apps, checklists, best-practice guides, research results, and how-to’s.
- Show your personality and style. How about giving the reader a sense of the company culture? Is your ideal client a risk taker, or does she shy away from risk? Tap into the story in your audience member’s head.
Liking comes down to being open and honest, to being who you are, and to sharing common interests. Just be open about your insights and talents, and how you can use them to serve (not sell).
TIP: A common interest is the success of the people you serve. Don’t forget to tell that story.
To trust you, your prospect must feel safe
Although the trust element is easier to work into content, it’s harder to answer the question, “What does it mean to trust someone?” I like this definition from Tam Thao Pham posted on Quora:
“Trust is about the intersection of the past and future. It’s taking the evidence of the past (sometimes your own past and references) and extrapolating that into the future – what can I expect going forward? – and then being able to apply this information within a context of risk.
“To trust a human being is to be able to anticipate generally how (that person will) behave in most of the future situations in which you might encounter them, and to feel comfort in taking an (often emotional) risk based on that (anticipated behavior).”
Businesses that get ‘trusting’ right
Example 1: Amazon
When I think about companies I trust, I think of companies that won’t let me down. Amazon quickly comes to mind.
In all the years I’ve shopped with Amazon, across hundreds and hundreds of transactions, my trust has been shaken only once – and it was so long ago that I can’t even recall the details.
I shop at Amazon because I trust my order will be delivered on time. I trust Amazon will make things right if something goes wrong. I trust I’ll be able to speak to a representative quickly.
The footer on Amazon’s website tells that story. Just look at that last column. It says to me, “Renae, we’re here for you.”
Content in @Amazon’s site footer tells me, “we’re here for you,” & that makes me trust, says @WriterRen. Click To Tweet
Example 2: Tervis Tumblers
Tervis is another company that’s earned my trust because I know I can count on the company to replace a broken tumbler for as long as I live (or they exist). A lifetime guarantee goes far to instill a sense of trust, but that trust is solidified after you test the company on its promise a few times.
It also helps that the return process sounds (and is) easy.
I’ve tested my trust by sending back broken tumblers and Tervis has responded in kind by sending replacement tumblers without hassle.
Example 3: Carbonite
Carbonite is an online backup solution for your computers. If you’re unfamiliar with Carbonite, then your first visit to the website may inspire trust. The site looks professional and promises to do exactly what customers want: keep the data on your computers safe.
A quick tour around the site lets me know that Carbonite has won awards and that many businesses are using the service and are pleased with it.
Carbonite won my trust with its website. And that trust solidified after I put the service to the test following a few crashes. I had trouble restoring my data, but was quickly set straight by a helpful phone representative who walked me through the process step by step.
How to lead people to ‘trust’ through your content
Now, how do you instill trust on your website and in your content?
How do you give prospects a sense of trust if they haven’t done business with you? How can you build enough trust so prospects feel good about saying yes?
Here are a few ideas.
- Provide social proof. Share testimonials from people who have consumed your products or services.
- Share stories of how you successfully helped others achieve results.
- Be transparent. Let people see who and what you are — and who and what you’re not.
- Offer a money-back guarantee. This tactic doesn’t work for every business, but a guarantee goes a long way toward building trust.
- Be accessible. Place your contact details on every page of your site in a sidebar or a footer. From the prospect’s perspective, it’s nice to be on someone’s site and see you can reach them easily.
Know, like, and trust are the real things that affect how people perceive your brand. And now, with a better understanding of what that means – and what it can look like – you can begin to weave each element into your content to lead more people to know, like, and trust you.
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