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The “Seven Touch” principle says that you need to connect with a prospective customer seven times. Only then will they begin to recognize, remember, and trust you enough to commit to taking a next step such as a purchase. This principle is more of a guideline than a scientific certainty. However, the reality remains that it takes a lot to build up trust with customers.
Think of some of the most well-known brands in the world. How many times have you heard the name “Starbucks” or “Coca Cola” or “Nike”? How many times have you seen that green siren logo, or that flowing red-and-white packaging, or that iconic swoosh mark? It takes repetition and visibility to build a memorable, trusted brand.
But it also takes reliability, quality, environment, and experience. All of these brands are known for delivering on a promise. You trust Starbucks to get your order right and deliver a handmade drink quickly in a pleasant environment. Coke products are classic, refreshing, indulgent (or essential, depending on your lifestyle). They’re also ever so slightly aspirational. Nike is active, driven, and accessibly aspirational.
In the digital age, social media and a curated online presence are helping brands build visibility and trust more quickly and with less investment than ever before. However, it does take some concerted effort. Here are five ways to establish your authority and credibility online.
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You need to stand out as the best in something. In a crowded marketplace, you generally niche down to achieve this. So, for instance, if you’re a hotel, you may or may not have the ability to become the best hotel in the world, or even the best in your city. But you could become the best for business travelers in your neighborhood. Or you could become known for romantic getaways with a view, or for quick access to the airport. Identify what’s unique about your business. Then double down on communicating that value to customers clearly.
Remember that customers need to interact with your brand many times to recognize and begin to trust it. Therefore, be consistent in your messaging around identity, purpose, and value as well as your offerings. Communicate your brand identity through graphic styles, color choices, and use of a branded mark or logo. In other words, ensure that your brand has an identifiable voice. On social media and content platforms like blogs, post regularly and reliably on a set schedule as appropriate to the medium.
Be where your customers are. To do that, invest in locations that your target customers frequent. Additionally, establish at least a minimal presence on other platforms that points back to more active channels. You might invest more heavily in a Facebook page, for instance. But you might also register business accounts on Instagram and Pinterest with links back to Facebook, if they’re not as active with your customer base.
This ties back into the value of being memorable. Remember that you’re working on establishing trust. Therefore, you want people to see you as the go-to source for reliable information, content, answers, goods, services, products, and so on in your niche. Again, narrow your focus to a more specific field so you can own the top spot.
For example, Oncotarget has established itself as the go-to source of peer-reviewed, scientific oncology research online. Their online journal contains more diverse medical and scientific research content. However, their clear positioning as the educated public’s go-to resource for oncology research is a wise choice of niche.
People interact with brands in fundamentally self-serving ways. That is, they’re only interested in you for what you can do for them. However, you can use this reality to your advantage.
Use your online platforms, including your website and social media channels, to demonstrate that you have something to offer, something your customers need or desire. And, again, target that in a specific niche to become the only source, or the best source, of whatever that is. Share resources and information, create an experience, or offer a bonus or incentive. Make it worth their while to interact with you.
Customers are aware that anyone can launch a website, throw up a few posts on social media, and pose as a credible business online. Establish authority and credibility with consistency, including a uniform brand voice and messaging. Additionally, provide regular posts to build up visibility and longevity.
These steps will make your business appear more established more quickly. Lean into a specific niche where you can demonstrate supremacy and clearly offer the most value to potential customers. Deliver content and an experience that meets the needs of people who fit your customer profile. In this way, you will build trust and visibility. Further, you will cultivate their connection and investment in your brand.
You can quickly become a trusted, go-to brand by using this strategy.