Six ways to earn the trust of B2B audiences through content marketing

As a B2B brand, you face the difficult task of asking anxious B2B customers to spend big and put their reputation on the line amid a climate of fake news and mistrust of politics, big business and advertising.

Do not despair. I strongly believe that if you infuse your content marketing with respect and empathy for your customers, you can overcome these hurdles, earn their trust and develop long-standing partnerships.

Relationships based on trust equate to better retention rates, more efficient decision making, higher conversion, happier employees and more satisfied clients. Trusting relationships also facilitate greater scope for creativity and make it easier to bounce back and learn from mistakes.

Below I set out six practical tips to build trust with your B2B audience through content marketing.

How can content marketing help you earn the trust of your B2B audience?

Within the climate of scepticism, with 42% of buyers not knowing which brands to trust, there’s a huge opportunity for content marketing. A 2018 CSO insights study suggested that B2B buyers have a strong preference for self-education in the early stages of the buying process and over 70% of B2B buyers prefer to have a clear understanding of their needs before they talk with a sales rep. This is where you should focus your content marketing efforts.

To rebuild trust and restore faith in the system, institutions must step outside of their traditional roles and work toward a new, more integrated operating model that puts people— and the addressing of their fears—at the centre of everything they do.

Edelman Trust Barometer

 1. Listen first

My biggest piece of advice for building trust through content would be to listen first, observe customer behaviours and really try to understand your audience’s needs and goals in relation to your product or service. Then, once you’ve listened, tailor your advice, expertise and insights directly to those observations.

A study in the Harvard Business Review found that listening to buyers and taking a proactive approach can increase purchase ease by 86%.

There are several ways to listen to your audience, each one has its own merits:

Firstly, analyse how your current customers interact with the content on your site:

Secondly, wherever possible, ask your customers directly:

Recently, customer interviews for our largest B2B client found that visitors to these pages simply found it hard to understand the processes the business was offering. Fixing this was as straightforward as adding step-by-step process breakdowns to the pages for maximum clarity.

Finally, ask your sales and customer services teams:

The key is to ask your audience about their problems rather than drown them out with your solutions. To earn trust, you should use your content marketing to teach audiences something they didn’t already know without any ulterior motive.

Our recent guide on newsworthy data gathering is a good example of this principle in action:

2. Make it personal

You’re most likely trying to build a long-term relationship with your customers. Just like any serious relationship, the personal touches count. By tailoring the content you serve to specific audience groups and individuals, you’re more likely to satisfy their needs and in turn, build their trust.

Here are a few ideas to help you add the personal touch:

We tend to mark our technical resources with a corresponding level such as this Beginners’ Guide to Google Analytics or our more advanced Ultimate Guide to Log File Analysis.

3. Be transparent

The easier you make it for potential clients to get to know you, the easier they’ll find it to trust you.  Transparency can be difficult to achieve, but here are my top tips to tackle the issue with content:

If you’re not sure how to display pricing, here’s a really interesting study by Benjamin Brandall who analysed the pricing pages of the 250 most successful SaaS products in the world.

Saas product pages analysis


4. Be consistent

B2B sales cycles are often long and complex so earning and maintaining trust requires consistency and commitment. There are several things you can address immediately in order to improve consistency and, in turn, earn your audience’s trust:

5. Demonstrate proof of your competence

Customers just want to be able to trust that your company can solve their problems and it is your job to demonstrate that it absolutely can. Content marketing in all its forms is the perfect tool to hammer that message home. Here’s how you can do it:

6. Be authentic

Outside of the B2B world, we recognise the need to be more vulnerable in order to forge deeper and more productive relationships. You can apply this theory to the way you communicate with customers in order to earn their trust. Here are some things to try:

KFC apologyBuiltvisible on international womens day 2019

I hope you found these tips useful and if you’re interested in exploring the topic further, come and listen to me discuss the issue of trust in B2B content marketing on the CMA Panel at The B2B Marketing Expo on Thursday 28th March. You can see the full panel listing and get your tickets on the B2B Marketing Expo site here.

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