building trust online keeping in touchI came across an article on a topic of a past discussion with a client. I emailed the client a simple note saying the article reminded me of our conversation and thought he’d find it useful. Another client wrote an insightful blog post, so I linked to it from my social media accounts and mentioned the client by name.

When I went to visit a client’s blog, the website was down. I reloaded the site a few times to verify it wasn’t a hiccup. It wasn’t. So I let her know about the problem. Sometimes no one in the company knows about the downtime. These actions take only a few minutes of my time, yet they go a long way in helping clients and prospects while getting top of mind.

Staying in touch in a predictable and personal way goes a long way towards building trust. Yes, marketing automation makes it easier to do that. It’s worth looking into. However, most of the systems that meet small business price points haven’t evolved enough to deliver a truly personalized experience.

Tools and tasks to help you stay in touch

As you see from these examples, it’s easy to do it yourself. Here are things you can do to build trust online and the tools to help.

Activities

  • Share relevant articles, tweets and blog posts.
  • Forward your company’s news, email newsletter and webinar invitations.
  • Email contacts suggesting a get-together when you travel to their cities.
  • Send an old-fashioned “I was thinking of you and wanted to check to see how things are going” message.
  • Provide reports from an objective third party, like those from research and analyst firms.
  • Follow up with contacts to ask how something went, whether it’s a personal family celebration or speaking at a conference.

Tools

  • Use a feed reader or content curation tool to get articles from blogs and websites covering relevant topics.
  • Create alerts based on topics and industry keywords to monitor the web for related content.
  • Use a simple CRM tool like LinkedIn contacts or Contactually to stay in touch.
  • Set up private Twitter lists or Google Plus circles to listen and join conversations with the right people. (Keep the list manageable to ensure you have regular conversations.)

You’re not limited to emails. You can share relevant articles and blog posts in social media. In Twitter, for example, you can mention the client or prospect’s name in the tweet saying it may be of interest. If others catch the tweet, you’re expanding your reach. If a client writes an article, gets mentioned or shares good news, you can post it in social media and mention the client in the same message.

What about sharing sales collateral and educational materials? Of course you want to send those too. But people will trust you more if they can see that you are trying to help them solve their problem – not just pushing product.

The content you send should have information that clients and prospects need. Focus on the buyer’s need. Better yet, add a personal note explaining why you’re sharing the material.

It typically takes a minimum of seven touches to make a sale. And staying in touch using these online activities will boost the level of trust and get you a step closer to the sale.

What other activities and tools do you recommend for staying in touch?

Building Trust Online Series

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