inbound marketing trustThe world of professional services is relationship based.  It always has been and it always will be.  Clients work with firms that they know well and that they trust, and this is precisely why cold calling has such a low percentage success rate.

The challenge with this notion is that you are limited to your network.  Firms that rely on referral leads can only grow so quickly because one can only develop so many personal relationships.  Fortunately, because of the Internet, there is another way to meet new prospects and build trust.

Creating Trust Through Content

The purpose of continually publishing educational content to your website is to start a conversation.  Blog posts, articles, white papers, and other rich media covering your area of expertise will begin to engage website visitors well before they are ready to purchase services.

Instead of spending your time on the phone talking to people, you are allowing visitors to get to know you and learn from your experience.  Google data shows us that people are looking to educate themselves before selecting a service provider.  Shouldn’t you be the one educating these early stage prospects?  Sharing your knowledge and helping your web visitors navigate a space they are likely not familiar with is an easy way to gain trust quickly.

Owning Your Space and Becoming a Thought Leader

The firms that gain a loyal following online are the ones that specialize in a niche area.  For example, the architecture firm Modative specializes in small lot sub divisions in Los Angeles.  They’ve written tons of great content on this topic including guides and ebooks.  They also show up at the top of Google results for the exact phrase, ‘small lot subdivision.’  This firm has found its niche and owned it as a thought leader online.  As a result, 90% of its business comes through its website.

What services or industries does your firm specialize in? How can you position the company as a leader in those areas? The more content you publish on your niche, the most visitors you will connect with over time.

Being Ready When They Are Ready

Delivering targeted content to your prospects is a proven method for moving leads from one stage to the next.  Many website visitors will not be ready to contact your firm and set up a business call for some time.  In fact, many will continue consuming your content and never contact you at all.  However, a percentage of your readers will eventually need the services that you offer.  And when they are ready, you need to be ready as well.

Ensure that you have language on your website that caters to these later stage leads.  Examples of effective offers include:

  • Ready to Get Started? Request a Proposal>>
  • Request a Free Consultation Today>>
  • Want to Speak to a Sales Rep? Call 555-555-5555

Make these calls to action visible without forcing them into the forefront of visitors’ attention. People that have been reading your materials and learning to trust your brand will begin contacting you for business.  It’s the job of your business development team to then reach out and solidify a relationship that is already in the works.

Leveraging New Marketing Without Forgetting the Old

There are no true substitutes for a handshake or old friendships. Really getting to know someone and gaining trust in the traditional sense is not about to go out of style.  For growing firms however, that method of trust building will only take you so far.

Just like a friendship, content marketing and online nurturing take time.  In some instances, a prospect may follow you online and consume your firm’s content for a year before ever contacting you.  But when they finally do so, there’s a good chance they will be highly qualified and looking at your firm as their top choice before you ever get on the first call.

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