Establishing Trust

“Elise” consults for nonprofit groups, and she’s great at her job. Most of her business has come from word of mouth. But Elise knew that if she could channelize her efforts, she could reach thousands – if not millions – of potential clients. So she began marketing her services with a website, e-mails, and postcards.

Her promotional copy was filled with bold claims about how much she could do for her clients – and it bombed.

Why? According to Judy Murdoch, a consultant with the National Business Association, Elise’s failure was likely the result of neglecting to establish trust with her target audience.

Because most of Elise’s clients have come from referrals, she never had to worry about trust. It was built into the referrals. But it’s different when you’re marketing through written advertising channels. “The less personal the communication, the more important it becomes to first establish trust with your prospects,” says Murdoch.

Here are two ways to do it:

* Make bold claims – but back them up with proof. If, for example, Elise had mentioned in her copy that she regularly doubles or triples the donations her clients bring in, prospects would have reason to believe her claims about what she could do for them.

* Provide testimonials from satisfied clients. Testimonials are the written equivalent of the word-of-mouth referrals responsible for building Elise’s business in the first place. By including them in her promotional copy, she elevates her credibility.

[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is a successful small-business entrepreneur who has started over 12 profitable enterprises. For more information on his Cheapskate Entrepreneurs instructional CD program, click here.]

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