Building Your Business with a Cornerstone of Trust

In turbulent times, consumer trust is paramount. And it is easier to lose customers than it is to get them. Today’s unstable economy, fluctuating interest rates and ongoing pandemic are creating precarious conditions for consumers.  

For businesses, this kind of instability underlines the importance of consumer trust. Right now, we see that consumers are prioritizing good-value pricing and strengthening the relationships they already have with their favorite, long-established brands. 

According to Morning Consult, these are the top 10 most trusted brands for 2022 

  • Band-aid 
  • Lysol 
  • Clorox 
  • UPS 
  • CVS 
  • Visa 
  • Cheerios 
  • The Weather Channel 
  • Colgate 
  • The Home Depot 

Do you see a pattern here? Cleanliness, sanitary, health, a move back to basics. This is what consumers identify as things they trust. This is what people are looking for. How can you use this trend to promote trust in your organization? 

Water Quality Fits Right In 

The entire water quality industry is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this trend. At its’ most basic, our marketing promotes safety, cleanliness and good health.  

Based on all the WQA Consumer Opinion studies, we know that almost 40% of Americans do not trust the quality of tap water. Half of American households report that they rely on either a water treatment system or bottled water for quality drinking water in their homes. 

This is a great opportunity to sell a water treatment system and position your dealership as a provider of safer water and a better lifestyle. This is the time to work on developing an air of trust in your dealership. 

Using Content Marketing to Develop Trust 

So, what exactly is content? What isn’t content? Before answering how content marketing drives trust and therefore, sales, let’s define the term content. 

Content can be defined as any kind of writing, image, video, digital or print production that is shared on a public platform. These platforms may include blogs, email newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, case studies, white papers, video, press releases, articles, direct mail – even online ads. 

Always remember that content is king. You want to tell your story so that your prospects feel like they get to know your business. It is about building relationships. The over-arching strategy is if they trust you, they will buy from you. 

Does Content Marketing Increase Sales? 

First, content marketing does not stand alone in a marketing strategy. It’s part of a well-thought-out marketing plan that includes every marketing initiative your company does. 

Many companies start by creating a calendar and work their content throughout the year. If you are a WQA member, you have access to WQA’s social media toolkit. This toolkit gives you some great starting off ideas for social media posts. 

The goal of your content is to put the interests of the consumer first. It is about them, not about you. That is what makes them interested in what you have to say. You want your content to be engaging, educational or entertaining. 

Example: You are selling RO systems. Your social media post might focus on a mother who is offering pure, clean water from the household RO to her son’s baseball team after a game. That is way more engaging than a post about the details of your system. Remember, people are buying the benefits of your RO – not the RO’s features.  

Content is not just about social media posts. Your content can be a tool for many other marketing channels. And it needs to be seamless. The same concept is integrated into all the marketing avenues you use. 

For example: 

  • Social media marketing requires quality content to post to fans and followers. 
  • Search engine optimization, or SEO, uses keywords that are integrated into your content. 
  • Inbound marketing uses content to attract traffic and leads. 
  • Pay-per-click, or PPC, campaigns require great content to be effective 
  • Direct mail needs terrific content and companion photos to drive response 

Every major brand uses content marketing in some fashion to attract leads and convert these leads into paying customers. To effectively accomplish this, everything you produce must be focused on what your target audience wants or needs and why they trust your company over the competition. 

Why Should They Trust Your Company? 

Your dealership needs to be a thought leader in the community, providing information to the public that goes beyond your own walls. The pandemic gave many businesses the opportunity to do this. Especially those in the water quality industry. 

Remember, your marketing does not only focus on the products you sell. Your dealership needs to inspire members of your community. When you provide the right inspiration, people act on it. 

In terms of the content-oriented topics that resonate with consumers, there are some suggestions to consider: 

  • Consumer experience 
  • Testimonials / reviews 
  • Facility tours 
  • New equipment  
  • Certification 
  • Access to new insights 
  • Research (think WQRF) 
  • Local boil water alerts 
  • Participation in the community 
  • Service people that are on time, identifiable 
  • Eco-friendly 

Your job is to weave your content around those topics. For example, a local boil water alert is not just about the notice. It is about how your dealership stepped in and handed out water at the local public school so children in your community were insured of drinking quality water. That is how your dealership develops a good reputation. Your neighbors trust you because you stepped up. 

Here is another example. Some homeowners are not comfortable when a stranger comes to their door to do work. But your people are wearing easily identifiable uniforms. You texted a photo, arrival time and the cell phone number of your installer to the homeowners on the appointment day. You made the installation easier for your customer. This inspires trust. (And a great review!) 

Consumers Trust Traditional Advertising 

The Harvard Business Review recently published an article titled “Why Marketers are Returning to Traditional Advertising.” One of the most important reasons has to do with consumer trust in traditional advertising. They quoted a Marketing Sherpa survey that found that the top five most trusted advertising forms are all traditional. 

Consumers trust print advertising (82%), television advertising (80%), direct mail advertising (76%), and radio advertising (71%) in terms of making purchasing decisions. 

Consumer-facing companies are leading the shift to traditional advertising. According to the article, B2C service companies are predicting the largest increase in traditional advertising spending (+10.2%). Direct mail is a highly responsive channel for many water quality dealers. 

Make it easy for people to find the information they need: 

  • Your goal is to make it easy for people to get the information they need. Your website is crucial and needs to be responsive both on desktop and mobile. Every piece of marketing material needs to be part of your dealership’s overall strategy. 
  • Be sure to include easy-to-find contact information 
  • Provide links to your website or blog on social media posts 
  • Include a phone number and QR code on every physical piece of marketing material – direct mail, contracts, signs on company vehicles 
  • Provide directions and maps. 
  • Let people contact you the way they want – phone, chat, email, self-service. 
About the Author

Dale "DataDale" Filhaber

Dale “DataDale” Filhaber is president of Dataman Group Direct, a Florida-based direct marketing company founded in 1981. Filhaber is an author, lecturer and Listologist. In the past 30-plus years, she has trained many water quality dealers in direct marketing and lead generation techniques, including direct mail, digital marketing and social media.

Filhaber can be reached at [email protected] or 800.771.3282.

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