Today I’m writing about building strong connections with your prospects.

Good marketing is fuelled by three tasks: identify your audience, work out where to make contact with them, and use different methods to build connections with them.

It’s a hackneyed phrase, but in order to sell to customers, they need to ‘know, like and trust’ you. Making connections with people is key to this. Connections turn into sales. These sales might not happen immediately but, when people need what you sell, they’ll remember you and come back to buy. Provided you have built a good connection and built a ‘know, like, trust’ relationship.

Now that we have social media as a marketing option, (blessing and curse) building this trust-based relationship with your prospects can happen really quickly and far more easily than in the (good?) old days.

The time it takes to create a series of Facebook posts showcasing your business is microscopic compared  with the Sisyphean responsibility of getting a physical mailshot conceptualised, designed, proofed, printed, into envelopes, addressed, franked and despatched. Trust me, I’ve turned my hand to each of those mini-tasks MANY times.

One excellent way to make connections is to do what I think of as ‘turning yourself inside out’. A bit like that ‘Here’s the church and here’s the steeple’ game that we used do with our hands as kids. (Or was that only my granny?) You use marketing activities to act out the ‘look inside, and here’s all the people’ part.

I realise I sound like I’m on an acid trip right now – stay with me.

The more you can show what’s going on inside your business, the more you will build trust with your clients. Some companies do this brilliantly. Boden is a great example. On their website you will find content showcasing the Boden lifestyle – inside and outside the business. There is a timeline of the company history (trust factor: they’ve been going a long time in a cut-throat market), a statement of their ethical focus (trust factor: they aren’t making their clothes cheaply at the expense of local people in the third world countries), and a busy blog, featuring staff members and how they do their job (trust factor: they have a happy, engaged group of staff).

The problem is that without a lot of time, or a team of hot and cold running marketing executives (such as Boden have), it’s not always easy for smaller companies to do this. And, if you are running a service-based business, it’s particularly hard because there’s no actual product to show.

I’ve got a few ideas – in the form of a checklist – that you could try, if you are struggling to think of content that you could use to ‘turn yourself inside out’ (sounds disgusting doesn’t it!?)

The Marketing Architect ‘Showing The Inside’ Checklist

  • Video footage of you doing your thing.
  • Photographs of you delivering your service or working with clients.
  • A downloadable checklist of a process you use in your business.
  • Video recordings of past clients talking about their experience of working with you.
  • Photographs or screengrabs of your documents.
  • Written testimonials.
  • Pictures of your team at work, your premises, the company pet.
  • Before and after shots.
  • Facebook lives at events or in your workplace.
  • Pictures of handwritten thank you notes from your clients (ask their permission first).
  • Photographs of your working area – ‘deskies’ these are called.
  • Videos or animated clips talking through your process and the benefits.
  • Recommendations of products that you use in your business.
  • A suggested reading list in your field.
  • Events that you are attending or hosting.
  • Pictures or links to venues you use.

To be honest, this list could go on and on and on, but you get the idea. This is definitely something to get your teeth into. I’d love to hear your ideas on this too. Let me know how you’ve done this in the comments.