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Questions: How do you gain small businesses' trust?

Community Manager
# 1
Community Manager


We asked SMBs what their concerns or needs are in finding a great digital marketing partner agency. We received a wealth of responses and whittled them down to those that many voiced. The first concern, which we discussed here, was finding an agency that can offer affordable solutions. Next up was trust: Small businesses worried about whether the agency partners are not taking advantage of the businesses’ inexperience in the digital space by charging them more, or doing less than they should.


What do you do to allay new customers’ fears about their inexperience? What advice would you give to other partners to help them gain a small business’s trust?

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Questions: How do you gain small businesses' trust?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Reporting and communication go a long way toward building trust, it gives the client a sense of ownership and control over what is happening. That being said, it's a double edged sword; client's can get too demanding of your time and availability or have unrealistic expectations of reporting. Dealing with an emergency after hours can turn into random calls or emails in the middle of the night from a client if boundaries aren't set. And reporting seems to be a lot like airport security, it's more about it just being there than there being any usefulness to it. 90% of our clients never look at the reporting sheets we give them, and will ask us for those numbers instead in an email or during a meeting. They'll complain that some part of the reporting sheet is broken, but then never actually look at the numbers there. But every single one of them absolutely wants some kind of reporting from us.

Something that works for me personally is being direct and honest with clients. Not every client is receptive to that, you have to feel them out, but being honest and being able to take ownership of any mistakes you make goes a long way. It can be dangerous too, you don't want a client to think you're incompetent or always making excuses. But when you can demonstrate that you genuinely have the clients' best interests at heart, when you take ownership of a mistake they'll trust you more for it. I'd rather fall on my sword than lie to or mislead a client, but that's just my personal business ethics.

Re: Questions: How do you gain small businesses' trust?

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Great point of view @Spike M I would have gave you 3 stars if I could have.


Clients perception is the key! You can have the most successful campaigns that exist, if the client doesn't understand the wins it ends up being a client at risk, or as Spike mentions relationships help.


In the end it boils down to perception and clear expectations set.

What has worked the best for us is transparency, reports and meetings.


Another point that Spike had mentioned is that clients don't even look at the reporting available most times.  For instance, we deal strictly with car dealers and over the last 5 years we managed 500+ dealers here in Canada so we integrated our report dashboard to not only report CPA yet bring the cost to a pinned car (sale).


That allowed us to benchmark what type of budget the average car sold would cost all real time in their CMS dashboard. This helped, yet still needs frequent meetings to maintain the relationship. Even after these reporting efforts some clients wait with their list of questions when we meet.

I guess this will slowly get better....!   (-: