Understanding the Importance of KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST to Winning Customers

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Hand of a businessman with a big magnet — Vector

All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business, to those people they know, like and trust.

I didn't say that. Bob Burg did, in his book, "The Go-Giver."

But I agree with him.

Think about the last time someone bought something from you.

They patronize you because:

  • they know you, maybe not that much, but they know something about you that could help them make a decision. They know what your brand stands for and the value you provide.
  • they like you. Maybe they like how your content is always relatable and helpful, the minor improvements you keep making on your products, how you always use every chance to infuse humor in your message, etc. Something about you endears you to them, and that causes them to think positively about you.
  • they trust you. They trust that your brand will deliver on its promise to the customers and that they will enjoy a good customer experience.

Although it's not every time we buy from people we know, like, and trust, most times we do, especially when making a major purchase. 

For instance, you don't really need to know, like, and trust a hat seller you saw at the beach on a sunny day to buy from them. You'd buy it because you need the hat to protect you from the sun. But wouldn't you want to know, like, and trust anyone who wants to sell a house to you?

You'll agree that businesses won't make major sales or build strong brand loyalty if people don't know, like, or trust them. No one wants to lose, especially when money is involved.

What Is the Know, Like, and Trust Factor?

The Know, Like, and Trust factor is marketing speak that says people are likely to do business with people they have a relationship with. 

It is not a relationship like a "romantic relationship" but one where they are familiar with you, connect with you, and are convinced of the authenticity of whatever you do.

You've probably heard of the KLT factor more than a thousand times, but why is it important? Can businesses survive without the KLT factor?

Actually, in a world where the competition in any industry gets thicker by the day, you need to leverage the KLT factor to close better deals.

Your business will struggle if you don't translate the KLT factor into all you do. That ability to get the consumers to know, like, and trust you is your competitive advantage anytime, any day.

Besides, the KLT factor helps you:

  • build a high customer lifetime value (CLV): CLV is the total worth of a customer to your business throughout your relationship with them. The higher the CLV, the higher your profits as a business. But to build a high CLV, you need to retain your customers, including the ones you have always had and those you just acquired. And you can't do that without leveraging the KLT factor.
Customer lifetime value or CLV is a measure of the average customer revenue generated over their entire relationship with a company
  • build a loyal community: As a business owner, your ability to crusade people around what you do can be the game changer for you in your industry. The power of a community can't be overemphasized, as more people can drive greater results than just you alone. But no one will want to be your lifetime fan if they don't know, like, and trust you.
  • win in zero moments of truth marketing: Zero moments of truth are the online decision-making moments before consumers make purchases. ZMOT marketing requires you to preempt your customers' needs, provide information in the moments that matter most, and get in front of potential customers before they even have a chance to search for you on the internet. But the underlying truth is that ZMOT marketing thrives on the KLT factor. You have to infuse the KLT factor into your marketing tactics, or you won't win in those zero moments.
Zero Moment of Truth describes the change in the consumer's buying decision from digital media

So, how can you leverage the KLT factor in your content marketing strategy? To fully explain this, I'll examine the know, the like, and the trust as separate but interdependent entities.


Knowing is the first step in the KLT factor. At this stage, you are an unknown trying to make yourself known. 

You are putting out compelling information about your brand so many people can know you. 

You share stories of what you do and the market segment you want to serve. You are thorough enough to leave no room for assumptions on the part of your audience.

All of these show that the person behind the brand is relatable and has a lot of things in common with the audience.

Your audience doesn't want to know about you; they want to know you. 

Knowing about someone is knowing general information about them, like their name, where they live, what they do, etc.

Knowing them is knowing why they do the things they do, why they are the way they are, what drives them, etc. Basically, it is knowing all those things physical appearances can't tell you. 

The same goes for your business. Your audience wants to know your why, values, work attitude, etc., and your About page can't capture all of this. You need to infuse them into your content. How can you do this?

Tip 1: Share your WHY

According to Simon Sinek, the author of Find Your Why and Start With Why, the Why is the most important message an organization can communicate to inspire action. 

Why do you leave your bed and show up daily at your business? 

Of course, the first why would probably be to make money, which is understandable. 

But if you build a business solely on the need to make money, you are going nowhere. You'll fall for anything because all you want is money.

What's helpful is having a why that's more impactful than making money, and you can be sure that you won't only make money, but you'll also impact lives in the process. 

Find your why as a business owner and share it with your audience. By doing that, you are making them more familiar with who you are.

Tip 2: Be human

Being human doesn't mean turning your life stories into your business content. It means allowing your personality to shine through in whatever you do. 

Your personality adds color to your content and helps you stand out because no other person can be YOU. 

It also helps people recognize your message quickly because it has that stamp of your personality, which is more attention-grabbing than trying to be like every other person. 

Share details of a funny experience you and your team had, how you went above and beyond to satisfy a customer, or some of the traditions you practice to get your team in good shape. 

Or even recount how you've been through what your audience is currently struggling with and survived. 

Show your face.  Get your team behind the camera too. Letting people see your real faces makes your brand more approachable.

Tip 3: Be a thought leader

Michael Brenner, the Founder of Marketing Insider Group, says, “Thought leadership means you provide the best and deepest answers to your customers’ biggest questions in the formats your audience likes to consume them.”

One of the greatest ways to build brand awareness is to get people to give them things for free. This doesn't necessarily mean you should give out your products.

Give them helpful advice for free. As Brenner says, provide answers to their deepest questions in the way they love to consume them. 

If your audience loves videos, give them videos.

If they are on Instagram, answer their questions there. 

If you do this consistently, your audience will naturally like you, and you'll win their trust in no time. 


Knowing you doesn't necessarily mean that people automatically like you. Some people may like you immediately, while others need more time.

To make people like you:

Tip 1: Create high-quality content

As mentioned earlier, this relates to infusing thought leadership into your content marketing. 

The right type of content will naturally make your audience like you because it provides them with enough value. 

Also, ensure your content is aspirational, making your audience feel good. People will keep coming back to whatever makes them feel good.

Tip 2: Respond to your audience

When you create quality content consistently, your audience will engage you. 

They will express their opinions, ask questions, comment on your posts, or disagree with you.

You need to respond to all of these. Your audience wants to know that it's a human they are interacting with at the other end. 

Engaging your audience helps to deepen the bond between them and your business.

If you need help keeping up with the engagement, hire a social media manager or assistant.

Tip 3: Find common grounds and talk about them

In the Trust stage, you need to bond with your audience naturally; to do this, you need to find common interests.

To find common interests, you need to know your audience well enough. 

For example, a common interest between a content marketing agency and business owners would be how to get more eyes on their content so that they can get more sales and expand their businesses.

Talking about common interests makes you more relatable and, by extension, more likable.

Tip 4: Be selectively vulnerable

I know many people cringe when they hear the word "vulnerability." No one wants to expose their weaknesses to another person for fear of being judged, mocked, or hurt.

But Dr Bene Brown, a researcher and professor at the University of Houston, sheds more light on vulnerability. 

While vulnerability is emotional exposure, it fosters empathy, love, joy, belonging, trust, etc.

Most of these qualities are needed to have meaningful experiences and relationships with your customers, which is why you have to be vulnerable. 

Selectively vulnerable. 

Your customers aren't your family, mentors, or friends who want to hear every dirty thing about you, so you must choose the experiences you share with them carefully. Only share what benefits your business in the long run. 

People are more comfortable with people who share their weaknesses and how they are growing to overcome them. 

For example, you can talk about a mistake you once made in your business, how you bounced back, and the lessons you learned. 

After all, no one or nothing is truly picture-perfect as they seem.


How do you make people feel their money is safe with you without having done business with you before? 

Trust is one of the most important components of any relationship. If there's no trust, there will likely be no interaction. 

Here's how you can evoke trust in your customers.

Business handshake and business people. Business concept

Tip 1: Be consistent

Consistency is one of the core values that determine the success or failure of a business, whether in your brand experience, communication, product quality, or customer service.

You give the consumer no reason to trust you if you aren't consistent. No one wants to relate with an unstable person, especially when their money's on the table. 

If there's anything that'll make you inconsistent, you should deal with it properly before you start a business. 

Sometimes personal issues force you to take a break but ensure you've built a system that can continue working in your absence. 

Show up as often as necessary to establish your brand as the go-to in your industry. 

And don't only show up; show up to make a lasting impression every time.

Tip 2: Show social proof

Social proof is a vote of confidence from people who have used your products or services and are happy with the results.

It can be reviews, testimonials, ratings, video comments, feedback, etc. Social proof is user-generated, that is, provided by the users, not the brand owner.

Showcase your social proof everywhere. Share stories of how your products have changed lives and helped businesses achieve more. 

If you are starting your business, you can have some people use your products or services for free and ask for feedback.

It's not advisable to doctor social proof. Always maintain integrity in whatever you do.

Tip 3: Offer guarantees

Guarantees go a long way in building trust between a business and its audience. 

The most common type is a money-back guarantee. 

But if your product or service meets the customer's expectations, there will be no need for guarantees.

Tip 4: Provide an excellent customer experience

After buying your products, follow up with the consumer to hear about their experience. 

How helpful was the product? Do they have any comments? Do they need help with anything? 

Acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones, so you want to ensure that people who have come to know, like, and trust you keep buying from you. 

As such, your relationship with your customers continues even after they swipe their cards on your website.

Find out how you can keep adding value to them; they will not only become your brand loyalists but also refer other people to you. Having an email list will help you in this regard. 

In fact, you can offer incentives for referrals.


The KLT factor determines how your audience perceives your business and how profitable it will be in the long run.

Now that you better understand the elements and how they depend on one another, you can be more strategic with weaving each - Know, Like, and Trust-  into your content marketing plan and command more attention and resources from your target audience.


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