How to Win Customers, Apple-style

Last Updated Apr 20, 2010 7:50 AM EDT

According to reports, 400,000 iPads were sold in the first week of its launch. That's pretty impressive isn't it? It's probably a great product.

How do I know? I don't, but I do trust Apple to deliver a great product, and so do thousands of other people -â€" that's why they've bought one, even though they don't know very much about it.

Trust Apple to get it right again. And, that's my point. It's about trust -- entrepreneur Mark Chapman reckons it's why his business is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Trust is one of those things that seem intangible, but without doubt you can make it real. In fact, the best businesses work hard to build, develop and reinforce trust builders.

Here are seven factors that Apple uses to build trust:

  • Deliver â€"- and deliver consistently. Apple has built a reputation and a track record of delivering quality, cutting-edge products over the years. We trust that this one will be the same.
  • Build on what you've got. The iPad is a new product, but it clearly has the feel of the iPhone and the iPod â€"- things we trust because we know about their design and build quality.
  • Educate. Apple has drip-fed the news about the iPad. We knew lots about it before it arrived (but not everything â€"- it held some things back).
  • Engage with trusted people. Signposters and influencers who are trusted by others spread the word. We followed Stephen Fry's excitement at the launchas he gave us his take in his own inimitable way. This is not the same as paid for endorsements, adverts and product placements.
  • Create a following. Marketing guru Seth Godin calls them tribes -- like-minded people who share your beliefs and values and feel part of your community. Apple has an incredibly strong tribe that it has worked hard to embrace and engage with over the years.
  • Just do it. I'm sure that there are lots of things the iPad doesn't do that we want it to, and knowing Apple, it'll deliver that in future versions (having engaged with and listened to its community and customers). It has concentrated on getting the product out there when it said it would (in the US, at least) -â€" it's sure to do more tweaks and amends in the future.
  • Create something worth talking about. It's clear that's what Apple has done, because I'm talking about the iPad now.
It's not about Apple doing this, so you should copy it though. Your challenge is to work out what could work for you.

Who and what are your trust builders? What are you doing to make them work for you?

(Pic: Grant Robertson cc2.0)