Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche

Nicole Brady Image

Nicole Brady Image

For over a decade our team at TopRank Marketing has fostered a strong community of leading influencers, developing close relationships with subject matter experts in a wide variety of industries.

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, it’s natural to wonder just what an industry influencer actually looks like?

In our third season of Break Free B2B Marketing video interviews, we’re continuing in-depth conversations with a selection of top B2B influencers, and taking a close look at the issues that each expert is influential about in their own industry.

Each successful B2B influencer has a rare mix of the 5 Ps — proficiency, personality, publishing, promotion, and popularity — as our CEO Lee Odden has outlined in “5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers.”

Featuring all of these qualities and many more is Nicole Brady, publisher at SAHM Reviews, who we’re delighted to be profiling today.

According to a study done by G2, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. A different study tells us that 91% of customers between the ages of 18 and 34 trust online reviews just as much as they would a personal recommendation. Long story short: buyers care about reviews, whether they’re a business or an individual consumer.

Some people understand this more than others. One of those people is Nicole Brady. Nicole Brady is the founder and force behind, a successful site known for it’s engaging story-based reviews of products and services. Knowing how to tap into stories and find your own niche storytelling techniques are skills integral to any B2B marketer, which is why we invited Nicole to speak with us for today’s episode of our Break Free B2B marketing video series.

Break Free B2B Interview with Nicole Brady

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:15 – Introduction to Nicole
  • 2:38 – Building empathy and trust with an audience
  • 4:12 – What are story-based reviews and why are they important?
  • 7:15 – Signs of progress in Nicole’s space – and where things are going
  • 12:12 – Why are individual reviews more impactful than brand content?
  • 15:22 – How important is technology and thinking outside the box to consumers?
  • 19:16 – You create board games?! Tell us more!
  • 25:43 – What do you see as the key qualities that make something fun?
  • 28:08 – How did Nicole find her niche and what advice does she have for others on a similar journey?
  • 30:40 – Any tips for working with brands as an influencer? Tips for brands working with influencers?
  • 34:02 – What advice would you give to B2B marketers looking to break free?
  • 36:04 – How to get in touch with Nicole

Nick: If you try to look ahead one year, how do you envision the space where you’re working? What do you think is going to change? And what do you think is sort of the main trend line that’s going to carry it forward?

Nicole: I think moving forward from here, people are realizing the importance of not only technology and the integration of that technology, whether it’s companies being able to do curbside pickup, people not being able to come into their businesses, but they’re still being able to function in eCommerce, in digital learning, and you have so much distance learning and telecommuting. I think companies are going to have to embrace all of those things over the next year, that it’s caused them to have setbacks this year. I think, had we been more prepared with telecommuting, with distance learning, and had we been more prepared for those things? I think this entire quarantine that we’ve had would not have been such a problem to our economy. I think moving forward in the next year, that’s really what people are going to have to adapt to — finding ways to think outside the box, and different ways to engage with their consumers, whether it’s on social media, allowing them to purchase through social media, allowing them to use curbside pickup or whatever it is, and finding ways to do things without having people walk in the door, or even traditionally, the way they’ve been doing it, I think we just have to really look outside the box and find new ways.

[bctt tweet=”“I think companies are going to have to embrace all of the things over the next year that have caused them to have setbacks this year.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews” username=”toprank”]

Nick: What do you think makes the content from that third party individual, an influencer, or even just a consumer giving a product review? What makes that so much more powerful than brand content?

Nicole: Because it’s real. It’s someone who is sharing their opinions. It’s not scripted. It’s not a commercial. And I guess that’s one of the things that if you are hiring content creators or influencers: do not pin them down and say you can or cannot say something, you need to just give them free reign. They are creative, they’re creative individuals. That’s why they have a fantastic audience. Usually, that’s why you know about them, you know.  Just say, “Do your thing.” If a company comes in and says, “Hey, here’s these ingredients, create a recipe,” and you’re going to somebody who is good at creating recipes, you don’t want to say oh, by the way, we want it to be this, this this, and this. You don’t want to say that,  you want to give them the information.

[bctt tweet=”“If you are hiring content creators or influencers, do not pin them down and say you can or cannot say something. You need to just give them free reign.” — Nicole Brady @SahmReviews” username=”toprank”]

Keep your eye on the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Also check out episodes from season 1 and season 2.

Take your B2B marketing to new heights by checking out out previous season 3 episodes of Break Free B2B Marketing:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Nicole Brady of SAHM Reviews on the Importance of Empathy in Reaching Your Niche appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

10 Ways Trust Creates Standout B2B Marketing Experiences

One standout red citrus slice in a sea of yellow slices image.

One standout red citrus slice in a sea of yellow slices image.

What does trust bring to the B2B marketer’s strategy table in 2021?

While it may be simpler to ask what trust can’t do for B2B marketers and brands seeking to develop successful strategies for our eventual post-pandemic professional landscape, savvy marketers are best served by taking a close look at all the things that trust can do.

Research has shown the power of trust in developing successful marketing, which is why the theme of trust is a central tenet running through our own State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, featuring survey data, case studies from B2B brands of all sizes, insights from top B2B marketing experts, plus a list of 20 top influencer marketing practitioners from B2B brands.

Brand trust, advocacy and customer experience are among today’s most important goals for B2B brands, but why is trust so important, and how can brands build trust?

Here are 10 ways trust creates standout B2B marketing experiences, from building better brands to providing measurable performance, and so much more.

Let’s step right up to a virtual cavalcade of marketing approaches that benefit from a greater focus on trust, and look at what we can do to build greater trust into our B2B marketing efforts.

1 — Trust Builds & Strengthens Relationships

You can’t top trust when it comes to building and strengthening relationships, whether it’s creating powerful new customer connections or nourishing your existing business partnerships.

Relationships with little trust won’t blossom, and usually won’t last very long either.

By consciously making trust a cornerstone of marketing efforts — and dedicating the time and effort necessary to do so — brands can make a concerted effort to build trust into every facet of operations.

[bctt tweet=”“If you want to be a trustworthy company, it can’t be just a marketing philosophy. It has to be a business philosophy.” — Margaret Magnarelli @mmagnarelli” username=”toprank”]

2 — Trust Delivers Dedicated Customers & Fans

Brands that earn trust have already won most of the battle to gain dedicated customers and fans.

Trust helps turn customers into true brand advocates and impassioned fans.

The effort and time to build trusting relationships between brands and customers can be daunting for B2B marketers, which is one of the reasons why more brands are turning to influencer marketing, with subject matter experts who have already built time-tested trust.

[bctt tweet=”“It’s hard to create a great experience if customers don’t trust brand communications.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

3 — Influence Is Build On Trust

Intertwined with trust is influence, and the two serve to reinforce one another in the push to deliver the best B2B marketing possible.

Industry experts rely on the trust they’ve earned over time with their following, using their influence to help brands build trust.

Using the power of influence to build trust is one of our specialties at TopRank Marketing, and to help you learn more about the processes involved, here are several recent articles we’ve published detailing how influence grows trust:

[bctt tweet=”“Look beyond individual campaigns and think about how the brand and influencer relationship can create mutual value, influence and trust over time. That trust will translate to trust built amongst customers.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

4 — Trust Grows Great Content Marketing

Great B2B content marketing is also underpinned by trust, as information that is worthy of being shared is most often the type that best answers the questions customers are asking — solutions that will only succeed when they are based on share-worthy trust.

Creating articles, videos, podcasts or any other manner of today’s digital asset that customers will want to share and keep coming back to get more of is a difficult task, but one that thrives when trustworthy information is delivered.

Best-answer content’s role in building trust is covered in the following articles we’ve published:

[bctt tweet=”“Trust is a currency. It’s arguably the most valuable currency in today’s B2B marketing environment. And much like real money, it needs to be earned; the risks of attempting to counterfeit trust are grave.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

5 — Influence-Built Trust Combats Increased Skepticism

The past several years have seen an increase in customer skepticism, especially when it comes to the marketing they have traditionally relied on to learn about potential new solutions.

Trust can be the element that differentiates one brand’s success from another’s disappointment.

The issue of brand trust made the list of 2021’s top trends in our CEO Lee Odden‘s “Top B2B Marketing Trends for 2021,” in which he observed, “With an ‘epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions,’ 70 percent of respondents to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer study said brand trust is more important today than it was in the past.”

[bctt tweet=”“Once trust has been lost, it’s nearly impossible for brands to rebuild sustainable, honest relationships with their customers.” — Kevin Cochrane @kevinc2003″ username=”toprank”]

6 — Always-On Efforts Thrive On Trust

2021 may be the year of always-on marketing, as the strength of ongoing programs over one-off campaigns has been shown to be a key success differentiator. Building thriving always-on programs requires earning and maintaining trust, however, rather than the kind of stop-and-start efforts that interrupt truly lasting business relationships.

Always-on marketing efforts need to be based on trust in order to be sustainable.

To help you build a sustainable always-on strategy with an eye for building ongoing trust, the following articles explore always-on influence:

[bctt tweet=”“The benefit of an Always-On approach creates value for your customers by making content more relevant, trustworthy, and actionable.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

7 — Trust Is Platform Agnostic

In today’s diverse social media platform landscape, B2B marketers are keen to use elements that provide value in a platform-agnostic way, and trust is one of the key ingredients that works just as well on Clubhouse, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

When a brand has built a legacy of trust, it translates to whichever platform or content vehicle its marketing messages are delivered through, making trust one of the few fundamental qualities that endure over time, even as social platforms come and go.

How can B2B brands boost confidence using some of these various platforms, especially live-stream video, podcast and Clubhouse marketing? Lee recently explored how partnering with influencers who understand innovative content formats creates more relevant, meaningful and effective B2B content marketing experiences, in “How B2B Brands Can Boost Confidence in Livestream Video, Podcast and Clubhouse Marketing.”

[bctt tweet=”“When an organization can deliver strong content that helps inform people, it only builds that trust. Ultimately, people just want information that’s helpful to them.” — Emily Thompson @BosCreativeCopy” username=”toprank”]

8 — Trust Is SEO Friendly

Not only is trust search engine optimization (SEO)-friendly, trust is one of the most important and oftentimes overlooked elements in creating the type of best-answer B2B content that can organically feature in search rankings.

In essence, a core facet of all search engine firm efforts is the ability of their algorithms to surface the content that is the most trustworthy.

How trust plays into the changes 2021 has brought about in SEO efforts is among the subjects 12 top industry experts explored in our annual trends and predictions article, “12 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2021.”

[bctt tweet=”The biggest overarching trend in SEO in recent years which will undoubtedly continue in 2021 is the focus on E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. — Lily Ray @lilyraynyc” username=”toprank”]

9 — Trust Provides Measurable Performance

When your efforts are built on trust and the content you’re producing reinforces trustworthiness, B2B marketers can chart their success using any number of engagement metrics.

While it may be hard to specifically pinpoint which particular brand engagement metrics are solely the result of having built customer trust and loyalty, trust is the kind of all-encompassing element that — although it may not have its own line item — delivers performance increases.

Here are several helpful articles we’ve written that help B2B marketers collect and interpret the right engagement metrics:

[bctt tweet=”“Integrating influencer content is a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.” — Ann Handley @annhandley” username=”toprank”]

10 — Trust Builds Better Brands, Brand Advocates, & Teams

It’s not just marketing and social media efforts that benefit from a trust-first approach to business — entire brand structures from bottom to top stand to achieve greater performance when trust is valued, encouraged, and implemented throughout an organization.

Trust has been touted for decades as an important element in any brand’s strategy, yet it sometimes stalls when taking the leap from a company’s mission statement to what was posted on social media an hour ago.

Building not only trust but empathy into the fabric of a B2B organization was the recent subject of a B2B Marketing Exchange conference keynote by Miri Rodriguez, storyteller and internship program head at Microsoft, and I covered the presentation in, “Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez on How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Empathy For Better Customer Storytelling #B2BMX.”

[bctt tweet=”“Trusting relationships aren’t built with brands, but rather with the human beings behind those brands. Attaching a face and voice to your content can drastically magnify the impact and relatability of that content.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

Let Trust’s Energy Surround Your Marketing Efforts


The power of trust can bind customers and brands in meaningful and lasting relationships, filled with the type of energy that even Star Wars’ Yoda would be envious of, and we hope that your own B2B marketing efforts will benefit from the 10 elements of trust we’ve explored here.

A single article can only begin to touch on the vast power of trust in marketing, which is why we’re also happy to share with you the follow additional guides to brand trust:

Crafting trustworthy and award-winning B2B marketing takes significant time and effort, which leads many firms to choose working with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, and others.

The post 10 Ways Trust Creates Standout B2B Marketing Experiences appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.