Our guts tell us when to trust someone — and when not to.  It’s an automatic response based on instinct and conditioning.

At it’s most primal level, trust is linked to our own survival and wellbeing.  A newborn must trust their parents to care for them.  A passenger must trust that the airline has maintained their planes.  And a patron must trust that a restaurant prepares their food in sanitary conditions.

However, trust also impacts the viability of our relationships — with ourselves, our loved ones, and our customers.  If we act irresponsibly, break promises, or engage in deception, the level of trust dissolves.  And the relationships break down.

It can be very hard to recover from a loss of trust — sometimes relationships don’t survive it.  It’s therefore important to establish and maintain trust whenever possible.

Trust Defined

Trust is a very palpable feeling, comprised of several elements.

When you trust someone, you believe that:

  • their intentions are good
  • they’re reliable
  • they’re honest
  • what they say is factually correct

In other words, in order to trust someone, they must be both benevolent and credible.  They’ll act with your best interests in mind, operate with integrity, and provide the best information they have available.

This is a good measuring stick for human behavior — both in life and in business.

Trust and Content

Your market or audience is more discerning than ever — and with good reason.  Companies across every industry have been caught lying, committing fraud, knowingly putting out bad product, and engaging in other unethical acts.

And, with the incredible speed and accessibility of information thanks to the internet, awareness spreads like wildfire.  One viral post, and a company’s reputation is severely sullied.

But fear not, honest business owner.

You can build and preserve trust with your market by creating content.  If your content truly helps them and truly supports their experience with your enterprise, they’ll develop faith in you and your company.

There are many ways to cultivate consumer confidence.  The trick is to apply the following principles before, during, and after making a sale.

Trust Building Tips

  • Listen to your market.  If they tell you that they need something, deliver on it.  If they tell you to make an adjustment to your product, make the change.  Customers (and anyone, really) appreciate feeling heard. When they feel supported, they will trust.
  • Provide genuine value — for free.  If every piece of content is one big sales pitch, your customers will believe that money is your only motivation. Putting high-quality information in their hands at no charge reinforces your expertise, shows you are generous, and hopefully whets their appetite for a paid product when they’re ready to buy.  Your desire to help and your patience with their buying timeline makes them feel valued and respected.
  • Be honest and transparent.  Sometimes, your business will get into a difficult spot.  But if you share your failures and successes with the same degree of openness, customers will believe what you say.  Being transparent also invites your market to learn more about you.  Familiarity can help to build trust.
  • Be consistent.  Your brand and message should be cohesive across all platforms.  This consistency paints a clear picture of your company so people will truly understand who they’re doing business with.  A lack of cohesion creates confusion and will cause your market to wonder which bit of information to believe.
  • Admit it when you’re wrong.  And fix your mistakes.  Everyone messes up at some point.  If you own it and make it right, most people will be willing to give you another chance.  Your other customers will appreciate the humility and commitment to good customer service.
  • Be personable, relatable, and authentic.  These days, bots are everywhere.  Sure, they’re good for a quick response to an easy inquiry.  But they’re no substitute for human perspective.  If your content is tailored to your market, they’ll feel like it exists solely for them.  And they’ll trust what you have to say.
  • Demonstrate credibility.  Make it easy for your audience to find social proof for your business.  This can be positive reviews, testimonials, number of shares on posts, features in major news outlets, etc.  Additionally, share outside resources in your content.  It demonstrates your desire to broaden your own knowledge and your dedication to put informing your market over your ego.
  • Empower your market.  People have limitless buying options these days.  Your job is to give them the information that they need to make the best decision for their situation.  Of course, you want to make sales.  But trustworthy content makes it clear when your firm’s offering isn’t a fit.  You could even take it a step further and suggest helpful alternatives.  (Perhaps there are opportunities for joint ventures here!)

Final Thoughts

Like most things in life and business, trust isn’t something that you can set and forget.  Each action that you take needs to inspire or deepen confidence in your enterprise.  With so many different consumer touchpoints, there is always room to up your trust game.

Remember: While there are many factors involved in a buying decision, how a company is perceived has an extremely strong influence.  If someone doesn’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.  It’s that simple.

Overall, I feel like I do a good job of fostering trust.  But I know I can do better.  As I continue to refine my brand over time, I need to ensure that all platforms get updated.  I also want to cultivate more relationships in the industry so when my solution isn’t a good fit for someone, I can redirect them to a trusted colleague with a more appropriate product.

Tell Me: What are you doing to build trust with your content?

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