For businesses in pursuit of growth, there’s nothing more powerful and high returning than an investment in trust. The more your audience trusts you, the more likely they are to engage with you, buy from you, and recommend you to other customers. The question is, where do you start?
The Importance of Trust in Business
Think about someone you distrust. Maybe it’s a former friend who went behind your back and did something unethical. Or maybe it’s a neighbor who makes you feel uneasy with how they talk. Now think about someone you really trust – such as a parent, spouse, or best friend.
Who would you rather go into business with? Regardless of skills, experience, and other factors, you’d choose the person you trust 10 out of 10 times. And so would anyone else.
“Everybody wants to work with someone they trust,” leadership consultant Jill Griffin writes. “Everybody wants to live with trustworthy people. We want our kids to be trusted. But trust doesn’t just happen and it can be very fragile once it is earned. But earn it and keep it and it is more valuable than gold.”
Trust is the most valuable currency in the business world. Employees, business partners, and customers all desire to work with brands they trust (and avoid those they don’t). But it takes work to develop. So you must be willing to commit to taking proactive steps that will cultivate a higher degree of trust within your network, audience, and the larger marketplace.
4 Ways to Establish Trust
There’s no perfect formula for building trust. There are, however, proven tactics that are known to work over time. Here are a few we recommend:
- Develop More Content
Businesses that are considered trustworthy are usually very transparent in their marketing and communication. And one of the top ways to promote transparency in today’s market is through digital content.
Blog posts and social media provide easy ways to peel back the curtain and share ideas with customers. They add a layer of raw personality to your business and, when done well, strengthens trust.
- Leverage Video
In terms of building trust, video is arguably the best content medium you have available at your disposal. It allows you to humanize your brand, look people in the eyes, and communicate in total transparency.
This video from the guys at BTOD.com is a perfect example. Behind-the-scenes, interview-style videos like this give customers a chance to see, listen, and learn. (Best of all, they can be produced at a very low price point.)
- Give Away Useful Information
Renowned copywriter Dan Kennedy commonly tells business owners and marketers to give away their best stuff for free. And though people often shoot him confused looks when they hear this for the first time, he’s actually onto something.
By giving away useful information – such as eBooks, courses, presentations, etc. – you add value to your customers. You also show them that you aren’t simply in it for their money. You develop a sense of trust that can then be monetized at a later point in time. (A customer who has been given something for free is likely to reciprocate with a purchase in the future.)
- Utilize Social Proof
People want to know that your business is the real deal. They’re tired of shifty sales tactics and phoney goods. They want value in return for their dollars. The question is, how do you get people to trust your marketing when they’ve never bought from you? Social proof is the answer.
Social proof – which includes reviews, testimonials, endorsements, and case studies – allows people to see how others are responding to your products and services. It takes your value statements from theoretical to practical. Use them frequently and often, especially on your website and social media.
- Exceed Customer Service Expectations
For better or worse, your business will forever be judged based on the quality of your customer service. If you’re non-responsive, blunt, and unapologetic, your customers will never fully trust you. Go above and beyond with each customer service interaction and good things will happen.
Adding it All Up
Trust isn’t something you build overnight. Time is the most important ingredient in this recipe. So be patient and execute with consistency and precision. You’ll look up in a few months or years and your business will be healthier than it’s ever been before.