There are a number of ways to build trust with your audience and prospects. Learning these methods can make all the difference between success and failure online and offline.

Why Is Trust Important?

Trust is the foundation of most business dealings and is essential if you want to turn browsers into buyers. Trust can also turn those buyers into loyal brand advocates who will sing your praises online and drum up even more business for you. The question is, how you do gain trust?

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Be Consistent

You need to be consistent in terms of your brand "voice". Who are you and what do you represent? What is your mission statement? Use it to help you craft the kind of content that shows why your company is worth paying attention to.

Publish Content Regularly

Every piece of content helps build your brand. Update your website and your social media sites regularly to let your target audience know what’s new. This will also help you position yourself as an expert in your niche or industry, which will also make you appear trustworthy.

Publish Various Forms of Content

A lot of people stick to articles, but video and audio can also really boost your business and get people to trust you because they feel they know you.

No matter how shy you are, make sure you interact with your audience in a way that makes it clear you are a real person and not someone cranking out content for a fast buck. Have a good headshot photo of yourself, appear on video for a minute or two, host live events like webinars and Google Hangouts, and so on.

Be Consistent across All Channels

You will be publishing content in a range of places, from your snail mail, newsletters, blog and email marketing platform, to various social sites and YouTube. It can be tricky to keep your messages consistent across all these different formats, though. If you’re not sure that what you are publishing is the right thing, check your mission statement. 

If you have people working for you, be sure that they have a copy of your mission statement and are well-mannered and consistent in their dealings with the public. 

Nip Customer Service Issues in the Bud Promptly

No business will ever be fortunate enough to never have an unhappy customer. Online, they can cause a lot of trouble. But if you are consistent and behave in a professional manner (or your online staff does), it can minimize the damage. Consistently building trust through all your activities online, and getting positive feedback from happy customers, can also drown out any negative feedback you might get.

Think Relationships Rather Than Sales

Think of the people you wish to do business with as real people. Don’t just chase the money, because it will show. Craft a persona or mini-biography of your ideal customer. Keep that persona when you are writing your sales material.

Send Regular Emails and Snail-mail to Your Lists

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build a relationship with your prospective customers online, but don’t forget to include snail-mail. Good content will make them look forward to hearing from you, and that means more email snail-mail opens and potential sales.