In today’s era of misconduct, information overload, fake news, and economic turmoil, there’s never been a more pivotal time for marketers to convey credibility and authenticity. Trust is in crisis with the largest-ever drop in confidence across government, business and media according to Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer.Often, we decide if someone is trustworthy based on obscure reasons: if you have high intelligence or the mood you’re in, how attractive they are; in some cases, you trust people just because they have a beard. Trust is a choice to be vulnerable to the will of others. It means that we believe others motives and intentions will advance and protect our interests. Trust could easily be the least understood and the most essential element for increasing conversions. Once established, everything changes, it’s the tipping point that exponentially increases your influence. While trust is an intangible and an elusive metric, there are actions marketers can take to build rapport and gain confidence. Show you understand who you’re talking to and their intent.Content marketing can play a role in achieving this component. By delivering the right information at the right juncture, you’ll demonstrate value, instilling trust that you can help them achieve their goals. Leverage website data, retargeting ads, email series and keyword targeting to determine their stage. Awareness: In this stage, prospects recognize they have a problem. Provide top-level educational literature such as social media posts, e-books and blog posts.Evaluation: The prospect has learned enough to look for solutions. Illustrate your business is a good fit with testimonials, case reviews, demo videos and how-to guides.Decision: The last choice they have to make: who offers the ideal solution to meet their needs. This can include trial offers or a compelling offer to get started. When done correctly, this will have a significant impact on your customer relationships in addition to your close rates. Let your work do the talkingWith or without realizing it, others have a significant influence on the decisions we make. Everything from music we like to what we eat and how much to organizations we’re align with… nearly every aspect of life. Social proof is the convergence of marketing and psychology. It plays off the concept that “If someone else was satisfied, there’s less chance that I’ll have buyers remorse.” As such, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 85% of consumers trust them as much as personal recommendations.In your marketing collateral and on your website, include a form of social proof, varying the type. This can consist of social media follower count/shares, embedded customer reviews from third party sites like Google or Yelp, influencer endorsements, awards and certifications, industry associations, affiliations with community organizations, or charities. If members of your team have written for or been interviewed by media outlets, include links to articles in an ‘As Seen In’.Giving is better than receiving There’s a natural inclination to pay it forward, reciprocity, that transcends to trust. It’s the social norm of responding to a positive action with another. Before asking for anything in return, depict the benefit your company provides. This can be the form of a blog, using gated for longer form content like as a white paper or e-book. They’ll be increasingly inclined to give you something in return in the future. Every post, image, tweet, ad, conversation, email you convey about your business is an unspoken promise. You promise to provide value, in return, they promise to connect with you. How you deliver on each, dictates what happens next: further your connection or lose a prospect.Print Is Still the Most Trusted Type of AdPrints ads rank as the top advertising channel that American trust at 82% according to MarketingSherpa, Neuroscience research strongly suggests that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than by the virtual. It generates emotion, and is also internalized, which means the materials have a personal effect, developing advantageous associations.By physically touching a piece of mail, consumers feel the message and business is reliable. The physical tactile nature of direct mail also has a direct, positive correlation to recalling the advertisement. This means, by picking up your mail and opening it – they are establishing both a physical and emotional bond with your business.Trust isn’t built in a day, but the foundation for trust can be.Instead of focusing on gaining trust, work towards is becoming trustworthy. Understand where trust lies; it’s across your organization, it doesn’t just reside within your marketing department. To be successful, you need the cooperation of your entire team. Everyone needs to be rowing in the same direction, genuinely concerned about delivering an outstanding experience. This entails ensuring your team is in agreement of what that looks like. It brings to mind a Chris Rock sketch: “Relationships, easy to get into, hard to maintain. Why are they so hard to maintain? Because it’s hard to keep up the lie! When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative.” And he’s right, you can only fake authenticity for so long. If genuine concern does not come from within, reality will be uncovered, despite your best efforts to jump on the “transparency” bandwagon.Conversions are byproducts of meaningful relationships. Those that last a lifetime are built on transparency, honesty and empathy. By empathizing with your audience, they’ll feel closer to your business while positioning your company as a knowledgeable authority — both of which can produces tangible increases in trust, in addition to conversions. Maintaining Trust In An Untrusting WorldThese strategies are not all easy to execute, but in doing so you’ll be able to substantiate your companies trustworthiness – even in this cynical age of consumer-brand relationships. Trust is the secret to a happy relationship, the key to a successful economy, and essential for business success. For the longest-lasting and most loyal customers, you don’t have to outspend or outdo everyone else. Building trust is bigger than tactics — it’s your entire mission.