By Bob Speyer, Web Success Team
Trust is one of the most important yet overlooked “intangibles” on the Internet. However, it is key to a decision makers’ mindset whether to give your offerings serious consideration. The Internet is littered with amazing claims and broken promises. So what can you do to instill confidence or trust when a viewer lands on you site looking for a needed product or service? Here are a few guidelines to follow to build trust and increase your sales:
Your Website Should Be Simple, Uncluttered and Informative
You only get one chance at a first impression. Since our lives are complicated enough, your site must be easy to understand and engage the viewer in less than 10 seconds. The simpler the better and the easier to comprehend, the more likely your brand will instill trust. People respond to organization and a clear sincere message. Psychologically, think of whom we trusted first — our parents. If you try to do too much, you will frustrate your viewer and create a negative reaction.
Offer Something Special
We are conditioned to respond to a deal. In fact, promotions are some of the most visited web pages. A promotion may range from a simple discount to packages where you get more value than for individual services. Again, you want to instill trust, so offer a warranty, guarantee or some consumer recourse that is clearly stated. You want to be as transparent as possible.
Use Client Testimonials and Case Studies
People recognize that testimonials are hand picked and hold minimal value. Yet when supported by case studies they can make a convincing reason to read and respect them. Plus if you have recognizable customers, it can create a shared brand appeal. People will connect the dots and reason that if a trusted brand has used this company, then they are that much more appealing.
Use the New Social Medias to Humanize Your Brand
We all respond more to real people, not just a corporate entity. That’s where social media marketing can fill out your resume. Create social profiles on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter and be active in their use. Placing their icons on your website in a viewable spot encourages prospective customers to view your profiles and fill in any questionable gaps.
Building relationships online will give your brand a more human component. Using employees, their pictures and their comments is equally effective and rounds out your company.
Knowledge is respect and the more your brand is promoted online, the more credible you become. One of the ways to be viewed as a authority in your field is to create a blog and actively write about your field. Articles that are keyword rich will be circulated throughout the Internet, draw targeted attention and help promote your brand. Writing blogs will also let people view your personality, knowledge and your sense of humor. It makes you “real.” Also, if you won an industry award, written a book or you are a guest speaker at an industry event, then these should be prominently displayed on your website.
Belong, Join, Affiliate
Another key factor in building trust is showing people that you are active in your community or your industry. Are you a Chamber of Commerce member, associated with an industry organization, active in a charity, or a member of the Better Business Bureau? Participation shows commitment, involvement, energy — and respect.
Be Accessible and Consistent
Once the initial barrier is crossed and a potential customer is interested, you must not disappoint them. Be available to talk to them, keep appointments and be consistent in your promises. Dependability is a key factor in maintaining trust and credibility. Have your contact information clearly displayed on your site above the fold; respond to their inquiries within 24 hours; and offer good advice and interest in their situation. These guidelines will help you assess your current website and activities. The bi-product of building trust is an increase in sales that will lead to web success. If your website does not reflect these core components, then people will go to the competition. By giving people reasons to trust you, they will.