When setting up your website there are many moving parts to consider: firstly, you have to make it Google-friendly, technically sound, easy to navigate, plus a myriad of other features for compliance, but the one thing that is critical to get right, is a plan for credible and trustworthy content that will build trust online to attract new customers and keep your current customers coming back.
To build trust online is not difficult, but it does need to be carefully planned and well thought out. It doesn’t matter how good your site looks, how fast it loads or how compelling your CTA (call-to-action) is, if your visitors have any doubt at all about your trustworthiness, they will bounce right out of there never to return.
Much research has been completed in this area and findings are:
more than 90% of visitors make an immediate decision about your business based on the homepage of your website.
When people come to your website, you have 10 seconds to impress them.
When visitors arrive at your website, do they feel comfortable immediately?
Is there enough “evidence” to show them you are a real business and not a dodgy fly-by-night wanting to make a quick buck?
What can you do to convince them to stay on your site and see what you have to offer?
Establishing trust, therefore, is crucial if you want your visitors to hang around.
So how do you demonstrate you are a trustworthy supplier and give them your assurance?
How can you prove to them you won’t let them down?
Doing business online is a whole lot different from doing business offline. And it’s even harder if you want them to make a purchase online!
How do you build trust online so your customer feels confident and 100% sure you won’t let them down?
How can your customer be sure you’re in business for the long haul?
People are generally nervous when it comes to marketing and sales, whether that’s offline or online, due to many cases where people have been exploited. You know yourself when you want to buy products or enquire about business services online, you will often hesitate before you hit the “submit now” button, or pick up the phone to find out more.
This is where the trust comes in.
The top two most trusted forms of advertising are recommendations from people you know (and trust) and consumer opinion posted online (testimonials and reviews).
But, what if you have neither of these?
How do you overcome these barriers and build trust in a virtual workplace?
Here are some proven ways that will help to build trust online so any of your potential customers visiting your website, will feel confident in taking that next important step.
Clear communication helps to build trust online
Sounds like stating the obvious but you’d be surprised at how many website owners don’t give sufficient thought and consideration to their website – their shop window.
If your website is outdated, looks cheap and ugly you’re more likely to lose potential customers and experience a high bounce rate. Conversely, if your site is modern, professional, user-friendly, your visitors will be more inclined to stick around to explore further.
To improve the trustworthiness of your site, make it completely clear to your audience right up front, what is going to happen when they arrive at your site.
Show them who you are in your About Us page.
Make the navigation intuitive and easy to get around the various tabs, CTA button and link so they don’t even have to think about it.
Imagine you are on a site for the first time and how you would want to be shown around – and then put that into practice on your website.
Make sure any clickable “button” takes people where you said it would. Any disconnect at this point and you have failed to build trust – they will be confused, annoyed and be gone!
If you want someone to sign up for a Newsletter make it absolutely clear their contact information is confidential and won’t be onsold to some telemarketing agency!
Assure them you will protect their data and security.
Let them know how often they will hear from you, (give them choices if necessary) and always give them the option to “unsubscribe” easily at any time, without question.
Make sure when they leave your website, they feel safe, respected, comfortable and confident and ready to take that next step.
Use authentic images
Mistrust is simply fear of the unknown.
You have all seen those generic and formulaic stock photos everywhere. There are of course instances when you will want to use carefully curated stock imagery in the right places, but it’s much better to show website visuals that are of real people in real situations on your website.
If you really want to increase your site’s visual authenticity, hire a professional photographer to take photos of you, your staff, your products, and your premises, this will validate your position as a solid business with real products and services. You are also guaranteed quality images that not only look good on your website but will instill a sense of trust and reliability that will come through to your audience. Real images have more integrity and believability, particularly when it comes to your About Us page which shows your team photo. It demonstrates you are legitimate and you care about what your audience thinks.
Professional images give your site a personal touch and this will resonate strongly with your audience.
If this is not affordable or achievable when developing your website, there are some great free stock photography sites you can use to find images that represent your brand. Choose the images carefully and be creative so they get noticed.
Provide social proof
Social proof is based on the premise that customers make their purchasing decisions based on what other people say, good or bad – don’t overlook it!
What do you do when you want to book a hotel or restaurant? Read the reviews right?
Even if you know you want to book that hotel, you will feel happier if the reviews of others confirm what you are thinking. People do buy products based on reviews or testimonials and are guided by others in the decision-making process.
Reach out to your customers when they make a purchase, or you complete a project for them and ask for feedback, a review or a testimonial. This is a solid way to demonstrate and build trust line. If your products or services live up to their expectations, they will be more than happy to give you a glowing review.
I was first attracted to High Profile Enterprises through their own compelling content. Having seen them walk the talk with their own social media efforts I made contact with Mike who I cannot recommend enough. Well I have actually recommended him to many because I think this is the best reward you can give to a company that meets and exceeds your expectations – a rarity especially in the SEO world of quick buck, fast promises.
What makes Mike and HPE different is that he is extremely personable, collaborative and professional. My Twitter numbers and website hits increased dramatically once I started working with Mike and his team and this has meant I’ve been able to position myself as more of a thought leader amongst my market.
These guys are good and I’m a hard scorer. You won’t regret appointing these guys. I’d back them time and time again and wish them all the very best.
St John Craner – Director and Founder, Agrarian
Generating case studies based on your customers’ experiences is one of the most credible ways to show your trustworthiness as you get to demonstrate proof of your products in action. Where possible, include a photo of the project and the people involved as this reinforces the testimonial.
Create valuable content and resources
Creating content and providing credible resources creates trustworthiness with your audience. Your focus should be to “serve” your visitors, so it must be content that connects, interests, and builds a trusting relationship. Your customers want authentic content. If your voice doesn’t align with your brand, they will find it implausible and unconvincing – another reason to leave your site. Your content doesn’t necessarily have to sell products or services, but what it does do, is establish you as a thought leader, by providing valuable resources to your audience, and this creates trust and loyal customers.
We all have different preferences on how to receive content, so try to keep it varied and use different mediums like blog posts, videos, images, etc. If you want to excite your potential customers so they keep coming back for more, be generous with your content and resources – this is your duty as a business owner.
Giving value with your content is content with a bigger purpose.
It’s content that connects and demonstrates trustworthiness and acts as a big contributor in your goal to build trust online.
Make it useful and practical information created specifically for your particular audience.
Exceed their expectations with your content every time and your audience will keep coming back for more!
To build trust online is essential for customer relations and will only happen with a trustworthy and credible website. First impressions do count and even more so for online businesses.
Your website doesn’t have to be expensive and many WordPress templates give a very good result, technically, aesthetically and professionally.
And finally, when you think you have everything covered – ask yourself this:
If a prospective customer comes to my site, would they feel safe enough to give me their time and/or contact me for more information?
We are a small agency and that is part of our attraction. You are not a number and you are not handed off to interns when you work with us. Our small team is highly trained, highly skilled and the directors are available and ready to explain, help or discuss ways we can further improve your business results.
This has led to our winning the Horizon Business Excellence award for small business as well as recognition from major content marketing and SEO organisations around the world.
Read our story here.
Midge Hand is a Co-founder and Director of High Profile Enterprises. Midge is one of only around 50 Copyblogger Media Certified Content Marketers and is the only one in New Zealand. When away from the demands of running High Profile Enterprises, Midge enjoys time with family, cooking for friends, Pilates and paddle boarding. This year her new challenge is to learn to play the melodica.