For your website to be successful with so much competition, you need to actively convince potential customers that your website is completely legitimate and trustworthy. This means removing anything suspicious and adding key trust-building features and information. After all, there are so many scams on the internet today, and savvy web surfers are on high alert. Building trust for any website to do, especially new sites is one of the hardest things to accomplish.
Small online businesses don’t have the luxury of a big brand name standing behind them. They have to build trust before they can expect people to buy from them online.
Notice how online purchases from Amazon, iTunes, or Dell run through. Customers know they can trust these big brands with their credit card information and they expect – and get – solid customer service from them.
“Trust is the most valuable commodity in Cyberspace,” says Evan I. Schwartz. And anyone who’s updating and optimizing the content of web pages is at least partly responsible for creating a Web site that people trust.
There are several things you can do to put potential customers at ease and establish trust in the long run:
Focus on attractive, professional and user-friendly Design
Design is hugely important in establishing a Web site’s credibility. Your Web site is your showcase, and people judge your organization by its design.
Simplicity pays dividends: the more complex the technology, the more easily things can go wrong.
Whether simple or complex, your site must look professional and it must work brilliantly. This is important even for a small not-for-profit or academic site – but especially for any commercial Web site.
Offer Something People Want
This sounds basic, but you are not going to make money unless you have a product that either satisfies an unfulfilled need or offers a unique take on an established product. You need to offer a strong incentive for customers to buy from you instead of the mega-stores.
Sometimes the magic word – “FREE” can be used, but not in some businesses, so be wary. The Internet has been called the gift economy. You might win popularity contests by giving away something worthwhile, but the main thing is to provide Value in what you do.
Have Sufficient Content
If you are attempting to sell a product or service, be sure to have sufficient content describing what you have to offer. One simple way to feature your content is by creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Do not skimp on photographs. Remember, you are asking people who know nothing about you or your business to trust you with their money and their credit card information. Quality product photos can go a long way towards building that trust.
Videos on an e-commerce website enhance trust in a number of ways. You can use video to demonstrate how your products work, give a tour of your bricks-and-mortar store, provide testimonials and, most importantly, put a human face on your company or store.
All of these help to create a comfort level where people are more likely to buy from you.
You have a product people want, so sell it to them with strong messaging and friendly persuasion.
Online copy should be short, sweet, and to the point. Studies of online user behavior tell us that there isn’t much tolerance for huge blocks of content. Well-written copy is essential for convincing visitors you’re a professional business’ typos and poor grammar don’t inspire trust.
Online customers are persuaded by two things:
- the clear benefits to themselves
- the facts
They’re not interested, usually, in the things that fascinate you — like the technical features of your queen-size beds. They want to know how these new beds will benefit them.
When you’re trying to persuade Web users to buy something or even subscribe to a free newsletter, put yourself in their shoes. How will your product or newsletter or services benefit them? Explain all the benefits from their point of view, and you have a good chance of successfully persuading people.
Highlight your Trust in Customer Service
There are so many web-based businesses out there that sell products and services, all without any interaction with their customers. And while this works for most online shoppers, some people do like the option of direct contact.
Online this means providing a telephone number to call, live customer service, and a quick turnaround on any emails sent to you.
This is an area where you can gain a big advantage over larger businesses. Small businesses don’t have the luxury to ignoring their customers.
Secure your website with secure certificate
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Emphasise Secure Purchasing
You can do this by borrowing trust from better-known Brands and from your trusted clients before or recently.
Reviews & awards – Many services and products have won awards or at least been reviewed by relevant industry publications. Using the award seals or “Reviewed by” language can be very effective.
One of the best ways to establish trust is to include the VeriSign seal or other reputable trust seals on your site, in your search results, and on all pages involving transactions. The VeriSign seal (which in April will be re-branded as the Norton Secured Seal) is used by big businesses (87% of the largest e-commerce sites in North America).
Marquee clients – Using client logos with permission, or at least prominently featuring a written list of clients (unless specifically prohibited from doing so by contract language) will create powerful visual proof of your legitimacy. They confer an implicit halo effect – if you have worked with large companies, of course you can handle smaller “regular” ones.
Start actively collecting specific testimonials from top clients, using their own words, and even showing their photo, plus full name and address.
Media Mentions – Media companies are experts at self-promotion and drumming their brands into our consciousness. Any association with them confers a notoriety and solidity to you landing page. Often “media” outlets can also be broadly defined as bloggers or authoritative voices in your specific niche.
Paid endorsements and spokespeople – Paid endorsements can transfer the trust or at least the celebrity of the spokesperson to the product or service in question.
Engage Customers in Social Media
Sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter is the appropriate venue to have a great opportunity not just to promote products, but to discuss them with potential clients. Look for examples among established brands that utilized social media on their optimization and marketing and you can find a great strategy at reaching out to your customers effectively. If you use these platforms intelligently – really using them to create a dialogue with your visitors – it shows them you are passionate about your products and responsive to your customer’s needs.
Follow these guidelines while optimizing your website’s content, not only you’ll improve the credibility and trustworthiness of your site, you’ll be well on your way to success soon enough.