Building Trust Online

Building Trust

It is an old cliché that people buy from people.

It’s true because it’s easy to make a judgement about the trustworthiness of a person. In the offline world, if you walk into a shop, you can quickly make the judgement about whether you trust the place or not (e.g. décor in the shop, professionalism of staff, etc.), but it’s not quite as easy online. People don’t physically buy from people online, but they want to be able to make a quick judgement about trust.

So, here are my 5 tips to drive trust via your online presence.

Check your search results:
A big proportion of your audience will use a search engine to your website, and in the UK, over 90% will use Google. So, search your brand name: if your website or associated social networks rank highly, great! If the results are negative, then pick up with the webmasters for those sites, or use Google Webmaster Tools as a last resort. If applicable, it is worth searching for ‘*your company name* reviews’ – and engage with those site owners.

You should also invest some time (money not always necessary) in a monitoring tool – Google Alerts is an OK place to start, but search round for the tool that works for your requirements.

Social Media:
Social media has been embraced by many businesses, and a lot of CEOs have asked the question ‘how many sales is it generating’ – a tricky questions to answer without a great ROI tool. But arguably the biggest benefit that social media can offer a business is showing the human side of the business. Social is a great chance for a company to show its personality, sense of humour and voice. So, when you interact with people on social media, always think that a prospective customer might read your response – I always look at social media to get a ‘feel’ for a company.

Testimonials:
Depending on the product or service that you sell, a testimonial can be a great way of showing prospective customers that your existing customers love what your company does. This is particularly important for Business to Business (B2B) companies. Your testimonials should reflect your full range of products or services, and a wide range of different customers – you want the prospect to think ‘that customer is just like me’

Professional and Easy to Navigate Page:
This should be a standard for every website because it makes the online experience more pleasant and engaging! But, you should keep your website design / navigation simple and clean, with the emphasis on the needs of the visitor, not necessarily what you want sell them. And make sure that your site is responsive – if not, check how good a mobile experience you are offering. Also, think about including a blog – it is another opportunity to show the person behind the website, as well as demonstrating your expertise and credibility.

Meet the Team:
A criticism of online commerce is that it can be impersonal – so, you should add the personal touch by introducing the team to your prospective customers. A photo and something about the employees helps break this barrier down, and is especially useful when trying to encourage high value non-regular purchases.

Image via jillkonrath.com
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