The topic that I always try to drive home most when speaking with business owners during our strategy sessions is on the importance of doing your utmost to build trust and credibility with your website. This is an extremely important topic on a faceless medium such as the world wide web. With a bricks and mortar business, you are likely to have face to face engagement with your potential customers, breaking down some of the barriers.
Let’s face it, when starting out, you are an unknown quantity and people do not know you, so why should they trust you? When meeting people face to face, you have the opportunity to break down some of the barriers via personal, direct interaction and your customer has the opportunity to get to know and trust you. So how can you do this and present yourself as someone who is trustworthy and worth doing business with, when your customer’s only means of engagement is via their computer or smartphone?
Many social media platforms such as Facebook have inbuilt review/rating functionality which give customers an initial feel for your business credibility but you cannot do this via your website.
Here are six items I suggest you incorporate whilst planning your website to help get you started with this highly important topic.
- One way to get round the faceless aspect of the internet is to use video. Videos are simple to produce and any modern smartphone is all you need to do this. It doesn’t need to be a production rivalling a Hollywood blockbuster either! It can be as simple as some footage of you speaking about your business and/or product/service offerings. Don’t forget to highlight those benefits though! Keep it concise and make sure you keep your future customers engaged with interesting, benefit filled information. Videos can be produced ready for uploading to sites including Facebook or YouTube. We produce short promotional videos in either YouTube or Facebook format via our Cool Promo Video service.
- Ensure you obtain customer testimonials prior to launching. If the testimonials are in writing, make sure they contain some detail and have a real person’s name, website and ideally an email address. We’ve all seen plenty of testimonials from John Smith and Jane Doe and of course treat them with suspicion so make sure they have authenticity. Testimonials are like references – you never see any poor ones do you! If you have a customer who is particularly happy or wanting to help, then ask them if they are prepared to participate in a video testimonial. There is nothing better than watching and listening to someone who is singing your praises is there!
- Ensure your site contains an ‘About’ page which has a photograph of you and any other key staff they may interact with. Choose photographs which are inviting, where you are leaning in and smiling. I am not a fan of photographs of people dressed in business attire but this of course is the right fit if you are a professional such as a lawyer or accountant.
- Include a photograph of your business premises. This helps build trust and credibility, particularly when selling products online where people are paying upfront. This makes them feel more comfortable with whom they are dealing with and they can see you have a real bricks and mortar store!
- Ensure that any product photos are professional and look good. This is particularly important when you are selling products online. The way you present your products online will have a dramatic impact on sales. Amateur-looking photographs lower trust and will cost you sales. You need to consider items such as lighting, camera selection and background choice to get the best results.
- Ensure you have clear guarantee and refund policies in place and make sure you honor them where necessary. The faceless nature of the internet and the fact that people cannot see or sample your wares beyond photos, text descriptions or videos increases the likelihood they will be unhappy with their purchase. People are more likely to purchase products when they know they have recourse when necessary. Make sure it is highly visible on your website and ideally include a nice graphic saying something along the lines of “30 days 100% money back guarantee”. This will make them more comfortable purchasing from you.Make sure you honor any guarantee or refund policy since you may find that word spreads if you do not and this will hurt your efforts!
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