Keeping in theme with my recent article about ingredients to surviving in online business, let’s talk about earning customer trust.
A recent survey found that 81% of consumers don’t trust small online businesses.
You cannot survive in online business if your customers do not trust you. If they don’t trust you, they will never buy and you will fail. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately, earning customer trust online is not an easy task, especially when there are so many bigger brands out there where they can easily purchase most of the items they are looking for. That brings me to the first item.
Branding is more than just marketing. It’s a way to establish your business as a familiar face, and familiar faces become trusted more than strange ones. The more branding you are able to accomplish, the more trust you will gain.
2. Make yourself appear larger.
This is really just an extension of branding, but you also have to make sure that brand is conveying as professional an image as possible. This means a good-looking logo, a nice usable site design, and maintaining a solid reputation.
Like I just said (and have numerous times in the past), site design is crucial. That is, if you want customers to think of you in a trustworthy and credible light.
Why should a customer take a chance on a small unknown site if it is presented in a sloppy and difficult-to-use manner? They can just as easily find a competitor’s site that looks better and spend their money there.
I have talked about this numerous times too. You have to maintain a positive reputation if you want customers to trust you. People can Google your business and they most likely will if they’ve never heard of you.
This is why you have to periodically find out what people are saying about you online and do your best to counter any negativity out there. Don’t hide from customer reviews.
Of course you also don’t want to create a bad reputation on your own. You could do this inadvertently through social media, blog posts etc. Just think about what you’re saying before you attach your name (especially the name of your business) to something you’re posting online.
5. Security and Privacy
Customers need to feel secure at your site, and you need to take measures to earn their trust in this area as well.
Testimonials are a form of marketing, and can be an effective one. Besides that though, they represent your business as one that has satisfied customers in the past.
If you can get recognizable names to vouch for your business, that’s even better. Again, customers find familiar faces more trustworthy than strange ones.
7. Humanize Your Business
Like Wayne Hurlbert says, "People buy from other people they know and trust". This is why it is a good idea to humanize your business.
Don’t be shy about including photos and bios of your staff on your site. Maintaining blogs is another good idea, but humanize those too. Don’t just fill them with press releases. Make them fun, and reflect the writers’ personalities. Show people that your business is run by flesh and blood people and is not just some cold robot entity who’s after their money.
Building trust on the Internet is no easy feat, but it’s not impossible. The more trust that you earn, the higher your sales will climb, so it is in your best interest to do everything you can to get it.
Do you have any other suggestions for building trust online?