IRL (in real life) people do business face to face with other people. They talk to a sales clerk in a local store or a waitress at their favorite restaurant. It’s easy to make a judgment call about how trustworthy the business you are dealing with is because you are there, in person.

And, what happens when you feel like a salesperson is too pushy for your liking, or you can see the kitchen of a restaurant, and it isn’t looking all that clean? You walk out, right?

I have heard it often said that “people do business with people they like, know, and trust.” And, I heard Zig Ziglar, salesman extraordinaire, say “If people like you, they will listen to you; but if they trust you, they will do business with you.” So, it stands to reason that the more someone trusts you, the more likely they are to do business with you.

So what do you think happens when someone visits your website, and it doesn’t convey a complete feeling of trust. Because your visitors aren’t speaking with someone in person, you better make sure that your site offers a complete sense of confidence!

You spend money on pay per click advertising, spend hours creating good quality content that will drive traffic to your site through organic search, or do a lot of social media marketing. And the traffic comes.

Then they start looking around your website and may stop and pause. What happens when they hesitate? It starts to create doubt. When they have doubt, they leave. So, it benefits you not to let that doubt creep into their minds in the first place.

Whether you are a local company, with a website that is an extension of your business, a service business that deals with clientele from various localities, or an eCommerce store, these principles apply.

So, what are some things that say “trust me” to potential clients and customers online?

Like-Know-Trust

1. Let them know you are a real person or team.

Many times when dealing with online businesses, the customer will never actually meet the person behind the website. So, be sure to introduce yourself to them, so they know they are dealing with someone who is real.

If you are a solopreneur, include a picture of yourself with a bio or philosophy your live by underneath it. Even better, consider making a video greeting for your customers and posting it on your website.

If you have a team of employees, include a page with a team photo or individual photos of each key team member and a short bio about each of them.

2. Show them your business actually exists.

By the same token, unless your website is an extension of a local walk-in business, it’s likely that your customers will never visit you in person. Make sure that your website lists a real address, and even a picture of your actual location. This can boost trust a lot for people who are concerned about “how legit” a company they are dealing with is.

3. Tell them your story.

Many websites will carry page on their site that talks about their history or how they got started. Turn your “About Us” page into a compelling story that gives visitors a unique perspective on where your company came from and what drives it moving forward.

Often this kind of story helps your visitors to make an emotional connection with you and your business that they don’t get from a more sterile “big box” company’s website. Too many people treat their “About Us” page as something that isn’t important or is secondary. Use the “About Us” page to your advantage and make it a place to tell your story.

Here is an excellent article I ran across on Copyblogger about how to craft a marketing story that people embrace and share.

4. Show them you are certified.

Trust logos help to reassure people that they are doing business with someone legitimate. A lot of professions involve special certifications in different areas. If you hold certifications or trust seals from outside companies or organizations, be sure to put them on your site, along with a link to the pages where people can verify them off-site, so they know they are real.

5. Let them see what others are saying about you.

Testimonials are a great way to let people see what others are saying about your business. Encourage your current customers and clients to leave reviews for you on places such as Google, Yelp, and LinkedIn.

Often times people will put testimonials on their website as well, but who really knows if they are real or not. If at all possible, link the onsite testimonials to the actual online review from another verifiable site, so people know it’s real and not fiction.

6. Give them a way to talk or chat with you.

Let’s face it; most people don’t want to do business with someone they can’t talk to. Sure, email is convenient, and perfectly fine once you have established a trusted relationship with a customer or client. But, many people want to get to actually “speak” with someone first, before they go into business with them.

75% of the survey respondents said that they would rather use live online chat versus calling to speak with someone in person.

Give your website visitors a way to get in contact with you by a method other than email or a web form. Be sure that you put a phone number and your office hours on your website.

You can also, offer live chat options — and this means not chat that is done by a bot — so you can engage them in a conversation and answer any questions or any reservations they may be having quickly. In a study commissioned by Moxie Software several years ago (so I would image the numbers have risen since then), 75% of the survey respondents said that they would rather use live online chat versus calling to speak with someone in person.

Conclusion

Building trust online is even harder to do than doing it in person, so it’s important to remember the little things that can make a difference with potential clients and customers. Are you building trust with your website? If not, it may be time to start thinking about it. Any of theses tips above should be easy and quick to implement on your website.

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Nora Kramer
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Nora Kramer

Lead Web Designer & Developer at Nora Kramer Designs
Nora Kramer is a website professional and online marketing consultant with over two decades of experience in graphic design, website development and company branding. She also has a passion for photography and writing. Nora received the Charlie Award (1st Place) in 2002 for "Best Magazine Feature Article of the Year" from the Florida Magazine Association.
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