Regardless of the industry you operate in, or the type of business you run, many of your potential customers will visit your website at some point during the buying process. Every business want’s more people to visit their website, and many spend a significant portion of their marketing efforts on SEO and online advertising getting them there. But what if your website was actually harming your credibility, and causing customers to doubt your trustworthiness and reliability?
In our age of transparency consumers have higher expectations than ever before, and they want to get to know, like and trust you, before they do business with you. Of course potential customers want to be able to find price and product information, but more than that are looking, consciously and unconsciously, for signs of trust and credibility, and to see if your values align with theirs.
Take a look at your website with fresh eyes (or even better ask your customers for direct and honest feedback) and think about the image it conveys. Does your website help potential clients get to know, like and trust you, or is it cold, bland and corporate?
Your website is not just an online brochure, or at least it shouldn’t be. Instead your website should be viewed as an important communication tool, and a vehicle for demonstrating what makes you unique and ‘stand out from the crowd’.
Here are seven simple changes you can make to your website to help you build trust and credibility with potential (& existing) clients and customers:
It’s not enough to have great content on your website, it needs to look the picture too. The design of your website should convey professionalism and trust. In many cases this will be the first touch point for a potential customer, so it’s important the design makes a great first impression (a study showed that it only takes 0.5 seconds to form an opinion about a website)
If your website looks outdated and disorganized, what impression does it leave about the way you run your business or treat your customers?
Be a Trusted Advisor (not a sales person)
People want to be educated and advised, not sold to. Educate your consumers by adding educational articles, videos, FAQs and other content to your website. These shouldn’t be thinly disguised sales tactics, but genuinely useful content.
This content will help position your company as a trusted advisor, rather than a sales person in the eyes of your potential customers.
This education based sales approach demonstrates your knowledge and expertise, and helps to pre-sell customers without the need for heavy sales tactics, or price discounting.
Real Photos v’s Stock Images
How many times have you visited a website displaying an image you’ve seen before on a different website? What impression do these generic stock images give? At best: none. At worst: They make you look cold, bland and corporate.
People want to see the faces behind the business, they want to see images of you and your team, and they want to be able to relate to the photos on your website.
Replace any stock images with photos of your team, your customers and the work you do.
Testimonials / Reviews
Customer testimonials provide powerful third party validation of your services, and add credibility to your website.
Always ask your customers to leave a review or provide a testimonial after you’ve delivered your product, or service, but don’t be tempted to ‘coach’ them in to saying what you think they should say! Its important testimonials are natural, genuine and use the customers own words.
When possible always display a photo of the person providing the review, or even better ask them to submit a video testimonial to publish on your website.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar errors give an impression of a ‘sloppy’ business who doesn’t take pride in their work. Get an editor to review your website to remove errors, and improve the flow of your copy.
Your About Page
Many companies don’t put too much thought in to their about page, after all no-one reads it do they? Take a look at your website analytics and you’ll be surprised at how popular this page is! People who take the time to read an about page are usually close to making a purchase, but want to know a bit more about the company before signing a contract, or hitting the ‘buy’ button.
People don’t want to read boring corporate ‘speak’: This is not an annual report or brochure. Use the about page to demonstrate brand personality, values and what makes you ‘tick’.
Awards & Association Memberships
If you are a member of a professional association, have won an award, or been featured on an industry website – include the logo / seal on your website. These logos help to provide third party validation and are a great way to demonstrate trust and credibility.
These seven changes are simple, yet will make a big impact to your websites credibility. Give your trust levels a real boost simply by re-writing the about page, replacing stock photos with real staff ones, adding customer testimonials, and publishing details of any awards or association memberships. Then you can focus on more comprehensive design changes, and a switch to an education-based sales approach over the longer-term.
About the Author
Tom White has been helping small businesses use the internet to attract new customers and generate more repeat business for the past six years. He is also the founder of TrustedCleaner.com.au, a service which helps consumer’s shortlist, select and book a reliable, trusted and reputable cleaning company.