April 18, 2014
As we’re all aware, people do business with people they trust. But trust can be a difficult thing to achieve online. Communication is generally through computer screens rather than face-to-face. This creates a depersonalized world for your potential customers that can lead to a general sense of distrust and skepticism.
So how do you break through these barriers and encourage prospects who come across you online to both trust and do business with you?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that establishing a relationship with your potential customer and building trust with them takes time. Many online novices believe their profits will come from people who visit their website for the first time and immediately make a purchase. They then end up disappointed to find their sales are often few and far between.
Instead, sales result from building a relationship with visitors, and building trust with them so they feel comfortable in making a purchase.
What strategies can we use to help build that trust and establish a relationship with our potential customers?
1. Show You’re Real
People want to see there’s a real person, or real people, behind the business. Don’t be afraid of using your photo on your website(s), and in relation to other content you have online. They just want to see you’re real, just like them.
Associate your portrait photo with your e-mail address at ‘gravatar.com’ (www.gravatar.com) — many sites including WordPress blogs can then show your photo when you leave comments or add other content.
If you use Gmail, get set up with Google+ and upload your picture so your photo is associated with your e-mails.
If you have employees, have an area on your site where you introduce them or show them in action. It all helps reduce the barriers between you and your prospects.
2. Show Other Customers Trust You
Social proof is a huge trust builder.
When you get positive comments from customers and others who interract with your business, get their permission to use them as testimonials on your website and in other sales materials. Potential customers love to find out about the experience other customers have had with you. Add credibility by providing their name, location, and if possible their photograph along with their comments.
Other ways include building your presence on social media and effectively interacting with people there, responding to comments on your blog, and so on.
You can also encourage referrals by either providing some incentive for people to refer others to your business, or simply asking satisfied customers if they could refer others to you who they think might be suitable. Referrals have huge power because they can immediately build trust in your business that would otherwise take far longer to establish.
3. Keep Communicating
Once a potential customer comes into contact with your business, keep communicating with them in order to both build a relationship with them, and keep your business front of mind for them.
Build an e-mail list of visitors to your site who are not ready to purchase yet, and then follow up with them through e-mail. Send emails with information they will find useful, illustrate how they would benefit from doing business with you, and build a sense of community with them. Keep encouraging them back to your website so they build a sense of familiarity and trust over time — however good your business, for many customers this can take some time to establish.
Use social media to further interact and communicate with prospects.
However you communicate, over time they will get to know you and your business, and you will be establishing trust with them in your business.
4. Establish Your Authority
Show potential customers that you have knowledge and expertise in your niche by providing information they will find valuable. You can do this via your e-mail communications, through social media, through your blog posts, guest posting opportunities, through content you syndicate to other websites, and so on. Over time this also serves to attract your target market to your business — they will be looking for just the sort of information you are creating.
This is a great way establish your authority and quickly build trust with potential customers. For example, someone clicking through to your site from content you have written is far more likely to opt in to your email list than someone who is clicking through from paid advertising.
That’s because reading content you have written is a great trust builder, and you immediately establish trust and credibility with them.
Steve Shaw is the founder of vWriter.com, the content creation, management and distribution platform that helps your business grow traffic, build engagement, and ‘Be Everywhere.’ Get your copy of his Be Everywhere online marketing blueprint, and find out how to create your own Google-friendly authority site that will stand the test of time and come to dominate its niche - https://www.vwriter.com/blueprint