Trust can be a hard thing to establish, especially if you are a new business. How can you let your website viewers know that you are legit, and that they can trust you?
Trust is built over time; and as you get sales, and subsequently reviews, on your products and services, people will learn to trust you. But what if you have just started out?
Luckily there a few things you can do even on a new website that tells your viewers that you are trustworthy. It will help you get those crucial first sales and appointments, before your excellent reputation is built up, and you are getting clients through word of mouth. No matter if you are selling a product or a service, here are some tips on how you can establish trust on your website.
Make a Good First Impression
First of all, make sure your website looks great on all kinds of devices in all kinds of sizes. Make sure your website loads fast, with easy-to-absorb content, inspiring imagery, and simple navigation. Customer experience ranks high on Google and will ensure that your site ranks high in searches too.
Use Trust Signals
Things like third-party reviews (set up so that as soon as you have made a sale, you can start getting reviews), security seals, free returns and clear contact details, including a physical location reduces perceived risk. If someone knows how to get hold of you, and ideally know where he or she can come and knock on your door if they are not happy, they are more likely to trust you. Now, if you are working from home you may not want to advertise your address. In this case, make sure you have your phone number, email address and so on clearly marked on your website, and that you tell people that you would love to hear from them!
Another trust signal is well-written copy. The type of language you use will change peoples perception of how trustworthy you are. So will using the correct grammar and making sure there are no spelling mistakes. People trust a company which looks professional, don’t let sloppy copy be your downfall.
Use Great Visuals
Ever more important in today’s world. High quality, engaging visuals are not only important if you are selling your products, but are equally important if you are selling a service. It can be hard to communicate your vision with images for a service company, but it is so important to put effort and time into the imagery you decide to showcase on your website! Ideally they should showcase who you are as a company and the values you stand for – no small feat! A good photographer should be able to help you, or you can browse stock photos that suit your business.
Of course, if you are a seller of physical products, this is more important than almost anything else on your website. As people tend to rely heavily on engaging visuals to help drive their purchases, it goes without saying that if your images are not shown in their best light so to speak, you have very little chance of selling your product. Especially important if you are solely an online business, as your potential clients cannot experience your products in person, it is important to draw them in with great product photos. Make sure your product photos are clear, crisp and well-lit.
Show your viewers that you care and that you understand their struggles
This could mean posting great tutorials, tips and tricks and other helpful material that is intended to help them in their daily life. It is not all about selling product (or services). It is about helping people lead better lives. This article is one way that I for example do this on my own site. If you are selling a product, I would also add here that having clear, descriptive copy for your products that tells people exactly what they can hope to improve in their lives by buying this product. How will your products improve the viewers lives?
Create a Truly Usable Site
This means making it easy for a viewer to use and purchase from your site. As an example, if you are repeatedly asking a customer to provide the same information they have already done several time, that is not being very user friendly. Ways to improve could be to save their preferences, log in info or shipping info for their next visit? We can also offer translation options, minimise technical jargon, and conduct user research into how we can improve our site when we have been up and running for some time. It is also important to tell users why a page won’t load; and to ensure that privacy, prices and other policies are absolutely clear.
Be Authentic, and show Vulnerability while you are doing so
This one is maybe not as intuitive as the others, but showing vulnerability can actually let people know that there is a real person behind this business. Are you a small company, perhaps a single mom working to support your children while juggling school drop offs and after school activities? If you are selling mostly to other moms, it makes sense to tell them, as they will be more likely to understand if you are not getting back to them less than an hour after they submitted their query? This also means embracing a soft launch, new products, and telling your users what you are working on and preparing for them.
Validate their Struggle
Another way you can build trust is not by ignoring any negative experiences your users have had, but instead by acknowledging and validating their beliefs. Lines such as ‘we have all been there’ or ‘If you are not sure where to start, you have come to the right place’ all do this. Try to identify with your user, meet them where they are, and try to solve their problem.
Remember that it's a Marathon - not a Sprint
Trust is something that is ongoing. It doesn’t stop with these initial steps taken, but it is something you will have to work hard at every step of the way. As in a relationship, trust takes a long time to build up, but only a moment to ruin. Make sure all your interactions with your clients are kind, understanding and accommodating if you can. Which leads us into the last point.
Be Consistent with your Brand Communication around your Values
Make sure every single member of your team knows what the business stands for, otherwise they will not embody it in their contact with your clients. Consistency over time is the key to earning trust long term.