More and more of us are doing business without ever meeting our service providers face-to-face. There’s one common stumbling block that can hinder any deal, and that’s the issue of trust.
Since launching this blog in October 2006 I’ve been able to increase the number of overseas clients that I’m proud to do business with, and that wouldn’t be possible without first building trust. I ask all clients for a 50% downpayment, so it’s vital to portray a reliable image.
Here are five simple steps that have helped me to build trust online.
1/ Be accessible
People need to be able to contact you, quickly, and easily. Show a link to your contact page above the fold i.e. without your reader having to scroll down your web page. The quicker someone can find your contact details the better, because many people will visit your site for the sole purpose of sending a message.
2/ Use client testimonials
Include client testimonials for your products or services. It’s important to link to your client website or to provide their contact information. So many people fake their testimonials but it’s usually easy to spot (no link, no photograph, no contact details).
3/ Publish a blog
A professional blog can do wonders for building trust, especially if the topics you write about are related to the product or service you offer. Your personality comes out in the language you use, and first-time visitors get to know you by reading your conversations with commentators. This is where your blog comment threads play a vital role.
4/ A face to the name
By including a photograph online (it might only be on your contact page), you help build rapport between you and your prospective customer.
5/ Don’t overdo the advertising
If you show advertising on your website, don’t let it overpower your own content. There are few things more off-putting than a site riddled with AdSense or flashing banners. If you do monetize your site, keep it relevant. Showing three relevant ads is much less discouraging that just one that’s totally unrelated.
Further trust-building resources
- How to Build Trust Online, by Eoghan McCabe
- Business Blogging Strategy: Build Trust and Rapport, by Greg Balanko-Dickson
What are you doing to improve your online reliability?