When potential customers visit your site, they’re looking for a variety of indicators that they should buy from you. Part of this strongly hinges on how much they can trust your business and website. Building trust is thus fundamental to encouraging sales and building a brand that customers feel that they can be loyal to.
Appearing as a solid, trustworthy business encourages continuous sales and improves the overall reputation of the business.
Here is a compilation of six fail-safe methods to build trust with customers and potential customers alike. Trust is the cousin of loyalty, and as such, these techniques to improve trust can also help improve loyalty with returning customers.
A certificate is a technical tool that a computer reads, and it causes a padlock to be presented in the URL bar of the customer’s browser. This padlock is a universal sign of security. It reassures users that the site that they are visiting will protect their details and prevent attacks on their computers.
Obtaining this certificate is vital. Google and other search engines flag sites in their search results as “Not secure” if they do not have one of these important security certificates. There’s no quicker way to kill new leads’ trust, right off the bat, than having them see that your site is potentially unsafe, especially compared to competitors.
The certificates, known as either SSL or TLS certificates, mean that sites use HTTPS rather than HTTP. The added S stands for secure and ensures that sensitive information provided by the user will be encrypted, and they will be highly protected against any hacking attempts.
The diagram above shows how, with the right origin, a website can match the client’s trust data in their computer and thus show up as a trustworthy source. This helps to turn browsers into buyers.
With the added benefit of actually protecting your customers from fraud and data leaks, the noticeable padlock in the corner of the bar is more often than not expected for sites big and small in today’s climate.
This helps people to quickly find out whether the page is potentially dicey or not.
So, definitely check out whether or not your site has a certificate. This often depends on which hosting platform you use. The big ones will usually provide them, but if you’re hosting on your own server, you can contact the Certificate Authority, who will provide you with the next steps.
The way your site looks is very important. There’s still prejudice out there when it comes to modern web design. If the website looks fresh and free of errors, it’s going to look a lot more trustworthy than one where the design looks rushed.
Features that will affect a user’s trust include old-fashioned or overused fonts, messy site navigation, and missing pages, such as Contact Us or About Us pages. All of these factors create skepticism in a client’s mind as to who is running the site and whether they have the wherewithal to provide what they need in exchange for money.
This is mostly because consumers likely associate expensive-looking design with a professional company that can afford such services. This is why it’s so important to invest in good website design, which doesn’t always come cheap. It adds to the overall image of the company and creates a brand for customers to trust in. They get a feel of the company and come to expect a certain level of quality and/or service.
It’s vital to make a good impression as soon as the customer visits your site. It can make or break ongoing trust, and hence loyalty. You want to reassure the customer at the first touchpoint that you are able to provide them a great service, all through the power of the first impression and the website’s look.
For returning customers, you can implement website personalization.
What is website personalization? Well, it means that you can change the website depending on the website visitor’s wants and needs. Each user will have an experience unique to them, helping you to better target the different markets that your product appeals to.
There’s no better social proof than demonstrating that people have already bought from you. Whether or not they enjoyed the product doesn’t matter that much in this instance - the initial barrier to trust can be broken down just by demonstrating that you’ve had past customers.
Reviews are so important when it comes to proving this. These can be demonstrated on your website but also elsewhere. In addition, as the above chart shows, it’s important to choose wisely when it comes to what review platform you focus on. The most widely used review site is Google, and this is also what people see when they search for your services, and as such, is a major point of reference for most.
Nobody wants to buy something that has no reviews. It leaves you in the dark about the quality of the product, or whether the product will even arrive at all, and whether or not it’s a legitimate service. That’s not a good place to have your customers when you want them to feel safe about buying from you.
Encouraging reviews from past customers is therefore a vital way to increase trust from those who happen to stumble upon your company. You could also reach out to professional reviewers to write reviews for your business. Choosing an authoritative reviewer will build trust on a wide scale. With many looking for high-paying affiliate programs to make money on the side, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of options out there.
TrustPilot is a site that unsure potential customers use to assess whether or not a company is trustworthy. Having a high ranking on TrustPilot can increase the likelihood that people will purchase from you. You can also display your TrustPilot score on your website as a seal of approval.
Website personalization can also benefit your site when it comes to reviews. Each website visitor can have specific reviews displayed depending on the data that you hold on them, including what reviews they have seen before, their demographics, and their concerns about the product or service.
This will enable you to target them and tailor their experience based on their requirements, making them more likely to trust the business and make a purchase.
Including a way to contact someone at the company provides reassurance for potential customers that it’s not just one big scam. Having a team that’s available to take queries any time of day shows that you are a company with a working office and headquarters, with real people around to help. This goes a long way when it comes to the initial impression of the website and the company.
Customers will appreciate having a way to contact you when something goes wrong, making you seem more reliable. This helps to build loyalty. However, make sure that you are actually there to respond. There’s no point in having your details available for customers to use if the customer service is sub-par. It’ll be disappointing for them and lead to them losing their motivation to be loyal to you.
As the above visual demonstrates, different forms of contact are favoured by different generations. It’s a good idea to be accessible via all these means. Something as simple as having a telephone number local to the area on your About Us page helps cement the fact that you are real.
Once you get customers to find you, they’ll see that it’s unlikely that a strange or deceptive website would devote a whole page to contacting them, as well as being around to take whatever phone calls come through.
Showing that there are real, live people who work for you is a great way to demonstrate your legitimacy. A great way to do this is by creating an About Us page or similar, and including photos of employees, along with details about their career and personal lives.
The photos should ideally be taken by a professional photographer, and represent the employee’s personality in the best light possible. Interesting facts about them will allow their charisma to shine through, and benefit the company. You may feel concerned about this task, especially if you’re managing a hybrid team. Don’t think you need to do much to get this information - you can contact the whole team at the same time, via an audio conference call, for example.
Adding this level of personability is highly attractive to most people. We like to know who we are talking to. It’s highly engaging and increases loyalty through a human urge to socialize and belong.
There’s nothing more inviting than seeing the human face portray a positive emotion. It captures attention and stays in the mind long after the user has left the site. Having a friendly, competent face greet the curious customer helps to build a brand around your company. Customers will feel at ease as they feel like they know the team and will be more likely to return.
Many businesses go for a family style of business, and if that’s you, then this advice is even more relevant. Creating a mirror of your client base through your staff can help to reaffirm themselves and their values, making them more likely to align themselves with you.
Content makes a difference. It demonstrates that you’re up to date and present.
You don’t want the customer to question whether or not the company is still trading. Consistent updates reassure visitors that you’re live, ready to accept orders, and help them.
In addition, it’s worth remembering that customers may come from personalized recommendations on Amazon or Facebook ads and then stumble across the content.
This graph from Statista shows how, in 2019, most marketers questioned in the survey highlighted the importance of blog posts when it comes to moving customers through the sales funnel, a stage that is helping to build that initial trust. This eventually leads to the ability to close the deal.
Blog content is a great way to appear relevant and wide-ranging. It can also help you improve the brand’s image by broadcasting your views, as well as positive things that you are doing in the community.
Overall, it’s part of any healthy marketing strategy and is a great hub for businesses that offer technical or niche services to express how great their wares are, and how much they know about the topic. Trust is a part of this process, helping to build the customer base.
Posting content can work in harmony with the use of an exit page, prompting people not to leave so soon. This can help to retain visitors and lead people to the different products available as they read.
These six changes can help you improve your site quickly and improve trust and loyalty from both potential customers and returning customers alike.
However, it’s important to remember that these changes aren’t exhaustive. There are other things that you can change on your website to help build trust, including visitor segmentation - which will help you to target potential customers better, and tailor your marketing to them. This builds trust as it reassures the user that you know who they are and what their needs are.
Part of the winning formula is being able to deliver beyond what the customer expects and providing a level of support that they can rely on.
It should be an integral part of the business, including everything from customer service to admin.
Staff should be trained to promote loyalty among customers. When it’s built into the heart of the business, it becomes second nature and allows customers to feel comfortable with your offerings.