How do you as a business owner distinguish yourself as a brand and build trust with prospective clients online? In most cases, you have less than seconds to make a favorable impression on the web. We have four simple ways you can establish trust with potential customers.
Anyone who spends any time online knows it can be a dark place full of scammers and trolls. What’s more, you can easily be inundated with ads and messaging to the point that it is overwhelming.
So in a world where there are millions of websites and online merchants, how do you as a business owner distinguish yourself as a brand and build trust with prospective clients? In most cases, you have less than seconds to make a favorable impression online. So, read on to learn four fast, simple ways that you can establish trust and increase conversions.
Why trust is important in branding
Trust has always been an important part of business. Consumers want to know that products are safe to use and that businesses are charging a fair price for them. People also want to feel safe and to know that they can count on companies to care about their needs.
In an age where much of the commerce is conducted online, they also want to feel confident that their information is secure from cyberthreats or data privacy violations. These are all reasons why it is important for your brand to be one that customers can trust.
There's also the benefit of search engine optimization (SEO). More and more, search engines are turning towards the human side of results page ranking. In fact, user experience (UX) is one of the most important factors in evaluating page rank. This is why trust is considered to be one of the pillars of SEO in online marketing.
Lifting your place in the SERPs is the first step toward getting more eyes on your page, which increases brand awareness. Once you get them to your website, you can start implementing other trust-building activities.
So, that brings us to the million dollar question: when your biggest asset is your brand, how do you protect it and project an air of comfort that leads to lead conversions?
How to build trust in your brand
Trust can feel like an elusive or nebulous concept, but there are several actionable steps you can take to start building trust with every visitor that comes to your website.
Present a professional appearance
Presenting a professional appearance means creating a website that looks good and functions well. It should have clean lines and be easy to navigate, load quickly and completely, and be free from broken links. Calls to action should provide a clear directive so your customers don’t have to wonder where to get the information they need.
You should highlight the security and privacy of your site as well so customers feel comfortable spending time there. Advertise that your website is protected by SSL certificates and encryption with badges, list all of your contact information on each page, and make sure that visitors know your policies on data collection, storage, and privacy.
If you accept online payments, make sure your invoicing software comes with crucial features like accepting all major payment methods and SSL encryption for protecting client data. This will make the checkout experience on your site both convenient and trustworthy, making one-time customers more likely to return.
Protect your online reputation
Your business is only as good as your reputation, so guard it with care. You can't necessarily control what anyone says about you on social media, but you can be proactive and engaging. So, what constitutes an online reputation, and how can you take control of yours?
Your online reputation is a big part of your web presence, which includes all materials and content generated by your company and brand ambassadors, as well as all mentions of your company by competitors, customers, and industry experts. This can be challenging to manage, especially for companies that leverage marketing automation and have a wide-spanning web presence.
One tip to protect your online reputation is to leverage social proof by requesting customer reviews and referrals. Don't ignore negative comments - address them as soon and as professionally as possible.
As a business owner, keep your personal opinions and activities - as well as those of anyone associated with your company - separate from your business persona.
If you don't have time to monitor your online presence yourself, there are apps that can monitor the internet for mentions of your business. You can also hire a social media manager, which can be a great way to grow an online company.
Choose a reliable hosting company
Although your leads may never know who's hosting your website, your choice affects reliability more than you know. There are numerous hosting companies out there, and it can be daunting to choose the right one for your business.
The first suggestion is to avoid free hosting companies completely. As industry expert Gary Stevens of Hosting Canada warns, cheap hosting providers are making their money somehow, and it's usually at your expense - security is suspect with low-quality hosts, and downtime is high.
You can find reliable, secure hosting that's very affordable. Look for hosting that offers 24/7 site monitoring, an SSL certificate, high-grade encryption, and at least “5 9’s” (99.999%) uptime. Your visitors might not notice these features if they are there, but they'll definitely notice if they’re not.
Create a supportive online community
One of the most sustainable ways to build trust and brand loyalty is by creating a supportive online community that prospects will want to be a part of. There are many ways that you can accomplish this, and it won't cost you much to get the ball rolling.
Establish a bond with your audience through authenticity. Tell an engaging story with your content that relates to the buyer's journey. When marketing, use compelling visuals such as real images and video of customers rather than stock footage.
Request and highlight user-generated content, such as personal stories and video or images of your customers using your products. This is a good way to show social proof of your product quality and help people see a human face of your brand.
Trust means that customers know your company backs up words with action. When it comes to branding, everything from the tone of your emails to the look of your website tells potential leads whether you're trustworthy or not.
If you want to make it in today's business climate, it's essential that you instill this kind of confidence with everything you do. By following the above tips, you'll demonstrate that your business is one that customers can count on for great products, service, and support.