The question that we are trying to answer is this: How can Start-Ups Build Consumer Trust? Therefore, in this article we will explore the following questions to conclude consumer trust building practices.
The only way to ensure long-term online business success is to build it on a foundation of trust. In the same breath we can say to achieve, sustainable growth is to build trust with your target audience and to position yourself as a trustworthy authority in your niche.
How can Start-ups Build Consumer Trust with First Impressions?
Are Long Term Connections an Easy Method?
How can You Incorporate Social Proof?
Is Email Marketing a Valid Consumer Trust Builder?
How can You use Value as a Consumer Trust Builder?
How can You use Expertise Effectively?
How can Stories Influence Consumer Trust?
When will Emotions have an Impact on Consumer Trust?
When does Studies and Statistics Impact Consumer Trust?
Will Keeping Promises Have any Influence?
How do You Handle Problems, Complaints, and Objections?
What is the Impact of Mistakes on Consumer Trust?
Can You Backup Your Claims with Proof?
How can You Make Your Customers Feel Special?
Now we all know establishing trust usually takes place via a personal connection. In the offline world, it is easier because you build a face-to-face relationship with your customers especially in smaller communities where everybody knows everybody. However, building consumer trust online will test your abilities to utilize email marketing, instant messaging, and social networking effectively.
There are a few basic areas to focus your attention on when it comes to building consumer trust.
In the fast pace online world, you have a maximum of 6 seconds to make a strong and lasting impression on your potential customers. Thus your website or blog, as the first line of connection, must be professional, easy to navigate and an attention grabber. Not only must the content be relevant it also needs to be easy to contact and interact with you.
Luckily, with the multiple social media tools nowadays it is easy to create a communication line that is suitable for most site visitors.
I’m of the opinion that for any success to materialize, small business owners need to create and focus on long-term relationships with their customers. Building consumer trust online is very important but just as important is the ability to retain these customers long-term, because we know that customer retention is much cheaper than new customer acquisition. Nobody says ever no to a quick sale but repeat business is what’s filling your bank account.
It is important to remember that people buy from people and not from companies. It would serve your cause then to shows the human side of your company on your website. Therefore, the “about us” page plays an extremely important role in your effort to build business trust online.
Social proof is another very important element when it comes to building consumer trust online. If used correctly it is a great tool in developing your brand, which in turn builds business trust.
The use of endorsements, testimonials, and case studies form the basis of social proof. Used correctly they are great to establish a platform where you can proof your product lives up to its potential and that you have facts to proof it.
Building trust online forms a vital part of your marketing strategy. With that being said, you can also build trust by building a large email database. To do this you need to convince site visitors to part with their contact information. In order to obtain the email addresses of site visitors you should keep the following in mind.
The human race is always looking out for themselves and you need to utilize this characteristic trait. Therefore, the question is, “What can you offer as a gift that will be of such value that they will offer their contact information without a second thought?” Nowadays people are more Internet savvy, far more skeptical, and less inclined to share their personal information. Frankly, their fear of being bombarded with email advertisements is understandable.
One must always remember to overcome their fear, the value you offer must by far exceed their expectations. It must be so massive that they would want your gift instantly. To come up with a valuable offer you need to think of something that will enhance their life in a specific way. Be specific what you gift is about.
You know building trust online is based on the following principle: Know, Like, Trust
If we then make this applicable in the list building situation it would be like this:
To get to know you visitors you need a channel. So when a visitor arrive on your site they will probably (if they like what they see) read your about page to find out more about you, and see your invitation. While reading your invitation and free offer they started to like it very much because of the perceived value. Then they go to the next step to trust you enough to part with their contact information.
Once you have their contact information you need to use it in such a way that you continue to build trust via your emails. You need to nurture your subscribers because in the end they are going to be your best customers. Building trust can be tricky if one takes into account that to build any relationship takes time.
Every second person online is an expert. I don’t question their expertise but the fact remains how can you convince your visitor that you are the real deal? Paper is very patient and anybody can write anything to convince you of their expertise but it is not necessary the case. You will have to proof to them that you are who you says you are. Therefore, we are back at building trust via Social Proof. You need to share your experiences, qualifications and your results if you want to build trust with your email list. Remember they are real people and not just names on a list. You need to nurture the fragile relationship to a complete trusted one.
Like I said, it is one thing to make a personal connection with the client or potential customer when you meet them face-to-face, but it is a completely different thing when you are trying to make that connection online.
Did you know that forming a personal connection with your reader is just as important as the actual content that you provide on your website?
We all love stories. Especially stories where we can relate to in some way. Because the powerful nature of stories they are an excellent persuasive tool to create involvement and attract attention. I bet you love success stories. We all do. Building consumer trust with stories requires the following ingredients: truthfulness, an engaging storyline, with a hook that ties the story with your business.
There is nothing worse than a cold and distant webpage. How can that be you may wonder? Your visitor needs to feel that you are taking straight to him/her. They must be so emotionally engage that they feel you are their best friend. To achieve this you need to appeal to their emotional needs.
In an offline business, situation you meet your potential client face-to-face and you can gauge their emotions via the conversation, their body language, or facial expressions. However, in the online environment there is no tangible emotion so therefore you need to convey it through your writing. Connecting emotionally is possible if you are willing to show your passion for your business. It is skill but if done correctly you will be able to form a strong connection with your online visitors and plays a huge part in building consumer trust online.
This is probably not the easiest task for a start-up, but it is worth taking note of it. Heed good advice by starting to collect statistics from the word go. Everybody loves facts! Facts, studies, and statistics are a super cool way to build business trust and credibility.
Statistics reassure visitors that a specific product or service meet their expectations and solve their problems. The use of visual images such as screenshots, graphs or tables are an excellent way to illustrate your point. You can also include outside statistics and studies for further backup. Always include your source of original data, as it will add more credibility to your claims.
We have now talked about building customer trust online but in the same breath, I must tell you that this trust can be destroyed in the wink of an eye. It requires just one wrong move to destroy the trust and credibility that you have worked so hard to build. Therefore, it is worth looking at common mistakes to avoid when building customer trust online.
Online trust can be very fragile. If you are claiming, your product or service can do something then make sure it can. Always keep your promise, whether it is to deliver something within a specific time, keeping an appointment or honoring a commitment. Be aware that the minute you break a promise to a potential customer you are in danger to break the trust already established as well.
Problems, complaints, and objections never vanish in thin air. Deal immediately with it and use it as a tool in building consumer trust.
The organization of today will require leadership that can operate on the edge of chaos by relinquishing command and control and creating an environment of mutual trust and respect.
I hate making mistakes and especially to admit it, but there is nothing as refreshing as being humble and admitting the mistake. It shows you are a real person and you are committed to handle problems timely and efficiently. Nobody is perfect but you can be perfect in the way you handle issues leaving the trust you’ve built safe.
Now I’ve mentioned this earlier, but it is worth mentioning again. If you can’t proof your claim, don’t claim it, because it is definitely a trust destroyer.
Be authentic and treat your website visitors with respect. Your TOS on your website should be clear, easy understandable and easily accessible. If they sign up for your newsletter or a special product, make sure your safeguard their information.