In the main shoppers are much more careful these days, especially online. They are indeed more savvy than they used to be and, in particular, conscious that there are extremely clever fraudsters ‘selling’ online. Offline, credibility is easier to recognise, people feel you either have it or you don’t and act accordingly.
Customers can come into your shop or premises, check it out, check you out, and decide almost on the spot whether to patronise your business or walk away. By the same token you can shake their hand, look them in the eye, share a joke, show them your credentials or let them take a tour around your shop.
Not so online. Your credibility is suspect from the off simply because there is no easy way to reassure visitors to your site. You have only a few seconds to impress them enough that they will decide to stay put. Fail to do that properly and away they will go.
Such is the nature of internet surfing, is it not? In fact for visitors to have complete confidence in what you have to offer you will need to apply a number of strategies. The more they trust your credibility, the more likely they are to make a purchase or use your services. It is vital to make visitors feel assured that they are safe and aren’t going to be cheated, disappointed or blatantly robbed.
Just for starters if you have an e-commerce site, then it behoves you to have liberal return and guarantee policies. People want to know that it is safe to spend their money with you and also what will happen if they change their mind. Guaranteeing your product and offering easy returns immediately makes customers feel safe and comfortable.
Customers seem to have an internal checklist when it comes to trust. If something isn’t included in that list, it sets their alarm bells ringing. It is very important to build trust with your online customers. If someone ends up making the decision to buy from your business website, it will always involve establishing your credibility to inspire the prospect’s trust. But how do you maintain and establish your credibility online?
To establish credibility, never lie online even if it seems like an easy option. Make sure that your sales copy is truthful at all times. Sure be persuasive, but don’t exaggerate because that could result in misleading possible customers. Remember that when what you say is true, it rings true. If you tell porkies be sure your sins will find you out. The last thing you want is for your name to be bandied about on masses of forums under the heading of ‘warning about this company….’.
Be sure to include details that make your descriptions realistic and make certain that visitors can contact a human being through the site. Contact information, personal details etc. all help to make you credible and you become a real person to potential customers. If you can give them verifiable evidence of your expertise and legitimacy so much the better.
For example, if you are noted expert in your subject and have written and published articles on topics related to the product or service, or if you have related credentials, include a reference to them. At the very least you could post on Facebook or Twitter with links to your site.
What you have to remember is that there are millions of sites out there all competing for a share in the action. So as people look around online for information or products, their attention span is short, short, and growing shorter. If they land on your home page and don’t find it immediately credible, they will surf on and never give you another thought. Online, you never have the opportunity to look them in the eye and convince them you are honest; online your ability to connect is always going to be far more limited.
So, how do you create this all-important online credibility in the few short seconds you have? For a start try to have a good looking easy to use website. The very first thing people will notice is the look and feel of your site. Is it graphically appealing? Is it elegant and beautiful? Is it contemporary? Or, alternatively, does it look like you built it from a free online site creator?
Confirm brands. People generally know and trust brand names. As such, if you have some association with a well-known brand – maybe you sell their products or contract with them or something – then, again, above the fold, mention that very fact and display their logo.
Let people know who you are, what your history is and try to be social. Having links to your social media personas on your website is good, but having people discover that you have tons of fans, friends and followers is great. Again, it is third-party validation of you and your brand. This is where testimonials are important. In all online sales copy, testimonials should come early. If you haven’t been collecting testimonials, then start now. Begin by asking for feedback from people who are already your customers
You should automatically boost your credibility and improve customer’s trust by following these strategies. In turn this will increase your sales because no matter how tempting your offer is or how wonderful the benefits of your product, if the prospect doesn’t believe you, nothing else matters.