One of the functions of your website is to help alleviate many of the fears visitors may have about doing business with you. You have to make them confident and comfortable with making the purchase. Failure to earn their trust is a failure to earn their business.
All things being equal, web users will make purchases from sites they feel confident about. All things not being equal, this confidence often trumps other “important” factors, such as pricing.
It is often difficult for small business owners to see their websites objectively. A handful of people throw a few compliments their way, and they assume everyone else feels the same. This then prevents them from making important and necessary changes because they “get compliments on that a lot.”
However, when a more objective viewpoint is applied, you can get past the few compliments and finally see the glaring omissions that may be preventing them from earning even more customers.
Below I have outlined five trust symbols you can use to build confidence in your brand and increase your ability to close the deal.
1. Risk-Free Guarantees
There is very little difference between an absolute guarantee and a risk-free guarantee, but I think one feels more genuine than the other. An absolute guarantee says, “This won’t break,” where a risk-free guarantee says, “If it breaks within three years, we’ll replace it.” The two guarantees may offer the same solution, but one implies something we know isn’t true (this won’t break), while the other recognizes the possibilities (this will break, but hopefully not within the next three years) and immediately moves to a solution.
Web marketing offers a good real-world example of the two. Someone who says “Guaranteed top search engine rankings or your money back” is likely up to something sketchy. But the web marketer who says, “If you’re not satisfied with the results, this is how we’ll remedy it,” is acknowledging that 1) they don’t control rankings and 2) you know they don’t control rankings. It is a more credible guarantee.
SimplifiedSolar provides a good example. They don’t say their products will never break, but they promise “If it breaks, we’ll fix it free.” Notice the down-to-earth language. Many guarantees are fraught with legalese and big words, but not Simplified Solar’s. People want to do business with real people, and this sounds like it was written by a human, adding another layer of security to the guarantee.
Offering risk-free guarantees helps ease your shopper’s worries about what happens if the product isn’t what they expected. Providing options for returning products (or getting refunded for services) for whatever reason closes the confidence gap just in case something goes wrong.
2. Helpful Content
Content is critical to the sales process. You have to hit all the touch points that entice, compel and propel the visitor to take action. But there is more to content than selling.
Using content to sell often keeps the focus on all the positive aspects of the product or service. That’s important, but it all too frequently neglects to address the potential downsides or the questions customers might have. Part of giving your visitors confidence in what you do means addressing potential negatives.
If you’re familiar with the grocery chain Aldi, you know there are trade-offs for their low prices. Their website does not shy away from what could be perceived as possible negatives, such as their limited selection and hours. Instead, it tackles those issues head-on and explains why the chain operates the way they do.
Content should make the shopper feel the warmth, smell the aroma, taste the sweetness, experience the rush and enjoy the peace and comfort a product will bring them. But it should also address the nagging ‘what if’s’. What if the product arrives damaged? What if it’s the wrong size? What if it doesn’t work? That’s more than just guarantee talk; it is an opportunity to ease concerns preventing them from moving forward.
3. Testimonials and Product Reviews
Amazon is probably the most obvious example, but any business selling a product should try to incorporate customer reviews.
Testimonials and reviews provide shoppers with valuable insight into the company they are contemplating doing business with. Studies show 90% of purchasing decisions are influenced by reviews. Looking at this from the other side, it means you only have a 10% chance of making a sale if you don’t have good reviews.
Seeking out testimonials and product reviews from satisfied customers is an important part of effective marketing. Not only do these reviews influence decisions, but they can also influence your ability to get into the search results.
Even negative reviews and testimonials can be valuable. These are powerful opportunities to show other potential customers how you solve known problems and you’re willing to go the extra mile for customer satisfaction. It also lends credibility to the reviews. Reviews look fake when they are all 5-star glowing references.
4. Company Info and Security Assurances
Company information is essential. Most shoppers care a great deal about who they are doing business with and how their personal information will be handled.
Company About Us pages are frequently visited by those who want to know more about the background of the company, its owners, and the people they’ll be working with. Contact pages assure customers you are reachable and able to assist when needed.
I, unfortunately, learned how important it is to have multiple ways to contact a company when I left my iPad on a Southwest flight recently (DOPE!). Fortunately, through both its app and its website, Southwest offers plenty of ways to keep in touch…and I took advantage of as many as possible in my frantic attempts to retrieve my device, including the main phone line, their baggage office, and their website form. As you can see, there are plenty of other options I could have tried, but fortunately, they got back to me by the next day, so I didn’t have to blow up all their contact avenues!
Privacy policies are also important because they let visitors know they won’t end up on a spam list somewhere because they submitted a phone or email address on one of your site forms.
These are things that put the visitor at ease. It gives them an opportunity to get to know you and have a better understanding of how they’ll be treated.
5. Brand Engagement
Shoppers are 67% more likely to make purchases from companies they follow, and 71% more likely to purchase based on social media referrals. If you’re not active in social media, you are missing out on a huge amount of potential.
Using social media to engage your customers–not just promote yourself–is the new expectation for companies who are serious about building their online presence and authority. Not only does it increase brand awareness, but it also takes the “about us” assurances to the next level. Customers aren’t just reading about you; they are building a relationship with your company.
Familiarity breeds confidence. Every interaction you have with a potential customer allows that customer to establish a deeper connection with you and your company.
Build Confident Shoppers
Building a successful business is more than just selling your product or service. It’s about establishing confidence. Lack of confidence leads to lack of sales. The more confident each shopper is that your company offers the best opportunity to get their needs met, the more likely you are to get and maintain that customer.
But remember, the sale is just the beginning of the relationship. You not only have to prove their confidence wasn’t in vain, but you also have to continue to demonstrate your worthiness to maintain their business.
How do you build your visitors’ trust in your company?