The homepage of your website invites visitors to “join our mailing list” or “subscribe” and yet there is nothing on your site that evokes enough trust for people to want to give away their contact information.
How can you begin a relationship with your potential customers the moment they land on your website? We have 6 tips to help you start establishing trust:
If you want to earn someone’s trust, offer to help them … for free. Provide helpful resources, informative articles or blog posts, and invitations to contact you to help further. This is the stuff that relationships are built on. After all, if I find you to be smart and helpful with your website content and then I decided I need to hire a team, why would I go anywhere else? You don’t have to “sell me” on what you can do if you show me first how helpful you are.
Be sure your website copy isn’t all about you. If all the reader sees is you talking about you and how great you say you are, they probably won’t stick around for long. Often a website will look as if it were written by Captain Obvious, giving general information but offering nothing that shows that this company is uniquely qualified to help. “We are the best, most innovative solution-oriented…”
Your website copy should talk about your customers and the solutions you offer. Pack it with answers to customer’s most pressing questions about your products, services, and industry.
Does your copywriting match the personality of your brand? Does your website copy have a personality at all? When your copy sounds like a robot wrote it (or a really bad SEO company wrote it to appease the Google gods), or if it sounds like a technical manual, it will not engage the reader and evoke trust. When your writing is more conversational and very targeted, your reader will feel as if you are speaking directly to him.
So often web copy is written in an overly formal or technical tone. Write your website copy with a personal tone as if you are writing to a friend. I like to imagine sitting across the table from a good friend who has asked me for advice. If your friend asked you for advice, would you respond with “We set the industry standard for responsive customer service”? I hope not! Speak to your potential customers as friends. [See our recent post: Relationship Building with Your Buyer Persona]
Whether your business is made up of only you, or you have a team of 500, find ways to let your potential customers know who they will be working with. If your website is filled with only stock photos, and worse, most of them the corny stock images you see on every other website, the reader will question who they are actually dealing with or if you are a legit company at all. (If you have any of those images of perfectly diverse teams of smiling people giving each other a high five around the boardroom table, just know that we all know they’re not your real team members!)
Trust is built through transparency and authentic communication. Use real photos or at least a good mix of them on your website. There are so many great photo sources today, that there really is no excuse to use those horrible and very dated images on your website. [see our list of resources on: Stop Using Those Crappy Images On Your Website
If you feel you have to wait to share a photo of yourself until you color your hair, or lose 10 pounds, or buy a power suit, it’s time to get over that and realize that you can change out photos as often as you’d like. Stop waiting…get those photos loaded on your site.
While we are talking about getting real, let’s talk about posting some video on your site of you and your team answering the most frequently asked questions or interviewing customers and other experts. Video is the fastest way to establish trust if you can’t meet and spend time face-to-face. Don’t make them too overly-produced or they look like commercials that are trying to sell us something. Customers want to get to know you and like you. Video is a great tool to accomplish this.
WHAT DO OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU?
You can tell me all day long how amazing you and your team are, but if I hear it from another customer of yours, it’s more believable. Share client testimonials and quotes. If they allow you to share their name and photo with the testimonial, it’s best. If you are using “Jane E” alongside a stock image of a businesswoman that just might be on that web visitor’s website, you’re busted!
Social proof comes from the mouths of others, not you. Sharing quotes, case studies, and video snippets from clients you have worked with will establish trust much faster than a paragraph of snappy copywriting about you.
Links to your social media accounts can also add to this social proof if you have people talking about your products and services there. Perhaps you have reviews left on Google My Business, Yelp, or even Facebook. Take a screenshot of those reviews and place them on your website.
SHOW WHERE YOU’VE BEEN FEATURED
Have you shared your expertise on other websites or on media outlets? Be sure to post those videos, links to podcast interviews, or even the logos to those media outlets you have been mentioned in or had articles or posts featured in. (Pro tip- put the logos in black and white to avoid issues around copyright infringement) You want to show that others trust you and so can your new viewers.
The original HTTPSprotocol was released in 1995 (Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, in case you’ve wondered what it actually stood for), and it enabled companies to handle credit card transactions online by protecting your payment details and helping to prove that the merchants you visited were who they said they were. Today many of the top search engines require you to have that SSL certificate on your site whether you deal with eCommerce or not, just to help weed out the riffraff spam sites. If you get the error message warning you that a site is not secure and to TURN BACK, you can relax a bit. Your computer is not about to explode. It’s just letting you know that the site you are trying to reach doesn’t have an updated SSL certificate.
To ensure your customers and readers don’t see that frightening warning message, make sure you have an updated SSL certificate. Most hosting companies can add that to your site for free or a small fee.