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Building Trust Through Your Website

Trust is what makes the world go round. They say it’s love, but trust is a prerequisite to love.

A good way to approach this topic is to pay attention to your own level of trust when you shop online. Chances are you trust large merchants like Amazon.com and Target pretty readily, but when it comes to small merchants, you are more wary–unless you get a sense of who they are personally. What makes the difference between a small company you will buy from and one that you won’t? Here are some things I’ve observed.

Let them know who you are

Don’t hide behind the anonymity of the web. An “About” page is essential—but don’t stop there, spread your personal brand throughout your website. The more your customers know about who you are—your values, your process, and your phone number—the more they can connect to you as a human being instead of an anonymous entity. This is what trust is made of.

Keep in mind that when you write content, it is not going to be plastered on a billboard or put in a telephone directory. It’s going to be read by someone who is giving it their exclusive attention. I read somewhere that the internet can be looked at as “personal space” because of the way most people use it: they sit within two feet of their screen and they are almost always viewing websites alone. A conversational and personal tone can be very effective in establishing that one-to-one familiarity that leads to trust.

PuppetsBring your passion into your writing. If you believe in something, let it show. If your products are exquisite, brag a little. Help people feel your love for your business and your customers. Work on your content when you are in a great mood, and overflowing with genuine happiness—it will come through in your writing.

Lastly, put a photo of yourself and/or your business location on your About page, or maybe even your homepage. A professional photograph can be wonderful, but don’t make it a stiff posed one if you can help it. Find a photographer who can bring out your genuine joie de vivre.

Tell them everything they could possibly want to know

First, tell them everything about your product or service. A website is a very cheap medium, and as long as you organize it well, it can only help to provide lots of information. Your enthusiasm for your product will come through, and you can address any potential doubts your customers may have.

Second, provide insight and perspective related to your field. I bet if you are reading this article, you are forming an opinion of me as someone who knows something about the topic of online marketing. It’s natural, right? When someone speaks on a topic, and they don’t sound like a complete fool, you generally think they are knowledgeable about the topic in question. Providing lots of information on your field is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise (instead of merely saying you have it).

Providing good content also demonstrates goodwill and helpfulness, two qualities that build trust. And as a bonus, search engines also love content.

Avoid tricky tactics or subtle manipulation

I have seen marketers recommend that you offer a “free report” in exchange for people’s contact information, which you later use to contact them about your products so they don’t forget you exist. I dislike this tactic. When someone takes the time to share something that they know, with no expectation of a sale and no requirement for contact information, it demonstrates generosity of spirit. Then, if the person finds value in the information, and determine they are a good fit for your service, they will contact you and will feel good about it.

I like to operate from a place of trust that people who are right for my service will self-select themselves. I don’t need to trick or force them into giving me their contact information. Demonstrating that you trust your customers and respect them provides a sense of safety that invites your customers to trust you in return.

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