are a few hucksters and dishonest people on the
Internet who have made it necessary for the rest of us
to work doubly hard to build trust. While big
corporations with their established brand names are
perceived as trustworthy, other small- to medium-sized
businesses that are not so well known have to work hard
to let visitors know they are respectable. What are
some ways that you can build trust and help potential
Internet customers feel more at ease with purchasing
First, show them that
you are a real person.
- Put photos of
your key personnel on the web site.
- Put your full
name and address on your site. Avoid
using a P.O. box; a real physical address is
perceived as more trustworthy.
your site. Give it that down-to-earth
appeal by speaking in language that you would
use when speaking to a friend. Use this heart
to heart, friend to friend language in your
articles and editorials.
- Remember that
people buy from people, not from companies.
Second, don't use
spam to promote your services. Although with
current legislation it is not unlawful to bulk mail people
that you feel would be interested in your products
and services (given certain conditions are met), it
lowers the perceived respectability of your company.
Avoid it. Instead of using unsolicited e-mail
promotions, consider opt-in e-mail lists and e-zine
promise the moon unless you are prepared to deliver
it. Headlines like "Earn $3,000 per week in
your spare time" scream, "I'm a scam. I'm
here to steal your hard-earned money." Don't
make promises like this that would put up red flags
in the mind of any logical human being.
ordering through a secure server. Speak with your
web hosting provider about how to take credit cards
over a secure server. Not only does the encryption
lend confidence to the transaction, but also the fact
that you have been approved for a merchant account,
lends further credibility to your operations.
testimonials on your site. Get permission to use
quotes from real people who have used your products
or services. I've used this on the International Association of Computer
web site, with a little different twist to it. I've
interviewed several of our members about their
businesses, what types of business challenges they
face, what marketing techniques work worst/best for
them, and also how they've used their IACP
membership. We've linked these under a "Meet our
Members" section so that not only do they
function as testimonials, but they also give
additional exposure and promotion to our members.
It's a win-win situation for both of us.
accessible. Make links to your e-mail address
easy to find on your web site. Encourage visitor
feedback. Then, when people e-mail you, follow
through within 24-48 hours. You can use
autoresponders to at least give a standard reply to
visitors, but I continue to cling to the individualized response. I
like talking to my regular and prospective customers, sharing ideas and
learning how to make our products and services
better. When you take the time to read and respond to visitor
feedback, not only do you gain their respect, but you also learn
a lot about what people are looking for and how to serve them
better. Some of my best-selling products and services have
come from customer feedback.
Follow these guidelines, and you will be on your way to building
visitor trust. Once you've gained their trust, the sale is only a