If your business doesn’t have a website, or has one that hasn’t been updated in years, it’s time to make a change. A professional website can elevate your business in a substantial way, and leave a lasting first impression on potential customers. It’s one of the first steps toward earning trust.
A recent study showed it is much more difficult to build trust with potential customers online than it is in-person. According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes just 2.6 seconds for a potential online customer to determine if your website is trustworthy or not. In the same study, certain website sections mainly drew reader’s attention:
A professionally designed website should be intuitive to navigate, provide insightful information and provide transparent and accessible contact information. Quick-loading pages are key in making a good first impression as well. If your company has a branding guide, follow it and make it consistent. Don’t use different fonts every paragraph or wild colors just for the fun of it. As we mentioned above, a user pays close attention to the design before they even make it to the content. At AvantGuard, we’ve learned there is significant value in creating a successful website.
Think of your web page as a funnel. At the top of the funnel is your logo along with intuitive navigation that funnels down into your content. Within your content should be “social proof,” or examples that people have used your products and service and vouch for your business.
People take recommendations and social proof seriously. According to engagementlabs, recommendations are the number one driver of online purchase decisions. When people see proof that your company’s product or service is worth the investment, they are far more likely to move forward on a purchase decision themselves. Showing social proof towards the top of your webpage in the form of testimonials, successful trials, and reviews, and again in the bottom third of your page to reaffirm confidence in your brand, is a great way to display social proof and gain online trust.
Showing social proof might be difficult if you’re not listening to your customers. In order to engage with your customers, you must first make it easy for your customers to contact your business. Providing ways for your customers or potential customers to contact your business is a good initial step toward earning their trust.
But that’s not enough! You also need to engage with your customers. Engagement shows that there is in fact a human being behind the company website who is listening, and you show transparency through engagement. Be authentic and honest with your customers through this engagement. If they had a bad experience, acknowledge it in your response instead of ignoring it. This authentic transparency won’t go unnoticed. And if you make it right with a customer who may have initially had a bad experience with a good secondary experience, that can go a long way with them in spreading the word that your company is willing to serve the customer. Plus, if the whole encounter plays out on social media, it works as its own success story for all to see.
The whole goal is to turn first timers into repeaters. This is done by following the steps above and providing authentic, transparent and honest service to customers and potential customers. This is how you build trust with online shoppers without ever meeting in-person.